KINGSTON, R.I.- Sept. 12, 2023 — The University of Rhode Island’s former School of Education is now the Feinstein College of Education.
As a college, it will expand its mission of developing future educators from pre-K through higher education, offer new degree programs that are relevant in preparing educators for today’s learners, and prepare education professionals for positions outside of the classroom, while emphasizing leadership practices in clinically based teacher education.
Danielle Dennis, dean of the College of Education, said the college’s strong position of leadership, which mirrors other colleges in the University, such as engineering and pharmacy, has resulted in the college graduating the most teacher candidates during the last three years.
The new college name was approved by the URI Board of Trustees at its June 29 meeting.
As part of its vision, the college has established an ethos that reads:
In the spirit of partnership, we strive to create a community where collegiality and collaboration thrive. We believe in being supportive and respectful, engaging in meaningful conversations that uplift and empower. We value the acquisition and sharing of knowledge through equitable educational practices that cultivate advocacy, justice, and joy.
“The new college will address the changing needs in teacher education in multiple ways,” Dennis said. “One of the areas that we are working on is finding ways to better diversify the teaching profession.”
Dennis said that the faculty have participated in national advancements in this work, and have been awarded local and state grants to help diversify the teacher pipeline.
“This is important all over the United States because children need to be in classrooms with people who look like them, that come from the communities where they reside. It is our goal to make sure that we can do that here at URI,” she said.
She added that the college will elevate the work of educator preparation by focusing on partnerships with local school districts.
“We are working to design more deeply embedded field experiences for our students that will include coursework at area schools, having some of the local teachers who we partner with teach some of those classes, and make sure that our students have broader experiences in their K-12 school placements,” Dennis said.
The college’s new degree offerings include a Bachelor of Science in environmental education to give students immersive, hands-on learning experiences to lead a new generation to a more sustainable future, while exploring the interconnectivity of the world; a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education for PreK-2, developed in conjunction with the Community College of Rhode Island, to give the incumbent workforce of early childhood educators accessible, high-quality, and meaningful pathways toward credential attainment, career advancement, and earning potential; a Bachelor of Arts degree in world language education to meet the changes in the Rhode Island Department of Education’s credentials for world language instructors in PreK-12; and a doctoral degree in education to prepare students to implement cutting edge research to improve opportunities across the educational spectrum and become community-engaged scholars and leaders.
“Our children deserve the best equipped educators that we can provide. There’s such a joy to that hard work because when you watch children learn and grow, you are participating in the trajectory of the rest of their life,” Dennis said.
The college is housed in the Chafee Social Science Center on the Kingston campus. For more program information visit the college’s new website at uri.edu/education.