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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minute

Meeting #27

March 22, 2006

1. The meeting was called to order at 12:35 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Rice presiding. All members were present.

2. The Minutes of Meetings #25, March 1, 2006 and #26, March 8, 2006 were approved. Ms. Grubman said that she would wait for Vice President Weygand to review the accuracy of sections of Minutes #25 that pertained to his meeting before publishing the minutes.

3. Announcements/Correspondence

a. Chairperson Rice reported that he had attended a meeting of the Master Planning Review Team on March 14. He explained that the majority of members were absent because they had attended the memorial service for Kathy Mallon. He said that the consultant from the George Henry George Group had met with those members of the committee who were not at the memorial. The consultants reported on their plans to conduct a feasibility study for an industrial park for incubator companies arising from faculty research.

The Executive Committee discussed the RI Public-Private Partnership legislation, which would enable the establishment of incubator companies and for faculty to retain some ownership interest in intellectual property.

b. A memorandum from the Provost assigning temporary status to the Center for Wellness Research and Education was circulated for information. It was noted that this action was in accordance with the legislation that the Faculty Senate had approved in 2003. It was observed that it wasn't clear how the Center for Wellness Research and Education would be funded.

4. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #7, March 23, 2006 in preparation for the following afternoon's meeting.

5. The Executive Committee met with President Carothers and Dr. Callahan from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. The following matters were discussed:

a. Planning in the context of the current budget situation: President Carothers reviewed with the Executive Committee plans underway to accommodate the shortfall in the current academic year should the governor's rescission go into effect. He explained by the time the University is sure of the budget reduction funds were already committed and the administration would be forced to borrow funds assigned for other purposes.

President Carothers said that the problem would be most serious in the FY '07 budget, which could be as much as $12 million short of what would be needed. He said that the most optimistic prediction would be that the shortfall could be reduced to $5.3 million dollars if the asset protection money is restored by the legislature.

Concerns were raised with regard to the University's continuing reliance on tuition and fees at a time when enrollments were projected to drop and the inability of students to pay continues to worsen. President Carothers said that it was no longer possible to continue to reduce budgets across the Board. He said that he had asked the Provost and the Vice Presidents to plan for a 10% reduction in funding for administration. He noted that only Student Affairs would be able to meet the reduction by transferring activities and personnel from state funds to the auxiliaries.

b. AIIM results: The Executive Committee asked the President whether the AIIM results helped inform the administration's thinking in terms of resources and structure. President Carothers said that the benefit of the AIIM was in providing information to departments as to how they manage themselves and suggested they could help departments consider ways to improve in those areas where it was possible given the lack of additional resources. He noted that there was little in the AIIM results that would provide timely information for budget decisions.

c. The Futuring project: The Executive Committee and President Carothers discussed the latest iteration of the proposal to establish a blue ribbon committee to take on the futuring project. President Carothers said that he would leave it to the Executive committee to discuss the appropriate way to proceed.

When President Carothers and Dr. Callahan left, members of the Executive Committee proposed that Chairperson Rice ask President Carothers to share with the Faculty Senate the disturbing budget information that had dominated the discussion at the JSPC and the meeting of the FSEC.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman