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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI names new Assistant VP of Student Affairs/Dean of Students

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Pina brings more than 16 years of professional experience in higher education

KINGSTON, R.I. – September 22, 2009 – The University of Rhode Island has named Jason Pina assistant vice president of student affairs and dean of students.
Pina comes to URI with more than 16 years of professional experience in higher education. Since 2004 he has been at Roger Williams University, where he has worked in several roles, most recently as the dean of continuing studies and graduate admission. URI Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Dougan said that during the interview process, Pina displayed a natural ability to communicate with faculty, staff and students.

“We were looking for a candidate who could interact effectively with people, especially students,” Dougan said of the nationwide search. “The dean of students works with all the students on our campus. The position deals with a wide range of areas and issues. I believe students will be drawn to Jason, because he is such an effective communicator.”

Pina – who will officially begin his post in October – was chosen from three finalists and is taking over a position that has been vacant since the summer of 2008, when longtime University employee Fran Cohen retired. Cohen was the dean of students for 11 years.

In his new role, Pina will oversee operations and budget issues in the Department of Student Life. He also will head the University’s student conduct system and also provide direction for several student populations, including commuter students, students with disabilities, graduate students, women’s studies, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender students, multicultural students, non-traditional students and veterans.

“The University of Rhode Island has the public mission that matches my professional passions,” said Pina, who lives in North Providence with his wife, Shai, and their children, Kayla and Myles. “To be a community member who will support student achievement and success is an honor. URI's student-centered values provide a foundation that any student affairs professional would desire. As for a personal motto or saying, I try to "have a first day attitude, everyday."

In addition to his time at Roger Williams, Pina has held student affairs positions at Stonehill College, Babson College, the University of North Colorado and Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Pina earned a doctorate in Education Leadership from Johnson & Wales University, and he earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Occidental College.

Pina has a personal connection to URI. His father, Bernard Pina (’54) is a member of the URI Athletics Hall of Fame following a three-sport career in football, basketball and track and field.