Rhode Island College is located on a 180-acre park-like campus in the Mount Pleasant section of Providence. This location combines a suburban atmosphere with easy access to the benefits and resources of the metropolitan area.
Academic offerings are provided in five schools: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, the School of Management, the School of Nursing, and the School of Social Work.
Rhode Island College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has also received accreditation for specific programs from the following agencies: Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, National Association of Schools of Music, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
When the college was established in 1854 as the Rhode Island State Normal School, its goal was to provide teacher preparation to young people from Rhode Island. With the dedication of a new building in 1898, the institution began a period of steady growth, evolving first into a teachers' college, the Rhode Island College of Education. In the 1958-59 academic year the college moved to its current Mount Pleasant campus, and in 1959 was renamed Rhode Island College to reflect its new purpose as a comprehensive institution of higher education. With an enrollment predominantly from Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut, the institution historically has served as a "College of Opportunity" for first-generation college students.
The college now serves approximately 9,000 students in courses and programs both on and off campus.
Rhode Island College is the oldest of the three public institutions of higher education that operate under the aegis of the Board of Governors for Higher Education. The board consists of 13 individuals appointed by the governor.