The Community College of Rhode Island and the two other public institutions for higher education in Rhode Island (Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island) are governed by the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education was created through legislation in 1981. The Board consists of 15 members: 12 public members, including a student from one of the three public institutions of higher education, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate in staggered three-year terms, except for the student who serves two years; plus, the chair of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and the chair of the finance committee of the Rhode Island House and Senate or their designees. The chair, who is one of the 12 public members, serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
As indicated on the College's organizational chart, the administrative structure at the Community College of Rhode Island works primarily through six divisions, each under its own Vice President or Associate Vice President, with the exception of two departments (Institutional Equity and Small Business Initiative) which report directly to the President. The College's chief administrative officers are: