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Academic Master Plan 2022 – 2027


Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.

 John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America


Access to higher education has always been at the center of the Community College of Rhode Island’s (CCRI’s) mission: to provide affordable open access to higher education at locations throughout the state. The college has met and exceeded that goal, with enrollments blossoming from the first class of 325 to more than 14,000 students in 2019. Today, CCRI’s network consists of more than 70,000 alumni. We plan to build on our past successes and current strengths and will incorporate new technologies and programs to expand access to even more Rhode Islanders.

Yet, while access continues to be a critical factor, access alone is not enough. Today, accountability of colleges for the outcomes and success of the students they serve must be considered as important as the ability to access a higher education institution. Our Academic Master Plan addresses the key question: what does it mean to be a successful community college in the 21st century?


In order to achieve and be accountable for successful student outcomes, CCRI must be dedicated to equity of those outcomes, celebrate diversity within our community, support students through a Caring Campus approach, and bolster success through excellence in teaching as well as advising, student support, and provision of essential learning resources.

Building upon six decades of achievement, this plan looks to the future to ensure CCRI is not only accessible but is equitable in its commitment to success for all. Covid-19 has focused a spotlight on the inequities that exist within our communities, be they related to health, housing, quality of life or education. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught us that simply having access to higher education is not enough. It is through a clear plan and resolute implementation that CCRI can deliver accessibility, equity, quality, and success to all students entering our institution, and in so doing we will meet the aspiration of President Kennedy’s words.   


 A clear and innovative Academic Master Plan is essential in today’s environment. It must be intentional in moving the institution forward and keeping pace with changing ways of learning and teaching. Today’s students require more than static knowledge; they require an ability to problem-solve, collaborate, think globally and communicate effectively. Whether transferring to a four-year institution or seeking to enter the workforce, CCRI’s institutional learning outcomes are essential elements for success. Since our founding in 1964 the world has entered an information age and as a result requires us to incorporate more active learning, additional opportunities for teamwork and debate, alternative methods of curriculum delivery, and most importantly, meeting our students where they are.


To help Rhode Islanders develop their greatest abilities and achieve their private hopes and dreams, as President Kennedy said, and to advance these 21st century initiatives, our Academic Master Plan corresponds to the newly revised CCRI Strategic Plan and is consistent with our institutional learning outcomes and values.

Specifically, this five-year plan focuses on CCRI’s three overarching institutional goals of student success, expanded partnerships, and institutional effectiveness. Aligned with these institutional priorities, the Academic Master Plan specifies three goals: we will define action steps and measurable benchmarks for improved student outcomes; we will identify and establish major and sustained academic initiatives; and we will utilize data to drive decision-making and engage faculty and staff in continuous improvement.

This Academic Master Plan also endorses and pursues the four critical learning outcomes for all CCRI Graduates: their ability to practice effective communication, critical thinking, quantitative and scientific reasoning, and their awareness of themselves and the world.

Lastly, the Academic Master Plan was developed to incorporate the core values of the college in everything we do, specifically our profound belief in our students, our commitment to provide equitable support and opportunity, to pursue excellence, creativity, open communication, productive collaboration, and to always exhibit a determination to follow through.


Cumulatively, building on CCRI’s mission, strategies, and values, this Academic Master Plan lays down a gauntlet to all of us through 10 highly ambitious, multi-year challenges:

  1. Achieve the highest graduation and retention rates of community colleges in New England
  2. Work towards closing all equity gaps
  3. Our faculty and staff will reflect the diversity of our students
  4. Implement guided pathways, transfer initiatives, and new services supporting student success
  5. Reform developmental education, which is critical to meeting students where they are and building up their motivation, confidence, and academic skills
  6. Meet the high-demand, high-skilled needs of the labor market and the economic needs of Rhode Island’s workforce
  7. Introduce educational technologies and instructional design innovations, and develop online programs that set us apart because they will be among the best online community college offerings in New England
  8. Become a state-of-the-art learning environment, inclusive of innovative pedagogy and 21st century classrooms, with comprehensive training for faculty and staff
  9. Offer flexible, accessible, varied high-quality learning modalities and equitable opportunities
  10. Practice continuous improvement through ongoing assessments and responses

We envision a year-to-year progression from planning to implementation, data collection, program assessment, and revision.

The Academic Master Plan consists of the three goals mentioned, with three sub-goals outlined for each. As you see in the document, there are 28 action categories engaging faculty and staff from Academic Affairs and other divisions across CCRI.

This document is the work of a cross-divisional team of faculty, staff, and administrators, and reflects the earlier work of the Ad Hoc Assessment Committee, whose recommendations deeply influenced the composition of our Master Plan.

We hope you will take up this gauntlet, this challenge to implement an ambitious Academic Master Plan, and join with us to achieve these purposeful goals for our people, our communities, and our state.


Rosemary A. Costigan, Ph.D., R.N.

Vice President for Academic Affairs


Academic Master Plan