SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The University of Rhode Island has named Jeannette E. Riley, of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, to be dean of its College of Arts and Sciences, URI’s largest academic college. She will take office later this month, after closing out her tenure as dean of a similar college at UMass Dartmouth. 

“Dr. Riley is an accomplished, collaborative leader in higher education who understands the core values of a liberal arts education and will work with faculty to ensure a compelling vision for the 21st century for the college’s academic and research programs,” Donald H. DeHayes, URI’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. 

“Faculty research, scholarship, and creative work grew substantially under her leadership and she established a transparent budget process to align funding allocations with college and university strategic plans and priorities,” DeHayes added. “She is a talented and experienced academic leader.” 

Riley will succeed Winifred “Winnie” Brownell, named dean of the College in 1999. Riley’s research and teaching, according to URI, “focuses on post-1945 American literature, contemporary women’s literature, and feminist theory.” 

In a statement, Riley expressed excitement at coming to Kingston. “I am particularly looking forward to developing new programs that cut across traditional lines to create innovative student learning experiences that prepare students to lead in our global economy,” she said. 

In other URI news, Leslie Mahler, associate professor of communicative disorders in the College of Health Sciences, has been appointed the new director of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, where she already is on the faculty. 

She succeeds Nasser Zawia, College of Pharmacy professor and dean of the Graduate School, a post he will retain. He was the founding director of the neuroscience program six years ago, and had reached the end of the directorship’s two-term maximum limit. 

According to URI, Mahler’s research involves “assessment and treatment of motor speech disorders and cognitive-linguistic abilities to improve quality of life for adults with neurological diagnoses. She investigates how principles of motor learning can be translated into therapies that drive changes in neural plasticity in individuals with neurological impairments, resulting in lasting improvements in functional communication.”