URI names interim dean to head second-largest college

Lori Ciccomascolo making mark at College of Human Science and Services

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 15, 2012 – It would be hard to find someone more enthusiastic about the University of Rhode Island’s College of Human Science and Services than Lori E. Ciccomascolo.

That spirit is probably why colleagues nominated her and Provost Donald H. DeHayes appointed her to the interim dean’s post on July 1, 2012.

“Dean Ciccomascolo is a highly valued and respected member of the College and the greater URI community,” DeHayes said. “Her long service to the College and deep understanding of its mission will serve students and faculty well.”

She succeeds Dean W. Lynn McKinney, who retired last summer after serving as dean for close to 11 years.

With more than 2,400 undergraduate students, 400 graduate students, and six departments, the College is larger than all but the College of Arts and Sciences.

“A number of colleagues nominated me for the position,” said Ciccomascolo, whose academic specialty is physical activity among adolescents and children in urban settings. “I was so honored.”

Home to the departments of Communicative Disorders, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Physical Therapy, School of Education, Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, and Programs in Gerontology and Health Studies, the College educates students in fields as diverse as education, textile chemistry and exercise science.

“I am deeply invested in this College and the success of its faculty and students,” Ciccomascolo said. “One of my most important goals is to improve the visibility and status of the College. HSS is the best-kept secret at URI and beyond. Our diversity is a tremendous strength, but it can be hard to convey.

“We have high-quality faculty doing cutting-edge research,” said Ciccomascolo, who joined the College as a member of its Kinesiology Department in 2002.

The College has attracted millions in federal grants to improve gerontological care, science and math education in elementary and high schools, the skills of school principals, and the ability of student teachers and professionals to use technology to enhance the classroom experience. The College is also home to some of the leading textile chemistry research, as well as studies into how technology can deprive college students of sleep.

“I want people to enjoy coming to work and coming to the dean’s office,” she said as she pointed to the bright, refurbished office where several pieces of art are on display. “We need to work with faculty to see what will be successful. We need to ask how is research in our College interfacing with other colleges at URI, as well as at the national level. We have a number of synergies with other colleges like pharmacy, nursing and business.”

Ciccomascolo, who served as interim associate dean as well as the graduate director for the Department of Kinesiology, said she also wants to create some online certification programs for health and education professionals. “We want to provide post-baccalaureate programs for those who seek additional training for their jobs. We need to know what employees are looking for so we can respond appropriately.”

The Providence resident who keeps fit playing tennis, has in mind certificate programs in family financial planning and counseling, adaptive physical education, communicative disorders, including autism, and education and technology.

Ciccomascolo also wants to create a program to support first-generation college students, identifying students in the College who could serve as mentors to these students from their admission to their graduation. “These can be some of our most vulnerable students. Mentors would be able to answer questions from first-year students in a way that wouldn’t be intimidating.”

Ciccomascolo earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southern Connecticut State University and her doctor of education in curriculum and teaching, with a sub-specialty in human movement, from Boston University.

URI Marketing & Communications photo by Michael Salerno Photography.