1. The meeting was called to order at 3: 05 p.m. on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 in the President's Conference Room in Green Hall, Chairperson Martin presiding. All members were present.
2. Provost DeHayes met with the Executive Committee from 3:05 to 5:10 p.m. He explained that Vice Provost Beauvais wasn't able to attend the meeting because she was representing academic affairs elsewhere.
a. Classroom codes of conduct: Provost DeHayes said that his interest in a possible code of conduct for URI students had been in response to Professor Emeritus Recksiek's letter to the Provost proposing the development of such a policy. The letter had been published in the December issue of the URI AAUP News (see http://www.ele.uri.edu/aaup/newsletter1208(2).pdf).
Provost DeHayes said that since URI didn't have an official classroom conduct policy he thought the Faculty Senate should consider whether to develop and promulgate a classroom code of conduct. He said the sample he sent was an example of a code of conduct from the University of Vermont for reference purposes.
b. Follow-up on the January 30 Academic Planning Summit: The Executive Committee and Provost DeHayes agreed that the summit had been well attended and many interesting ideas had been brought forward. Provost DeHayes commented that general education had been mentioned at about 1/3 of the sessions. He said that he hoped to have the summaries from the sessions on the web within the next week or two and this would give more faculty members the opportunity to participate in the discussion and possible task forces. He said he hoped there would be no further reductions in the FY09 Budget than those already discussed because he hoped to be able to provide faculty members with small incentives for developing pilot projects.
Discussion ensued as to what possible projects might look like.
c. The Graduate School: The Executive Committee urged Provost DeHayes to appoint an Interim Dean of the Graduate School. He said that he had conversations with a number of faculty members about the position but hadn't been able to make an appointment. He noted that all of the faculty members with whom he spoke were very interested in graduate education but felt they had too many other commitments to take on the role. He said that he was still working on the issue and considering what might be done. He said the Graduate School appeared to be locked into the details of graduate programs and needed someone from outside to provide leadership.
d. Graduate Students: The Executive Committee initiated discussion about graduate students, beginning with the out-of-state tuition for graduate research assistants, which hampers researchers and makes them less competitive for grants. He said the issue of graduate research assistant tuition was a topic raised at almost every one of his small coffee hours with faculty, and he knew something had to be done. He reminded the FSEC that out-of-state tuition was a real budget item and had to be addressed. He said he hoped to have some possible options made public as soon as the FY'09 Budget is finalized.
The Executive Committee asked the Provost about the number of teaching assistants on campus and the process for allocating assistantships. He noted that teaching assistants were necessary for a number of reasons but were a costly way to provide instruction. He agreed that a policy for the best use of the money provided for graduate assistants was needed, as well as a policy for the best use of the graduate assistants themselves. He said he hoped to find a way to create a community for graduate students and bring them together. He suggested graduate students might be better served if they were able to take some graduate courses in larger and more diverse groups.
e. Next Faculty Forum: The Executive Committee and Provost DeHayes decided to schedule a Forum to follow-up the one held in the fall. The Forum, tentatively scheduled for late February-early March would focus on the URI graduate. The title would be "The URI Graduate of 21st Century: What Should They Know, Be Able To Do, And Stand For?" They agreed to try a different format than the fall Forum, this time without a panel.
It was further agreed to schedule an April Forum geared to research issues. The tentative title is "The Role of Research and Scholarship for the Global Century."
3. Senator Meagher reported that she had attended a meeting of the Board of Governors Academic and Student Affairs Committee on February 2. She distributed materials from the meeting, including information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, that were pertinent to public higher education in Rhode Island. She also shared with the FSEC copies of URI's Admissions Report for Undergraduate Students at the Kingston Campus for Fall 2004 through Fall 2008.
The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman