School of Continuing Studies name change to reflect diversity of enrollment

PROVIDENCE – Starting in September, the Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies will be known as University College at Roger Williams University.

The announcement came in a letter to the RWU community sent out Aug. 14 from the school’s administration.

While the name change was considered during the tenure of late RWU President Donald J. Farish, the transition – including a new website – will not be complete until September.

“We have been more than a School of Continuing Studies for quite some time,” said Jamie E. Scurry, dean of the School of Continuing Studies, in the letter. Scurry will transition to the new role of vice president of University College in September.

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In her prepared remarks, Scurry explained the move was made to address the diverse demographic of students served by the institution at its Providence campus.

“We not only serve adult learners continuing their education, we also serve military students, we serve teenage and part-time students pursuing both high school and college degrees, we have workforce development programs partnering with some of state’s most successful corporations, and we work with a broad range of community partners housed here,” she said in the letter.

In a letter to the Roger Williams University community Thursday, the school announced its Providence-based School of Continuing Studies will, come September, be known as University College at Roger Williams. Them move, as explained by school administrators in the letter, was made to better reflect the diversity of students enrolled. Jamie Scurry, pictured, will transition to the role of vice president of University College in September. / COURTESY ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY
JAMIE E. SCURRY, dean of the School of Continuing Studies, will transition to the new role of vice president of University College in September. / COURTESY ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY

Enrollment at the School of Continuing Studies has doubled over the past six years, according to RWU administration, and this name change reflects such burgeoning both in terms of programming and role in the community.

The focus of the transition, said RWU Interim President Andy Workman in the letter, is to reflect the effort RWU has invested in “reimagining higher education to serve a much broader segment of the population.”

“We believe that the name University College better describes our ambitious effort to do what higher education as a whole has found to be very difficult – meeting the needs of learners in all walks of life,” he added in his prepared remarks.

University College will encompass the School of Professional and Continuing Studies and the Center for Workforce & Professional Development. Latino Policy Institute at RWU, HousingWorks RI at RWU, Ready to Learn Providence, Gateway to College, the Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education, and Providence Talks will all serve partner organizations.

Gena Bianco, who has served as associate dean of the School of Continuing Studies, will become University College’s dean in September.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.