1. The meeting was called to order at 8:35 a.m. on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Miller presiding. All members were present except Vice Chairperson Martin.
2. The Minutes from Executive Committee Meeting #3, September 11, 2007 were approved.
a. Chairperson Miller confirmed that the Executive Committee's informal meeting with academic deans was scheduled for October 24.
b. The Executive Committee discussed correspondence between the Chair of the Academic Program Review Committee and Ms. Morrissey regarding access to AIIM data. Following discussion, the Executive Committee asked Senator Beauvais to report to the Committee that the Executive Committee is in favor of maximum possible access to the data and results.
c. The Executive Committee agreed to have their lunch meeting with Vice Provost Bozylinsky on Thursday, November 8 at 12:45.
d. Ms. Grubman reported that she had encouraged Senator Leo to contact Professor Nassersharif and the Admissions Advisory Committee about his email proposing a pilot for programs that might be willing to make SATs optional for admissions.
4. The Executive Committee reviewed the draft Agenda for the October 25 Faculty Senate Meeting.
5. The Executive Committee was brought up to date on ongoing issues:
a. Lab Fees: The Executive Committee reviewed their draft report to the Senate in response to Action #07-08--2 and approved it in final form for inclusion in the October 25 Agenda.
b. Searches: The Executive Committee briefly discussed their October 11 interview with Dr. Ian Gatley, the first candidate in the Provost Search. The Executive Committee agreed that the Provost Search was of such importance that after the interviews are completed, rather than fill out forms, they would discuss the candidates and write as a group to the President, including the possibility of ranking the candidates.
Ms. Grubman announced that the next interview was scheduled for Thursday, October 18 at 9:00 a.m. with Dr. Damian Fernandez, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the Biscayne Bay Campus of Florida International University.
Chairperson Miller reported that the search for a new Dean of Engineering seemed to be proceeding well and that there were a number of qualified candidates in the pool. He said the committee was about to begin deciding which candidates should provide references.
When Vice President Alfonso arrived, the Executive Committee moved immediately to item 6 on the Agenda.
6. The Executive Committee met with Vice President Alfonso from 9:30-11:00 a.m. The Vice President and the FSEC discussed ways to maintain a strong research mission at an institution that relies on undergraduate tuition. Vice President Alfonso said that he believed that one of his responsibilities was to remind people within and outside the university that research enhances undergraduate teaching and that quality undergraduate education is informed by a climate that values and engages in research. With regard to involving undergraduates in research, Vice President Alfonso indicated that he planned to learn more about the University's experience with funding undergraduate research projects and that he intended to support undergraduate research in the future.
In addition, the Executive Committee and Vice President Alfonso discussed URI's disadvantage with regard to attracting graduate students and supporting financing graduate research assistants on grants because of the out of state tuition. Vice President Alfonso reported that he had begun to discuss this issue, which appears to lose income for the University in the short term, but could benefit the University in the future. He suggested slowly phasing in a reduced tuition over a period of time to lessen the initial impact on the University's budget.
Vice President Alfonso explained how the change in overhead allocation came with the research support responsibilities that had been moved from Academic Affairs into Research and Economic Development. He reported on efforts to combine pre- and post-grant support in the reorganized division. He also discussed ideas for increasing grant funding by assisting faculty members in the arts, humanities and social sciences with writing and overseeing research grants.
Vice President Alfonso responded to questions about the URI Commission for Innovation and Research, chaired by Judge Flanders, and its charge and membership. Chairperson Miller said that he had the opportunity to see Vice President Alfonso's presentation to the group and invited the Vice President to share his Status Report on URI Research and Innovation with the Faculty Senate as a special report at the October 25 meeting.
When Vice President Alfonso left the meeting, the committee returned to their regular order of business at item 5, c.
5. c. Administrator Evaluation Committees: The Executive Committee agreed to appoint the following faculty members for the AEC for Dean McKinney: Professor Martin Bide, Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, Professor Beth Marcoux, Physical Therapy and Professor Deborah Riebe, Kinesiology.
d. Follow-up on President Carothers' suggestions: The Executive Committee discussed President Carothers' concerns that classrooms were not being used to their full potential during late day and evening time slots. The Executive Committee considered the suggestion that faculty members might be willing to teach at less desirable times if there were attractive and well equipped classrooms available at those times. It was agreed that the first step would be to look at existing classrooms to see what might be done to improve them.
The Executive Committee considered the possibility of asking the Joint Classroom Steering Committee to determine which underused classrooms might be updated to make them more attractive to faculty.
Ms. Grubman reminded the Executive Committee that they had to move their October 23 meeting out of Green Hall because all of the conference rooms in Green Hall were being used for the NEASC Accreditation visit.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.
Sheila Black Grubman