Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting 23 – December 15, 2010


1.   The meeting was called to order at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 in the Presidentís Conference Room in Green Hall. Chairperson Swallow, Vice Chairperson Eaton, Senators Honhart and Larsen and Ms. Black Grubman were present. Senator Honhart arrived at 11:00 a.m.


2.   The Minutes from Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meetings #20 and #22 were approved. Following discussion, the Minutes from Meeting #18 were approved pending Provost DeHayesí review of sections on his meeting with the FSEC.


3.   The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #4 in preparation for the next dayís meeting. Members of the Executive Committee reviewed PowerPoint slides on length of service and election of officers drafted by Senator Larsen and made suggestions for modifications.


4.   When President Dooley arrived discussion ensued on his strategic priorities for URI.  President Dooley spoke about how he foresaw a venture fund at the University.  He said he planned to personally be involved in the fundraising for a venture fund.  The President indicated that he expected to form a committee, comprised of faculty as well as others, to oversee the investments and allocation of resources. President Dooley said his view of the fund was for providing support for new ventures in areas where the University hasnít already be involved, or for enhancing or expanding areas in which we are already engaged.


The members of the Executive Committee expressed concern that already overburdened faculty be asked to do more under his vision. President Dooley said that he expected that as the University moves ahead, faculty members would do things differently, but not necessarily more than they are already doing. He said faculty should be striving to reflect best practices in teaching, and systematically engaged in transforming teaching.   He suggested that faculty should be as committed to excellence in teaching as they are to excellence in scholarship or creative work in their respective fields. He said that he hoped to see faculty engage in a process that strives toward improving the way students are prepared for the future. This should be faculty driven and, as a result of the process, there would be a broad consensus among faculty that the University should move in the same direction with shared goals.


President Dooley said that there is no compelling evidence that students who are required to take a certain number of credits are better able to function after graduation than students who must master required concepts to fulfill graduation requirements.  Some comparisons suggest that we teach more sections than some of our peer universities


The FSEC said that departments could use some help to understand and make these kinds of changes.


The President said this would require a commitment that the University should move in the directions outlined in the Academic Plan, which he sees of setting goals for URI of being coherent, distinctive, focused, and the best in terms of student education.  He wants us to rapidly move ahead with curricula and programs that are distinctive, transformational, and focused on what students need to succeed in the 21st century.  We need a broad consensus to do this and faculty to feel comfortable with the initiatives. It is a work in progress.  He sees it as a 5-year process that we are already 1 to 2 years into.  


The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.


                                             Respectfully submitted,


                                             Sheila Black Grubman