Council Names Dr. Jack Warner as R.I. College President

On February 14, 2024 the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education voted unanimously to name Jack Warner, Ed.D. as president of Rhode Island College. The vote and announcement caps a nation-wide executive search, led by a diverse executive search committee guided by AGB, a nationally renowned executive search firm that performs searches for colleges and universities, and with the counsel and participation of a community advisory committee.

“Dr. Warner is a deeply experienced postsecondary education expert with administrative and teaching expertise and as interim president of Rhode Island College he has delivered significant achievements,” said David Caprio, chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “The quality of the individuals that had applied for this position was impressive, making it a very difficult decision. There’s certainly demonstrated momentum by the State of Rhode Island and its leadership’s focus on education from K-12 through the college years.”

“Dr. Warner has been a tremendous partner to the state, especially with his leadership over the last two years at Rhode Island College,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Jack knows Rhode Island and has laid down a strong foundation for the college, the board, and its students to build upon. I congratulate him, his family, and all of Rhode Island College on Dr. Warner’s well-deserved appointment and I look forward to the continued success he will bring to RIC.”

As interim president, Dr. Warner balanced a considerable structural budget deficit in FY23; stemmed enrollment decline by enrolling 18% more freshmen and transfer students; worked with Governor McKee and the R.I. General Assembly to fund a Cybersecurity Center and the Hope Scholarship; built a strong and collaborative leadership team; improved campus communications and strengthened the campus community; raised the college’s profile by implementing a communications and engagement strategy with the business community and the broader community; launched a comprehensive strategic planning process; and made continuous system improvements to make life easier for students and employees

Dr. Warner, a Rhode Islander and former commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Higher Education the former name of the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, has an impressive record in higher education administration. In addition to his seven-year tenure at RIOPC, he served for six years as CEO and executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents, overseeing the South Dakota public system of higher education consisting of six university campuses, three university centers, and two specialty schools that together enrolled 36,000 students. He also served as associate chancellor of University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and at Bristol Community College in both administrative and academic positions over the course of 27 years.

“This search attracted a highly competitive pool of candidates for the RIC presidency, and we are confident that Jack Warner is — and remains to be — the best person to lead Rhode Island College at this moment in its history,” said Caprio. “On behalf of the council, I’d like to thank Bishop Jeffery Williams and Attorney Rachelle Green who devoted a great deal of time of time and expertise heading up the search committee as well as all the members of the search committee, and members of the college community who contributed to the search process.”

Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island’s Postsecondary Education Commissioner said, “Dr. Warner, in the last 22 months, has performed superbly as interim president in laying a foundation for RIC’s future success. Under his leadership, RIC can continue to scale up its strengths, deploy a winning business model, and ensure that it is delivering education so that its students leave as engaged citizens and prepared for the changing economy.”

Warner was tapped as interim president of Rhode Island College in April, 2022 after former RIC President Frank D. Sánchez, Ph.D., did not seek renewal of his contract.

In the weeks ahead, the council will work with President Warner to negotiate the final terms of his contract, salary, and official start date.

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