News: In Brief, News Ticker, Media Spotlight

In Brief

Not Business As Usual

Traditional measures of business success focus on how well corporations create economic opportunities and deliver value to customers and shareholders. But that’s changing—business leaders are looking for ways to benefit people, the planet, and the bottom line.

URI’s fall 2023 Honors Colloquium, coordinated by College of Business fac- ulty members, will explore how businesses and their leaders can do good while doing good business. Speakers, including Lanre Ajakaiye ’95, social entrepreneur and chief development officer for United Way of R.I., and Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist, author, and blue mind visionary, will discuss how businesses operate and thrive while embracing sustainability, the challenges and limitations of business approaches to social good, and more.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the URI Honors Colloquium and the 100th anniversary of URI’s College of Business.

Computing Revolution

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed at the announcement of URI’s new quantum computing initiative with IBM, supported by $1 million in federal funding secured by Reed.

URI launched a quantum computing initiative to position students and the Rhode Island workforce at the forefront of the next computing revolution, and to enable scientific discovery and advancement.

Quantum computing offers enhanced processing speed and allows for modeling complex issues, including climate change. Supported by $1 million in federal funding secured by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, as well as funding from URI’s College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School of Oceanography, the initiative establishes a research partnership with IBM.

“This initiative will help establish URI as a hub for quantum information science in the Northeast, helping the University expand its teaching capacity, bringing in experts to expand the University’s quantum degree programs, and training the next generation of students and researchers,” said Reed.

Student Affairs VP Named

Ellen Reynolds ’91 URI vice president for student affairs

Ellen Reynolds ’91 was appointed URI’s vice president for student affairs following a national search. Reynolds, who holds a Ph.D. in education leadership, has served in leadership roles at URI for two decades, most recently as interim vice president for student affairs. As vice president, Reynolds oversees multiple departments, including the dean of students, coun- seling center, housing and residential life, dining services, student health services, campus recreation, and Talent Development. She works closely with the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity to develop strategies and programs that support an inclusive and equitable community. She will also develop and implement policies and procedures that support the University’s strategic plan.

URI President Marc Parlange praised Reynolds’ leadership and her commitment to helping students in all aspects of their learning and development.

Building Media Literacy

Courageous RI, a new URI initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is working against violence and extremism with training and tools that counter disinformation and encourage conversation. The two-year initiative will offer free online workshops on propaganda, disinformation, hate speech, and media regulation. Courageous RI was the only New England grant recipient in this national effort.

Professor Renee Hobbs (communication studies), founder and co-director of URI’s Media Education Lab, said, “Courageous RI will provide individuals with practical strategies and problem-solving skills at a time when people spend an increasing amount of time online, on social media, and in other digital spaces.”

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News Ticker


After serving for more than 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, recently retired congressman James Langevin was appointed a visiting scholar in URI’s Department of Political Science.


Engineering professor Joe Goodwill was named a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and will teach and conduct research at the University of Trento in Italy, focusing on new approaches to improving water quality for developing countries.


A truncated quote from civil rights leader Malcolm X, which sparked protests and a building takeover when it was engraved on the exterior of URI’s library in 1992, has been removed after a decades-long effort.


A new pier at URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus, which will support and serve as the future home of the new $125 million National Science Foundation regional class research vessel, Narragansett Dawn, was recently completed.


URI graduate student Erica Meier worked with Rhode Island Sea Grant to update an interactive map of shoreline access points. Visit for details on hundreds of access points along Rhode Island’s 400 miles of coastline.

Media Spotlight

You Can Quote Me

Dinosaur made out of Legos
On the popularity of Lego’s Jurassic Park set, in an article highlighting the 21 best dinosaur toys to spark a child’s imagination:

“Jurassic Park … was the game changer: a whole new generation of now early- to mid-career paleontologists caught the fever from the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World series.”
David Fastovsky, URI professor emeritus, geosciences
In an opinion piece marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on the topic of sanctions:

“As a tool in the foreign policy arsenal, sanctions should be used sparingly … otherwise they carry the risk of alienating allies, hurting average citizens rather than the elites, and shifting global trade away from the U.S. dollar.”
Koray Özpolat, URI professor of supply chain management
Providence Business News
On the push to build a new generation of small nuclear reactors in the U.S. to replace aging legacy reactors, which provide nearly one-fifth of the country’s electricity:

“Other countries around the world that are interested in this technology really watch what’s happening in the United States very carefully, and they kind of follow suit in terms of what’s been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
Bahram Nassersharif, URI nuclear systems researcher and a distinguished professor of mechanical, industrial, and systems engineering
Agence France-Presse
On “forever chemicals,” found in myriad consumer goods and a study showing that elevated PFAS levels in blood promote weight gain and make it harder to maintain weight loss:

“Our results add to the concern that environmental pollution may be affecting our metabolism, so that we tend to gain weight.”
Philippe Grandjean, M.D., who holds a research professor appointment within the URI College of Pharmacy and serves on STEEP, a special URI-led science effort aimed at understanding PFAS contamination
On NASA’s new video demonstrating the gargantuan size of black holes in the galaxies and the hot dust and gas that gets pulled into the black holes, some never to return, while much is spewed back out into the cosmos:

“Black holes are terrible at eating things. They are notoriously picky eaters.”
Douglas Gobile, URI astrophysicist