1. The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. on Monday, March 24, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Miller presiding. All members were present except Senator Costello.
a. Vice Chairperson Martin reported on the March 14 meeting of the Board of Governors Academic and Student Affairs Committee. She said that Rhode Island College reported to the Committee on undersubscribed majors and asked that some be retained and others eliminated. Vice Chairperson Martin said that representatives from CCRI presented some of the student learning outcomes that they had developed. She said that her favorite quote from the meeting came from Governor Tom Rockett, former Professor and Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, who paraphrased Socrates noting that "the unexamined curriculum is not worth offering."
b. Chairperson Miller reminded the FSEC that the Board of Governors was scheduled to meet at 5:00 p.m. that afternoon in the URI Foundation Building. Vice Chairperson Martin agreed to attend the meeting.
c. Ms. Grubman announced that arrangements had been made for the Clarendon Group's Town Meeting on Research at URI for Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. in the Galanti Lounge. She asked members of the Executive Committee to encourage their colleagues to attend.
d. The Executive Committee discussed correspondence from President Carothers on an open meetings law complaint that had been filed by the Cigar.
e. Chairperson Miller reported that, as agreed by the FSEC last semester, he had signed letters to the URI Faculty encouraging them to participate in the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement. He said that he expected that the materials would be out shortly.
f. Ms. Grubman announced that the April meeting of the JSPC had been rescheduled for Thursday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m. in the President's Conference Room, Green Hall.
3. The Executive Committee met with Professor Kowalski, in his capacity as a member of the committee working on alternatives to the SETs from 9:30-10:30.
The committee, comprised of Vice Provost Pasquerella, Professors Mederer, McCurdy and Kowalski, with advice from Bette Erickson and Bob Shea from the IDP, was established when concerns arose about the imminent discontinuation of the old main frame, which supported the SETs. Professor Kowalski noted that Vice Provost Pasquerella had initiated the dialog with the 2006-07 Executive Committee, when he was a member.
Professor Kowalski said that faced with the possibility of having someone spend a year on translating the SETs to the new main frame, the committee had agreed to explore other options. He noted that the SETs, had been administered virtually without modification since 1978 and had not been used to collect data on teaching or to provide constructive feedback to faculty members. He said that its primary role was its use as a management tool.
Professor Kowalski said that after a review of a number of teaching evaluations that were available, the committee became interested in the evaluations conducted by the IDEA Center at Kansas State University. He said that the Center provides their resources to approximately 250 colleges and universities. He noted that while most of these were not state research universities, the University of New Mexico had recently decided to subscribe to their services.
Professor Kowalski shared with the Executive Committee several IDEA evaluation forms and explained how the results of the instructors' evaluations primarily provided feedback to faculty to improve their teaching based on their individual goals. He reported that the Center also conducts research on teaching and provides a number of studies on improving teaching on its website. (See http://www.idea.ksu.edu/)
Professor Kowalski said that some departments had already agreed to participate in a pilot program this spring, and he hoped to enlist other colleges and departments as well.
The Executive Committee asked Professor Kowalski to report on the IDEA Center and the pilot at the April meeting of the Faculty Senate.
4. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #7, March 27, 2007 in preparation for the meeting later that week.
5. The Executive Committee discussed the following matters of continuing interest:
a. Searches: Ms. Grubman announced that members of the Executive Committee had been invited to join members of the AAUP Executive Committee in interviewing Engineering Dean Candidate, Dr. John Warwick, on Friday, April 11 at 9:00 a.m. in the Bliss Hall Conference Room. Chairperson Miller encouraged members of the Executive Committee to attend if it was at all possible for them to do so.
b. Administrator Evaluation: The Executive Committee discussed the status of the two Administrator Evaluations currently underway. Ms. Grubman said that she hoped to be able bring forward names of interested faculty to be appointed to the AEC for Vice Provost McCray within the next week or two.
c. Branding Initiative: Chairperson Miller said that he had been pleased that Professor Dholakia and Ms. Acciardo had asked faculty and staff for their input about the proposed "Brand" for URI. Following discussion, Senator Beauvais was asked to alert Professor Dholakia and Ms. Acciardo to the possibility that there might be concerns about one of the stock pictures that was used in the survey.
d. Activities of Committees: Senator Beauvais and Vice Chairperson Martin reported that the APRC Subcommittee on the AIIM continued to meet regularly and had almost completed questions to be directed to department chairs. Senator Beauvais said that once the chairs' questions were completed, the full committee would resume meeting.
e. Matching Fund Legislation: Chairperson Miller reported that after speaking to President Carothers, Dean Seemann, Dr. Costa-Pierce and others he had reluctantly agreed that this spring would not be an opportune time to reintroduce legislation on matching funds. He said that he knew that proponents of the legislation were disappointed in the decision, but he had been convinced that asking for additional funds at a time when the legislature was grappling with a huge budget deficit was not an appropriate move.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:57 a.m.
Sheila Black Grubman