Board of Governors for Higher Education [See Title 16 Chapter 97
The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]
§ 16-59-6 Commissioner of postsecondary
The council on postsecondary education, with approval of the board, shall
appoint a commissioner of postsecondary education, who shall serve at the
pleasure of the council, provided that his or her initial engagement by the
council shall be for a period of not more than three (3) years. For the purpose
of appointing, retaining, or dismissing a commissioner of postsecondary
education, the governor shall serve as an additional voting member of the
council. The position of commissioner shall be in the unclassified service of
the state and he or she shall serve as the chief executive officer of the
council on postsecondary education, the chief administrative officer of the
office of postsecondary commissioner, and the executive director of the
division of higher education assistance. The commissioner of postsecondary
education shall have any duties that are defined in this section and in this
title and other additional duties as may be determined by the council, and
shall perform any other duties as may be vested in him or her by law. In
addition to these duties and general supervision of the office of postsecondary
commissioner and the appointment of the several officers and employees of the
office, it shall be the duty of the commissioner of postsecondary education:
(1) To develop and implement a systematic program of
information gathering, processing, and analysis addressed to every aspect of
higher education in the state, especially as that information relates to
current and future educational needs.
(2) To prepare a strategic plan for higher education in the
state aligned with the goals of the board of education's strategic plan; to
coordinate the goals and objectives of the higher public education sector with
the goals of the council on elementary and secondary education and activities
of the independent higher education sector where feasible.
(3) To communicate with, and seek the advice of those
concerned with, and affected by the board of education's and council's
(4) To implement broad policy as it pertains to the goals and
objectives established by the board of education and council on postsecondary
education; to promote better coordination between higher public education in
the state, independent higher education in the state as provided in subdivision
(10) of this section, and pre k-12 education; to assist in the preparation of
the budget for public higher education; and to be responsible, upon direction
of the council, for the allocation of appropriations, the acquisition, holding,
disposition of property.
(5) To be responsible for the coordination of the various
higher educational functions of the state so that maximum efficiency and
economy can be achieved.
(6) To assist the board of education in preparation and
maintenance of a five-year (5) strategic funding plan for higher education; to
assist the council in the preparation and presentation annually to the state
budget officer in accordance with § 35-3-4 of a total, public higher
(7) To recommend to the council on postsecondary education,
after consultation with the presidents, a clear and definitive mission for each
public institution of higher learning.
(8) To annually recommend to the council on postsecondary
education, after consultation with the presidents, the creation, abolition,
retention, or consolidation of departments, divisions, programs, and courses of
study within the public colleges and universities to eliminate unnecessary
duplication in public higher education, to address the future needs of public
higher education in the state, and to advance proposals recommended by the
presidents of the public colleges and universities pursuant to §§
16-32-2.1, 16-33-2.1 and 16-33.1-2.1.
(9) To supervise the operations of the office of
postsecondary commissioner, including the division of higher education
assistance, and any other additional duties and responsibilities that may be
assigned by the council.
(10) To perform the duties vested in the council with
relation to independent higher educational institutions within the state under
the terms of chapter 40 of this title and any other laws that affect
independent higher education in the state.
(11) To be responsible for the administration of policies,
rules, and regulations of the council on postsecondary education with relation
to the entire field of higher education within the state, not specifically
granted to any other department, board, or agency and not incompatible with law.
(12) To prepare standard accounting procedures for public
higher education and all public colleges and universities.
(13) To carry out the policies and directives of the board of
education and the council on postsecondary education through the office of
postsecondary commissioner and through utilization of the resources of the
public institutions of higher learning.
(14) To enter into interstate reciprocity agreements
regarding the provision of postsecondary distance education; to administer such
agreements; to approve or disapprove applications to voluntarily participate in
such agreements from postsecondary institutions that have their principal place
of business in Rhode Island; and to establish annual fees, with the approval of
the council on postsecondary education, for aforesaid applications to
participate in an interstate postsecondary distance education reciprocity
(15) To the extent necessary for participation, and to the
extent required and stated in any distance learning reciprocity agreement, to
implement procedures to address complaints received from out-of-state students
in connection with, or related to, any Rhode Island postsecondary institution,
public or private, that has been approved to participate in said reciprocity
(16) To exercise all powers and duties of the division of
higher education assistance as set forth under the terms of chapter 57 of this
History of Section.
(P.L. 1981, ch. 32, § 3; P.L. 1987, ch. 596, § 5; P.L. 1991, ch. 266,
§ 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 86, § 54; P.L. 2014, ch. 145, art. 20, § 5;
P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 7, § 7; P.L. 2015, ch. 207, § 2; P.L. 2015,
ch. 231, § 2.)