His Legacy and Vision

During his seven years as our leader, President Farish guided the transformation of Roger Williams University into a vital institution devoted to community engagement, college affordability, and equity. He envisioned a private university with a public purpose, channeling our collective effort toward a singular goal – to strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning.

A Focus on Experiential Learning

His first priority was to significantly expand experiential learning as the cornerstone of a Roger Williams education, developing civic-minded scholars that dedicate their knowledge and skills toward creating meaningful change in local communities and around the globe. We honor his legacy by educating not just great scholars, but also creating great citizens. That philosophy of leveraging the expertise and energy of our students, faculty and staff toward the greater good continues to thrive at the heart of what we do. 

Creating Civic Scholars

Students advocate for policy change at R.I. State House.Whether it’s students collaborating on research with faculty members or leading community-engaged projects themselves, every qualified student is guaranteed hands-on learning opportunities that bridge theory and practice while helping to address problems for the local and global communities we serve. Civic scholarship is the way we approach experiential learning at RWU. Our Civic Scholars are students who believe in the positive impact of community-engaged work, empowered to put their knowledge and skills to work solving real-world problems with community partners. Through the Community Partnerships Center, RWU has partnered 2,811 students and RWU faculty with local organizations to work on a total of 259 community-engaged projects since 2011.

Affordable Excellence

Education student teaches elementary students.Since 2012, each incoming undergraduate class has received a tuition guarantee for the duration of their four-year full-time studies as part of the Affordable Excellence program, providing peace of mind for students and parents who know exactly what their tuition will be and can plan accordingly. A key initiative led by President Farish, Roger Williams holds the line on costs while continuing to provide excellence in educational programing and experiential learning opportunities. In 2014, RWU expanded the tuition guarantee and lowered the tuition rate to the School of Law.

The Vision Project

Students working in Wet LabIn fall 2014, the RWU community launched The Vision Project, with more than 20 committees of faculty, staff, students and trustees working together over six months to articulate a bold, new core purpose: “To strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning.” They also established a set of core values and a visionary goal: “To build the university the world needs now.”

Strengthening Diversity and Inclusion

Students perform an original dance at the opening reception of the New and Dangerous Ideas zine.In 2017, RWU hired its first-ever Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Ame O. Lambert, and the University is expanding its efforts to welcome and value all expressions of diversity and identity. In January 2018, more than 300 RWU students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for “Thriving RWU 2030: A Summit on Diversity and Inclusion,” producing valuable insights and proposals.

Growing Our Providence Presence

Continuing studies students in class on Providence campus.In 2016, RWU doubled the size of its presence in downtown Providence, and in a short time the new campus at One Empire Plaza has become a hub of innovation and new initiatives. For example, the University College was the first to partner with a Gateway to College National Network program in Rhode Island, offering students who have left high school before graduation a chance to earn a high school diploma and college credit. And groups such as the Latino Policy Institute at RWU and HousingWorksRI are making a difference on important policy matters.