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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI selects new director to head Labor Research Center

KINGSTON, R.I. -- August 16, 1999 -- The University of Rhode Island has named Terry Thomason director of the Charles T. Schmidt, Jr. Labor Research Center and associate professor of Labor & Industrial Relations, effective July 1. Thomason joins URI after 11 years on the faculty of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he has been associate professor of management since 1994. He also has five years of private industry labor relations experience.

"Terry has very broad and substantial multidisciplinary and administrative experience, a strong academic background, and an internationally recognized research reputation," said Charles T. Schmidt, Jr., chair of the search committee and founding director of the center which bears his name.

An internationally recognized scholar on workers' compensation and workplace health and safety, Thomason also conducts research on a wide variety of industrial relations, human resource management, and public sector labor relations issues.

"The search committee conducted an exhaustive international search, lasting about a year," Schmidt said. "We narrowed the field to 30 applicants, from some of the best labor and industrial relations schools in the United States and as far away as New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Thomason was the search committee's first choice."

Thomason earned three degrees from the University of Alabama: a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1972, a master's degree in psychology in 1975, and a master's degree in industrial relations in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Relations at Cornell University.

"The Charles T. Schmidt, Jr. Center has an excellent reputation, "Thomason said. "I was impressed by the enthusiasm, motivation and talent of the faculty and staff at the Center, and by the number and quality of projects they are involved in. There's room for growth and expansion. It's just a great opportunity."

Thomason has set several goals for the next few years. "I'd like to build the Center's research component, expand its teaching programs, evaluate the curriculum, and explore new partnerships," he said.

Schmidt, who headed the Center for 16 years and retired in 1998, will remain actively involved and looks forward to new leadership. "As we move into the next century, it is time for another look at the Center's mission, focus, curriculum, outreach and research," Schmidt said. "The challenge for Terry and the faculty is to maintain and improve upon what has worked and remains relevant, and to have the imagination and courage to change, scrap, improve and add programs, curriculum and focus to move the Center forward."

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For information contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-2116


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