Rhode Island Professor Arrives as ACE Fellow

September 21, 2012

Prof. Sheri WillsSheri Wills, a fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE), is spending her fellowship year working with President Jamshed Bharucha at The Cooper Union. Part of a program that prepares academicians to be leaders in higher education administration,  Wills is a professor of art and art history at the University of Rhode Island.

"With everything that is going on in higher education, I want to play a role in the solutions that are being offered," said Wills. "Higher education is undergoing the greatest changes since the passage of the G.I. bill in World War 2," she said, noting the challenges of available financial aid and the increasing costs of higher education. "How can we take the things that are really valuable and carry them into the future?"

A native of the Bay Area, Wills has lived in Greenwich Village for the last five years, preferring to commute to Rhode Island. "My parents are originally from New York City" said Wills. "My brother and I made it our life plan to work our way back here. I’m an artist and having a rich cultural life is really important to me."

Of her decision to ask to spend her fellowship year at The Cooper Union, Wills said, "I was interested in going somewhere that has a strong arts school and is undergoing change." "Having the opportunity to work with Jamshed Barucha and his team is a great experience. I am here as somebody from the outside so I have the opportunity to have a slight remove from what is going on and I think that is valuable for everybody."

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.