Planning Groups and Reports

On May 18, 2020 five working groups assembled by the Office of the Provost delivered to Cabinet the report Reopening the Campus AY20–21. This report provides background research and recommendations regarding how RISD should operate from an academic perspective for the 2020–21 academic year. It is shaped by three goals for our institution’s response to the current pandemic: public health and safety, academic integrity and financial viability. The report provides two visions for how we might deliver our education in the next academic year given the continuing presence of COVID-19, with the first being a de-densified campus model, the second an entirely online fall scenario:

May 18 Report (PDF)

It is the conclusion of President Somerson and the Cabinet that the de-densified campus option best meets the three goals referenced above. Below is the implementation framework consisting of eight domains with corresponding task forces to prepare the campus and address a network of complications to ensure a fall opening under the de-densified model.

Contingency Planning

While we hope that the measures outlined will mitigate any widespread outbreak of COVID-19, we are prepared for various scenarios in which an outbreak might occur and have planned how we should respond, including circumstances that might warrant closing the campus. Learn more.

Task Forces

Oversight Committee
Makes decisions that advance the work of the implementation process and provides high-level control for risk assessment, consistency with mission and institutional sustainability.

David Proulx, Kent Kleinman, Steve McDonald, Jamie O’Hara, Taylor Scott, O’Neil Outar

Implementation Leadership
Coordinates all implementation plans and efforts, makes decisions regarding implementation projects and meets three times a week as a working group.

Dan Cavicchi, Kristin Gianelis, Kent Kleinman, Dave Proulx, Patricia Barbeito, Barbara LoMonaco, Jack Silva, Rick Mickool, Matthew Shenoda, Candace Baer, Taylor Scott, Margot Nishimura, O’Neil Outar

Budget Priorities Committee

The Budget Priorities Committee (BPC) assesses key budget inputs and priorities and make recommendations on future tuition, fees, room and board, financial aid, non-union salary increases, capital allocations and other key budget line items. The BPC will make recommendations to the Cabinet and President on the annual operating and capital budgets.

Anais Missakien – Professor, Fine Arts
Jennaca Davies – Assistant Professor, Industrial Design
Mickey Ackerman – Professor, Experimental & Foundation Studies
Leora Maltz-Leca – Associate Professor, Liberal Arts
Scheri Fultineer – Dean, Architecture + Design
Matthew Shenoda – Associate Provost, Social Equity & Inclusion & SEI Advisor to the President
Sarah Ganz Blythe – RISD Museum Deputy Director, Exhibitions, Education & Programs
Ginnie Dunleavy – Executive Director, Auxiliary Operations
Sarah Caggiano – Executive Director, Continuing Education
Felicita Devlin – 21 BFA Textiles
Andy Wang – 21 BFA Illustration
Aparna Sarkar – 21 MFA Painting
Dave Proulx – SVP for Finance and Administration (co-chair)
Kent Kleinman – Provost (co-chair)
Bob Hanke – Director, Budget & Financial Planning (staff to the committee)
Ned Draper – Director, Academic Budget & Resources (staff to the committee)

Task Force Domains

The Public Health Task Force will set the standards and procedures needed to implement the recommendations as identified in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. Its work must be based on the latest science on COVID-19 prevention, as well as up-to-date guidelines from state and federal health agencies. The group will serve as a hub for other implementation groups regarding questions about public health issues and address outstanding issues, including:

  • RISD public health mandates
  • Screening, testing, contact tracing
  • Student-specific health issues
  • Respiratory clinic
  • Employee-specific health issues
  • Off-site populations & visitors
  • Pivot triggers
  • Identification of equipment, supplies, facilities, and staffing needs to maintain protocols


  • Dan Cavicchi, Co-chair, Vice Provost
  • Kristin Gianelis, Co-chair, Administrative Director, Health Services
  • Jen Howley, Director, Risk, Emergency Management + RISD Property Holdings
  • Steve McDonald, General Counsel
  • Keeling Associates
  • Support: Deanna Casanovas

The Academics Task Force will address the issues involved in the delivery of academic programs, as identified in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. The group will work with each division to determine specific models and needs while ensuring compliance with public health, accreditation, and federal aid requirements. As part of this work, the group will propose any necessary amendments to the academic calendar, or to academic policies, in order to address significant challenges and bottlenecks, as identified by the Curriculum Workgroup. The tasks include:

