This academic year was bitter-sweet; we welcomed some new faculty and staff to the school but also had to bid farewell to some of our colleagues. Thank you for all of your hard work. Happy retirement!
Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
Bob Schwegler earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1978 and joined URI shortly thereafter. Drawing on his research on advanced writing curricula, assessment, and error and style, he authored numerous award-winning books and articles and changed the way writing was taught at the college level. He is also a leading scholar in the theory and practice of the archive; he organized and maintains the National Archives of Composition and Rhetoric (NACR). Beginning his career in the URI Department of English, he was later instrumental in establishing an independent Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University. His extensive service included membership on Faculty Senate, where he helped to shape the curriculum across the University. Professor Schwegler’s unwavering devotion to his colleagues and students was perhaps the most important legacy of his more than forty-year tenure.
Professor of Communication Studies
Guo-Ming Chen earned his Ph.D. in Communication Studies at Kent State University in 1987. He joined URI in 1986 teaching courses in the areas of global/intercultural communication and research methods on undergraduate and graduate levels. He has published widely and was a three-time recipient of URI Outstanding Research Award and Research Excellence Award. Through academic teaching and leadership roles in international organizations, he continues to advocate the importance of becoming a competent global citizen based on the acquisition of intercultural awareness, intercultural sensitivity, and intercultural effectiveness.
Associate Professor Communication Studies, Director, University Honors Program
Lynne Derbyshire received her Ph.D. in Public Communication from the University of Maryland and focuses on the discourse of social movements. She joined the department of Communication Studies in 1987 and has been an affiliate of the department of Gender and Women’s Studies for thirty-five years. She served as department chair for nine years, and as Director of the URI Honors Program for nine years. She frequently collaborated with colleagues across the university and was a co-founder of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies; co-founder of the University Diversity Council; served on the Talent Development Advisory Board; and is a long-time member of the Academic Affairs Diversity Task Force. She was a co-facilitator for Honors Colloquia, including Nonviolence: Legacies of the Past, Bridges to the Future; and Race; and consulted on the colloquium, Songs of Social Justice. She received the 2005 URI Multicultural Center Faculty Excellence Diversity Award, and the 1999 Association of Professional and Academic Women, and Woman of the Year Award.
Associate Professor of Journalism
After 25 years as a reporter and editor, John Pantalone began a teaching career at URI in 2000. He served as Journalism Department Chair for 12 years and received both a Teaching Excellence Award and an Academic Advising Excellence Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. During his tenure, he maintained connections with the local journalism community that resulted in student internships, served on numerous committees in the Harrington School and the college, and worked with department faculty to modernize the Journalism program’s curriculum. He also organized campus visits for high school students and helped coordinate lecture programs by guest journalists.
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Vincent Petronio earned his undergraduate degree at URI and graduate degree at the University of Illinois in 1976. He has taught at URI for 44 years. He was a pioneer in distance/online education, teaching one of URI’s first online classes in 1996 and during his time as Chief Technology Officer of URI’s Providence Campus. Petronio championed video conferenced course delivery and distance education. While at the Providence campus he received the first ever teaching excellence award offered at the then College of Continuing Education as well as the Mongeau award for staff excellence. He returned to the main campus as a full-time professor in 2006. Petronio is also a semi-professional actor in the Rhode Island theatre scene performing roles ranging from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird to Lt. Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men.
Professor of Writing & Rhetoric
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Nedra Reynolds earned her Ph.D. from Miami University and came to URI in 1991. A specialist in rhetoric and writing studies, she is recognized nationally for her publications on feminist rhetorical theories, place-based pedagogies, and portfolio assessment practices. As a graduate faculty member in English, she directed 15 Ph.D. dissertations to completion and trained dozens of teaching assistants in the teaching of writing; she also held elected leadership positions in two national professional organizations and was an editorial board member for three journals. A department chair of Writing and Rhetoric for ten years, she also served as the inaugural Director of Writing Across URI before becoming an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Professor of Theatre, Professor of Communication Studies
Judith Swift earned her MA in English Literature at URI (1971) and continued her studies of theatre through internships and residencies with internationally renowned directors/companies. Swift developed innovative course design and directed in the URI Theatre Department from 1972-1998, serving as chair from 1982-97. Swift has directed Off-Off and Off-Broadway, LORT Theatres, summer stock, and international festivals, often focusing on new works with playwrights-in-residence. Swift holds joint appointments in Communication Studies and Film Media. She served as Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (2003-2006), and as director of the Coastal Institute since 2010 as well as holding residencies (Brown University, Pew Charitable Trusts) and chairing state agencies and organizations.