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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes #5

September 25, 2007

1. The meeting was called to order at 8:38 a.m. on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Miller presiding. All members were present.

2. Ms. Grubman distributed copies of draft minutes from Meeting #4, September 18, 2007 for review and comment. She said that the minutes would be on the October 2 Agenda for approval.

3. Announcements:

a. Chairperson Miller announced that the next meeting of the Board of Governors Academic and Student Affairs Committee was scheduled for September 28 and that he would not be able to attend. Vice Chairperson Martin indicated that she would attend the meeting in his stead.

b. Chairperson Miller briefly reported on the Branding initiative. He said that he had been invited to meet with a representative from FORGE Worldwide of Waltham, MA, which is the firm hired to develop a brand and positioning for strategy for URI and to create an integrated University-wide branding campaign.

c. Ms. Grubman distributed "Walk to D'Feet ALS" flyers to members of the Executive Committee. She urged members of the FSEC to become involved in "Ramstad's Rams," the group that would walk to raise money in honor of Professor Yngve Ramstad.

4. The Executive Committee was brought up-to-date on the following matters of continuing interest:

a. Lab Fees: Ms. Grubman reported that at their meeting on September 24, the CAC had been updated on the issue of lab fees which had been a concern of the two previous Curricular Affairs Committees. She said that CAC Chairperson Luebke had informed the CAC about the proposed resolution that was on the Agenda for the September 27 Faculty Senate Meeting.

b. Searches: The Executive Committee discussed the Provost Search and agreed that they would devote time at their next meeting to discuss the candidates and consider what questions they should ask on behalf of the Faculty Senate.

At the request of the Provost Search Committee, the Executive Committee discussed possible times for their interviews of the Provost candidates. Ms. Grubman said that she would share their preferences with the person who was working on the scheduling for the Search Committee.

Chairperson Miller reported on the status of the Search for a Dean of Engineering. He noted that the committee had already received approximately 20 applications which were posted on the committee's website and that applications would be accepted for two more weeks.

c. Strategic Planning v. Tactical Planning: Chairperson Miller reported that Ms. Morrissey and Mr. Bakr had agreed to meet with any interested members of the Executive Committee to discuss strategic planning on September 26, 2007 at 9:00 a.m.

d. Budget concerns: Chairperson Miller noted that he had forwarded to the FSEC an e-mail message from President Carothers, which reported that the State Budget Office had recommended an appropriation in FY09 of 97% of the state appropriation for FY08. The President had noted that this would amount to a $2.6M reduction over this year for URI. In light of the budgeted increase of 4% in the appropriation ($3M), there would be a $5.6M reduction for URI in the budget request that had been approved by the Board at its last meeting. In addition, the directions from State Budget also included a proposed significant reduction in FTE's for Higher Education.

e. Overhead changes: The Executive Committee discussed the possible impact the changes in percentage of allocation might have on the colleges. One concern was about the overhead allocation from multi-year grants, which had been obtained under the 44% overhead rate. It was agreed that they should suggest that overhead from these grants be assigned under the previous allocation percentage.

f. Quality issues: The Executive Committee agreed that they should continue to emphasize the quality issues that are associated with increasing the size of the student body.

When Provost Swan arrived, the Executive Committee changed the order of business and moved to item 7 on the Agenda

7. The Executive met with Provost Swan from 9:25 to 10:30 a.m.

a. Change in overhead allocation policy: Provost Swan reported that the change in the overhead policy had not been discussed with the Council of Deans prior to its being forwarded to the Board of Governors. She reported that the Graduate School of Oceanography, especially the Narragansett Bay Campus, would be the unit at the greatest disadvantage when/if the new overhead policy allocation goes into effect. She said that Dean Farmer had written to the President about the devastating effects that the new overhead distribution policy would have on Oceanography.

Chairperson Miller said that it was the Executive Committee's view that if the community had been consulted on the overhead allocation policy as outlined in the proposed Policy #80-1 Revised, many of the problems now being identified might have come to the President's attention earlier in the process.

b. Quality issues: The Provost and the Executive Committee discussed concerns about maintaining quality at URI as the number of students continues to increase. She said that she wasn't sure what the appropriate size of the student body should be, but that class-size, an appropriate number of continuing faculty and academic advising should always be part of strategic planning.

The Executive Committee and Provost Swan discussed the possibility of charging the Teaching Effectiveness Committee with exploring best practices in advising with the expectation that the committee would be able to identify what should be done to improve advising at the University as well as what it would take to achieve it.

c. Search for Provost: The Executive Committee asked the Provost what she thought the faculty might be aware of in interviewing candidates for Provost. She said that she would be interested in learning how each candidate views the faculty. She suggested that they should learn about how each candidate's views about undergraduate teaching in a research environment. She also proposed that the Executive Committee learn more about the candidates' understanding of various funding models, such as increasing enrollment, moving to a public corporation, or other ideas of their own.

d. Strategic vision for the university: The Executive Committee asked the Provost to identify her wish list for where URI should be in 10 years. Provost Swan said that she thought that URI should have 800 faculty members with the appropriate number of students for that size. She also said that she'd like to see many more endowed chairs. The Provost also said that she thought, in addition to the Graduate School of Oceanography, URI should have an outstanding and respected Professional School in addition to the Colleges. She noted that about 20 years ago the University considered the establishment of a School of Public Policy, which had not been explored after that time. She said that she believed that a School, not necessarily Public Policy, would enhance the University's position, not only within the state, but nationally.

When Provost Swan left the meeting, the Executive Committee resumed its regular order of business.

5. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #1, which was scheduled for the following Thursday. With regard to Chairperson Miller's announcements, it was agreed it wasn't necessary for him to speak about the role of the Faculty Senate or outline the Executive Committee's goals for the academic year because most of the information was in the welcome letter that had been mailed to all faculty at the beginning of the semester and posted on the Faculty Senate Home Page (see http://www.uri.edu/facsen/Welcome_Letter_07.html).

The Executive Committee also agreed that Chairperson Miller would ask that people who wish to speak wait to be recognized by the chair and also that they identify themselves before speaking. Chairperson Miller said that he would try to give everyone the opportunity to address an issue once, but would ask that having spoken, Senators not speak again if the point has already been addressed.

6. The Executive Committee discussed the September 20, 2007 JSPC Meeting at which Ms. Barrett had provided a general overview of the FY'08 budget and the proposed FY'09 budget. In her presentation Ms. Barrett had spoken of her concerns about the possible reductions mandated by the Budget Office (see item 4, d above).

In addition, the Executive Committee also discussed Assistant Provost Katz' report on the AIIM and how it has been used by the administration. Concerns were raised about some of the decisions that were made in graphing and reporting the results of the initial AIIM. It was noted that Vice Chairperson Martin and Senator Beauvais had been appointed to the new Academic Program Review Committee, which has been charged with developing and maintaining the academic program review instrument (the AIIM or another instrument); coordinating the administration of the review; overseeing the collection of data; and compiling and disseminating information resulting from the review. (See sections 5.86.10-11 and 8.86.10-14 of the UNIVERSITY MANUAL.)

The Executive Committee also discussed President Carothers' thoughts about the University as a public corporation and agreed to raise the matter further when they meet with the President on October 2.

7. The Executive Committee agreed to the following topics for their October 2 meeting with President Carothers:

a. Change in overhead allocation policy.

b. Concept of URI as a Public Corporation.

c. Issues the Executive Committee should be aware of to better assist with the upcoming transition in Academic Affairs.

d. Strategic vision for the university: the President's wish list for where URI should be in 10 years.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman