University Viewbook Copy
Portions of a viewbook used for recruiting students written by
Richard Stewart for Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY
Roger Williams, the father of Rhode Island and namesake of our
University, was known throughout the American colonies for his
outspokenness, his quest for knowledge and truth and his sense of
justice and equality. Over 360 years ago, he founded a community
dedicated to open-mindedness, tolerance and diversity — the first
genuine democracy in modern history.
Dedicated to Fairness,
Knowledge and Truth
Today the values and high ideals set forth by Roger Williams are
preserved at our University, a learning community dedicated to
developing in our students competence, confidence and community
Designed for the contemporary world, our academic programs
merge the traditional with the innovative to stimulate intellectual
awakening among students and a commitment to lifelong learning.
Liberal arts and sciences are combined with select professional
programs and our unique university-wide Core Curriculum,
developed to bridge academic disciplines and enable students
to cultivate multiple areas of expertise. As a result of this
comprehensive academic approach, Roger Williams graduates
receive a broad, well-rounded education that prepares them for
success, both in challenging career positions and graduate study.
An independent, co-educational university with a student body
totaling just over 4,300, Roger Williams draws students from
throughout the United States and 45 countries around the world.
Full and part-time learners, resident and commuter students, alike,
add diversity to the mix that makes up our University community.
Our 130-acre waterfront campus in the historic seacoast town
of Bristol, Rhode Island, provides an ideal setting for learning and
teaching. All buildings and facilities are within easy walking
distance of the quadrangle, the heart of campus. Bounding the
grassy quad are the Main Library, with its distinctive bell tower,
the Gabelli School of Business and the Student Union complex
with dining facilities, bookstore and snack bar.
Nearby is the new bayside Center for Environmental and
Economic Development with state-of-the-art laboratories. In
another direction is the award-winning School of Architecture
with its glass roof gables and exposed steel beams. Strolling across
the quad, you sense that you are in the middle of a dynamic
learning laboratory, a vibrant center of knowledge, where sharing
of ideas and working together flourish among students and faculty.
But the learning environment does not end at the boundaries of
campus. It extends to other areas of Rhode Island and beyond —
to Providence, Newport and fabled Block Island, just a ferry ride
away, and to Boston and charming "Old Cape Cod." The cultural
and historical riches of New England surround the University and
are within easy reach by car, bus or boat.
Like our namesake Roger Williams, who questioned the status
quo and was criticized for his "newe and dangerous opinions,"
we place a high value on individual choice. Our programs are
designed to spark personal growth and enhance self-worth, while
encouraging tolerance and appreciation of others. Our community
of teachers and learners promotes the value of maintaining
intellectual curiosity throughout a lifetime.
The breadth of knowledge, skills and experience provided by
the University's comprehensive approach to education contributes
to the high success rate of our graduates. We invite you to join the
Roger Williams University community and learn to make a
Academic Advantage Through
Balanced Educational Programs
Roger Williams University develops competence in students through
a comprehensive, integrated approach to education. Analysis,
problem-solving and research — skills needed to compete
successfully in the workplace of the future--are emphasized by our
highly diverse and distinguished faculty of dedicated educators.
Classes are small, averaging 20 students, to facilitate learning and
close interaction with faculty. Teaching assistants, common at other
universities where large classes are the norm, are not used at Roger
Williams. All teaching is done by faculty, who also provide
advisement on academic matters and career planning.
Unique Core Curriculum
The most exciting academic component of our University — and the
ingredient that makes a Roger Williams education unique — is the
Core Curriculum. This required sequence of interdisciplinary courses
serves to broaden and deepen the learning experience. It was
developed to stimulate intellectual discipline, while providing the
building blocks needed for lifelong learning and professional success.
Through the commonality of the Core Curriculum, teamwork and a
sense of community are fostered in students.
The Core is spread over the entire four years of undergraduate study,
unlike general education requirements at other universities that
typically are scheduled into the first two years of study. That promotes
picking and choosing courses more or less at random just to satisfy the
In contrast, the Roger Williams Core Curriculum is well-structured
and disciplined. It unifies general and specialized knowledge and
develops connections among multiple disciplines. Students in all majors
complete skills courses in mathematics and writing, along with a five-
course Interdisciplinary Core in the arts and sciences that examines the
interplay among the humanities, natural and social sciences, history and
Each student pursues a Core Concentration in an area other than his
or her major, selecting one of 17 arts and science disciplines. This
requirement is designed to ensure depth, sequence and progressive
learning in a single liberal arts discipline. The Core Concentration
ensures that every Roger Williams student develops an additional area
of in-depth knowledge — one that easily can be converted into a
minor or a second major with the completion of additional courses.
About 90 percent of the Core Curriculum courses have an honors
alternative, further challenging students. The honors courses go deeper
into the material and require more analysis, promoting learning and
critical thinking at the highest levels. Enhancement activities such as
field trips, cultural events and informal gatherings among honors
students, faculty, administrators and outside speakers add yet another
learning component to this lively course of study.
Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar
The final component of the Roger Williams Core Curriculum is the
Core Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar, which challenges students to
integrate and synthesize the knowledge gained throughout their
undergraduate education at Roger Williams. Students develop and
defend original ideas and practice sophisticated analysis and synthesis
in presentations and writing. Requirements include a seminar thesis
or project demonstrating scholarship and competent writing ability.
The content of the Senior Seminar examines the inherent tension
between order and chaos that has always concentrated human
intelligence and imagination. Students consider the concomitant
questions: Who am I? What can I know? Based on what I know,
how should I act? Also presented in the seminar is a topic of
recognized academic and educational significance. Students
thoroughly explore the subject and position it in its interdisciplinary
contexts to achieve a loop back into the domains of the Core.
Seniors from all disciplines, meeting in small discussion groups,
actively participate in this interactive mode of learning that involves
high standards of individual performance and clear expectations of
individual responsibility. The Core Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar
is one of the most challenging and rewarding elements of a Roger
College of Arts and Sciences
In the finest liberal arts tradition, all Roger Williams students move
through the halls of the College of Arts and Sciences. The heart of
the University, the College puts liberal studies at the very center
of academics. Multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary programs
promote the flow of ideas and knowledge across traditional
academic fields of study, allowing students to develop competence
in multiple areas. Workplace skills are also taught, for a
The 13 academic departments of the College of Arts and Sciences
are housed in several campus buildings, conveniently grouped
according to their shared needs for labs, studios, stages, and other
related facilities. The buildings include the Center for Environmental
and Economic Development, the Fine Arts Building, the Center for
Performing Arts and Central Hall.
Just as the College of Arts and Sciences links these separate buildings
into a common institution, it also connects a multitude of academic
disciplines, enabling students to acquire the broad knowledge needed
to compete successfully in the changing workplace of tomorrow.
Members of the College faculty, all skilled and experienced educators,
are committed to teaching students to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Faculty and students work together in an environment which values
intellectual and cultural diversity, the traditional hallmarks of liberal
In the courses of study offered by the College of Arts and Sciences,
emphasis is placed on analytical thinking, problem solving and
independent research. Flexibility in academics is provided in
individualized majors, directed independent study, and unique
undergraduate programs found at few other universities, such as the
Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.
Students develop competence in effective communication, learning
to read, write, speak and reason with precision and eloquence. They
are taught to think critically about the past and how it relates to the
present and future. They explore the creative process, learning how
the arts are produced, while developing their own talents.
With a choice of 17 majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and
a broad selection of electives, students are able to combine and tailor
concentrations. They can select courses from the College as well as
from the University's professional schools to meet their individual
needs and interests. As a result of the academic flexibility and diverse
course offerings that are available, Roger Williams graduates possess
an uncommon multi-disciplinary perspective on the world. That
becomes a competitive advantage in an expanding global economy
The Professional Schools
Roger Williams University offers professional training in the School
of Architecture, Gabelli School of Business, School of Engineering,
School of Justice Studies and the Ralph R. Papitto School of Law.
Liberal arts studies are blended throughout the professional programs
to broaden students' intellectual development in the humanities and
supplement the highly focused training they receive in their
specialization. As a result, students graduate from our professional
schools with the self-confidence and ability to face up to challenges,
whenever they encounter them, to produce creative, practical
Core Adds Balance
The University Core Curriculum provides a balance to professional
training, adding a broad foundation of knowledge on which to base
the ethical and aesthetic judgments associated with professional life
that lie outside their professional course work. This academic
approach differs from professional programs at universities placing
heavy emphasis on technical courses to the exclusion of humanistic
studies. At Roger Williams, students develop into whole professionals,
confident in their ability to makes changes for the better.
Interdisciplinary programs, linking multiple disciplines, are also part
of the academic approach in our professional schools. For example, a
four-year interdisciplinary degree program in Environmental Engineering
Science is offered jointly by the School of Engineering and the College
of Arts and Sciences. Few other institutions offer a similar course of
study at the undergraduate level.
School of Architecture
Students in the School of Architecture learn form and function while
gaining an understanding of the physical, social and cultural context of
the spaces they create. Our five-year undergraduate program leads to
the Bachelor of Architecture degree. The School also offers a four-year
program in Historic Preservation, leading to the Bachelor of Science.
Both courses of study include liberal arts and sciences to provide the
basis for lifelong learning and intellectual growth.
The Architecture Program prepares students for licensure to enter the
field of architecture, while exposing them to social, behavioral and
historical studies. Students learn to consider the needs of people who
will live, work and play in the buildings they design. The Architecture
course of study provides a strong sense of design, a rigorous technical
background and the breadth of a liberal arts education.
In the Architecture Study Abroad Program, students have an
opportunity to examine first-hand the architecture of other countries
and civilizations and to understand how cultural conditions influence it.
Ancient and modern sites in Greece, Turkey and the Czech Republic
are among the locations explored in this fascinating academic segment.
The course of study in Architecture at Roger Williams is one of only
two accredited Bachelor of Architecture programs in the United States
offered at a small, liberal arts university. Total full-time enrollment is
limited at Roger Williams, allowing faculty to provide personalized
attention to all students.
Our Historic Preservation program offers concentrations in
architectural conservation and preservation planning. Students gain a
strong background in architectural styles, history, building technology,
community planning, materials conservation and research methods.
This is one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the
Students acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to
meet the professional challenges involved in preserving our physical
and cultural heritage. Juniors spend a semester in England, studying
English conservation philosophy and practice. Extensive fieldwork is
also part of the program, which enables students to examine
preservation projects with leading professionals and scholars.
A crowning achievement of the Historic Preservation program is the
Roger Williams University Performing Arts Center, known as "The
Barn." With the help of students and faculty, the 19th-century,
cupola-topped structure, originally built on a dairy farm in Glocester,
R.I., was taken apart, brought to campus — with its stone foundation
— reassembled and renovated.
The Architecture and Historic Preservation programs are housed in
the 43,500-square-foot Architecture Building, a distinctive structure
featuring glass gables the width of the roof. Designed by Kite Palmer
Associates, the structure has won awards from the American Institute
of Architects and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North
America. It also won a competition sponsored by the National
Endowment for the Arts and Roger Williams University that attracted
152 design entries from 41 states.
The light, airy Architecture Building, provides spaces for the
Architecture Library, design and photo studios, review rooms, a
computer lab, materials conservation labs, workshops, and the
Architecture Gallery. The library, known for its excellent Historic
Preservation collection, contains over 13,000 volumes, 30,000 slides
and more than 200 periodicals and journals. The Gallery exhibits
exemplary work in the field of architecture and has been instrumental
in helping firms achieve national exposure and recognition.
The School of Architecture faculty prides itself on its mentoring role
with students. Members are practicing architects and other registered,
practicing professionals in the related fields of historic preservation,
energy, lighting, acoustics, landscape architecture and engineering.
The campus chapter of the American Institute of Architectural
Students (AIAS) and the Historic Preservation Club are very active
both on and off campus. AIAS organizes educational trips to examine
architecture, including a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water"
home near Philadelphia.
The Historic Preservation Club sponsors community service projects
called "Rescue Parties" to save buildings in need of restoration. The
group restored a church in New Bedford, Mass., and salvaged a
historic home in Bristol, R.I., among other projects. Club members
feel a strong connection to the community and believe that their
preservation work reinforces a positive perception of Roger Williams
Many Opportunities to Practice
Your New Skills and Knowledge
A complete education requires more than just hours spent in the
classroom. Students need opportunities to put their classroom
knowledge and newly acquired skills into practice. For that reason,
the University provides an expansive network of campus resources,
programs, organizations and activities for students to apply their
knowledge and gaining self-confidence in the process.
