Academic Leadership


Anais Missakian | Provost

Before becoming provost, longtime faculty member Anais Missakian was the Pevaroff-Cohn Family Endowed Chair in Textiles. Among her accomplishments in professional practice, she works with close colleagues at MIT on the transformation of traditional textiles into integrated and networked devices and systems. Through this collaboration, Missakian was among the coauthors of a paper on acoustic fabrics that appeared in Nature in March 2022.

Richard Gann | Vice Provost

Richard Gann is a figurative painter working primarily in traditional media as well as in digital media, as both a fine artist and web designer. At RISD he teaches in Illustration and Experimental and Foundation Studies and has held numerous service positions. As vice provost Gann will oversee several academic areas of the college, including Graduate Studies and RISD Global.

Sarah Cunningham | Vice Provost for Strategic Partnerships

As RISD’s first vice provost for strategic partnerships, Sarah Cunningham supports research development and special projects, collaborating with community organizations, arts nonprofits, higher education entities and corporate design leaders worldwide. Prior to RISD, she served as the executive director for research and founding director of the Arts Research Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa | Assistant Provost for Social Equity and Inclusion

Photographer and writer Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa arrived at RISD in 2019 as a faculty member in Photography and the department’s graduate program director. His essays are published widely and his debut monograph, One Wall a Web (ROMA Publications, 2018) won the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation First PhotoBook Award. He has also lectured at Yale, Cornell, New York University and The New School.


John Caserta | Dean of Architecture + Design

A Providence-based designer and educator, John Caserta holds an MFA from Yale University and a BA in Journalism from the University of North Carolina. As an information designer, he has produced infographics and data-driven applications for The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Reuters, the Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center in France, NBC, the NCAA and more.

Brooks Hagan | Dean of Fine Arts

Brooks Hagan has taught at RISD since 2006, focusing on the integration of hand-based practice with industrial manufacturing and new technologies. In addition to maintaining a studio practice informed by industrial fabrication processes, he is the founder of the interdisciplinary Virtual Textiles Research Group and a co-creator of Weft, a digital platform for designing on-demand custom woven textiles.

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino | Dean of Liberal Arts

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino is a social psychologist whose primary research explores the power of social identity and role norms generally (and gender and parental status in particular) to shape how we think about ourselves, behave, and speak. At RISD she teaches courses in psychology and other areas, and her work appears in publications like Self and Identity, Sex Roles and several others.

Joanne Stryker | Dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies

In her work Joanne Stryker explores the nature of artifacts and human perception through paintings depicting other works of art. Her two-dimensional interpretations of three-dimensional form—sculpture, pottery, friezes—exploit the interplay between various modes of perception, creating intricate still lifes outside the confines of time, place or historical context.

Nicole Merola | Dean of Faculty

Nicole M. Merola focuses her teaching on a range of environmental humanities topics, including biodiversity and extinction studies, climate change cultures, discourses of the anthropocene, ecological literary studies and theories of natureculture. Her current environmental humanities scholarship addresses the intersection of affect, form and socioecologies in contemporary culture.

Margot Nishimura | Dean of Libraries

Margot Nishimura is an art historian with more than two decades of experience in teaching, curatorial practice and administration in museums and libraries. Providing leadership for The Fleet Library, the Nature Lab, the Center for Arts & Language, and Campus Exhibitions, in past years at RISD she was a lecturer in art history and, from 2010–11, Academic Affairs' director of academic planning and assessment.