KINGSTON, R.I. — March 29 — 2017 — If you listen to the stories of two University of Rhode Island students, you’ll quickly understand the mission of the University’s new Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies.
Stephanie Howie, 54, is a 2016 URI graduate who took her courses in Providence and is now pursuing her master’s degree in adult education at URI. Erin Regan, 21, a member of the class of 2018, is taking her classes in Kingston as part of the college’s teacher education program and working with fourth graders in Cranston.
Although they are from different generations and backgrounds, Howie and Regan agree the college’s flexible, interdisciplinary and innovative approaches are ideally suited to providing lifelong learning opportunities for the widest spectrum of students.
Regan and Howie joined University and business leaders last week at the official openings of the new college, which has been in the works for the past five years. It is the only URI college to be based in Kingston and Providence, and the official opening was celebrated in both locations.
Howie and Regan are not the only ones excited about the new college. Last year, between 400 and 500 candidates applied to the college’s teacher education program. This year 1,100 applied. See what officials are saying.
Howie said her decision to enroll in URI in 2010 was influenced by her 20-year-career in HIV prevention education, adding that she wanted to enhance her education to become better at her job.
“I wanted to attend a college whose vision was focused on community development, professional development, and strengthening diverse populations,” Howie said. “URI met those requirements for me because it fosters a positive change in urban communities through collaboration with community partners.”
During her undergraduate program, she became a peer mentor in the Office of Student Services, where she provided support in the academic and personal growth of students.
“Working in this environment made me aware of the unique needs of adult learners, and it was at this point I realized I could make a difference by obtaining a master’s degree in adult education,” Howie said. “Again, the URI Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies provided the ideal solution.”
Regan said the diversity of the students she has worked with in kindergarten and second grade classes in Providence, a fourth grade class in Cranston, and her Jumpstart class of preschoolers on the East Side of Providence, has given her new ways to approach educating a wide range of students.
“I am preparing to be an educator who uses progressive, researched-based methods to make sure that every one of my students is able to succeed,” Regan said. “ As I continue in my career after URI, I know that I will have been prepared to succeed and to continue to use resources from URI to grow professionally. Teaching is a dynamic profession that requires continuous improvement. The Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies provides opportunities in certifications in Digital Literacy through the Digital Literacy Institute, as well as STEM and social justice programs, that will allow teachers to better serve their students, especially in ever-changing times.”
The new college, which was developed in concert with URI’s Academic Health Collaborative, led to the creation of the new College of Health Sciences last spring. Many of the departments from the former College of Human Science and Services became part of the new health college. The School of Education, which was part of human science and services, became part of the new and expanded Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies.
The new Feinstein College provides an innovative and interconnected approach to undergraduate, graduate and adult education for traditional and adult students. It also includes a collaborative entrepreneurial entity with educational programs and industry-related partnerships for professional and workforce development to serve the University and external partners.
Its focus is on efforts across the Providence and Kingston campuses aimed at preparing teachers, adult learners, and professionals to be leaders in their careers and communities through active lifelong learning. It also offers online courses and rich and diverse learning environments in a variety of settings, both in and out of the classroom.