Please visit COVID.RISD.EDU for details and the latest updates on RISD’s reponse to COVID-19. To request an update to content on this site, please email

Experimental and Foundation Studies Division

As the studio curriculum for all first-year undergraduate students at RISD, Experimental and Foundation Studies is comprised of three programs of study: Drawing, Design and Spatial Dynamics, each of which meets one full day per week. Freshmen are assigned to a section of approximately 20 students who attend the three studio classes together.

Experimental and Foundation faculty members emphasize the development of rigorous critical inquiry and motivate students to learn independently. Projects are designed to encourage exploration, questioning and risk taking. At the end of each project, critiques are held so that students can discuss their intentions and processes, and reflect on the capacity of the work to embody ideas and emotions.


Mickey Ackerman
Programs Head
401 454-6161

Elliot Clapp
Innovation Director
401 454-6176
Carr House

Simcha Davis
Technical Assistant III

Amy Dente
Department Administrative Coordinator

George Dyment
Technical Assistant III
401 952-4551

Carol Lasch
Interim Advising Coordinator
401 454-6176

Joanne Stryker
Dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies
401 454-6177

Traci Vaspol
Department Coordinator
401 454-6672

Nicholas Ventola
Technical Assistant III
401 454-6176

Carla Vilaboa
Office Assistant
401 454-6344

McDonald Wright
Technical Assistant III
401 454-6761
Carr House

Karen Zucconi
Senior Division Coordinator
401 454-6176