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Holly J. Susi

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Holly Susi has worked at the Community College of Rhode Island since 1999. She was elected to the college’s inaugural Faculty Senate where her peers elected her to the Leadership Committee. She has served as the vice president of the CCRI Faculty Association Scholarship Committee as well as adviser to the student newspaper.

Holly is a fellow of the Association of College and University Educators having successfully completed a year-long course in evidence-based approaches that increase student engagement, learning, persistence and career-readiness.

Holly is a Trauma-Informed Care Champion at the college and has built Trauma-Informed Care training presentations for the college, healthcare and workforce communities. She held a certificate of specialized training in the field of emergency services from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and spent 12 years as a behavioral health counselor on the RI Critical Incident Stress Management Team providing education and support to the state's First Responders.

Additionally, Holly is a nationally-certified Developmental Education Specialist.

Holly was appointed by the governor of RI as a commissioner on the state Ethics Commission where she has served since April 2021. In 2023, she was elected secretary of the Board of Commissioners.



Office Hours

Summer office hours: Zoom by appointment


M.A. 2010 Counseling and Educational Psychology, RIC

Coursework: 18 credits in coursework as a reading specialist (RI does not have a certification process for teaching reading at the college level but 18 credits is considered the standard).

M.A. 2003 Adult Education, URI

B.A. 1999 Summa Cum Laude 4.0 GPA RIC
Major: Communication, Public & Professional
Minor: Business Management

A.S. 1990 Highest Honors CCRI
Major: Business


Communication classes taught:

Public Speaking, Media Writing, Fundamentals of American Journalism, Interpersonal Communication, Communication Fundamentals, Social Media

English Department classes taught:
Essentials of Reading, Basic College Reading, Critical Reading for College Success, Compensatory Writing Skills, Basics of Composition, College Writing

College Success

Selected Publications

Susi, H. (October 2021) “Trauma-informed Care.” Training modules for the healthcare setting. Workforce Partnership (CCRI).

Susi, H. (May 2021) “Trauma-informed Care.” Training modules for faculty/staff and for workplace training. Workforce Partnership (CCRI).

Kantor, M. (September 2006) “Good to Go: College calls for more than sound study habits. Here’s how to parents can teach kids the essential life skills required for success on campus and off.” Quoted extensively as developmental education specialist in national publication, ADDitude Magazine (7)1.

Susi, H. (September 2005) “Firefighter for a Day: Supporter for Life.” Fire Chief Magazine

Susi, H. (2005) “CCRI’s Developmental Education program cost effective; needs to be retained.” The Valley Breeze, The Westerly Sun et al (guest editorial/letter to editor)



Academic Focus

Photo Journalism
Interpersonal Communication
Social Media

Areas of Expertise

Public speaking
Interpersonal communication
Trauma-informed care
Group communication

Presentations and Activities

Susi, H. (April 2019) Saying Yes to New Experiences. Breakout Session Presenter at Rhode Island College Communication Day, Providence Rhode Island.

Susi, H., Austin, J. & McCormack, S. (April 2015) Build It and They Will Come: Creating Assignments that Work in the Library. Presentation at the Community College of Rhode Island All-College Professional Development Day, Warwick, Rhode Island.

Susi, H. (October 2013) Keeping schools safe: critical components to a comprehensive approach. Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Susi, H. (November, 2011) Using the ‘net to help students connect with their learning, teachers and one another, fall meeting keynote speaker, RI Business Educators Association, East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Susi, H. (March 2010/April 2011) Wikis, Blogs, Facebook & Twitter, Oh my! Using the Net to more actively involve students in the teaching and learning process.

Susi, H. (June 2009) Turning dreams into reality. Keynote speaker, Rhode Island Regional Adult Literacy Program annual graduation ceremony, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Susi, H. (November 2008-present) Education: The great equalizer. Guest speaker, Rhode Island Regional Adult Literacy’s Transitions-to-College Program, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Susi, H. & Dietrich, J. (October 2007) Evaluating the placement process: improving student retention through proper placement in developmental courses. Session co-presenter at The New England College Board Annual Best Practices in Two-Year Colleges Conference, Worcester, Massachusetts

Susi, H. & Dietrich, J. (October 2007) Integrating linguistics into the adult reading classroom. Session co- presenter at the College Reading and Learning Association 40th annual national conference, Portland, Oregon

Susi, H. & Luekens, M. (September – October 2007) Parent-to-Parent Family Training on AD/HD: A 7-session  program for adults and parents of children and teens with AD/HD. Program organizer and co-presenter of Rhode Island’s inaugural program, Providence, Rhode Island.

Susi, H. (May 2007) AD/HD and the college student: what you need to know. Session presenter at the Community College of Rhode Island, Disabilities Mentor Training, Lincoln, Rhode Island

Susi, H. (March 2006) AD/HD 101: Support for college students with AD/HD. Community College of Rhode Island, Advising and Counseling-sponsored workshop, Lincoln, Rhode Island

Susi, H. (November 2006) Special Education Resource Fair, representing RI Chapter of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as community resource expert at a forum for parents of children with disabilities.

Susi, H. & McCabe, R. (April 2004) The Bridge Partnership Session co-presenter at the American Association of Community Colleges, 84th annual national convention, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Susi, H. (November 2001) Conducting Your Own Media Survey, roundtable discussion leader, National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, northeast region conference, Providence, RI

Susi, H. (April 2000) Public Relation and the New Millenium: What’s the Web got to do with it Panelist member at Rhode Island College Communications Day, Providence, Rhode Island

Susi, H. (April 1999) Moderator, public relations panel discussion, Rhode Island College Communications Day                    

Awards & Honors

  • Hallmark Award for Excellence in Education, The New England College Board Best Practices in Two-Year Colleges Conference, recognition for “Applying research to create or improve teaching, students services or institutional initiatives, Worcester, MA, October 2007
  • Kellogg Institute practicum cited as exemplary and placed in the resource library at the National Center for Developmental Education, Appalachian State University, 2004
  • National Association for Developmental Education, national winner of the Kellogg Institute Scholarship, NADE National Conference, Austin, Texas, February, 2003
  • University of Rhode Island Alumni Association, grant to implement practicum project to develop a unit on morphology in an adult college reading course, December, 2002
  • Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, URI, April 2002
  • Professional Development Grant (competitive), CCRI Foundation, to study the effectiveness of specific teaching methods for low literacy adults, April 2002
  • Silver Medallion Award, District 1 NCMPR for radio commercial, November 2001
  • 1999 Communications Achievement Award, Public and Professional Communication, Rhode Island College
  • 1999 Meritorious Academic Recognition for the Year Award, Communications, RIC
  • 1998/1999 Departmental Talent Award, Communications Department, RIC
  • Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society, RIC
  • Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, CCRI, 1990