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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes   #21

December 18, 2009

1.The meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, December 18, 2009 in the President's Conference Room, Green Hall, Chairperson Swallow presiding. All members were present.

2. The Minutes from FSEC Meetings #18, November 20, 2009 and #19, December 4, 2009, were approved as corrected. The Minutes from Meeting #20, December 11, 2009 were approved pending review by Provost DeHayes of those sections pertaining to his meeting with the FSEC.

3. Announcements/Correspondence:

a. Chairperson Swallow reported that Professors Morokoff and Derbyshire from the Equity Council asked him if someone could represent the Faculty Senate at an upcoming meeting with a representative of the Department of Justice. Senator Izenstark agreed to serve as the FSEC's representative.

b. The Executive Committee discussed e-mail correspondence between Chairperson Swallow and Vice President Alfonso with regard to the establishment of the Research, Scholarship and Innovation Task Force.

c. Ms. Grubman reported that the Provost's Office through Ms. Morrissey had requested a meeting with the FSEC between January 11 and January 22 on the Task Forces and NEASC. The Executive Committee suggested possible times and dates they could all attend a meeting, and Ms. Grubman said she would follow up with Ms. Morrissey.

3. The Executive Committee considered the following matters of continuing concern:

a. Low enrollment programs: The Executive Committee discussed the decision to include second majors when determining the number of majors in the low enrollment programs. This resulted in the elimination of some majors from the list of programs that need to submit the Provisional Status Program Review Form. It was agreed that the counting of all majors in a program provided a much clearer picture of enrollment.

b. General Education Task Force: Senator DiCioccio reported that the RFPs for the Grand Challenges initiative for fall 2010 had been sent to all tenure track and continuing faculty, including lecturers. She said that she intended to contact personally those faculty members who had been recommended by their deans for the pilot. She said that the Task Force would meet during the intersession period to review proposals. In addition, the Task Force was working on guidelines to help faculty develop courses for the pilot.

Ms. Grubman said that the UCGE Committee planned to meet during intersession to review the materials prepared by the Task Force and to consider the shell topics courses that would accommodate the pilot.

In addition, Senator Honhart and Ms. Grubman noted that the CAC had agreed to review the UCGE Committee's course shell and to discuss them using the CAC's SAKAI website during the intersession. The expectation was that the CAC could report jointly with the UCGE Committee on the courses at the January 28 Faculty Senate Meeting.

c. JSPC: The Executive Committee continued their discussion of the possibility of a alternative to the Joint Strategic Planning Committee that would focus on the progress of the Academic Plan and advise the Budget and Planning Council.

d. APRC: Chairperson Swallow reported that he had received no volunteers from APRC to serve as chairperson. In preliminary discussions, Professor Chris Anderson was receptive to chairing the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC). Professor Anderson's decision was pending additional conversations with Vice Provost Beauvais, Senator Martin and other members of the committee.

e. Four-Credit Courses: Senator Eaton reported on the efforts of the Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee to develop guidelines for 4-credit courses. Senator Honhart noted that Professor von Reinhart, Chair of the A&S Curriculum Committee, met with the CAC on December 14 to discuss the draft guidelines. Senator Honhart said that the CAC seemed to appreciate the efforts of the A&S Curriculum Committee to assist faculty and departments that are considering the move to 4-credit courses and ensure the quality of academic credit. The FSEC hoped that the work by A&S Curriculum Committee might also be beneficial to other colleges. The FSEC agreed to charge the General Education Committee to consider changes to the credit-hour and number-of-courses requirements for General Education so that once 4-credit general education courses become more common, it won't adversely affect program completion rates.

5. The Executive Committee discussed plans for meeting during the intersession period, as well as a regular meeting time for the spring semester. It was agreed that the intersession meeting with Ms. Morrissey and Vice Provost Beauvais could be extended to include a regular FSEC meeting. (The meeting was subsequently scheduled for Tuesday, January 19 at 1:30 p.m.)

Ms. Grubman asked Executive Committee members to let her know their availability during the spring semester and she would try to establish a regular spring semester meeting time by e-mail. (The regular meeting time will be Mondays from 11-1 beginning on January 25.)

6. The Executive Committee met with President Dooley from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. The following matters were discussed:

a. President Dooley reported that he was in the process of appointing members of the Budget and Planning Council. He thanked the FSEC for submitting their list of faculty members and explained that he had consulted the Provost and Vice Presidents about administrative, staff and student appointments. President Dooley reported that people who were invited to participate had been positive about serving on the Council.

The President said that getting the Council together didn't appear to be as urgent as he previously believed. He explained that he was guardedly optimistic about the current budget and didn't expect the Council to have to grapple with FY'10 or FY'11 but would be able to focus on FY'12 from the beginning.

b. In response to the FSEC's concerns about potential modifications to the University's patent policy and distribution of royalties, President Dooley explained that Vice President Alfonso was seeking advice from Mr. Saccoccio about the relationship between the Research Foundation and the authority of the Board of Governors in these matters.

The President said that when the URI Foundation was responsible for technology transfer, the costs were borne by the URI Foundation as part of its overall expenses. He noted that the Research Foundation is now responsible for patents and needed funding to support the administration of technology transfer and needs money.

The President said that it was his understanding that among the legal issues to be explored was the relationship between the authority of the Board of Governors with regard to the administrative structure of the university and the implications for some of the language regarding in the manual. President Dooley suggested that if FSEC hasn't heard from Vice President Alfonso by the second week in January, Chairperson Swallow should contact him directly.

c. President Dooley gave the FSEC a brief update on the current budget situation. He said that URI was attempting to be as strategic as possible in making decisions.

The President explained that the state had to make up for the expected shortfall. Some of this would be accomplished by the salary reductions of all non-union administrators and staff in state government, including employees of the Board of Governors. He noted that the URI clerical staff had not entered into the agreement between the State and the other classified employees' unions, and the Governor had indicated that layoffs would be necessary should an agreement not be reached. He said that if the state began to layoff URI staff, there would definitely be an impact on how the University functions.

President Dooley reported that although there was still a great deal of uncertainty about further rescissions, the formula used for the reductions was related to the percentage of state support. He said the University was also hopeful because the Governor hadn't recommended further cuts for URI in the spring, although a final answer still depended on the RI State Legislature.

President Dooley indicated that in his communications with the BOG, he has conveyed the necessity of supporting URI as it has a major role in the economic growth of Rhode Island.

d. The Executive Committee informed the President about their ideas about the establishment of a committee focused on the academic plan, possibly replacing the JSPC, and the relationship of what that committee would be with the Budget Planning Council. They explained that their thoughts weren't completely formed and that they hoped to discuss the matter further with the Provost.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Sheila Black Grubman