Other educational opportunities, both on campus and off, become
an extension of the classroom. Participation in professional
organizations, internships and co-curricular activities reinforces
classroom instruction and helps build the self-assurance needed to
meet new challenges. Many Roger Williams students hold regular
jobs, and it would not be unusual to find a police officer taking
notes in a Sociology class or a newspaper reporter asking questions
during a lecture on marine mammals. These working adults, many
enrolled in University College for Continuing Education, also
contribute to overall the learning experience.
Learn and Teach On and Off Campus
Undergraduates can qualify as student tutors in the Master Tutor
Program, helping fellow classmates improve their grades and
increase their knowledge while improving their own confidence.
Working closely with a faculty mentor, tutors lead group study
and review sessions as part of this Academic Resources Center
program. Students can also serve as consultants, lab assistants and
facilitators in many University programs, providing assistance to
other students outside the classroom and benefiting themselves
from the experience.
Many other opportunities are available for students to increase
their knowledge and confidence outside the classroom — by
participating in study groups, workshops, seminars, exam lessons,
professional conferences, field trips to sites significant in history,
culture and the arts. Students also travel to national conferences
and actively participate in a variety of related programs.
Co-curricular activities provide other valuable opportunities to
learn and develop professional skills: writing for the student
newspaper, broadcasting on campus radio or serving in student
government, among many others. Students can also take the
initiative to institute new programs, such as when environmental
engineering science majors formed a student chapter of the
national professional society on campus to learn more about their
field. Members of other professional, academic and honor societies
sponsor educational programs and attend seminars as a group — all
learners with shared interests.
Many additional learning opportunities are available through
internships, cooperative education and study abroad programs that
enable students to benefit by applying their knowledge and skills in
actual business and professional environments. Law students
provide pro bono legal services to clients under the close
supervision of Law School faculty. Communications majors work
in professional newsrooms to hone their journalistic skills.
Theatre majors discuss Shakespeare with actors backstage at the
Old Vic in London.
Sharing Your Challenges
and Dreams With Others
Roger Williams, our namesake, held himself to high standards and
was respected for his sense of fairness and "soul-liberty," his term
for liberty of conscience that was the basis of his "lively experiment"
in democracy. The ideals of this great free-thinker are alive and well
at our University; our traditions are the embodiment of his values.
As a member of the Roger Williams University community you
become part of an exciting and vibrant group of teachers and learners
who share common challenges and aspirations.
New friendships — many that will last a lifetime — develop in the
dorms, in club-sponsored activities and in classes and labs among
students who live, work and relax together — teaching and learning
from each other, experiencing an intellectual awakening.
Opportunities for new experiences abound, both on campus and off.
Student volunteers raise funds for less fortunate people in Newport.
They wield hammers to help Habitat for Humanity build a house for
a needy family in South Providence. They give of themselves in a
hundred other ways, contributing to the
greater good and extending the University community far beyond
As a Roger Williams student, you gain social independence and
new responsibilities to yourself and to the others around you, while
your personal and academic needs are met by a broad network of
University services and resources. The oneness of campus life —
experiencing the joy of learning and working together in our extended
academic community — will continue to deliver rewards throughout
Make Learning a Part of Life
All aspects of campus live are designed to promote learning. Residence
hall-sponsored co-curricular activities and workshops facilitate the
development of healthy social and interpersonal skills. You learn
without even leaving the dorm. Students can serve as residential
assistants to develop leadership and management skills. Same-major
dorms provide the opportunity to room with others who have common
educational objectives. And student residences are wired to the campus
computer network and World Wide Web, providing easy access to
online resources of the library and making research possible at all hours.
Over 40 clubs, fraternities, service organizations and other special-
interest groups on campus provide a sense of belonging and sharing
with other students of similar interests and aspirations. Opportunities
for volunteering are far-ranging and easily found through the campus
International students have little trouble making the adjustment to
Roger Williams, due to assistance provided by the University's ESL/
International Center. It is home to the International Club and our
intensive English as a Second Language Program, designed to prepare
students to enter a regular degree program within a semester or two.
ESL is offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. When
applying for admission to the University, submit a Test of English as
a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score to determine if further ESL
studies are needed.
The ESL/International center is considered a home away from
home by more than 150 international students. The staff handles all
Immigration and Naturalization paperwork, orients students to the
University and surrounding communities, arranges special activities
to celebrate cultural heritages, and provides assistance in many areas,
from obtaining a driver's license and finding a job to dealing with