The University of Rhode Island’s Kingston and Providence campuses launched the new Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies yesterday with celebrations on both campuses.

Students, staff and alumni gathered to commend the university’s eighth college and learn about the additional opportunities it will provide for its traditional and adult students.

According to the URI press release, this two-campus collaborative college was the result of the integration of two education programs: The former School of Education, based on the URI Kingston campus and the former School of Continuing Education, based on the Providence campus. This college combines traditional and adult students from both programs to help promote the idea of continuous learning throughout life.

“The workforce is changing so we have to offer the courses and programs that will attract the changing workforce,” said Jane Fusco of the URI marketing department.

The first event took place at 8 a.m. in Providence, where the attendants were able to network and listen to the various speakers who spoke about their passion for education and their excitement for the new college. URI President David Dooley, Dean of the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies Lori Ciccomascolo, and Stephanie Howie, an adult education masters student, all spoke about the importance of continues learning and adult education within this college.

Howie shared her experiences and struggles going back to college and achieving a degree as an adult student. After a couple failed attempts, 30 years after graduating high school she decided to attend URI and pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology, receiving various awards, before pursuing her master’s degree. Howie said, “I wanted to share my experience as an adult learner,  just in case there was someone in the audience that needed some support if they were thinking about maybe coming back to school”.

The second event took place in Kingston at 4:30 p.m., where the focus was on how the college will prepare educators to provide quality education for all students. According to Ciccomascolo, the discussion at this event was regarding elementary and secondary education as well as URI’s graduate programs. Other topics mentioned were way to prepare teachers to become great educators. She believed that having two events at the separate campuses was befitting.

“It’s a two campus college,” Ciccomascolo said. “We wanted to celebrate our presence at both campuses.”

Students within the college now have the opportunity to take courses at the Providence and Kingston campuses, or online, giving them the opportunity to practice their teaching methods and techniques in different settings. Students can study and work in suburb and urban classroom settings that are available at each campus. Ciccomascolo wants the students to capitalize on the urban campus for research and outreach programs.

One of the great resources in this college is the Office of Strategic Initiatives, which  is located in both the Providence and Kingston campuses. Ciccomascolo said, “We use that to create an intentional effort to build a bridge between our students and our industry partners, so that they can acquire the skills and academic credit they need to advance in their careers.” This office helps connect students to surrounding school districts and ensures that they receive the proper training they need to positively impact their students.

Ciccomascolo began planning this event about five years ago, with a vision of a college “that offered innovative teaching and research opportunities on both campuses.” This unique collaborative college had Ciccomascolo’s input, as well as the input other individuals, to ensure that it was meeting it had all the important aspects that the URI community needed.

According to Ciccomascolo, the former School of Education focused on developing traditional students, or undergraduate students typically between the ages of 18 and 22, to life changing teachers, who are capable of working in diverse school systems.

The former School of Professional and Continuing Education focused on adult and continuing education. “We wanted to dissolve the silo because, we look at education as lifelong learning. We don’t look at it as just one stage, where you graduate and you’re done. Most people are lifelong learners,” Ciccomascolo said.