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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes #2

July 25, 2006

1. The meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Rice presiding. All members were present.

2. The Minutes of 2005-06 Executive Committee Meeting #34, May 9, 2006 were approved. Following discussion, the Minutes of 2006-07 Executive Committee Meeting #1, July 7, 2006 were approved as amended.

3. The Executive Committee met with Vice Provost Pasquerella from 1:15 to 2:10 p.m. The following matters were considered:

a. Board of Governors' policy on low enrollment programs: The Executive Committee expressed concern about the process by which the University responds to the Board's request to identify programs for possible elimination based on graduation rates. They said that they were concerned about communication between the Office of the Provost and the faculty and urged that in the future any program that appears on the list (based on the Board's criteria) be notified at the beginning of the process. Vice Provost Pasquerella agreed that faculty concerned with the programs should be alerted as early as possible and said that she would ensure that faculty members are aware that their programs have been identified for review. She also noted that she had suggested to the Provost that coffee hour with faculty be reinstated in 2006-07 as a way to facilitate communication between faculty members and the Provost.

b. On-Line Instruction Committee: The Executive Committee expressed concern that the Committee on On-line Instruction did not function as well as it might have during the 2005-06 academic year. Vice Provost Pasquerella said that she and Vice Provost Bozylinsky were now co-chairs of the committee and she expected that several of the problems identified during the 05-06 academic year would be remedied and the group would be able to move forward during 2006-07.

c. Discussions at Senate meetings: Members of the Executive Committee said that they were concerned that administrators were not participating in discussions of matters before the Faculty Senate. They said that as a result Senators might not be acquainted with all of the relevant aspects or adequately informed about an issue before they vote. The FSEC said that while the Senate might not always agree with the position of ex officio members, relevant concerns should be aired on the floor. Vice Provost Pasquerella said that she would ask the Provost to consider including matters before the Faculty Senate at Council of Deans' meetings prior to Faculty Senate Meetings.

d. Revitalizing the SETs Committee: Vice Provost Pasquerella asked the Executive Committee for advice regarding the SETs. She explained that the legacy system would inevitably go off-line which made it important to replace the SETs with another instrument as soon as possible. She noted that the joint AAUP-Administration Committee on the SETs had not been as active in recent years as it had been in the past. It was also noted that over the past few years several individuals and groups, including the Faculty Senate Teaching Effectiveness Committee, had urged that the evaluations be revised to reflect changes in pedagogy since the SETs were initiated. In addition, there was some discussion about whether an evaluation instrument might be administered on-line. Vice Provost Pasquerella said that she would appoint a committee to consider the issues and make recommendations with regard to teaching evaluations.

e. Board of Governors mandate regarding General Education*: Vice Provost Pasquerella and the FSEC discussed the Board's mandate with regard to general education and the University's response to it. The Executive Committee suggested that it would be helpful if someone from NEASC provided the Board with a written clarification of the "40 credits." Further, it was the opinion of the Executive Committee that NEASC's review of URI's Self Study, which would include URI's General Education Program, should satisfy the Board of Governors concerns.

* The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Community College of Rhode Island will prepare a brief, bulleted plan that ensures timely completion of any necessary revisions to their general education program, in keeping with the RIBGHE's Regulations Governing Academic Changes in Rhode Island Public Institutions of Higher Education (pages 10-11) and the NEASC standards 4.15 through 4.18. Revised general education requirements (and a discussion of any necessary curricula changes) will be presented to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee (ASAC) and later to the full Board at meetings in fall 2006. Any needed revisions will also be included in any reports or self-study documents required by the NEASC in 2006-2007, published in the 2007 college and university catalogues, and made known to the entering classes of fall 2007 as their general education requirements. (Approved 5/22/06) In addition, Vice Provost Pasquerella agreed to look into how the engineering fee was being used. It was noted that faculty and the dean of the college believed that all of the funds were to be used to support engineering laboratories.

When Vice Provost Pasquerella left the meeting, the Executive committee resumed its regular order of business.

4. Announcements/Correspondence:

a. The Executive Committee was brought up-to-date on searches:

1) Dean of University Libraries: It was noted that none of the candidates who had been on campus for interviews had been selected. Ms. Grubman said that she hoped an Interim Dean would be appointed if the position remained vacant in September. She explained that without a dean, the University Libraries has not had an ex officio representative on the Faculty Senate since Mr. Wessells left the University last spring. Ms. Grubman noted that Professor Maslyn had been named "Interim Director", rather than "Interim Dean."

2) Dean of the College of Business Administration: The Executive Committee agreed that the three new candidates for the Dean position would have been identified through the usual search committee process:

a. Dr. Shaw Chen, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration, who had been interviewed by the AAUP and FS Executive Committees on July 20 at 11:00 a.m. in the AAUP Conference Room in Roosevelt Hall.

b. Dr. Maling Ebrahimpour, Dean of the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University, who had been interviewed by the AAUP and FS Executive Committees on July 24; and

c. Dr. Mark Higgins, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration, who is scheduled for his interview on July 26.

3) Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach and Dean of the Graduate School: Chairperson Rice reported that it was his understanding that seven candidates were being interviewed by telephone and that the search committee expected to bring three candidates in for interviews in September. It was remarked that no one had been appointed Interim Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach and Dean of the Graduate School when Vice Provost Pasquerella moved to her position as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

b. The Executive Committee discussed President Carothers' 2006 Management Letter, which they had received from the President by e-mail in June. It was noted that the President had reported that the University would "Build undergraduate programs offered at the Providence campus, consistent with the enrollment targets set by the Faculty Senate." Members of the Executive Committee asked Ms. Grubman to check the legislation on the Providence campus Undergraduate Initiative because no one remembered that the Faculty Senate had set enrollment targets.*

* Faculty Senate Bill #04-05--9 http://www.uri.edu/facsen/428CAC.html does not specify targets but appendices http://www.uri.edu/facsen/January_2005_Providence_Cam.pdf and http://www.uri.edu/facsen/January_2005_Providence_C1.pdf do refer to "assumed revenues as projected"

c. Senator Kowalski reported that he had been able to attend the Branding Conference on July 17, 2006 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. He said that the conference had been fairly well attended.

Senator Kowalski remarked that there was a general understanding that Universities are "branded" whether or not they choose to be. He said that he was most interested in the presentations by representatives from two universities that had successfully worked to brand themselves because both had emphasized their roles as research institutions.

d. Chairperson Rice reported that the FSEC had received a copy of the Final Report of the Digital Materials Standards and Procedures Group, which had been chaired by Roy Bergstrom and Sarina Wyant. He said that the report contained strategies for archiving digital materials, commenting that the recommendations are especially relevant at this time. Chairperson Rice indicated that the report was available in the Faculty Senate Office and he encouraged members of the Executive Committee to review it at their convenience.

e. Ms. Grubman distributed an updated schedule of FSEC meetings for fall 2006. She reported that the following guests had already been scheduled for 10:30-11:30 a.m. on the following dates:

September 19 - Provost Swan
September 26 - President Carothers
October 3 - Vice Provost Bozylinsky
October 17 - President Carothers
October 24 - Provost Swan
November 14 - President Carothers
November 28 - Provost Swan

The Executive Committee asked Ms. Grubman to schedule Vice President Weygand for November 8 as a follow-up on the State of the Budget Address to the Faculty Senate on October 26.

f. Ms. Grubman distributed the schedule of upcoming Board of Governors meetings, which included meetings of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and of the Facilities and Finance Committee, as well as of the full Board. She explained that meeting Agenda were no longer mailed to the Senate Office and had to be downloaded from the Board's website at http://www.ribghe.org/meetings.htm. She noted that the following meetings were scheduled for the rest of the summer:

  • Facilities & Finance Committee on July 26, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at OHE
  • Academic & Student Affairs Committee on August 4, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at OHE
  • Board of Governors on August 21, 2006 at 4:00 p.m. at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus
  • Academic & Student Affairs Committee on September 1, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at OHE

Senator Miller agreed to attend the August 4 meeting of the Academic & Student Affairs Committee because Chairperson Rice had indicated that he would not be able to do so.

g. The Executive Committee noted that they had received the Annual Report of the Ombud for 2005-06 by e-mail and agreed to include it on the Agenda for the September Faculty Senate meeting.

h. Ms. Grubman asked the members of the FSEC if there was any time that all or most of them would be available for meetings of the JSPC during the fall semester. The FSEC agreed that non-Senate Thursdays from 1-3 might be acceptable.

The Executive Committee noted that a JSPC meeting was scheduled for August 9 at 1:30 p.m. Following discussion, the Executive Committee asked Ms. Grubman to suggest that the meeting be cancelled because several members, including President Carothers and Chairperson Rice, would not be able to attend.

i. Ms. Grubman reported that Provost Swan had indicated that she would try to continue to provide funding for travel for members of the Executive Committee during the 2006-07 academic year, but had cautioned that it might not be possible in light of the University's financial situation.

j. Senator Kinnie briefly reviewed with the FSEC the results of the LibQUAL+ (library quality) survey and suggested that the Faculty Senate might be interested in a presentation. It was further noted that the results would provide useful information for the NEASC Self-Study

k. The Executive Committee considered a request from Ms. Morrissey for results of the faculty survey as part of the follow-up to the Branding Conference. It was agreed that the Executive Committee should have the opportunity to discuss the results before making them public.

5. The Executive Committee considered issues related to the Faculty Senate Constitution with regard to ex officio members of the Faculty Senate.

Following discussion, it was agreed that the FSEC should recommend to the Faculty Senate that Article III of the Faculty Senate Constitution be modified to accommodate the change in title for the Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach and Dean of the Graduate School in accordance with Article VII, 3 l.

With regard to the separation of the position of Vice Provost for Information Technology Services and the Dean of University Libraries, it was agreed that a referendum of the faculty would be necessary in order to add another ex officio member to the Senate. The FSEC decided to recommend that the Faculty Senate authorize a referendum to amend Article III by replacing titles of specific Vice Provosts (i.e. Academic Affairs, Urban Programs) with the more general "vice provosts" to correspond with the use of the term "deans" as was already the case in Article III.

6. The Executive Committee discussed committee appointments and agreed that in situations where there were no volunteers, they would encourage Senators and junior members of the faculty to serve.

7. Following discussion, the Constitution, By-Laws and University Manual Committee Report on Changes to the UNIVERSITY MANUAL for Fall 2006 was approved as submitted. It was noted that only changes that reflected amendments approved by the Faculty Senate and the President were included in the Report of the CBUM Committee.

8. The Executive Committee decided to postpone the remaining items on their Agenda until their September 12 meeting.

Chairperson Rice volunteered to draft the 2006-07 "welcome letter" and send it to the FSEC by e-mail for comments, suggestions, etc.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman