1. The meeting was called to order at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 19, 2007, in the Provost's conference room in Green Hall, Chairperson Rice presiding. All members were present.
2. The Minutes from Executive Committee Meetings #26, March 29, 2007; #27, April 5, 2007 and #28, April 12, 2007 were approved.
a. The Executive Committee discussed correspondence with Ms. Suvajian regarding her department's not being able to provide technical assistance for the May 10 Faculty Senate meeting and expected difficulties obtaining equipment for the 2007-08 Faculty Senate. It was agreed that it should be possible to handle any technical difficulties that arise without student support and to encourage presenters to bring their own equipment or use transparencies instead of PowerPoint slides.
b. The Executive Committee discussed e-mail correspondence between Ms. Grubman and Senator Wenisch regarding whether the proposed modification to 8.2 of the Faculty Senate By-Laws was in conflict with the Constitution of the Faculty Senate. After discussion, the Executive Committee agreed to revise their recommendation by retaining the word "mail" in the opening sentence of 8.2 and adding the following sentence to the third paragraph: "Mail shall include electronic mail."
c. Chairperson Rice suggested that the membership of the Council for Research include a representative from the Graduate School once the Vice Provost for Research is no longer Dean of the Graduate School. It was agreed to suggest that the 2007-08 FSEC recommend the by-laws change in the fall after responsibilities are transferred and titles are changed.
d. The Executive Committee discussed the controversy between the Student Senate and the Young Republicans, as well as the position taken publicly by President Carothers, and agreed that it might be appropriate to introduce a resolution in support of free speech either after the President's Report or under New Business.
After discussion, a draft resolution was approved and Chairperson Rice said that he would alert President Carothers that a resolution would be forthcoming.
4. The Executive Committee reviewed the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #7, which was scheduled for that afternoon.
5. The Executive Committee met with Provost Swan from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. The following matters were considered:
a. Restructuring of Academic Affairs: Provost Swan responded to questions from the members of the Executive Committee about the rationale for the proposed restructuring of areas within Academic Affairs. Provost Swan elaborated on the reasons for changing the title and responsibilities of the Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach and Dean of the Graduate School to Vice President for Research and Outreach and adding Dean of the Graduate School to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. The Provost explained the decision to assign the responsibility for oversight of distance learning to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. In addition, Provost Swan also provided the Executive Committee with the background on the proposal to transfer Summer Session and graduate admissions to the new Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
b. Council of Deans "Guiding Principles": Provost Swan explained that the Council of Deans wanted to reinforce their belief that academic values should provide the basis for decision-making at the University. She said that although the guiding principles were a work in progress and hadn't been refined to the extent that they could be made public, they had opened up discussion among the Deans as to what basic academic values should guide decisions.
c. Planning: The Provost and the Executive Committee discussed the difficulty in trying to make long-range, or even short-range, plans in the current budget climate. Provost Swan said that the increasing enrollments meant that there was greater need to fill faculty positions. The Provost said that she had authorized the searches for new positions but in a number of cases, the candidates had declined offers because of the cost of living in RI. She said that despite the fact that most of the faculty salaries at URI were competitive, the cost of housing was out of line in comparison. Provost Swan also mentioned that there are hidden costs associated with even what appears at first glance to be low cost or cost-neutral which exacerbated the tight budget situation. She noted Assistant Provost Katz and Dean Higgins were among the members of a small group that President Carothers had formed to explore possibilities for other ways to finance the University in light of the continued erosion of state support.
6. Copies of the flow chart for the reorganization of the Department of Information Technology Services were distributed to members of the Executive Committee. Ms. Grubman explained that the materials were the same as those presented by Vice Provost Bozylinsky at the November 16, 2006 Faculty Senate meeting. She said that Vice Provost Bozylinsky had asked her to confer with the Executive Committee as to whether any of the changes would require Faculty Senate approval. It was agreed that the changes did not seem to be the kind that are relevant to the charge to the Curricular Affairs Committee and would not require action by the Senate.
Ms. Grubman was asked to inform Vice Provost Bozylinsky that Senate action would not be necessary and to thank him for sharing the reorganization of OITS with the Faculty Senate and the FSEC.
7. The Executive Committee considered the following matters of continuing interest.
a. Search for Dean of Engineering: The Executive Committee discussed the Provost's request that the Faculty Senate appoint two faculty members to the Search Committee for the Dean of the College of Engineering. They agreed to recommend to the Senate that Professor Jim Miller from Ocean Engineering and Professor Donna Meyer from Mechanical Engineering serve as the faculty Senate's appointees. It was noted that the AAUP had appointed Professor Mercedes Rivero-Hudec from Chemical Engineering and Professor Leon Thiem from Civil and Environmental Engineering.
b. Online Courses: Vice Chairperson Luebke reported that there were a few proposals for online courses on the Agenda for the April 23 CAC Meeting. Ms. Grubman expressed concern that a few unapproved online courses were posted on the College of Continuing Education website. She said that she would try to discover how this could still occur.
Senator Kinnie and Ms. Grubman reported that the academic subcommittee on online instruction was in the process of gathering and reviewing evaluation instruments for online courses.
c. Ad Hoc Committee on 8.87.10-11: Chairperson Rice reported that the latest draft of the proposed new 8.87.12 had been forwarded to the President and the Provost with a request for their comments.
e. Administrator Evaluation: Ms. Grubman reported that the ad hoc Administrator Evaluation Committee planned to meet on April 24 to discuss the evaluation process and possible recommendations to the Faculty Senate.
f. Accreditation: Senator Kowalski reported that the draft of the faculty standard section was now on the web along with the sections posted earlier. He said that he planned to report on the availability of drafts to the Faculty Senate that afternoon and to encourage everyone to review the drafts and encourage their colleagues to read them as well.
g. Committees: Ms Grubman reported that representatives from the Providence Campus Undergraduate Initiative Committee had asked to meet with the FSEC on April 26 to discuss the committee's recommendations to the Senate.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Sheila Black Grubman