Assistant director for Audiovisual Production, Timothy Tierney, is set to retire on April 7 after 41 years of working for the University of Rhode Island.
Tierney began his long career at URI when he was a student here in the early 70s. He was a student worker in the then Audio Visual center where he was a projectionist and trained people on how to use equipment.
“I would come in and my boss would assign me to go over to Independence Hall, now Swan hall,” he said. “Here’s this 50-pound film projector. So, carry the projector, in the other hand carry the projection screen, tuck the 2,000-foot film under your arm and hurry up you’re late they’re waiting for you over there!” He explained it was a hard time because of the equipment and how the lamp may blow out. Through training people on the operation of basic
equipment, he found it to be “cool” and he liked the physical place.
Though he graduated with an undergraduate in psychology and a masters in education, Tierney still had interests in photography, music, movies, shooting film and making videos. Through his college career he had also garnered an interest in education, a love for learning and what happens at a university. It was when he was the student assistant that someone was leaving a job when they asked him to fill in temporarily.
“[I said] yeah, a couple more months and I’m going to get a real job,” he laughed. “Then you just stay. Why? Because it’s a beautiful place. It’s the people. It’s the energy.” Tierney added
that one of his favorite places he’s going to miss the most is getting a coffee at the coffee cart,
looking around and seeing the students studying, reading and being motivated to finish their
In the beginning of his job he started in Faculty Services in the media department. He did that for about 12 years before he was “itching” to do something else. Around that same time, the
department reorganized and he was assigned to oversee Audio Visual Production. He
supervised a photographer, graphic designer and a TV producer while helping to put together
projects for faculty.
“More or less that is what I am still doing,” he said, his current title being the assistant director for Audiovisual Production along with being an adjunct and assistant professor. He assists in the TV studio for many different shows that are shot there. He is a large advocate and mentor for the studio. Tierney also was the head of the department for six years, a job that was supposed to be temporary.
Tierney taught a lot throughout the years. He has taught education courses as well as graduate courses in education such as evaluation of film. Not too long ago he started teaching Film classes. He also co-taught with his wife graduate courses in Library & Information studies.
A special part of the job that he had done for 41 years was getting to work with his wife and highschool sweetheart, Eileen. She retired six years ago and Tierney is excited to get to spend that time with her again.
“I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my wife,” he said. “We want to go play and take trips.” He wants to go out and do what he wants, not having a schedule, a boss or having to go
to meetings. He’s excited not to have to report to anyone.
Tierney said that in the end, his story is about students.
“How much they have done for me, how much they have taught me,” he said. “What a pleasure it has been to spend almost all my time with the students. For the last 40 years I’ve been hanging around with people from 18 to 22. That’s my gang.” He added the students give him energy, ideas, make it fun and made him want to be a part of URI.
“It feels like I did something worthwhile,” said Tierney. “I met good people along the way, I got to play with some great toys. Bring it all down, the best part of it all was the students.”