A message from President Dooley
"Research, scholarship, and creative work are at the heart of the University of Rhode Island. As a land-grant public university, we were created to conduct research and then translate that research in ways that would improve the lives of the people of the state. Although our research mission has broadened considerably beyond that originally envisioned - it now encompasses numerous disciplines that could not be foreseen in the 19th century - research for the public good remains a distinctive attribute of the 21st century land-grant university.
The University's designations as a sea-grant and urban-grant university are also reflected in the research and scholarship of our faculty, research staff, and students. The engagement of our students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, in research, scholarship, and creative work is of critical importance to their education. I am convinced that the best approach to preparing students for their careers is to inspire them to discover, create, and innovate. Therefore we encourage our students to become an integral part of the community of discovery that is the modern research university.
Given the dramatic rate of change that is already so characteristic of the 21st century, the human capacity for innovation has perhaps never been more important. The University of Rhode Island has a highly innovative faculty, and they are creating new knowledge, new capacities, and new ways to teach that will serve our students, the state, the nation, and the world extremely well."
David M. Dooley, Ph.D.
Greetings from Kingston. A new academic year is in full swing, with about 3,160 freshmen, 540 transfer students, and of course, another 10,000 or so upperclassmen, settling into their classes, residence halls, and activities.
While 46 percent of incoming freshman are from Rhode Island, the rest are coming to us from 26 other states and 16 nations. The top states represented by the freshman class, after Rhode Island, are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York, respectively. Our total student body comes from 45 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and 58 nations. Of our incoming freshman, 677 are students of color, and consistent with national trends, 57 percent are women. The incoming freshman class was yielded from a record 21,000 applications, which we attribute to a number of factors, including our switch to the common application, URI’s reputation, and our ongoing branding initiative both inside and outside Rhode Island (we’ll be sharing the results of our recent study to measure the effectiveness of our branding efforts later in the semester.)
Regardless of where they come from, students have been greeted by a campus that saw much enhancement in landscaping over the summer. Renovation work on Quinn Hall, continued construction of the new Pharmacy building, beginning work on the old Roger Williams Dining Hall (which will become a campus Wellness and Fitness Center), and a total makeover of the lawns and gardens between the President’s House and the Quad are all part of the changes.
In other exciting news, the University of Rhode Island has, for the second time, been named by the Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney Magazine as the top value in New England, and 13th in the nation, among public and private schools for return on investment. The ranking comes from a Payback Score that measures salary profiles of 29 million workers against the full-price out-of-state tuition and fees at the time of graduation. URI came in ahead of such Ivy Leagues as Princeton, Dartmouth, and even Harvard. For in-state students, who pay a bit less in tuition, the return on investment is even higher. Every year, URI graduates enter the workforce with national and internationally successful communication, engineering, business, pharmaceutical, biomedical, healthcare, financial, and other companies, not to mention hundreds of local businesses that are helping to strengthen the Rhode Island economy. Our SmartMoney ranking is a testament to their achievements, and to the big ideas they’ve carried into their careers.
Beyond sharing all this exciting news, the primary purpose of this letter is to share with you President Dooley’s Transformational Goals. The President has been formulating and discussing these goals during the first two years of his tenure. The enclosed publication (a case statement) reflects his thinking and beliefs, his vision for the future of URI, and the perspectives of many on and off campus individuals and groups. The Transformational Goals are ambitious. URI is not seeking to play catch up with its peers, or merely to equal them, but rather to become known and respected as a leader in each of the areas described in the case statement.
The case also contains a discussion of the President’s 21st Century Fund for Excellence. Transforming URI will require strong campus support and change. It will also require the infusion of new and fresh resources from a variety of sources--philanthropy, research, collaborative partnerships, and government. Building this 21st Century Fund for Excellence will provide a corpus of resources, while also giving the University the ability to be adaptive and nimble (able to put resources behind new ideas and initiatives in both a direct and timely way).
As you read through this case statement, we hope it inspires you to continue to connect with URI in other ways. The fall, for example, is a great time to come visit. I particularly want to draw your attention to Homecoming Weekend (October 21-22). In addition to the Saturday afternoon football game with Delaware (and other campus activities publicized on our web site), we will celebrate our 6th annual Distinguished Achievement Awards. This signature event epitomizes our “Think Big. We Do.”