Rhode Island School of Design appoints Rosanne Somerson as Provost

Rhode Island School of Design appoints Rosanne Somerson as Provost

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

June 4, 2012
Rhode Island School of Design appoints Rosanne Somerson as Provost


Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is pleased to announce the appointment of Rosanne Somerson as Provost. Somerson, who currently serves as RISD’s interim Provost, will take the official post on July 1, 2012.

Somerson’s RISD roots run deep. As a student in the Industrial Design department (’76 RISD), she personally experienced the depth and rigor of RISD’s departmental curriculum, which she now champions so eloquently. The Furniture Design Department, which she played a significant role in founding in 1995, has produced stellar students and alumni whose flexible thinking and passionate making have informed their field and beyond.

“Rosanne’s career as a respected teacher and sought-after practitioner exemplifies our vision for RISD’s role in art and design education. After working with Rosanne this past year as she served as interim Provost, and observing her leadership of the academic mission with the Deans, I am confident that Rosanne will perform this role with generosity, courage, and integrity,” said RISD President John Maeda. “She will bring a passion and energy that embodies the finest values we try to instill in our students and will continue to bring out the best in our community.”

“With our new strategic plan in place, RISD is more poised than ever to develop and lead academic excellence here and in the world. We will continue to steward the disciplines that we teach with such rigor at RISD, and we will champion new developments in art and design education,” said Somerson. “What we teach at RISD is more critical to culture than ever. I am honored and enthused by the support of so many, and look forward to helping RISD to continue to contribute both to the development of our students, and to the future that they will help to shape.”

“A Provost Search Committee that included faculty, students, and other college leaders was convened in December 2011. Over a six-month period, the Committee reviewed and interviewed impressively qualified candidates and, in May, brought three finalists for interviews and meetings with RISD constituencies and the campus community,” said Patricia Phillips, interim Associate Provost and chair of the Provost Search Committee. “Based on a range of criteria that spanned academic vision, critical and creative rigor, commitment to inclusive leadership, and a vivid understanding of RISD’s distinctive character, mission, and potential, the Committee’s overwhelming support went to interim Provost Rosanne Somerson, and we sent the decision to offer her the position to President Maeda. We are delighted with the successful completion of this international search and extend our congratulations to Rosanne.”

In her many roles at RISD over the years—as a professor, department head, interim Associate Provost, and interim Provost—Somerson’s considerable achievements include building institutional partnerships, nurturing collaborations between RISD and Brown, including the RISD-Brown Dual Degree program, providing greater opportunities for faculty development, and bringing a focus to academic facilities and technology. Somerson has fostered this progress through collaboration, building a solid academic leadership, and thoughtful listening. In addition, her experience as an international lecturer, juror, exhibitor, and evaluator allow her to apply both local and global perspectives to her work.

Somerson’s robust creative practice keeps her firmly rooted in the sphere of making. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the world and is represented in many prestigious museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Renwick Collection of the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; and our own RISD Museum of Art. She has served on the boards of the Haystack Mountain School, ME; the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston; is a named Fellow of the American Craft Council; and is the subject of an interview that forms part of the Smithsonian Institute Archives of American Art Oral History Program. Later this year she will receive the Award of Distinction from the Furniture Society for lifetime achievement in the field of studio furniture.
Jaime Marland
T 401 427 6954
[email protected]

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June 4, 2012

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