1. The meeting was called to order at 2: 05 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Martin presiding. All members were present except Senator Rathemacher and Senator Swallow.
2. Copies of draft Minutes for Executive Committee Meeting #14, December 9, 2008, were distributed. It was agreed to consider them at a subsequent meeting.
a. Ms. Grubman reported that neither Professor Miller nor Professor Meyer was interested in continuing on the Search Committee for Dean of Engineering. She said that she had contacted Dr. Annunziato at the AAUP to find out whether the AAUP had made their appointments. Discussion ensued with regard to possible appointees. (NOTE: Professor G. Faye Boudreaux-Bartels, ELE, and Senator Chris Baxter, OCE, subsequently agreed to serve on the Search Committee)
b. Chairperson Martin reported that Provost DeHayes had enlisted the support of the Division of Student Affairs and the Equity Coalition to help plan the Inauguration Day program.
4. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #4, December 18, 2008 in preparation for the meeting later that week.
5. The Executive Committee was brought up to date on the following matters of continuing concern:
a. The Presidential Search: Ms Grubman reported that she had been contacted by the Commissioner's Office about scheduling a faculty meeting with representatives of the firm hired to assist the URI Presidential Search Committee. It was agreed that the meeting should be scheduled for a date after the Presidential Search Committee' January 27 meeting. (NOTE: The meeting was scheduled for Thursday, February 12 from 3-5 in the Cherry Auditorium.).
b. JSPC: The Executive Committee reviewed the December 11, 2008 meeting of the Joint Strategic Planning Committee (JSPC). It was noted that the Provost had already responded to the Executive Committee's concerns that there was no centralized access to technology by asking Vice Provost Bozylinsky to follow up on the matter.
The FSEC agreed that Vice President Weygand had been very informative about the process for obtaining URI business cards; however, the issue had been raised initially in the hope that a relatively small number of these cards (perhaps 50 per faculty member) might be distributed at the beginning of the year for faculty to use at conferences, in the community, and in any other place where it might be appropriate to generate the idea that a URI faculty member is available for help. Faculty who exceed 50 cards would then purchase whatever number they need.
The Executive Committee discussed the lack of adequate funding for the University Library, one of their major concerns regarding barriers to research. They expressed that the drastic attrition of journals at the library had reached a critical point, and that faculty could no longer afford to subscribe to all the journals that their graduate and undergraduate students might need to do substantive research in their fields. Nor can students afford to pay for journal articles that may be available to them electronically, but only for a fee if our library does not subscribe to the journal. They agreed that it was important to keep the Library funding issue at the forefront of discussions. One suggestion was that the Library's acquisitions budget be supplemented by overhead from research grants.
It was agreed that the JSPC should follow-up on Ms. Morrissey's suggestion that a small group be asked to recommend changes in administrative processes with regard to use of personnel and other means of support. They noted that some changes were needed in light of the serious shortage of clerical staff, which has become a campus-wide problem due to the large number of retirements.
c. The Blue Ribbon Study Commission: Chairperson Martin reported that she had discussed the Executive Committee's questions about implementation of the Commission's recommendations and had been satisfied that the Provost's concern was that the new President become involved in the process. She said that she had been assured that President Carothers would review the proposed membership. She hoped that the commission would be appointed in January.
d. Draft Vision for Academic Affairs: Chairperson Martin noted that Provost DeHayes expected to release the revised academic vision in January. She informed the FSEC that plans were moving forward for the all day academic summit in the Memorial on January 30, 2009. She said faculty would be invited to participate in the entire day or choose either the morning or the afternoon. She expected invitations to be distributed shortly and planned to announce the event at the Faculty Senate meeting.
e. Talent Development: The Executive Committee reviewed the retention data that Vice President Dougan had provided them. They agreed it would be useful to know the rate at which students in the SPTD program dropped courses in the middle of the semester or retained incompletes. The Executive Committee believed that the data was probably available and should be possible to compile. They also expressed concerns that a program that had an academic goal - successful completion of URI degrees, did not have a clear relationship to academic affairs, and would like to see TD returned to the auspices of Academic Affairs.
6. Members of the Executive Committee reviewed their schedules for Spring 2009 and agreed to meet on Tuesdays from 3-5 p.m. or on Mondays from 10-12 depending on the schedules of Senator Rathemacher and Senator Swallow.
7. The Executive Committee discussed plans for the inter-session and agreed that they would conduct business by e-mail after the December 18 Faculty Senate meeting. They decided not to hold a formal meeting until the week of January 26 and only to schedule a meeting of the available members of the FSEC before than if it was deemed necessary.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman