1. The meeting was called to order at 2: 00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Martin presiding. All members were present except Senator Ordonez.
2. Ms. Grubman reminded the FSEC that Senator Ordonez was away at a conference and would miss both the Executive Committee meeting and the Faculty Senate meeting this week.
3. The Executive Committee was brought up-to date on the following matters of continuing concern:
a. The Presidential Search: Chairperson Martin shared with the FSEC an e-mail message she had sent to Commissioner Warner asking for the second time that more faculty members be included on the Search Committee along with the Commissioner's reply.
In his response, the Commissioner agreed that the faculty should have a strong voice in the presidential search but explained that:
Board Chair Caprio, Search Committee Chair Ryan and I wanted to make sure that the search committee was broadly representative of the major constituencies at URI. The result of that effort is a committee that is already quite large and we are quite reluctant to increase it any further.
Following discussion, it was agreed not to pursue the issue further. They decided to make every effort to encourage faculty members to advise the faculty representatives to the Search Committee on qualities they wanted in a President. Further they agreed to encourage as many faculty members as possible to participate in the candidate interviews on campus and provide feedback to the faculty appointees to the Search Committee.
b. The Blue Ribbon Study Commission on the future of URI: Chairperson Martin announced that she and Professor Rice were scheduled to meet with Provost DeHayes on October 1 to discuss the Provost's concerns about the charge to the Commission.
Following discussion, the Executive Committee agreed that the two reports that are expected in October, the Flanders Commission Report and the Report of the Rhode Island Economic Summit, would provide the most recent information related to the Rhode Island economy, the economic aspect of the Commission's charge is only one of a list of issues for consideration by the Commission.
The Executive Committee decided that the next appropriate step would be to work with the President on specific appointments to the Blue Ribbon Commission when they meet with him on October 14.
c. October 16 Faculty Forum on Learning and Discovery for the New Global Century: Chairperson Martin, Vice Chairperson Costello and Ms. Grubman reported on their meeting the previous afternoon to develop plans for the Faculty Forum. They said that the format would include a brief video clip on global change, a panel of four faculty who would each speak for 8-10 minutes, and a fifth faculty member who would summarize the discussion. The hope is to provide an opportunity to get a discussion started among faculty members on the global issues and, by doing so, begin to develop a greater sense of community among the faculty.
d. JSPC Meeting of October 9, 2008: The Executive Committee agreed that they should draft their report on academic quality issues of concern to faculty and distribute it prior to the JSPC meeting. It was agreed that having the issues in advance should provide context for a discussion and potentially plans for solutions. Among the issues are: pressures to increase class size beyond what most faculty members consider appropriate; 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. These difficulties are a result of the retirements of faculty and classified employees during the summer and the month of September.
e. Alternative funding for URI: The Executive Committee discussed President Carothers' suggestion that the FSEC develop a position paper on alternative funding and agreed they were not sure where the faculty stands on the issue. They decided to set aside a period of time at the October Faculty Senate for an informal discussion of the decline of state support and the nature of alternative support that would be most appropriate.
4. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #1, September 25, 2008. Ms. Grubman expressed her concern that not having printed Agenda for the meeting would not be well received by members of the Senate. The Executive Committee asked Chairperson Martin to emphasize in her announcements the reasons for moving to a paperless system for Faculty Senate Meetings.
5. The Executive Committee discussed possible topics for their September 30, 2008 meeting with Provost DeHayes. Following discussion, it was determined that their discussion topic would center around interdisciplinary research and teaching and the philosophical and fiscal barriers to interdisciplinary activities.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman