When Lois A. Wims ’77 recalls her proudest achievement, it isn’t one of many accolades conferred during her distinguished academic career. Instead, she recalls a two-year appointment as executive director of the Rhode Island Select Commission on Race and Police Community Relations in 2000-2002. There Wims led the development of comprehensive plans to improve policing in Rhode Island. “Real changes were implemented from our work,” she recalls. “It is an example of a dedicated group of people with divergent opinions who joined together to problem solve.”
“Leaders need to know and understand themselves and realize that they see the world from a set of incomplete lenses."
Wims’ career path merged her Bryant education in criminal justice and her eight years of service as a police officer in Central Falls, RI, with a doctorate degree in psychology and her passion for higher education. She applied her unique perspective and skills to each of her leadership roles – at institutions as varied as Salve Regina University (Newport, RI), the University of South Alabama, and Community College of Rhode Island.
Along the way, her appreciation for team work and commitment to diversity were continually strengthened. “Leaders need to know and understand themselves and realize that they see the world from a set of incomplete lenses. The value in a team is completing that world view with multiple perspectives,” explains Wims. She adds, “A leader needs most to populate a team with folks who are decidedly different from herself.”
Today, Wims is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Worcester State University. Devoted to students and academic pursuits for decades, she knows that learning is a lifelong endeavor. “A college graduate most needs to know that the workforce will be a continuing teacher,” advises Wims. “Learning is never static and truly never ‘complete.’ During my time at Bryant I was in a huge hurry to ‘get finished.’ Little did I realize that I would never be ‘finished’ with learning.”