1. The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Martin presiding. All members were present.
a. Chairperson Martin announced that President Carothers had invited Provost DeHayes to join him for the Executive Committee meeting later that afternoon.
b. Senator Ordonez said that she would miss both the September 23 Executive Committee meeting and the September 25 Faculty Senate meeting because she would be attending a conference that week.
3. The Executive Committee was brought up-to-date on the following matters of continuing concern:
a. The Presidential Search: The Executive Committee discussed the composition of the Presidential Search Committee and noted the limited number of faculty representatives on the Committee.
Chairperson Martin noted that the Chair of the Search Committee, Mr. Thomas Ryan, and the Chair of the Board of Governors, Judge Frank Caprio, had both commented on the size of the committee, which was in their opinion very large.
b. The Blue Ribbon Study Commission on the future of URI: The FSEC continued their discussion of possible appointees to the Commission and agreed that the next step was to discuss the Commission with the President and the Provost.
c. Committee appointments: Ms. Grubman reported that there were only a minimal number of vacancies on committees for 2008-09 and solicited further suggestions of potential faculty members who might fill the remaining positions.
d. Planning the October 16 Faculty Forum on Learning and Discovery for the New Global Century: The Executive Committee formed a small subcommittee to work with the Provost on refining the details of the upcoming Forum: Chairperson Martin, Vice Chairperson Costello, Senator Ordonez, Dr. Shea from the Instructional Development Program and Ms. Grubman. Ms. Grubman agreed to schedule a meeting of the subcommittee with Provost DeHayes before the next FSEC meeting.
e. Developing an Agenda for the 2008-09 Faculty Senate and its Executive Committee: Chairperson Martin distributed a draft welcome letter to the faculty.
Following discussion of the draft, Chairperson Martin agreed to revise the draft based on suggestions and other members of the FSEC agreed to review the revised draft by e-mail in order to get the letter out by the end of the week.
f. FSEC's items for the JSPC Meeting of October 9, 2008: The Executive Committee agreed to initiate discussion of academic quality issues to the JSPC for the next meeting. Among the issues are: pressures to increase class size beyond what most faculty members consider pedagogically sound; continuing concerns about lack of communication with the faculty about financial decisions that affect teaching and research, as well as services, such as the Library, during a period of serious budget problems; and difficulties faced by faculty in both teaching and research because of the unplanned and random nature of staff and faculty shortages in academic departments and other key areas which are a result of the retirements of faculty and classified employees during the summer and the month of September.
4. The Executive Committee met with President Carothers and Provost DeHayes from 3:15 to 4:00 p.m. The Executive Committee thanked President Carothers and Provost DeHayes for joining them. They asked Provost DeHayes about his bicycle accident and how he was feeling and the Provost gave a brief update on his recent accident.
The following questions raised by the FSEC were considered:
a. How do you see the Blue Ribbon Commission now? Provost DeHayes has articulated a starting point for a vision that we didn't have last spring. How do you see this draft vision influencing the implementation of the Blue Ribbon Commission?
Provost DeHayes noted that a number of things had changed within and outside the University since the Blue Ribbon Commission charge was written and endorsed by the Senate and the President. He said that recommendations of both the Flanders Commission and the Rhode Island Economic Summit are expected to be released in October. He explained that he believed the additional information provided in the reports would put the University further ahead in information gathering and planning, especially with regard to the University and the Rhode Island economy.
Provost DeHayes indicated that the vision for academic affairs being drafted by the Provost in consultation with the Council of Deans would also have an impact on the Commission's membership and charge. In addition, it was suggested that the University would be doing significant self-analysis as a necessary part of beginning to search for a new President.
Discussion ensued about the impact of these efforts on the establishment of the Commission. Chairperson Martin and Provost DeHayes agreed to meet with Professor Rice to discuss the establishment of the commission in light of the new developments.
b. How we can accomplish the privatization of the University that you have spoken about several times as our only way out from under the state? What do you think the BOG's reaction to such a move would be? How can we initiate joint planning with FS and FSEC to move this agenda forward?
President Carothers and the Executive Committee discussed the President's proposal that the University become a Public Corporation. President Carothers said that he had proposed the change a number of times as a possible solution for enabling the University to find a way out of its steady downward spiral in state support. President Carothers explained that the Board of Governors is concerned about the entire system of public higher education and, while URI might be able to work with a new model, it would not work for Rhode Island College and CCRI which were much more dependent on state funding.
The President suggested that the FSEC might develop a position paper on reconfiguring the University as a public corporation.
c. How do you think we can we better use the JSPC for collaborative policy development and planning, with substantive exchange of ideas and input on actions?
President Carothers and the Executive Committee agreed that perhaps meetings were too brief to both keep the committee informed and to allow time for serious consideration of major issues. The Executive Committee acknowledged that expanding the meeting time to an hour and a half while minimizing the time spent on informational reports and scheduling only one or two major issues might improve the quality of discussion at the meetings.
5. Ms. Grubman reminded the Executive Committee that the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #1, September 25, 2008, was only
available on the web at http://www.uri.edu/facsen/FS_01_9-25-08.htm. She asked everyone to review the Agenda online and get back to her with corrections before she publicly announced to the Senate, and other members of the faculty and University community that the Agenda was accessible.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman