Academic Leadership

Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs is the primary hub of activity for RISD’s vision, direction and leadership in the academic arena. Academic Affairs supports the college’s core strategic objectives, ensuring sufficient institutional resources in support of academic priorities; enriching curricula to address dynamic, contemporary opportunities; and recognizing, supporting and encouraging teaching excellence in art and design education.

Critical Making/Making Critical, RISD’s 2012–2017 strategic plan, presents our vision for best educating and supporting today’s artists and designers in ways that respect our founding ideals and reflect who we are as an institution. The highest priority the plan identifies is to enhance our educational model – one that nurtures critical making, thinking and innovation through immersive, disciplinary learning and engagement in the practice of art and design. In addition to an emphasis on teaching and educational excellence, the plan ranks research, critical making and innovation, student engagement and diversity among its priorities.

As RISD’s top academic leader and spokesperson, Provost Pradeep Sharma provides leadership and direction to approximately 690 faculty and staff members in Academic Affairs and the six academic divisions at RISD. 

As essential members of our core leadership team, the deans and department heads listed to the right facilitate RISD’s mission at the divisional and departmental levels, overseeing day-to-day teaching and learning in their respective areas of expertise.

Dean's Council

Daniel Cavicchi
Dean of Liberal Arts

Sheri Wills
Dean of Fine Arts

Nancy Skolos
Dean of Architecture + Design

Joanne Stryker
Dean of Foundation Studies

Department Heads

Apparel Design
Neil Gilks

Laura Briggs

Katy Schimert

Digital + Media
Shona Kitchen


Dennis Hlynsky

Experimental and Foundation Studies

Programs Head
Shawn Greenlee

Furniture Design
John Dunnigan

Rachel Berwick

Graphic Design
John Caserta

History of Art + Visual Culture
Bolaji Campbell

History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences
Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino


Susan Doyle

Industrial Design
Charlie Cannon

Interior Architecture
Liliane Wong

Jewelry + Metalsmithing
Tracy Steepy

Landscape Architecture
Scheri Fultineer

Literary Arts + Studies
Nicole Merola

David Frazer

Steven Smith

Henry Ferreira

Lisi Raskin

Teaching + Learning in Art + Design
Paul Sproll

Anais Missakian

Foundation Studies students consider each other's work under the guidance of Professor Merlin Szasz.