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PBN: Dorms next step in NEIT growth

Fantastic story published recently in the Providence Business news about New England Tech’s history and more importantly its future plans.

GROWTH PLAN: New England Institute of Technology President Richard I. Gouse has four decades at the helm of the school. He’s currently overseeing the school’s expansion, which includes both degrees and its physical assets.

GROWTH PLAN: New England Institute of Technology President Richard I. Gouse has four decades at the helm of the school. He’s currently overseeing the school’s expansion, which includes both degrees and its physical assets. PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

12/1/14

Richard I. Gouse, president of the New England Institute of Technology for the past 43 years, is leading a new phase of growth at the commuter-based school to accommodate residential students.

NEIT has two Warwick campuses, and a third on 226 acres in East Greenwich. It is at the larger campus that plans for a $120 million expansion announced in early October are beginning to unfold.

It’s all a long way from where the school was in 1971, when Gouse and his late father, Julian, revived the failing New England Technical Institute founded by Ernest Earle in 1940.

“When I started in 1971, we were located in an old mill in South Providence,” he said. “It was pretty grim.”

By 1976, Gouse had broadened the mission of the school, turning it into the nonprofit, degree-granting college it is today.

Now, as the school continues to develop programming for more than 3,000 students, plans spanning the next three years will provide more than 300,000 square feet of new facilities, including a first-ever, 400-plus-room, on-campus dormitory, more classroom space, and a greater focus on information technology.

PBN: You’ve been president since 1971, when there were just four programs of study and 70 students. What potential did you see for this school then?

GOUSE: It was obvious that the hands-on technologies were becoming more sophisticated even in 1971, and if we wanted to grow in that direction of training people who were going to be able to perform in the job market, I thought we needed something more. That’s when I thought of making this into a college where the students could get a liberal arts background and get a chance to become a little more sophisticated.

PBN: What do you think a liberal arts or undergraduate degree adds to the technical skills?

GOUSE: As we all can see, technology is moving at the speed of light; things are changing very quickly. In order to be successful, you have to be able to grow and develop in your profession. And a liberal arts degree, which teaches a student to research, to grow, has become essential.

PBN: Where are you attracting students from?

GOUSE: Well, it’s a commuting school. That’s good and it also has its limitations. What we’re doing is addressing the limitations.

Right now, we’re [attracting] Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island [students]. We’re getting a lot more interest than we ever did before from outside of the state, even foreign countries, because of the uniqueness of some of the programs that we offer. And that really has moved us into that expansion mode.

The only way this school can expand, given the demographics of the immediate area, is to attract people from outside the immediate area.

We have a growing, older demographic in Rhode Island, we have declining [numbers of] high school graduates in Rhode Island and we have no growth in population. So if you want to stay at 2,900 or 3,000 students, we probably could, but if we want to expand and grow, it’s going to have to be from outside the immediate area. And that’s why we’re [adding] housing.

PBN: How will the relationship between the East Greenwich and two Warwick campuses evolve as you undergo this $120 million expansion?

GOUSE: This all began in 2007. We started planning for this development, and our initial thoughts were that we would bring everything to this campus.

PBN: Obviously, you didn’t build this building [on the East Greenwich campus], Brooks Pharmacy did, but did you have plans before that?

GOUSE: We were planning on locating a campus. We were in Warwick; that was fine for what we thought we were doing at that point, but when it came to a thought of expanding, we were landlocked.

One of the main parts of our planning back then was the ability to sell the Post Road campus. What happened in 2008 is, the real estate market fell apart, and our ability to sell became limited.

So, we kind of crept back into that Post Road facility. Eventually, we’d like to be all on one campus, but economically, the right thing to do is to still use that facility. And the square footage we have there now we need; we’re using it.

PBN: You’ve talked about expansion as an idea; how does it fit into your long-range plan?

GOUSE: The whole expansion plan is really a move toward allowing the students to have the more traditional college experience, as well as still concentrating on the commuting student. This changes the student’s experience entirely. It will allow for extracurricular athletics on campus, the living experience. Hopefully, it will appeal to a whole new group of people – although our students that are presently commuting are also very enthusiastic about this kind of development. I think they would really appreciate the identification of this school in the general public as being a true university.

PBN: How much housing are you building?

GOUSE: There are two stages, the first with 400 beds. And we’re presently housing through a cooperative effort with our housing coordinator off campus.

PBN: Besides attracting out-of-state and foreign students, are there other rationales for expanding now?

GOUSE: Just the addition of other programs that we think would be really valuable. We’re constantly in touch with the employers in this area. We have an extensive technical advisory committee [of] 300 people. We want to hear from them about new programs and what changes we need in existing programs.

PBN: What’s the time frame for the expansion?

GOUSE: [For] the first part of it, there’s going to be an expansion in this building that’s going to occur in the spring. [But] because the 220 acres needs roadways, we have wetlands that we’ve got provision to cross, so we have to bridge the wetlands, we have to bring in sewer, water and electricity. That’s a $4 million job that’s being done right now. That will enable future expansion. And there’s a $15 million addition to this building that is going to begin in the spring. Sometime in the fall of 2015, there’ll be [construction of] the dormitories, which are supposed to be ready in the fall of 2017.

PBN: How important is it to try and stylistically match what you have here?

GOUSE: Very important. You do want a lasting, appealing campus and that’s where we’re headed. The architecture is critical to tie it all together – not necessarily have it look all the same, but have a feel that it all belongs together. While you were right in remembering this building being Brooks, what happened was Rite-Aid bought Brooks in 2007. This building had been built with a shell inside that really wasn’t a finished interior.

PBN: You’re expanding offerings in information technology, advanced manufacturing, sciences, architecture, engineering, video and audio production. What is demand like?

GOUSE: Rhode Island’s an interesting place, OK? We talk about a skills gap, but what we really do need is more high-tech jobs.

During the recession it was actually challenging for our kids even in IT to find the jobs they were looking for in Rhode Island. We would like to see more good jobs coming into Rhode Island, and hopefully there will be.

Right now, [more than] 90 percent of our students seeking jobs are getting jobs within a short time after they graduate – in fact most of them before they graduate – but I would like to see more good companies coming into Rhode Island, more employment possibilities. I think that’s really very important.

But if we expand into housing, we will be getting students from outside this area. And then it becomes more of a function of what the employability is for where they’re going to be going. The biggest problem here isn’t that the colleges aren’t providing enough talent for the local business community. The biggest challenge here is to have more opportunities for these students.

PBN: You have a new online RN-to-BSN program: Do you plan more online programming? Or is this designed to fill an unmet need?

GOUSE: Let’s talk about the RN-to-BSN program first. The field of nursing is moving away from associate degree-level nurses. They’re really looking to have a more sophisticated, better-trained level of nursing, and that’s where the BSN comes in. The hospitals are asking nurses to get to this level. [The program] received accreditation less than a year ago. The tuition rate is far lower than an on-campus program; it offers a lot for those people looking to make that move.

In general, it really benefits the students to come here and have an on-the-job-type environment, working with the actual equipment. For audio-video production, we have two HD television studios; it’s very hard to teach that on the Internet.

But we [also] offer a hybrid program where the students can come here on a more flexible schedule and actually get the lab experience, that hands-on job environment training, but then take a lot of their courses on a distance-learning basis.

PBN: How are you financing the expansion?

GOUSE: The school has not to this point done a real lot of borrowing. I think we have outstanding about $49 million for this building and the other campuses. And by the time this expansion happens, we hope our endowment will be in the neighborhood of $200 million. Between bonding and our endowment, we will at least be able to fund this portion of our expansion.

PBN: Will there be an impact on tuition?

GOUSE: No.

PBN: Any plans to expand master’s degrees?

GOUSE: We’ve just received approval for our third master’s degree. It’s in construction management. And … the New England Association [of Schools and Colleges], our accrediting body, they require you to apply for the first, second and third master’s degree. After that, you can apply to be exempted from making further applications. So, that’s what we plan on doing a year from now. The construction-management degree will be offered in the spring.

PBN: So how long did it take you to design this program?

GOUSE: It probably took a year.

STEVE KITCHIN: [NEIT’s vice president of corporate education and training]: About 22 years ago the hospital association said, ‘Look, things are changing in the operating room; we don’t need two nurses; we only need one.’ Within the time that we had that conversation with the hospitals [to create surgical technology programming]: we had labs built, curriculum developed, we had staff hired – within six months.

If we’re not keeping our ears to the ground about the demand side of the labor market, we’re not doing our job here. Everything we’re doing here is based on demand-side economics and preparing our kids to meet that demand. Richard has built an environment here where we all feel very entrepreneurial.

PBN: So you’ve been here 43 years. What more do you envision for the school … and the expansion?

GOUSE: It probably will take me the next 43 years! There’s a lot of things to be done. And that [rendering of the campus layout] is a 50-year plan. If you’re going to have a true college experience, you’re going to have to have all of the things that the kids want and dormitories alone won’t do that. You’re going to have to have an athletic program; a more aggressive extracurricular program.

PBN: Now, you don’t have another 43 years to complete the vision, but have you thought about succession planning?

GOUSE: I do believe the best kind of succession program is when you develop talent within the organization. I’m not a tremendous fan of doing a nationwide search for people who look like they’d be the right fit – especially when you have a unique culture, which we do have here.

So, we have a number of people here who are hopefully moving up and I think they all buy into the kind of culture that we have here, which is important. That’s where I hope we’ll find the talent for the future. •

Visit the Providence Business for more info

Gaming Graduate Success Story!

Chris Lopes shares his road toward success, including his stop at New England Tech.

Chris Lopes, New England Tech Graduate

From 2000 to 2008. I was a Cryptologist in the U.S. Navy, specializing in Direction Finding. After nearly 8 years of honorable service, I opted to get out and go to school. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from New England Institute of Technology with a 3.2 GPA. My major was Game Development and Simulation Programming technology.

After graduation, I worked to stay afloat while I pursued my dream. After a handful of turn downs from various game companies in the vicinity of my hometown and over a year of working jobs I hated, I decided to take the leap and vastly expand my job search radius.

I applied to a number of places in Northern California and Washington State, and got the call from Bungie thanks in large part to some networking and luck, and eventually got my first gig in gaming.

I started out as a Progression Tester, ensuring the flow of the game was working as intended. Only recently, I seized an opportunity working in the Visual Development department. Now I have the pleasure of helping to capture some of Bungie’s greatest moments for the world to see.

TL; DR – Life is good here at Bungie making video content.

Power Game Day a huge success

The Video Game Design Technology program held its 5th Annual NEIT Power Game Day on October 24th with a record audience in attendance. Students were treated to industry insights from speakers from Sonalysts Studios, Defective Studios, WGBH Digital, Dassault Systemes SIMULA, Muzzy Lane Studios, Fablevision, Disco Pixel, VT MAK DiGuy, and animator and NEIT adjunct instructor Pete Paquette.

During the mini-trade fair, students interacted with the speakers to gain additional information and to network. Several student teams exhibited games they had created and developed in their coursework, getting valuable feedback from the crowd of game testers.

Evening video game tournaments were sponsored by NEIT’s Game Developer’s Network Student Club. The event was a fundraiser with all proceeds going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network as part of the national “Extra Life” gaming marathon fundraisers. Winners were crowned in three tournament games, Guitar Hero, Super Mario Brother’s Smash Mouth, and Injustice.

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Susan Shim Gorelick named Assistant Professor

Susan Shim Gorelick

Susan Shim Gorelick

Susan Shim Gorelick began teaching in the Mathematics and Sciences Department as an adjunct instructor in January, 2014, and now joins the department full-time. Susan has taught a variety of math and science courses at the Community College of Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island, Portsmouth Abbey, and Damascus High School (MD). She served as a teaching assistant in Chemistry for the Nursing programs at American University (DC) and Adelphi University (NY).

As a researcher, Susan has studied wind energy for the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources; consumer preferences valuation on aquaculture and eco-labeling, and on seafood sustainability and eco-labeling at URI; Cisplatin therapy for ovarian cancer at the University of California at San Diego; and high performance liquid and gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy for the FDA. Susan has authored papers and presented at conferences on a variety of topics relating to wind energy, water quality, and sustainability.

Susan holds a Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Science Degree in Chemistry from the American University. She has completed some graduate courses in Chemistry and Education at Adelphi University. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Stony Brook University (formerly State University of New York at Stony Brook).

 

Global Game Jam is set to return in 2015

For the Fourth year in a row, New England Institute of Technology is set to host Global Game Jam from January 23 to January 25, 2015!

Rhode Island Global Game Jam at New England Tech

For 48 hours teams from across the country and around the world will collaborate to fully conceptualize and develop a video game, from start to finish.

2014 Global Game Jam - Rhode Island - New England Tech

If you’re interested in participating in Game Jam at the New England Tech campus, you’re in luck. We’re currently accepting registrations. You do not need to be a New England Tech student, however you must be at least 18 years old. If you decide to participate at New England Tech you’ll have access to our cutting edge computer labs (11 PC labs and 3 Mac labs!) and facilities, as well as refreshments throughout the duration of the Game Jam.

Click here to register to participate at New England Tech!

Adam Breckenridge named Assistant Professor

Adam Breckenridge

Adam Breckenridge

Adam Breckenridge joins the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, teaching a variety of courses. Prior to this position, he taught First Year Composition, Professional Writing, and Communication for Engineers at the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida.

Adam has been exploring how emerging technologies have changed workplace communication. Incorporating social media, blogs, websites, and Twitter into course content, his students explore ethical questions relating to privacy and the dangers of misinterpretation when writing in a public space. Adam was also involved in creating the program, contributing to the textbook, and creating projects for the standardized curriculum for First Year Composition at the University of South Florida. In addition to teaching, Adam is an accomplished writer, contributing to professional journals and textbooks, and writing fiction.

Adam holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of South Florida, a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Antioch University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of Hawaii.

 

Sheila Palmer named Assistant Professor

Sheila Palmer

Sheila Palmer

Sheila Palmer has joined the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department. She comes to NEIT from Barrington Christian Academy, where she was a Science and Math teacher and lead teacher. Sheila taught courses in Physics, Chemistry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, PreCalculus and AP Calculus. In addition to her teaching duties, she was a student and faculty mentor as well as the founder and advisor for the school’s National Honor Society Chapter and the Student Council.

For several years, Sheila was an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She mentored students, developed laboratory applications for undergraduate courses, reviewed papers for inclusion in technical publications, and edited the division newsletter for the American Society of Engineering Education. Sheila has published many articles and presented papers in her field and has received numerous grants, awards, and fellowships.

Sheila holds both a Ph.D. and a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

 

Jacques Laflamme named Chief Information Officer

Jacques Laflamme

Jacques Laflamme

Jacques Laflamme joined New England Tech on October 6th as Chief Information Officer bringing more than 25 years of MIS experience in higher education and business. Prior to his new position at NEIT, Jacques served as the Director of Network Services at Harvard University. Jacques’ business experience included positions with Thompson Financial, State Street Corporation, and Fidelity Investments, all located in Boston, MA.

Jacques has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Operations Technology/MIS and an Associate in Science Degree in Telecommunications both from Northeastern University in Boston. He has participated in Harvard Business School Executive Education Program and has earned several IT certifications.

 

Annie Unger named Instructor, Mechanical Engineering Technology

Annie Unger

Annie Unger

In March, 2014, Annie Unger was hired as a Physics instructor and has transitioned to teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department.

Annie has spent most of her professional life as a tutor or instructor. She has held several positions at NEIT, beginning as a Math tutor, then serving as an adjunct instructor to the Coordinator of Mathematics Services in the Academic Skills Center. As an adjunct instructor, Annie taught Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering courses before teaching full-time in the Mathematics and Sciences Department. Annie has also worked as a Mathematics Learning Specialist at Bryant University’s Academic Center for Excellence and as an Upward Bound Math Instructor and a Math Tutor/Teacher’s Assistant at the UMass Dartmouth Math and Business Center.

Annie is pursuing her Master of Arts Degree in Mathematics Teaching from Providence College. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Annie also recently earned an Associate in Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from New England Tech along with the college’s “Best of Tech” award for her technology program.