1. The meeting was called to order at 9:03 a.m. on Monday, April 7, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Miller presiding. All members were present except Vice Chairperson Martin.
2. Chairperson Miller announced that he would be out of town on April 14. The Executive Committee agreed that there was too much business coming forward to cancel the meeting and decided to meet without him.
3. The Executive Committee discussed the following matters of continuing interest:
a. Searches: Chairperson Miller announced that the Search for the Dean of Engineering had been postponed indefinitely and that Interim Dean Wright had agreed to continue in his position. Chairperson Miller said that Dr. DeHayes had agreed to meet with the College of Engineering Faculty in the fall to review the situation with regard to the postponement of the Search. It was noted that the Dean of Pharmacy Search was expected to continue to be postponed as well.
The Executive Committee discussed the upcoming Search for a new President in the fall of 2008. In response to a question, Ms. Grubman reported that the Senate and the AAUP had each appointed two members to the President's Search Committee since President Newman's search had been initiated in the fall of 1973.
b. Administrator Evaluation: Ms Grubman reported that Provost Swan had appointed faculty members to the Administrator Evaluation Committees for Vice Provost McCray and Dean Richmond. The Provost's appointee to the McCray AEC was Professor Gale Eaton and her appointee to the Richmond AEC was Professor George Veyera. Ms. Grubman said that only Vice Provost McCray's and Dean Richmond's appointments remained to be filled.
c. Activities of Committees: Ms. Grubman noted that the next meeting of the JSPC is scheduled for 2:00-3:30 p.m. on April 10 in the President's Conference Room. The Executive Committee noted that the Agenda was very full since the committee had not met officially since January. They agreed that Ms. Morrissey's and Ms. Orabone's efforts to get materials out in advance of the meeting were appreciated. Ms. Grubman said that the Minutes from the January 17 meeting would be forthcoming shortly. She noted that she would not attend the meeting.
The Executive Committee agreed that the report from the Access to Excellence Subcommittee of the JSPC was more reflective of the faculty's position than they expected initially. They thanked Senator Kovarsky for his role in guiding the report.
Senator Costello and Ms. Grubman reported on the April 3 meeting of the UCGE Committee. They said that the committee had approved courses for the general education program but had not come to a conclusion with regard to their report on URI 101.
The Executive Committee agreed that the proposed changes to the UNIVERSITY MANUAL submitted by the Athletics Advisory Board should be included in the April 21 Agenda which would also include an informational Report of the Athletics Advisory Board.
d. Branding follow-up: Concerns were raised about how the University might improve public awareness of the value of URI to the state.
4. The Executive Committee met with Dean Richmond from 9:30-10:15 on concerns related to retention of students during their sophomore year.
Dean Richmond reported that the sophomore year was especially difficult for students for a number of reasons: a) they are limited to the least desirable campus housing and often no campus housing is available to them; b) there are fewer choices for general education because the courses are no longer set aside for them; c) learning communities are no longer available; d) they are "waiting" for a number of majors; and e) they are in the midst of being transferred to their degree granting colleges, which vary in terms of how they welcome students to the college and how they communicate with students about advisor assignments.
She explained that universities were now focusing on the sophomore year and taking steps to improve the sophomore experience by focusing on advising and particularly on major and career goals, which can be particularly stressful at a vulnerable time for students. Dean Richmond also shared a number of possible options for improving the sophomore experience with the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee suggested that Dean Richmond report to the Senate on the sophomore experience at a future meeting.
5. The Executive Committee discussed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #8, April 24, 2008. Ms. Grubman explained that the deadline for reports was the end of the day on Wednesday (April 9) and noted that she expected to receive several reports in addition to the usual curricular ones.
Ms. Grubman said that there were two items of business that were traditionally included on the April Agenda: a) the calendar for meetings for the upcoming academic year and b) the Nominating Committee for officers of the next Senate.
Following discussion, the Executive Committee agreed to the list of dates recommended by Ms. Grubman and decided that the following outgoing Senators should be asked to serve as the Nominating Committee: Professors Agostinucci, Beauvais and Honhart. It was further agreed that Chairperson Miller would encourage Senators interested in serving on, or in nominating someone to, the Executive Committee to contact the Nominating Committee.
6. The Executive Committee agreed to the following topics for their meeting with Provost DeHayes on April 14:
a. Potential sources of increased revenue:
1) Increasing sophomore retention,
2) Lowering tuition for Graduate Assistants on research grants,
3) Grant-writing assistance for the Social Sciences, including the College of Human Science and Services.
b. Search for an Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
c. Graduate Education at URI.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.
Sheila Black Grubman