MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Roger Williams University


RWU President & NEC Board Member Dr. Donald Farish speaks with students on campus.

Roger Williams University – located on a waterfront campus in Bristol, R.I., with a metro center in the heart of downtown Providence – is a leading independent, coeducational university with 43 undergraduate majors spanning the liberal arts and the professions, a range of graduate and continuing studies programs, as well as the state’s only law school.

Over the last two years, through its forward-thinking Affordable Excellence initiative, Roger Williams has positioned itself as a leader in the effort to confront the most pressing challenges facing higher education in America – increasing costs that limit access to college; rising student and family debt; and the job readiness of graduates. This fall, one year after launching Affordable Excellence, RWU welcomed an incoming class that not only exceeded its target, but is one of the academically strongest in years, despite the fact that many colleges are struggling to meet enrollment goals.

To equip graduates with the skills needed for success in the professional world, the University has focused on expanding opportunities for project-based, experiential learning. The Community Partnerships Center, for example, provides students from across all majors the chance to work with nonprofits and government agencies on real-world projects that both deepen students’ academic experience and make an impact in the communities of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.

For Roger Williams, membership with the New England Council offers a key venue for further connecting the campus community with off-campus partners.

“Creating an open dialogue among leaders from not only higher education, but also from public and private organizations across the region, is critical to addressing the issues facing our economy and our overall quality of life,” says University President Donald J. Farish. “Our fellow members partner with us on community projects, offer expertise and perspective on academic programs, and employ our graduates – and the New England Council helps to strengthen those connections.”

For information on the University, its academic programs or the Affordable Excellence initiative, visit For Dr. Farish’s candid take on the issues facing higher education, read his blog at

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