Year in Review: Stories of Who We Are

A look back at the stories from 2017 that celebrate who we are and what we do at RWU

Engineering students inspect a structure.
RWU civil engineering seniors Alexia Byusa '17 and Joseph Sojka '17 inspect a portion of Newport's Fort Adams wall for a restoration project.
Jill Rodrigues '05

BRISTOL, R.I. – This year delivered many great things happening at Roger Williams University, from national recognition for our commitment to service to a strengthening of our civic scholarship mission that empowers students and faculty to put their knowledge and skills to the test solving real-world problems for community partners. Celebrate the successes of our RWU family with a look back at the way we educate and inspire to create meaningful change for our students and communities we serve.

  • On the heels of receiving a major gift to establish the Hassenfeld Fellows program, this spring the inaugural group of seven students dedicated their academic training to interdisciplinary projects ranging from immigration law advocacy to working toward creating health equity, and more. And as one of RWU’s signature initiatives providing community-engaged work that teaches students to thrive and adapt, earning more than just a degree while serving a need in the community, it has grown into a larger cohort of students serving community this semester and much more to come for 2018.
  • Spanning multiple years and the work of many architecture students, the RWU chapter of Freedom by Design conceived and designed a nontraditional classroom that is bringing Newport’s Pell Elementary School students outdoors to explore STEM lessons in their natural environment.
  • When the Trustees of Newport’s Fort Adams needed help with restoring the crumbling infrastructure of its iconic waterfront fort, the RWU Community Partnerships Center deployed a group of engineering students to evaluate options for rehabilitating the historic landmark.
  • Why learn from just classroom reading when you can learn by immersing yourself in classroom teaching? That’s the philosophy of RWU’s Department of Education, which offers residency training as early as sophomore year, while most other universities don’t provide such hands-on experience until senior year.
  • With that same mindset, RWU’s science programs bring students out for field lessons from day one, developing the scientific mind early on in foundational courses to prepare them for deepening their skills as the coursework becomes more challenging throughout the program.
  • Immersive educational experiences reach across the academic programs at RWU. In just one example, a team of math detectives were prepared to dive deep into advanced computer-based mathematics, working to solve a knowledge gap in the biomedical field that could one day lead to solutions to find new or more targeted, effective treatments for neurological diseases.
  • At RWU Law, experiential education opportunities are a cornerstone of the program. Recent law graduate Linda Tappa worked through RWU Law’s Office of Career Development to create an internship that launched a farm-to-school program helping small farm owners bring their crops to a new market while delivering nutritious produce to underserved school populations in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.
  • The strong commitment to community and social justice comprising the work of our campus community has been recognized in two major ways this year. First, Mary Dinnean, a junior double-major in psychology and public health, became the second student in RWU history to earn the prestigious Newman Civic Fellowship for her work to address social justice and public health issues on campus and within the greater community. Later this year, Washington Monthly ranked RWU in the top 10 percent in the nation for “service” and “encouraging students to give something back to their country.”
  • And as part of our mission to strengthen society, the RWU School of Continuing Studies has partnered with school districts in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls to remove barriers and create opportunities to make college accessible to even more students across the state.
  • While we do all this great work in service to the community, RWU never loses sight of ensuring that our students are prepared for success and feel like they fit into the Roger family. That’s why we provide an experienced guide for all first-year students through the Peer Mentors program, and offer a tight-knit community of support and resources that help the Intercultural Leadership Ambassador Program & Scholarship students bridge the transition to college and succeed at RWU as one big family.