1. The meeting was called to order at 2: 02 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Martin presiding. All members were present except Senator Swallow.
2. Ms. Grubman distributed draft Minutes from Executive Committee Meeting #11, November 12, 2008. It was agreed to review the Minutes during the upcoming week and to consider them again on November 25.
a. Ms. Grubman announced that Professors Barbour and Zawia had agreed to serve on the Search Committee for the Dean of Pharmacy. She said that she had informed Dr. Annunziato of the URI AAUP, who said that no AAUP appointments had been made, but that they would be forthcoming shortly.
b. Senator Meagher reported on the November 14, 2008 meeting of the Board of Governors Academic and Student Affairs Committee. She said that the Commissioner's report had included the announcement that the firm of Isaacson, Miller of Boston had been hired for the URI Presidential Search. She said that the firm had conducted searches for UVM, UCONN, UMASS Amherst, and UNH. Other comments from the Commissioner concerned the expected budget shortfall in the spring.
Senator Meagher said that there had been an update on the Joint Admissions Agreement and a report by Mr. Boden on retention at URI, which seemed to indicate a slight improvement in retention of in-state students over previous years. She said that Mr. Boden's report included a PowerPoint presentation, which she had not been able to obtain, but she said that she would share the full report on retention with members of the FSEC by e-mail.
In addition, Senator Meagher reported on Professor John Stevenson's report on assessment of general education and the approval of assessment reports for General Education, Sociology and Anthropology and Communication Studies at URI.
c. Chairperson Martin announced that Provost DeHayes' November 25 meeting with the FSEC was postponed until December 2, 2008.
4. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #3, November 20, 2008, which was scheduled for later that week.
5. The Executive Committee discussed matters of continuing concern:
a. The Presidential Search: Chairperson Martin said that she had been pleased to learn that a local search firm had been selected. She said that the Search Committee planned to meet next on January 27 at 3:15, and she expected that representatives of the firm would attend.
b. JSPC meeting of November 13: Chairperson Martin, Senator Ordonez, and Ms. Grubman reported on the meeting that Vice Chairperson Costello and Senator Meagher had not been able to attend.
Ms. Grubman reported that the committee had agreed to forward the Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) to the Curricular Affairs Committee for approval. She said that the CAC would begin to consider the proposal in December.
Chairperson Martin and Senator Ordonez said that they were pleased that Vice President Alfonso had participated in the discussion about support for faculty in the humanities and social sciences. The specific topics under discussion included grant-proposal development and non-funded research. Vice President Alfonso and Provost DeHayes suggested that rather than hire a grant-writer, what was needed was a consultant from the appropriate field who could help a group of interested faculty members draft and refine grants. Vice President Alfonso agreed to discuss the matter further with Chairperson Martin and Vice Chairperson Costello.
In addition, Provost DeHayes and Vice President Alfonso had suggested that faculty members doing unfunded research might ask their deans for some financial support. All of deans have some overhead from grants, and supporting such requests would be an appropriate use for the funds.
Chairperson Martin and Senator Ordonez also commented on the explanation of the difference between the calculation of overhead, which included a percentage for library research support, and the allocation of the overhead, which did not include a percentage for the library. The Executive Committee agreed that even a small percentage of overhead allocated to support the research function of the libraries would make a difference for the libraries.
The Executive Committee also discussed the Provost's efforts to develop an academic vision for URI from which to build an academic plan. Provost DeHayes reported on comments he had received with regard to his vision and said that he planned to revise the vision by the end of the semester or shortly thereafter. The Provost said that the next step would be to get as many faculty members as possible involved in beginning to move from the vision to plans for action. He proposed that an open meeting in January to which faculty would be invited to participate would be an appropriate way to follow up on the academic vision.
7. President Carothers met with the Executive Committee from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. The following matters were considered:
a. Economic Summit: In response to a question about the Governor's Economic Summit, President Carothers said that no one from URI had attended because the dedication of the Outreach Center in honor of Kathy Mallon had been scheduled for the same time. He said that the Commissioner had attended the summit, but that as far as he knew, issues relating to URI hadn't been discussed.
b. January cuts: President Carothers said that given the nature of the stateís economy, there would certainly be a mid-year rescission. He speculated that if the rescission followed the pattern of previous years, it could be about $10 million in addition to the University's current expected shortfall of $3 million.
President Carothers noted that his power point presentation on alternative funding for the next Faculty Senate meeting projected that if the current rate continued, state funding would reach zero by 2015. He said that his figures presuppose that nothing different with regard to funding would occur between now and then.
Chairperson Martin told the President that a number of faculty members had expressed concerns about possible retrenchment. She asked that he speak to the issue at the Faculty Senate Meeting, and he agreed to do so. President Carothers said that in his experience retrenchment did not save money in the short-term and caused so much disruption and tension that he had no intention of considering the possibility.
c. URI's Budget: The Executive Committee asked President Carothers for advice on what faculty members might do to be proactive given the grim budget situation. President Carothers encouraged faculty to follow Provost DeHayes suggestions that they take a fresh look at the curriculum, the possibility of a more streamlined general education program and four-credit courses. He said that Provost DeHayes suggested that we try to plan for a University that could support itself without state funding whether or not we receive it.
When asked about maintaining morale through these difficult times, President Carothers suggested that everyone try to pull together rather than look around to see what could be cut to serve their own personal or departmental interests.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman