Harrington School sees increase in first-year enrollment

by Juliana Dellamarggio

The number of first-year students who enrolled in the Harrington School of Communication and Media this fall was up significantly from last year; in fact, there was a hefty 46 percent increase.

Dr. Justin Wyatt, associate director of the Harrington School, credits the increase to a growing interest in communication, as well as a faculty and staff that care about their students and wants them to succeed.

“Communication is a rapidly growing field,” Wyatt explained. “The faculty within the Harrington School are committed to keeping current with the latest developments in the communications world, as well as being actively engaged with them. From our exit interviews with graduating seniors, we often hear students saying that they believe the professors genuinely care about them. They are dedicated to helping them grow and progress as individuals.”

In addition, Dr. Wyatt credits the Harrington Hub in Ranger Hall with helping to gain the interest of potential students.

“Through information sessions in Ranger Hall, we can see that prospective students and their parents are impressed by the wide variety of facilities and cutting edge technology in Ranger Hall.  They comment that these options definitely enhance education at URI,” Wyatt said.

First-year Harrington School student Siobhan Richards is a perfect example.

Richards, a public relations major, had a tough time deciding between her top two schools. She had toured both of them but once she sat down to make her decision, she knew exactly where to turn – the Harrington School’s social media and website.

“I took one look at the Harrington School Instagram page and I knew that was the school for me,” Richards said. “I saw posts about the Career Rhode Trip and the trips to New York City that students had gone on and knew that this was the school that would give me the resources I needed in order to succeed.”

Wyatt hopes this growth continues in the future and believes that the Harrington School is poised to do just that.  

“We must listen to the realities of the job market and know how to approach it,” Wyatt said. “If we are not aware of the larger landscape, we are not doing our job. We must continue to grow in all areas of communication and media for our students.  This belief is reflected with the development of new courses, minors, and majors within Harrington. The recent sports media minor and the upcoming sports media major are great examples of our ability to grow and develop to meet the needs of our students.”