  • Academic calendar
  • Remote curricula
  • Arch + Design curricula
  • Fine Arts curricula
  • Experimental + Foundation Studies curricula
  • Liberal Arts curricula
  • Accreditation issues
  • Registerial issues
  • Experiments in teaching and learning
  • Careers
  • Continuing Education
  • Coordination with Brown University
  • Academic policy amendments


  • Patricia Barbeito, Co-chair, Dean of Faculty
  • Kent Kleinman, Co-Chair, Provost
  • Scheri Fultineer, Dean, Arch + Design
  • Joanne Stryker, Dean, Foundation Studies
  • Damian White, Dean, Liberal Arts
  • Brooks Hagan, Dean, Fine Arts
  • Alison Sherman, Registrar
  • Ni Yi, Director, Institutional Data + Research Services
  • Richard Gann, Senior Critic Illustration
  • Sarah Cunningham, Associate Provost, Research + Strategic Partnerships
  • Lili Hermann, Professor, Landscape Architecture (Phase I)
  • Charlie Cannon, Associate Professor, Industrial Design (Phase II)
  • James O’Hara, Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs (Phase II)
  • Daniel Cavicchi, Vice Provost (Phase II)
  • Support: Rilla Bieberbach

The Student Affairs Task Force will organize the logistics, policies, and programming needed to address the new realities of student life in a COVID-19 context, as identified in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. Critical work will focus on reconfigurations of student housing and dining, guidelines for compliance and conduct, and the development of new co-curricular programming, as well as continued support services, especially around issues of health and wellness. The tasks include:

  • Residence Hall program
  • Off-campus students
  • Dining program
  • Move-in
  • Orientation
  • Quarantine and isolation
  • Co-curricular programs
  • Student support services
  • Student code of conduct revisions


  • Barbara LoMonaco, Chair, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Sydney Lake, Title IX Coordinator (Phase I)
  • Kate Sacco, Director, Office of International Student Services (Phase I)
  • Kevin Forti, Director, Residence Life (Phase I)
  • Ginnie Dunleavy, Executive Director, Auxiliary Services (Phase I)
  • Caroline Vasquez, Assistant Director, Office of Graduate Studies
  • Julie Talbutt, Assistant Dean, Student Support & Administration
  • Amy Huang, Student Alliance president
  • Daniel Murphy, Associate Director, Residential Education (Phase II)
  • Jennifer Dressen, Assistant Director, Office International Student Services (Phase II)
  • Marisa Iovino, Assistant Director, Orientation & New Student Programs (Phase II)
  • Ulli Ryder, Director, Intercultural Student Engagement (Phase II)
  • Keeling Associates
  • Support: Josh Chodorow

The Physical Plant Task Force will tackle the space and facilities changes needed for a de-densified campus, as identified in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. The charge encompasses core design work to prepare all areas of the campus for a COVID-19 environment, as well as facilities work, from supply management to custodial logistics, to realize public health protocols and provisions. The tasks include:

  • Shops reconfiguration
  • Studio layouts
  • Computer lab repurposing
  • Respiratory clinic
  • Meal pick-up locations
  • Museum and public-facing facilities including RISD Stores and Library
  • Disinfection, PPE, and cleaning supplies
  • Custodial training
  • Building access
  • Mail Services
  • Transportation including RISD Rides, RIPTA, ZipCar, MBTA, etc.
  • Role of Department of Public Safety


  • Jack Silva, Chair, Vice President Campus Services
  • Annie Newman, Director, Planning, Design + Construction
  • Fred Flori, Director, Facilities Operations
  • James Dean, Integrated Technology Coordinator/CNC Programmer
  • Phil Lessard, Manager, Museum Safety, Security + Facilities
  • Al Cantara, Manager, Environmental Health + Safety
  • Support: Lynne Jordan

The Technology and Training Task Force will organize all technology, access, and connectivity needs for faculty, staff, and students engaged in remote work and online instruction as identified in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. The group will help support and integrate appropriate apps/software for screening and testing, as determined by the Public Health group, and implement and provide training for RISD’s new learning management system (LMS) and other systems, as identified by the Academics group. The tasks include:

  • Laptop infrastructure
  • Computer labs 
  • Software program and licensing
  • Tech support and training
  • Online teaching pedagogical support
  • LMS implementation and training
  • Remote connectivity
  • Apps for screening/contact tracing
  • Space scheduling via Series 25
  • Use of LiveSafe app for communication purposes


  • Rick Mickool, Chair, Chief Information Officer
  • Monique Hauser, Manager, Information Technology (IT) Services
  • Stephen Cooke, Art & Design Research Technologist
  • Justin Bazar, IT Services Specialist
  • Paul Bento, Manager, IT Services Operations Tech
  • Joe Bernier, Senior Director, IT Services
  • Ana Bressette, Senior Service Desk Specialist
  • Anne Bulin, IT Services Specialist (Phase I)
  • Jess Meers, Lead Application Specialist
  • Eliot Clapp, Innovation Director, Experimental & Foundation Studies (Phase II)
  • David Chandler, Media Resources Supervisor (Phase II)
  • Support: Beth Papagolos

The Workplace Policies and Procedures Task Force will study, develop, and institute necessary new guidelines or policy amendments for all RISD employees, including faculty and staff, as identified in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. This will include policies addressing compliance with public health protocols, special accommodations for high-risk individuals, remote work allowances, and technology and privacy, as well as faculty-specific policies around evaluations, workload, and research support. Policies should be clear and contain regulatory compliance measures. The tasks include:

  • Employee reentry policies
  • Accommodations
  • Compliance
  • Tech policies
  • Facilities policies
  • Staffing plans
  • Faculty-specific policies


  • Candace Baer, Co-Chair, Vice President, Human Resources
  • Matthew Shenoda, Co-chair, Associate Provost, Social Equity + Inclusion
  • Sarah Caggiano, Executive Director, Continuing Education
  • Liz Rainone, Director, Employment + Employee Development
  • Peggy Lewis, Director, Academic Administration
  • Cassie Goryl, Human Resources Partner + Communications
  • Josh Grubman, Assistant General Counsel
  • Tricia Hoffman, Assistant to the Director, RISD Museum
  • Support: Nicole Lemery

The Education and Communications Task Force will organize and deliver communications and educational materials needed to prepare the RISD community for the upcoming academic year, as described in the study Reopening the Campus, AY 20–21. Its core work will entail creating and implementing a sustained, comprehensive, education campaign for AY20-21 to ensure that all public health parameters are available, shared, and understood. Areas of work include:

  • Messaging about fall re-opening
  • Uniform campus signage and space markings
  • Public health videos and print materials
  • Staff and faculty public health training programs
  • Collaborative programming, with Public Safety, HR, Title IX, etc.
  • Attention to accessibility issues
  • Modes of communication including print, email, websites, social media and apps


  • Taylor Scott, Co-chair, Chief of Staff + Communications, President’s Office
  • Margot McIlwain Nishimura, Co-Chair, Dean of Libraries
  • Kerci Marcello-Stroud, Chief Marketing + Communications Officer
  • Erika Paradis, Director, Center for Student Involvement
  • Anna Brookes, Deputy Chief Peace Officer
  • Deb Clemons, Assistant Director, Academic + Public Programs, RISD Museum (Phase I)
  • Brian Clark, Senior Director, Digital Experience
  • Jaime Marland, Senior Director, Public Relations
  • Huy Vu, Creative Director
  • Cassie Goryl, HR Partner, Campus Services & Communication (Phase II)
  • Spencer Dhupa, Lead Application Specialist (Phase II)
  • Support: Katryn Livingston

The External Relations Task Force will work to maintain, manage, and leverage relationships with external institutions and groups. Special attention will be given to communicating the impact and aspirations of the de-densified campus model to key external constituents connected to RISD. It will also sustain meaningful dialogue about RISD’s reopening with government offices and local institutions, as needed. Groups and institutions include:

  • Parents
  • Alumni
  • Board of Trustees and Board of Governors
  • Donors
  • Government (city/state/federal)
  • Local institutions
  • Museum patrons
  • Other relevant audiences


  • O’Neil Outar, Chair, Vice President, Institutional Engagement
  • Babette Allina, Executive Director, Government Relations + Foundation Relations Officer
  • Kerci Marcello-Stroud, Chief Marketing + Communications Officer
  • Amee Spondike, Deputy Director, Development + External Affairs, RISD Museum
  • Bethany Costello, Director, Community Relations
  • Evan Gallivan, Executive Director, Campaign Planning + Strategy
  • Jaime Marland, Senior Director, Public Relations
  • Support: Liz Camara

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