1. The meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 in the electricity-less third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Rice presiding. All members were present.
a. Senator Kowalski announced that Provost Swan would not be able to attend the meeting as planned because of the administrative ramifications of power failure on campus. He reported that the Provost told him that she had prepared materials for the meeting and hoped to reschedule soon.
b. Chairperson Rice reported on the Board of Governors meeting of September 18, 2006. He noted that a student from RIC had addressed the board during the open forum protesting the increases in tuition. He noted that although there was no direct response from the Board to the student's remarks, Commissioner Caprio did note that higher education continued to be burdened by budget cuts and urged that the Board become more active in its role as an advocate for the three institutions. Chairperson Rice indicated that in his report on the budget, Commissioner Warner also noted that since he arrived in 2002, the higher education budget hadn't kept up with inflation.
Chairperson Rice said that the Board approved the unrestricted and restricted budget requests for FY '08 and FY'09, which included tuition increases of approximately 6%.
c. Chairperson Rice said that he had attended a meeting of the Master Plan Review Team on September 15. He noted that discussion included the question 4 on the upcoming bond issue, the wind turbine project, the purchase of the Tibbitts' property and plans to provide more useful and informative maps of the campus. Chairperson Rice also reported that the Center for Biotechnology is in the application process for LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
d. Chairperson Rice and Ms. Grubman reported on the September 15 meeting of the Providence Campus Undergraduate Initiative Committee (PCUIC). They explained that the committee was considering options and intended to report to the Faculty Senate later in the fall.
e. The Executive Committee discussed correspondence from Senator Quina responding to the memorandum that CAC Chairperson Luebke sent to all department chairs about the review of online courses for summer 2007. After discussion, Vice Chairperson Luebke agreed to address these concerns in an e-mail message Senator Quina.
f. Ms. Grubman announced that the next meeting of the Board of Governors Academic and Student Affairs Committee is scheduled for Friday, October 6, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. at the Office of Higher Education. Chairperson Rice explained that his teaching schedule during the fall semester would make it impossible for him to attend the meetings. Senator Miller agreed to represent the Faculty Senate on October 6.
3. The Executive Committee reviewed the topics that they had planned to address with the Provost:
a. Audit of Admissions and Enrollment Services: The Executive Committee discussed the Provost's September 14 letter informing various members of the community about the upcoming management audit by Dr. Don Hossler.
b. Proposal to Adopt a "Test Optional" Policy for Admission to URI: The Executive Committee agreed that making SAT scores optional would be a very controversial step for URI. It was noted that while some studies indicate that SAT scores do not necessarily predict how well a student performs after s/he is admitted, others do show a correlation. It was suggested that the University begin the discussion by looking at data on URI students.
4. The draft Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #1, September 28, 2006, was reviewed and approved in final form.
5. The Executive Committee discussed the following matters of continuing concern:
a. It was noted that the on campus interviews of the candidates for Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach and Dean of the Graduate School were almost completed and the third candidate, Dr. Peter Alfonso, had been on campus for interviews during the past two days. Discussion ensued about each of the candidates and Ms. Grubman distributed copies of the evaluation form.
b. The Executive Committee agreed that with the upcoming appointment of a Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach and Dean of the Graduate School, it would be very useful to revisit the report of the ad hoc Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Education and Research (GER). They asked Chairperson Rice to invite Professor Rodgers, Chair of the GER committee to meet with the FSEC to discuss the status of the GER report. It was agreed to request that Professor Rodgers provide them in advance of the meeting with a copy of the latest version of the report, a summary of the committee's purpose in conducting its survey, a summary of the survey results.
c. Chairperson Rice reported that President Carothers had consulted with Ms. Lara Couturier of Brown University about the University's Commission on Futuring. He explained that Ms. Couturier was a coauthor with former President Frank Newman of the 2004 book, The Future of Higher Education.
d. The Executive Committee discussed the September 14, 2006 meeting of the JSPC and the request for advice on agenda items for the next meeting on October 12, 2006. It was agreed to raise possible items with the President at their next meeting.
e. Senator Kowalski brought the FSEC up to date on the NEASC Accreditation Self-Study. He said that the Steering Committee had met that morning and the chairs of the various subcommittees had reported on their work on the NEASC Standards. He noted that in the process of conducting the self-study, the committees were likely to identify issues that might be appropriate topics for the JSPC.
6. The Executive Committee agreed to the following topics for their September 26, 2006 meeting with President Carothers:
a. The University's Strategic Plan;
b. JSPC Discussion Topics;
c. Blue Ribbon Committee on Futuring.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman