2006 News archive

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Finalizing Opening Day Program

Pipeline message: Tuesday, August 22, 2006

As we finalize the program for Opening Day, I would like to urge all CCRI staff to share with me their academic and professional accomplishments over the summer. On a daily basis, I receive information about the exciting initiatives staff members are involved in and I would like to share your experiences with the college community on Opening Day.

As I've indicated to faculty, if you feel your summer activity is something that would be of interest to others, please email a summary of your work to Dennis Moore, director of Marketing and Communications, at dwmoore@ccri.edu.

Thank you for your help.

Opening Day Set for August 31

Pipeline message: Saturday, August 5, 2006

It is already August, and our thoughts are beginning to turn to the start of our fall semester. Just around the corner is our Opening Day Convocation and I hope you will join us on Thursday, August 31, 2006 in the Bobby Hackett Theatre on the Warwick campus. Based on your evaluation of last year's event, which spoke to the length of the presentation, I think you will find the new schedule more appropriate.

From 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., everyone is invited to renew acquaintances over coffee 'an. The formal program will get underway at 9:30 a.m. and will include recognition of new faculty and staff, an update on the state of the college, as well as brief presentations on budget and our progress in addressing NEASC recommendations. It is expected that department chairs will convene department meetings at the conclusion of the program at 11 a.m.

Please make every attempt to join your colleagues at this important get-together to help kick off the fall semester. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer and come back refreshed, energized, and ready to go.

Pandemic Flu Preparedness

Pipeline message: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A large state-wide effort involving all institutions of higher education in Rhode Island is underway to address the impending risk of a pandemic flu. Under the direction of the RI Department of Health, I have assembled a team to develop pandemic preparedness plans for each CCRI campus, as well as to review the emergency operations plan for the entire college.

For many months now the world has been focused on the ever-growing expansion of the avian flu, also known as the bird flu. Initially found in China in 1996, the avian flu has now reached the Middle East, Western Europe and Africa; it is only a matter of time before it reaches our shores. Health officials warn of the potential of a pandemic flu outbreak similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu that killed millions worldwide. Higher education will be among the sectors most severely impacted due to risks resulting from international travel by students, faculty and staff; and due to the accessibility of open campuses to the local community at-large.

The initiative is being coordinated by Vincent Balasco from the Division of Student Affairs and the committee includes staff and faculty representatives from a diverse cross section of the college. It is expected that the committee will concentrate its work in several areas, including the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, communications, coordination, and continuity of operations and services. As we have learned from recent catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina, effective preparation leads to improved decision-making. In the near future, the committee is expected to establish a college website to serve as a resource for all members of the college community.

Resignation of Vice President Poindexter

Pipeline message: Thursday, June 15, 2006

I am announcing today that Michael Poindexter, Vice President for Student Affairs, has submitted his resignation, effective July 7, 2006.

Since joining the college in August 2004, Michael and his team have made significant progress in a number of different areas. Some of the major initiatives include the implementation of a staff orientation program in Student Affairs; creation of a marketing plan to recruit students into the Joint Admissions Program; and the hiring of a nurse and the development of immunization policies and processes for all full-time and health program students.

Additional initiatives include the creation of a Call Center and Telecounseling Center to effectively communicate with students through the enrollment process; the development of an online orientation program as an option for new students to learn about the college; the successful conversion of the SIS+ Student Information System to the Banner System in admissions, financial aid , registration and advising; and the recruitment and enrollment of over 2,000 students from the Educational Opportunity Program to CCRI.

Over the next several days, I will be discussing the vacancy with members of the college community and will shortly announce interim and longer range plans.

I wish Michael well as he undertakes new challenges and I thank him for his service to CCRI.

CCRI Mission Statement

Pipeline message: Thursday, June 1, 2006

Following months of hard work, and the involvement of hundreds of CCRI faculty, staff and students, I am pleased to report that the Accreditation Review Committee of the college has unanimously approved CCRI's mission statement to be presented to the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education for final approval.

Beginning with the initial survey of the entire college community in February 2005, and culminating with your most recent review of the draft mission statement earlier in May, the Mission Review Committee has been steadfast in completing its task. In fact, the committee met on May 12 and 18 to review your most recent comments and incorporate them into the final statement. While not every recommendation was able to be included, it is important to remember that we have started a process that requires a mission update every 3 or 4 years.

I believe the statement accurately defines the distinctive character of the institution, identifies the students served, reflects our traditions and vision, is precise in outlining our purposes, and provides direction to curricula and other activities. I want to thank the mission committee for their outstanding service to the entire college community.

And now, the mission of the Community College of Rhode Island to be presented to the RI Board of Governors for Higher Education at its meeting on June 29.

The Community College of Rhode Island is the state's only public comprehensive associate degree-granting institution. We provide affordable, open access to higher education at locations throughout the state. Our primary mission is to offer students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for intellectual, professional, and personal growth through an array of academic, career and lifelong learning programs. We meet the wide-ranging educational needs of our diverse student population, building on our rich tradition for excellence in teaching and our dedication to student success. We set high academic standards, champion diversity, respond to community needs, and contribute to our state's economic development and the region's workforce.

Knight Campus fire

Pipeline message: Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As many of you may know, a small fire in the round building adjacent to the main campus building at the Warwick campus was extinguished by Warwick fire professionals yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, because residual smoke from the fire entered the main building, we were advised to cancel classes for the remainder of the day and evening. All campus activities were back to normal this morning.

I would like to thank members of the Warwick Fire Department who responded to the college to put out the blaze, as well as Chief Jim Ellis and College Police for their efforts to clear the building and offer assistance to those who needed help. I also want to thank Dean of Administration Steve Marginson and several members of his team who organized the effort to clear smoke from the building.

The Rhode Island Fire Marshal's Office is conducting an investigation to discover the cause of the fire, and I urge any member of the college community who has information about the fire to contact College Police at 825-2109 or the Arson Hotline at 295-9083.

Thank you.

Death of Kathleen Mallon, Assistant to the President

Pipeline message: Friday, March 10, 2006

It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Kathleen Mallon. Over the past year, Kathy had waged an escalating battle with cancer. During that time, she served as role model to all of us for her determination, optimism and unstoppable energy in the face of adversity.

Kathy brought 30 years of progressive higher education experience, including management-level work at the Office of Higher Education and the University of Rhode Island, to her role as assistant to the president. In addition to spearheading several strategic planning initiatives for the college, Kathy was a leader in the complex coordination of the Newport campus preparation and opening. Most recently, Kathy had received many accolades for her creation and implementation of the City Campus dual enrollment initiative, which introduces at-risk high school students to campus life and career opportunities.

I ask all members of the CCRI community to lend their compassion and support to those of us grieving for Kathy right now. Please know that as soon as we learn more about her family's plans and wishes, we will share that information with all of you.

Sincerely,

President Ray Di Pasquale

Professional Development Day Thank You

Pipeline message: Friday, March 3, 2006

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for participating in All-College Professional Development Day this week. This is one of the few times during the year that we can gather as a college community to discuss issues impacting the success of our students and the welfare of our institution. The day was a distinct success, with nearly 650 faculty and staff members in attendance for the President's State of the College, the ensuing panel discussion, and breakout sessions showcasing the successes and ambitious plans of the college's faculty and staff. I want you to know how much I value your energetic involvement in the day, your insightful comments, and your commitment to addressing many of the issues we will face in the coming year. Be on the lookout for Professional Development Day Wrap-up Web pages, featuring photos, summaries and materials from the various sessions, at a Web address to be announced soon.

I would also like to thank you for the extraordinarily warm welcome you gave me. I look forward to a bright future together.

President Announces Interim Vice President

Pipeline message: Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I am pleased to announce today that I have named faculty member Lela Morgan, chairperson of the Allied Health Department, to serve as interim vice president for Academic Affairs, effective March 12, following approval by the RI Board of Governors for Higher Education. Lela has over 39 years of dedicated service to CCRI, and her reputation has been distinguished by great integrity and fairness, and an unwavering commitment to excellence and equality. She has tremendous institutional knowledge and is a strong advocate for the faculty. She will hit the ground running and bring strong leadership and management skills to the position.

Lela joined CCRI in 1967 as a professor in the Clinical Laboratory Technology Program, and has served in a variety of positions throughout her career. In addition to being chairperson, she is also director/clinical education coordinator for the Clinical Laboratory Technology Program. Before coming to CCRI, Lela worked in various health care positions at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Allen Memorial Hospital in Iowa and St. Joseph Hospital in Michigan.

Her academic background includes the Graduate School of Medical Technology at St. Joseph Hospital in Michigan; a B.S. degree in Medical Technology from Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa; graduate courses in Adult Education at Rhode Island College; and a M.A. degree in Health Care Education from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Other areas of specialization include national academic program accreditation, finance and budgeting, curriculum development, organizational leadership, strategic planning and student outreach and recruitment.

