URI names interim dean of Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies

KINGSTON, R.I. — July 29, 2021 — Danielle Dennis, director of the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education, has been named interim dean of the University’s Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies.

            The professor of education and Wakefield resident will take over for Dean R. Anthony Rolle, who is leaving URI at the end of the month. As interim dean, Dennis will oversee a college that consists of the School of Education on the Kingston Campus; the School of Professional and Continuing Studies on the Providence Campus; and, the Office of Strategic Initiatives located on both campuses. The College’s unique programs provide a range of applied educational opportunities for traditional students as well as service members, transfer, adult, and returning students. The College enrolls 795 students.

            “I am pleased that Dr. Dennis has agreed to serve as the leader of this important college, which prepares our talented students to join the nation’s critical teaching profession and guides adult learners toward degree completion and a more prosperous future,” URI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald H. DeHayes said. “In addition, she will oversee a college that serves students from the state’s urban core, professionals seeking to enhance their skills, military veterans and active service members, and adult learners.”

            In her interim role, she is charged with developing and advancing educational academic programs and research, including innovation in education, learning and teaching across the lifespan; adult and continuing education; social justice; online learning; program assessment and evaluation; and, educational policy. She is expected to develop and implement new and relevant continuing education and professional studies programs for adults and non-traditional students. Dennis will foster relationships with the Providence business community, community and political leaders to advance the University’s urban-focused programs.

            “This position is exciting to me because our college is on such a promising trajectory,” Dennis said. “Our faculty and staff are committed to ensuring students have an experience that prepares them to contribute to a wider, more global society. We are one college on two campuses and as such can impact Rhode Island in innovative and meaningful ways.”

Dennis came to URI in 2019 from the University of South Florida where she was an associate professor and co-coordinator of the Urban Teacher Residency Program. She was a recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award during that time.

In addition to her higher education experience, Dennis was a UNESCO Facilitator in Nairobi and Njoro, Kenya and an elementary school teacher in Duluth, Minnesota and Thornton, Colorado.

She has published numerous articles in academic journals and authored book chapters. She received the NAPDS (National Association of Professional Development Schools) Exemplary Partnership Achievement Award, the University of South Carolina Spirit of Partnership Award and the Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Program in Teacher Education award, all in 2014.

Dennis is on the editorial boards of the University of Texas/Literacy Research Association, “Literacy Research and Instruction” and “The Reading Teacher.” She also serves on the board of directors for the International Literacy Association.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Florida Gulf Coast University, a master’s degree in science and environmental education from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in language and literacy education.