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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes #6

October 2, 2007

1. The meeting was called to order at 8:38 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Miller presiding. All members were present.

2. The Executive Committee reviewed the minutes from their two previous meetings. Minutes from Executive Committee Meetings #4, September 18, 2007 were approved. Minutes from Executive Committee Meeting #5, September 25, 2007 were approved pending the Provost's review of portions of the Minutes regarding her meeting with the Executive Committee.

3. Announcements/Correspondence

a. Chairperson Miller reported that the Executive Committee had been invited to meet with the academic deans later in the semester to discuss issues of interest to both groups with regard to academic planning. The FSEC agreed that it might be useful to do so.

b. Vice Chairperson Martin reported on the September 28, 2007 meeting of the Board of Governors' Academic and Student Affairs Committee. She said that most of the meeting was related to reports on outcomes assessment efforts at Rhode Island College. She noted that Ms. Grossman-Garber had reported that URI had received a FIPSE Grant of almost $650,000 for a project on improving student access, advising and retention.

c. Chairperson Miller reminded the FSEC that the next meeting of the JSPC was scheduled for October 4 at 9:00 a.m. He said that Ms. Morrissey had informed him that the following topics would be on the Agenda:

  1. NEASC Review
  2. Update on Year 1 of Strategic Plan
  3. Student Senate: Input from students
  4. Visitor Experience

4. The FSEC reviewed Senate Action #07-08--2 "Substitute Resolution Referred to Executive Committee" and discussed the substitute motion along with the instructions provided by the Senate. The committee reviewed the suggestions forwarded to them with the substitute motion and agreed that most of the issues raised by the Senate should be considered by the Curricular Affairs Committee. It was agreed to discuss an appropriate charge to the CAC at their next meeting.

5. The Executive Committee was brought up to date on ongoing issues:

a. Searches: Ms. Grubman announced that interviews with the four Provost candidates had been scheduled as follows:

  • October 11 - Dr. Ian Gatley
  • October 18 - Dr. Damian Fernandez
  • October 25 - Dr. Carol Bresnahan
  • November 2 - Dr. Donald DeHayes

Ms. Grubman noted that the resumes of each of the candidates had been forwarded separately. It was agreed to discuss the candidates and possible questions at their next meeting.

The Executive Committee agreed to discuss potential appointments of members for the Dean of Pharmacy Search Committee with other faculty members more familiar with the college during the upcoming week and to continue their conversation by e-mail.

When President Carothers arrived, the Executive Committee moved to item 6 on the Agenda.

6. Chairperson Miller expressed his appreciation to President Carothers for his speech at the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty Meeting on September 27. It was noted that the speech was available on the web at

The Executive Committee met with President Carothers from 9:30-10:30 a.m. The following matters were considered:

a. Change in overhead allocation policy: Chairperson Miller asked President Carothers to consider the role of the overhead allocation in the running of the Graduate School of Oceanography and President Carothers responded that he was aware of the concerns raised by Dean Farmer and expected that the President's 5% share of the overhead allocation would be used to resolve the problems. Chairperson Miller also asked President Carothers to implement the changes in allocation policy gradually to phase it in for large multiyear grants that were charged at the 44% rate.

Chairperson Miller indicated that the Executive Committee would have been able to advise the President about these concerns if they had seen the proposed overhead allocation policy before it went to the Board of Governors. President Carothers apologized for not having consulted the Executive Committee when he was considering the proposed policy change, which he had originally considered a policy of the Board of Governors.

b. Class scheduling: President Carothers shared with the Executive Committee materials prepared by Enrollment Services about patterns of classroom use. He said that he hoped that the Executive Committee might consider asking a Senate Committee to consider a policy with regard to class scheduling.

During the discussion, President Carothers asked for advice from the Senate about other possible changes such as 4 credit courses for general education courses, the possibility of a trimester system or increasing the role of summer session, etc. The Executive Committee agreed to consider the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to take on some or all of the matters raised by the President.

c. URI as a Public Corporation: The Executive Committee discussed with the President his ideas about changing the paradigm for funding at URI by turning Public Higher Education in Rhode Island into a public corporation similar to the Airport and Quonset Point. President Carothers said that there was some interest on the part of Commissioner Warner for establishing a trust for tuition and fee income at the three institutions. The President cautioned that there were risks in adopting the changes he suggested but that funding public higher education in the present manner wasn't working.

d. Chief Diversity Officer Position: President Carothers reported on proposals that he establish a position of Chief Diversity Officer at URI and the need for better coordination of diversity efforts. He cited the Strategic Plan's focus on diversity without having any particular unit responsible for following through. He asked for the Executive Committee's advice about establishing the position and the scope of its responsibilities.

e. Transition in Academic Affairs: President Carothers suggested that the Executive Committee listen carefully to how the candidates responded to questions. He said that once a new Provost was hired that the Executive Committee should spend time orienting the person on the governance process and the role of the Faculty Senate. He said that the Executive Committee should also familiarize the new Provost with faculty priorities. He expressed concern about getting someone hired to begin on January first and noted that if none of the first four candidates proved to be the University's choice that he hoped Provost Swan would continue beyond the end of the calendar year.

f. Wish List: The Executive Committee asked the President where he would like the University to be ten years in the future. He said that he would like to see the University on a stronger financial footing, better financed and with a improved endowment to provide a more stable base. He said that he would like URI's on-campus culture strengthened with 60% of the student body living on campus and a more focused university, with a smaller number of very high quality programs. He also said that a winning sports season would be nice as well.

When President Carothers left the meeting, the Executive Committee resumed its regular order of business with item 5, b.

5. b. Strategic Planning: Members of the Executive Committee discussed their meeting with Mr. Bakr and Ms. Morrissey on planning and the strategic planning process. There was general agreement that the meeting had been useful for the FSEC.

c. Proposed matching funds legislation: Chairperson Miller reported that he was trying to schedule a meeting with Associate Dean Rhodes and Sea Grant Director Costa-Pierce about drafting a proposal that was acceptable to all of the internal parties concerned.

d. Committees: Ms. Grubman reported that she had a meeting scheduled with Professor Kinnie, Chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee that afternoon to discuss the committee's charge. She said that a meeting of the Admissions Advisory Committee was scheduled for later that morning. She reported that the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee would hold their meeting on October 3 to discuss the fall 2008 calendar with the expectation that they would bring a proposal to the Senate at the October 25 meeting.

7. The Executive Committee agreed to the following topics for their October 9 meeting with Vice President Alfonso:

a. Maintaining a strong research mission at an institution that relies heavily on undergraduate tuition at the same time.

b. Distribution of the additional funds that Research and Economic Development will receive under the change in overhead allocation policy.

c. Research support.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman



Sheila Black Grubman

Faculty Outstanding Award

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