1. The meeting was called to order at 9: 10 a.m. on Monday, April 14, 2008 in the third floor conference room in Green Hall, Vice Chairperson Martin presiding. All members were present except Chairperson Miller.
2. The Executive Committee reviewed the draft Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #8, April 24, 2008 and approved it in final form.
3. The Executive Committee met with Provost DeHayes from 9:30-11:05 a.m. The following matters were considered:
a. The Executive Committee raised issues related to potential sources of increased revenue. They shared with Provost DeHayes much of the information they had received from Dean Richmond with regard to the number of situations that sophomores face which could affect their retention rates. Provost DeHayes remarked that it was not surprising in light of all of the efforts on behalf of freshmen retention nationally. He said that his approach would be to look at all four years in a student's career at URI and work toward improving retention through graduation at each level. Provost DeHayes said that he would find out what the actual data are with regard to retention of sophomores, as well as freshmen.
The discussion of student retention led to questions about student progress toward graduation and the time it takes for students to complete their courses of study. Provost DeHayes said that he wanted to learn more about the number of credits students take each semester and would ask for data on whether students enroll for less credits than they need, or if there might be a pattern of students enrolling for the appropriate number of credits initially, but dropping courses before the end of the semester.
The Executive Committee reaffirmed the position of most faculty members writing research grants that it was necessary to lower tuition for Graduate Research Assistants. Provost DeHayes said that he had been giving the issue a great deal of thought. He said that he hoped it would be possible to fund a small number of grants for which faculty might compete to cover the cost of Graduate Student tuition. He explained that University could not lower tuition for these students without providing the funding to do so.
It was also suggested that Graduate Teaching Assistants should not be required to pay summer tuition, since the cost prevented many students from completing requirements in a timely manner. Provost DeHayes said that summer session was required to make money and classes could not be offered with non-tuition paying students. The Executive Committee postulated that if classes were already at the minimum, there wouldn't be any additional costs associated with graduate students enrolling in the courses without paying tuition.
The Executive Committee suggested that there was significant talent in the Humanities and Social Sciences that could be helped by more support for their research proposals. They suggested that a staff person in the Research Office devoted to helping faculty in the humanities and social sciences write successful grants would more than pay for himself/herself with the increased success in obtaining funding in these areas.
Provost DeHayes gave a number of suggestions for improving funding for social sciences, especially in areas of interdisciplinary research. He agreed to discuss the proposal with Vice President Alfonso to find out what progress might be made in this area.
b. The Executive Committee suggested that Provost DeHayes consider a call for nominees to replace Vice Provost Pasquerella on an interim basis. Provost DeHayes said that the imminent vacancy was a serious concern and that he was trying to understand the functions of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in contrast with a Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. He said that he was exploring a number of alternatives such as inviting faculty members to apply for limited term positions as the Provost's liaison to academic committees and programs, while delegating the enrollment management aspects of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs' portfolio to an Interim Vice Provost for Enrollment Management.
When Provost DeHayes left the meeting, the Executive Committee moved to the next order of business.
4. The Executive Committee discussed the following matters of continuing interest:
a. Administrator Evaluation: Ms Grubman reported on the Administrator Evaluation Committees for Vice Provost McCray and Dean Richmond.
The AEC for Vice Provost McCray is comprised of the following members: Professors Matt Bodah, Vince Petronio and Walter von Reinhart appointed by the FSEC; the Vice Provost's Representative is Professor Gregory Paquette and the Provost's representative is Professor Gale Eaton.
Ms. Grubman said that the members of Dean Richmond's AEC are: Professors Cathy English, Yvette Harps-Logan and Barbara Luebke as the FSEC's appointees; Professors David T. Howard and George Veyera are appointees of Dean Richmond and Provost Swan, respectively.
Ms. Grubman also informed the Executive Committee that Senator Rosen had sent reminders to each of the constituency groups and was in the process of scheduling initial meeting of the Administrator Evaluation Committees.
b. JSPC: Members of the Executive Committee who had attended the April 10 meeting of the JSPC reported on the meeting. The Executive Committee agreed that too much time had elapsed between the January 17 meeting and the April 10 meeting, which affected the quality and depth of the discussions.
c. Blue Ribbon Commission: The Executive Committee reviewed the revised updated proposal for the Blue Ribbon Commission, which had been forwarded by Professor Rice. It was agreed to ask Professor Rice to revise the draft based on the Executive Committee's suggestions in anticipation including the updated proposal on the May 15 Faculty Senate Agenda.
5. The Executive Committee agreed to the following topics for their April 21 meeting with President Carothers:
a. A revised charge to the Blue Ribbon Commission.
b. Plans for coping with next year’s budget.
c. Assessing the Special Programs for Talent Development in light of budget limitations and Access to Excellence goals.
d. Suggestions to pass on to the 2008-09 Executive Committee.
Ms. Grubman reminded the Executive Committee that the meeting would be held in the President's Conference Room.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.
Sheila Black Grubman