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Rhode Island College’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development is not only getting a renovated building, it’s gotten a new dean of education – Jeannine Dingus-Eason. A native of Rochester, New York, Dingus-Eason took office on July 29.

Her prior appointment was at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, where she was professor and chair of the Ed.D. in Executive Leadership Program, an accelerated doctoral program grounded in principles of social justice leadership. As chair, she led change across three regions of New York State, including faculty development efforts, diversification in hiring, program development and marketing strategies.

She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington​, her M.S. degree in secondary English education from the University of Rochester and her B.A. degree in English from the University of Rochester.

In her new appointment, she said, “I arrive on the heels of two dynamic co-interim deans [Professors of Education Gerri August and Julie Horwitz], who have laid a strong foundation for transformation. I intend to continue that transformative work.”

Dingus-Eason said she will work toward expanding community partnerships and explore how the school can do more to make use of faculty knowledge and research in real-world practice. “We’ll also be working on rebranding, crystallizing who we are, our values, our mission and where we see ourselves,” she said.

In reflecting on what drew her to Rhode Island College, Dingus-Eason said it was the ​attention to inclusion​​ by RIC President Frank D. Sánchez. Inclusive excellence has been one of the top priorities of his administration, “and you can see that represented in his senior administrators and in the leadership discourse,” she said. “You don’t find that at many colleges. It’s clear that something unique is happening here.”

Like many of the students at Rhode Island College, Dingus-Eason is a first-generation college graduate who firmly believes that higher education opens doors of opportunities. 

“Our students are gems and need to be provided with opportunities to shine,” she said. “As a leader, that’s what guides my servant/leadership.”​