University of Rhode Island

Faculty Senate   

December 14, 2004

Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee

Four Hundred Twenty-Eighth Report

Proposal for a Freshman Option for Direct Matriculation on the Providence Campus

At its meeting of December 6, 2004, The Curricular Affairs Committee approved the following proposal for a Freshman Option for Direct Matriculation on the Providence Campus and recommends confirmation by the Faculty Senate.

Freshman Option for Direct Matriculation on the Providence Campus



A.    Summary

This proposed plan adjusts the University of Rhode Island’s matriculation procedures to formalize and make explicit the option for the direct matriculation of freshmen into selected undergraduate programs on the Providence Campus. Policies and procedures will be put into place in keeping with changes to the UNIVERSITY MANUAL that will formalize this process. Current policies do not prevent matriculated freshmen directly out of high school from taking all their courses at the Providence Campus, but the steps described here will formalize the process, establish limits, and ensure quality.

While it is not evident that changes to URI’s matriculation procedures are required, the potential consequences of admitting freshmen were significant enough that the Faculty Senate felt there was a compelling need to address issues of quality, staffing, and resource allocation for daytime programs serving “traditional” students in Providence.

Therefore, in cooperation with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the University-wide Curricular Affairs Committee, and the Faculty Senate, we propose a procedure for the review and approval process for individual majors and other academic programs that wish to allow freshmen to matriculate on the Providence campus is recommended. The purpose of these proposed additions to the UNIVERSITY MANUAL is to specify the conditions necessary to endorse specific majors that wish to allow freshmen to matriculate directly on the Providence campus.  Under the proposed procedures, undergraduate programs seeking this Providence Campus option must be approved programs of the University.  Approval of offering a program at the Providence campus is dependent on the following conditions:

1.    Is there a plan to insure faculty resources in keeping with University standards that will deliver the curriculum to traditional aged students?

2.    Is there sufficient access to general education and elective offerings to meet University, as well as college and departmental requirements within a four to six year time frame?

3.    Are there academic and non-academic support services available to meet the needs of full time traditional aged students?

4.    Are the terms and conditions of a student’s matriculation on the Providence Campus clear, understandable and available at the time of application?

Answering these questions is critical to approving the overall option for traditional high school students to matriculate in specified programs on the Providence Campus and requires approval from the following governance bodies in the following sequence:     1) Departments, 2) Vice Provost for Urban Programs, 3) College Curricular Affairs Committee of the sponsoring department, 4) Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee, 5) Faculty Senate and 6) President of the University.  Individual program approval is outlined in proposed section 8.88.10 of the UNIVERSITY MANUAL (see Section II.)    

B.    Description of the Proposed Program

This plan and the attached amendments to the UNIVERSITY MANUAL detail how initially between 80 to 100 nonresidential students to matriculate directly into the University’s Providence campus each year and to major in one of three approved programs. Applicants would elect to attend the Providence campus on their application form but will be considered part of the overall admissions cohort. Freshmen and sophomores would attend courses in 2-3 meetings per week formats, in a Learning Community model, in order to enhance a sense of connection among nonresidential students. Juniors and seniors would be integrated into existing advanced courses available in a variety of formats at the Providence Campus. University regulations currently permit students to take up to 6 credits per semester in Kingston without additional fees and provide procedures for students changing major and/or campus.

The target programs are already active on the URI Providence Campus and are near or above capacity in Kingston. These programs are:

1. Communication Studies (COM): Currently offers courses and will apply to offer the B.A.

2. Human Development and Family Studies (HDF): Offers the B.S.

3. Psychology (PSY): Offers the B.A.

The University will offer General Education and elective courses to meet the needs of new students admitted to attend the University in Providence, as well as additional elective courses (over and above those currently available). New sections of courses fulfilling the seven categories of General Education requirements will be added at the Providence campus. These would be in addition to those new courses offered in the three target majors and in addition to General Education courses currently offered for nontraditional students through the College of Continuing Education.

Academic advising is a currently available at the Providence Campus during the day and evenings; this plan includes funds for increased advising services through University College and additional faculty members to act as advisors for the designated majors. The URI Providence campus already provides student services, including peer counseling; an Academic Skills Center, which includes a Writing Center, tutoring, and Disability Services; and an active arts program with ongoing exhibits and shows.  URI Providence has a Student Government Board with active programming, a modern Library, computing facilities, and food services. Since most activity at the Providence Campus currently occurs in the evening, these resources are underutilized during the daytime and can accommodate additional students. In addition, as part of this plan the URI Providence campus intends to develop a “consortium card” in cooperation with other Providence institutions of higher education. The card will offer discounts in local restaurants, gym facilities, museums, and businesses such as the Providence Place Mall.

The Providence Campus of the University of Rhode Island is a new educational facility with many connections to the local community. The Urban Field Center, Family Resources Partnership, Early Intervention Training Center, Community Research and Services Team, and Child Development Center offer opportunities for students to engage in applied practice and research. URI programs based in Providence have developed relationships with Providence-area agencies and businesses, allowing undergraduates to participate in applied research and practice in a community context. Current placements include the RI State House, RI Department of Health, Head Start (Providence), Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Sexual Assault and Trauma Treatment & Resource Center, Convention Center, law firms, Butler Hospital, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. New faculty hires will enhance these relationships and Opportunities, providing students with additional service-learning opportunities.

A quality curriculum will be delivered according to University policies and procedures. Courses in the three target majors will be taught by a combination of new full-time faculty, existing faculty teaching overload or in load (by mutual agreement of the faculty members, their department chairs, and deans), lecturers, and part-time instructors. New faculty members will join one of the sponsoring departments, and these home departments will be responsible for monitoring the quality of their offerings. They will mentor full-time faculty and lecturers, including new hires, who deliver the program, thereby insuring that faculty members have the appropriate academic credentials. Criteria for admissions to the University will be the uniform and independent of site. All other University policies and procedures will apply as well.

General Education offerings will cover as wide a selection as the learning communities in Kingston and will be taught by instructors appointed by home departments. The composition of the teaching faculty in Providence will approximate that in Kingston in terms of permanent and part-time appointments, distribution in rank, etc.

For the purpose of evaluation and oversight, a Providence Campus Oversight Committee shall be established to oversee programs offered on the Providence Campus and to review the overall program every 4 years. Specific degree programs will be reviewed every three years on a staggered basis in accordance with the University’s current review policies. The Faculty Senate will appoint persons to the Providence Campus Oversight Committee in consultation with the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

C.    Process

Recognizing the unique opportunities in Providence for a program able to offer access to the university for different student populations, including students interested in urban related issues, the Faculty Senate in consultation with the Provost, convened a committee to address issues of quality, staffing, and resource allocation for daytime programs serving “traditional” students at the Providence Campus.

The Committee was comprised of:

Professor Marshall Feldman, Department of Community Planning and Landscape Architecture), Chairperson

Will Dvorak, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Ed Ferszt, Associate Dean, ASF/CCE

Cliff Katz, Assistant Provost

Professor Barbara Newman, Chair Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Sciences and Services

Professor Kat Quina, Psychology Department, College of Arts and Sciences

Jayne Richmond, Dean University College

Professor Deborah Rosen, College of Business

David Taggart, Dean of Admissions

Mr. Vince Petronio from the Providence campus served as a consultant to the Ad Hoc Committee.

The committee was to consult all units affected by a change in matriculation procedures. Consequently the committee:

o Worked with departmental representatives to develop plans for each of three majors

o Met with departments to obtain support and feedback from department and tune plans accordingly

o Developed plans for support services in consultation with University College

o Developed plans for General Education courses using UC Learning

o Communities as a basis for breadth and depth.

o Determined costs based on needs as stated by departments, projecting needed staffing for each program.

o Developed financial models using both a “snapshot” approach, based on 2003-2004 figures, and a dynamic model incorporating projected tuition or salary increases, promotions.

o Developed a model projecting overall enrollment and revenues, as well as costs, including staffing and advising, from 2005-2020.

o Surveyed high-school guidance counselors to discuss these changes and to elicit feedback

D.    Rationale

URI has a long-standing commitment to serve the urban centers of Rhode Island and fulfill the Urban Grant component of it mission. Traditional aged students living in the greater Providence area (including northwestern RI and southeastern MA) are increasingly unable to attend the University in Kingston because of social, demographic, geographic, or economic reasons. The University seeks to address these issues and meet the needs of these students in more visible and tangible ways.