Lela is also a very active in the Rhode Island community, serving on multiple non-profit boards. She has also served as president for John Hope Settlement House, the Urban League Guild of RI and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In addition, she serves as an advocate for foundational education framework and works in the community to develop programs that improve academic and socio-cultural experiences across city and state lines. She has been cited for excellence in leadership by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and the New England Board of Higher Education.

I am also moving forward in forming a search committee for the vice president of academic affairs position with a goal of having a permanent vice president on board by the fall semester.

On behalf of the college community, I extend my best wishes to Lela as she takes on these new responsibilities.

Professional Development Day Reminder

Pipeline message: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My first 30 days have been invigorating and interesting. What I have heard from so many of you is a wonderful welcome along with "what can we do to help?"

What you can do to help is become part of a very special day on March 1, where your colleagues have been planning an extraordinary Professional Development Day. Colleagues from other community colleges, as well as from CCRI, will be sharing with you their thoughts and processes for the future of our college. I will also begin the day by giving an update as to the current status and future of CCRI.

This is a wonderful opportunity to join colleagues and friends in a collegial atmosphere of sharing ideas and thoughts. I encourage everyone to participate and ask that you join me in a new beginning at CCRI.

Please click on the link below to register - it is important to have an accurate count for breakfast and lunch.

www.ccri.edu/acw/pdd/

Professional Development Day

Pipeline message: Monday, February 13, 2006 5:14 PM

CCRI will hold our fourth Annual Professional Development Day on March 1, 2006. A group of nearly 50 dedicated faculty and staff members have been involved in the planning and implementation of this day, striving to create an upbeat, collegial exchange of ideas and information. Nearly 800 staff and faculty members will be gathering with two purposes in mind-to highlight and celebrate the fine work we do at CCRI, and to learn more about the innovative work of our colleagues in shaping the ever-changing and expanding role of community colleges.

I plan on leading off the day's activity with an overview of our institution's recent achievements and challenges. We'll then be joined by a guest panel of leaders in higher education who will discuss their role in transforming institutions. After a lunch break, we invite each of you to participate in building our success as an institution by attending one of the following breakout sessions:

- Communication in the Workplace

- Customer Service Workshop: "Give 'em the Pickle"

- Innovation in Teaching & Learning

- Pride in Performance

- Issues in Retention and Graduation

- Governance

- Assessing for Learning: Creating Program and Institution-Level Outcomes

This day-long event is a prime opportunity for celebration and collaboration among our numerous CCRI constituencies. For myself, I look forward not only to my first opportunity to speak to the entire college community, but also to a tremendous opportunity to listen and learn from your shared experiences and expertise.

I hope to see each of you on March 1st.

To register, visit www.ccri.edu/acw/pdd/.

Postponement of NEASC visit

Pipeline message: Monday, February 13, 2006

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with NEASC officials, and after a very informative and engaging conversation, we mutually agreed to postpone their visit to CCRI until the fall semester. This will give me additional time to meet with members of the college community to get a first-hand report on the status of the various NEASC initiatives.

In the meantime, I am also pleased to announce that Barbara Brittingham, the director of NEASC, will participate in the college's Professional Development Day on March 1. Barbara will engage us in a discussion of the new NEASC standards that impact New England colleges.

I look forward to our discussions in the near future and our visit from the accreditation team in early fall.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Resignation

Pipeline message: Friday, February 10, 2006

I am announcing today that Dr. Ruth D. Sherman, Vice President for Academic Affairs, has accepted a position as the national program director of a non-profit organization that helps underserved students gain access to higher education. She will be leaving CCRI on March 10, 2006.

Dr. Sherman has played an important role in directing several initiatives since coming to the college in 2002. Her accomplishments include chairing the college's successful re-accreditation process, where she led 120 faculty and staff in the documentation, development, and dissemination of the Self-Study Report.

Additionally, Dr. Sherman led efforts to strengthen student retention, persistence, and graduation by establishing Success Centers on all campuses, implementing a new student success seminar and a three-level developmental reading sequence, appointing the Learning Spaces Committee to recommend improvements to teaching/learning environments college-wide, and increasing faculty diversity.

Dr. Sherman also led efforts to secure the $1.8 million federal Community-Based Job Training Grant (CBJT) to strengthen preparation, persistence, and graduation rates of students enrolled in Nursing and Allied Health programs.

Over the next several weeks I will be meeting with various constituencies to begin the process of conducting a national search to fill the Vice President of Academic Affairs position. In the meantime, I will be preparing an interim plan for the immediate future.

I wish Dr. Sherman well as she prepares for her new challenges and I thank her for her service to CCRI.

President’s Survey Update

Pipeline message: Thursday, February 09, 2006 10:38 AM

I am so pleased with the participation of the college community in completing the President's Survey that was distributed last week. More than 200 faculty and staff shared their thoughts and experiences on CCRI with me.

I am impressed by the thoughtful, and sometimes passionate, consideration you gave in your answers. Over the coming weeks, each reply will be reviewed by me personally and will help shape our discussions and decisions in the months ahead. I also want to assure you that the survey responses are confidential.

The generic conclusions-common concerns, strengths, etc., will be shared in a summary report with everyone in the college community, but the names and identifying information will be omitted. While this evaluation is underway, please don't hesitate to share additional thoughts and opinions with me. Soon, a President's Web page will be up and running that will offer new opportunities for increased communication.

New Director of Human Resources chosen

Pipeline message: Tuesday, January 31, 2006

After much consideration, research, and interviews, I have selected our new Director of Human Resources for CCRI. Effective February 5, 2006, Sheri Norton will begin her permanent duties as director of Human Resources, having served as acting director since last May.

Sheri has impressed me with her experience, serving in CCRI's Human Resources Department since 1978, and her assumption of increased responsibilities while pursuing additional formal education. She holds an MBA in Human Resources/Labor Relations from URI, a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from RIC, Computer Science and Liberal Arts degrees from CCRI, as well as an SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute.

Sheri has extensive HR experience, including compensation, labor relations, information systems, professional development, and benefits. She has participated in both PSA and ACE negotiations, and she has both a depth and breadth of knowledge relative to the complexities of CCRI.

According to a number of faculty and staff I spoke to, Sheri has been a steady source of support for CCRI's managers and supervisors. She is well respected by her colleagues and values the working relationships that have evolved through the years. Her ability to reflect on areas within HR with sensitivity, integrity, and humor were identified as definite positive attributes. Her vision of HR positions the department as a vital partner in the management and strategic planning process.

This is my first appointment since joining the college on January 16, and I took this responsibility very seriously. This is an extremely important position for our college and my choice reflects the superlative qualities we were looking for in a candidate.

Please join me in congratulating Sheri on her new position, and I especially want to thank Michelle O'Brien, chair of the search committee, as well as the members of that committee: Dennis Moore, Ruth Sullivan, Jack White, Becky Yount, Ellen Willard, Lou Rainone, Cledia Holland, Al Sevigny, and Maureen McGarry, along with the college community, for their important input in helping me select Sheri for this position.

President's Survey for Faculty & Staff

Pipeline message: Monday, January 30, 2006

As promised during my initial visits to the college in December 2005, I am asking for your help in completing a survey that captures your impressions on areas of excellence as well as areas needing improvement at CCRI.

As a newcomer to the state, I'm also asking for your suggestions on people I should meet and your thoughts on increasing our visibility in Rhode Island.

Please go to (no longer available) and complete the online survey.

Once the information is compiled, I plan to share the survey results with you, and to begin establishing our priorities for the upcoming year.

New Semester Welcome

Pipeline message: Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Welcome to a new semester at the Community College of Rhode Island, my first semester as your president. This is an exciting time for all of us, whether you are new to the college or a long-term veteran. I hope the winter break gave you an opportunity to relax and to prepare for the challenges ahead.

While many weeks of winter weather still remain on the calendar, just seeing the word "spring", as in spring semester, generates a certain warmth. Soon, ideas that were generated in winter will begin to take form as we grow in our academic careers and professions.

Certainly, we have much to do, and I look forward to working with each of you to celebrate the college's successes and to explore its challenges. Most importantly, it will take a collaborative effort by everyone to prepare our students for the next important step in their lives, whether it is continuing their education at four-year institutions or advancing in their careers.

Over the next several days, I will be meeting students prior to class, and greeting faculty and staff at informal coffee hours at each campus. Together, we begin a new semester and a new era in the history of CCRI. It is a privilege to be your president at this exciting time, and I look forward to working with you.

My best wishes for a successful and enjoyable semester.

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