1. The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2006, in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Rice presiding. All members were present.
2. The Minutes of Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meetings #11, November 8, 2006 and #12, November 14, 2006 were approved.
a. The Executive Committee reviewed e-mail correspondence between Ms. Grubman and Ms. Amy Olson, Hillel Director about Jewish students who are scheduled to take exams on Friday afternoons and on Saturdays. The Executive Committee concurred with Ms. Grubman's interpretation that the following does apply to Friday night and Saturday final exams:
6.20.10 Policy on Religious Observance. No faculty or staff member, administrator or student shall be discriminated against because of religious beliefs or practices.
8.51.11 Students who plan to be absent from classes or examinations for religious holy days that traditionally preclude secular activity (see 6.20.11 for how such information is made available) shall discuss this with the appropriate instructor(s) in advance of the holy day. The instructor(s) shall then make one of the following options available:
a. the same quiz, test, or examination to be administered either before or after the normally scheduled time;
b. a comparable alternative quiz, test, or examination to be administered either before or after the scheduled time;
c. an alternative weighting of the remaining evaluative components of the course which is mutually acceptable to the student and instructor(s).
It was noted that Vice Provost Pasquerella had been copied into the correspondence along with the FSEC, Mr. Humphrey and the chair of the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee.
b. The Executive Committee discussed recent e-mail correspondence between Dr. Frank Annunziato of the AAUP and Chairperson Rice and Ms. Grubman in response to the Executive Committee's draft charge to the Teaching Effectiveness Committee to revise the SETs. In contrast to original impressions that the AAUP would be willing for the Faculty Senate to take a role in revising the SETs, Dr. Annunziato asserted that the AAUP had control of the instrument as a matter of collective bargaining. Ms. Grubman and Chairperson Rice agreed that since the contract takes precedence, the Senate would not be involved in a revision of the SETs.
Following discussion, it was agreed to talk to the Provost about the possibility of asking the Teaching Effectiveness Committee to look into "best practices" with regard to the evaluation of teaching and to report their findings to the Faculty Senate.
4. The Executive Committee discussed the previous Faculty Senate Meeting, which had been held on November 16, 2006. Ms. Grubman reported that Vice Provost Bozylinsky had forwarded a copy of his PowerPoint presentation which could be accessed from the Faculty Senate website (see http://www.uri.edu/facsen/ITS_Reorg_11-06.pdf or http://www.uri.edu/facsen/ITS_Reorg_11-06.ppt)
5. The Executive Committee met with President Carothers from 10:30-11:47. The following matters were discussed:
a. The Hossler Report on Enrollment Management: The Executive Committee and President Carothers discussed Dr. Hossler's observations, many of which were already known to the University. The most significant recommendation was that the University hire a Vice President for Enrollment Management who would be able to determine more accurately how to award scholarships and other forms of financial aid. It was further noted that suggestions for improving the visibility of the Honors Program to potential students was a very positive innovation.
b. The SAT Optional proposal: It was agreed that if the intent of establishing Vice Provost Pasquerella's committee had been to have a broader discussion on campus of the value of the SAT's and other forms of assessment, it was working. President Carothers said that the University had to devise some method for assessing students with non-traditional high school backgrounds, who do not take the SATS. The Executive Committee suggested that admitting students who may not be ready to attend a traditional University could be setting them up for failure. An alternate route for such students would be to attend CCRI under the Joint Admissions Agreement. The Executive Committee noted that given the financial problems facing URI, there should be a balance between resources and potential benefits for some students.
c. Implementation University-wide Initiative #4 of the Strategic Plan: President Carothers suggested that the reorganization of the research under the new Vice Provost should provide an impetus for improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of research support. President Carothers said that the Office of Grants Accounting would now report to the new Vice Provost. He stated that the creation of a Research Foundation, similar to the Research Corporation approved by the Faculty Senate in the spring of 2004, should move the university towards its goals. He noted that because fundraising was to be the major responsibility of the URI Foundation, the Research Foundation would administer patents and copyrights.
d. Upcoming issues for the JSPC: The Executive Committee suggested that the JSPC follow up on Vice Provost Bozylinsky's proposal to re-engineer business practices by initiating self studies in some of the support services of the University. The Executive Committee proposed that it be made clear that what was being evaluated were processes, not people. President Carothers asked the Executive Committee if they were interested in measuring more than the time it takes for the University to process travel reimbursement or hiring new faculty. In response, the Executive Committee said that they wanted also to focus on the accuracy of data and procedures related to faculty travel.
6. The Executive Committee agreed to the following topics for their November 28 meeting with Provost Swan:
a. "Test Optional" Policy for Admission to URI;
b. Student Evaluation of Teaching;
c. The Hossler Report;
d. The Providence Campus.
7. The Executive Committee agreed to postpone consideration of the remaining items on the Agenda until their next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
Sheila Black Grubman