Current University regulations and policies technically do not prohibit “traditional” students from matriculating in the University and taking all their courses in Providence, and a few clever students have managed to do so by devising their programs of study in an ad-hoc manner. However, the University does not have explicit policies to ensure the quality and cohesiveness of such ad-hoc programs of study. Moreover, the University does not recognize such programs in any formal way and therefore under serves the pool of students who would potentially benefit from four-year undergraduate degree programs at the Providence Campus.

The current demands and need for affordable public higher education in Rhode Island exceeds the state’s capacity to provide it.  This is particularly true at the university level. URI’s Providence Campus can offer more opportunities for students who are otherwise limited by their economic status, family obligations, and other constraints, to attend the University at reduced fees. Demographic changes have created a growing pool of students in Providence and in the state’s northwestern region) who find it increasingly difficult to make the commute to Kingston and/or cannot afford on-campus residency. While some of these students may be well served by the Community College of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College, others who desire a university atmosphere do not have this option.

Rhode Island has a commitment to the development and maintenance of the Providence Campus. The most effective way to use this investment efficiently is to use this facility during currently slack periods to expand access to programs needed by the residents of the state as noted above. Additionally, the fact that CCRI students are already on the Providence Campus and that some cross-curricular coordination is beginning to take place suggests that the development of this option for university freshmen will also increase opportunities for inter-institutional cooperation.

URI is an Urban Grant institution. This plan will better enable the University to fulfill this aspect of its mission. In addition, URI’s mission is to provide affordable education to all Rhode Islanders, particularly those seeking education at a research university or who would benefit from studying at one. This includes students planning to go on for advanced graduate degrees in professional and academic disciplines. This plan will greatly enhance URI’s ability to live up to its responsibility to provide university education for all Rhode Islanders. Finally, by more efficiently using the Providence Campus facility, URI will expand its capacity to meet the demand for its program.

E.    Program Objective

The objective of this option is to allow students in Providence and the surrounding region increased access to a “university” education, which has the same fundamental characteristics and quality as what they would currently receive in Kingston, at reduced cost and at a more convenient location.  These characteristics include; a common curriculum, a mix of continuing, highly qualified full-time and part-time faculty consistent with the mix across the University, a commitment to teaching, research, and outreach, and a style of undergraduate education consistent with a major research university. In addition, offerings at the Providence Campus will take advantage of its location by emphasizing community service and applied outreach.

A second objective is to use the Providence Campus facility more fully and in a way commensurate with the mission of the University as it seeks to serve an increasingly diverse and urban population.

All major degree programs currently contemplated for the Providence Campus are expansions of major degree programs already offered in Kingston. This plan will change the admissions process, which will bring younger students to the campus, support services; and the format of courses, which will be shifted to 2-3 class meetings per week. The Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies majors are already offered during the day at the Providence campus. Communication Studies is not currently offered in Providence and will go through the normal review process. All three programs currently have insufficient capacity to meet student demand in Kingston, so this plan will make these programs available to more students.



Additional Manual language defines how programs become “specified” for the Providence Campus.  

8.11.12 As part of the application process, applicants shall specify a primary campus. Students may take up to six credits per semester without a fee adjustment at University of Rhode Island locations other than their primary campus. Applicants may choose a campus other than Kingston as their primary campus only if that campus offers their preferred major.

8.88.10 Degree Programs on the Providence Campus. Departments planning to offer existing degree programs at the Providence Campus must develop and approve a plan for offering and staffing courses and advising students.  Once approved by the academic department, this plan should be forwarded simultaneously to the appropriate college curriculum committee and to the Vice Provost for Urban Programs for review and approval and then undergraduate programs shall be forwarded the Curricular Affairs Committee and graduate programs to the Graduate Council for approval.  Actions taken by the Curricular Affairs Committee and Graduate Council shall be reported to the Faculty Senate for information.


The following materials are available on the web at

A.    Budget and Staffing Plan Part I  Part II

B.    Support Services  

C.    General Education Offerings Part I  Part II