1. The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 in the President's Conference Room in Green Hall. Chairperson Eaton presiding. All members were present except Senator Barbour. Senator Davis arrived at 4:00 p.m.
2. Following discussion, the Minutes from FSEC Meeting #12, November 2, 2011 were approved as distributed. The Minutes from Meeting #14, November 16, 2011 were approved as amended.
a. The Executive Committee thanked Vice Chair Larsen for the summary he had provided on the December 5, 2011 Meeting of the Board of Governors for Higher Education. Discussion ensued with regard to URI's Retirement Incentive Plan.
Chairperson Eaton reported that she had spoken briefly with a reporter from the Rhode Island NPR and replied to questions about her understanding of the proposal.
b. The Executive Committee noted that Senator Honhart asked Chairperson Eaton to inform Dean Brownell of the following section of the UNIVERSITY MANUAL regarding grade appeals in response to her request for an mechanism for students to protest grades on individual assignment:
8.51.13 When serious illness, accident, personal tragedy, or other serious matters prevent students from attending classes, taking examinations, or meeting deadlines, the instructor(s) concerned shall offer the student an alternative listed in section 8.51.11. Disagreements over the seriousness of an illness, accident, personal tragedy, or other serious matter may need to be mediated by the concerned instructor's department chair, dean, or eventually the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Either students or their instructors may seek such mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall decide the matter and his/her decision shall be final.
c. Ms. Grubman announced that the next meeting of the FSEC, which would be the last for 2011, was scheduled for Room 201 Green Hall. The Executive Committee agreed to meet at 4:00 p.m. because some members couldn't get there by 3:00 p.m.
d. The Executive Committee acknowledged receipt of a recommendation from the Athletics Advisory Board. It was agreed to postpone the report until the January Faculty Senate Meeting because Professor Luebke would not be available on December 15.
e. Chairperson Eaton and Vice Chairperson Larsen reported on a recent meeting they had with both President Dooley and Provost DeHayes. They said that the retirement incentive proposal and possible resolutions to the drop period legislation were discussed. Chairperson Eaton said that President Dooley expressed interest in learning how justified the student-identified syllabus concerns might be and had suggested a graduate student compile information.
f. Chairperson Eaton reported that the Fourth Annual Academic Summit was being planned for January 20. She noted that the initial announcement went out earlier in the week. Chairperson Eaton said that the theme would be interdisciplinary education. The summit would begin with a guest speaker and be followed by morning sessions, lunch, and possibly, afternoon sessions and would conclude with a brief period for summarizing the discussions.
a. The Executive Committee reviewed the draft Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #4, December 15, 2011. They agreed that, given the time of year and the pressure on everyone's schedules, they shouldn't plan for a forum at that meeting.
b. The Executive Committee discussed possible meeting times between semesters to review and finalize the Agenda for the January 26, 2012 Faculty Senate meeting. After reviewing scheduled for the intersession period, they agreed that January 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. appeared to be the best time to meet.
c. Chairperson Eaton expressed concern that the reduced length of regular FSEC meetings during the spring semester would leave very little time for meetings with President Dooley and Provost DeHayes. She suggested, and the FSEC agreed, to schedule meetings with guests at an alternate time, such as Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
The Executive Committee agreed that since the first Faculty Senate meeting was scheduled for January 26, they would begin their regular spring schedule of meetings on January 23, despite it being the first day of classes.
5. Matters of continuing concern:
a. Culture of Community: Vice Chairperson Larsen and Senator Davis reported that they had preliminary conversation with Dean Zawia about expanding the Discovery@URI program to include more faculty and students and the possibility of taping presentations. It was suggested that they might contact Dean Zawia by e-mail to pursue the ideas further.
b. Administrator Evaluation: The Executive Committee discussed the possibility of inviting members of Administrator Evaluation Committees over the past few years to participate in the ad hoc committee.
The Executive Committee discussed the Board of Governors' announcement that they would review President Dooley during the spring semester. Ms. Grubman reported that the Faculty Senate's Administrator Evaluation process did not include a report to anyone outside the institution.
c. Online Catalog Issues: Chairperson Eaton reported that she had met with Ms. Edwards to discuss her report to the Faculty Senate and was hopeful that it would be well-received.
6. Committee updates:
a. JCAP: Vice Chairperson Larsen reported that JCAP had recommended the establishment of an interim one-year Assistant to the Provost on Global Strategies position, if funding becomes available. He noted that the Ad Hoc Task Force on Global Education had proposed the position.
b. Ad Hoc Advising: Senator Honhart reported that the committee was continuing to make progress. He said that a subcommittee, of which he was a member, planned to meet in January to discuss the feasibility of linking registration with approval of the student's advisor. He explained that this idea had financial implications for the University, especially with regard to the number of advisors who would be needed, as well as the logistics involved in students' obtaining releases from their advisors in a timely manner.
c. Teaching Effectiveness- IDEA/SRI: The Executive Committee discussed whether there was a role for the Teaching Effectiveness Committee and, perhaps, the Academic Program Review Committee, in the committee responsible for the evaluation of teaching. It was noted that section 15.12 of the Contract between the Board and the AAUP provides for a joint committee. However the passage is somewhat out of date:
15.12 Student Evaluation of Teaching. Student evaluation (SET) shall be administered as recommended by the Joint AAUP-Regents Committee on Student Evaluation of Teaching and approved by the Association and the University. SET results are to be regarded as but one source of information about a faculty member's teaching.
Senator Rice volunteered to bring the out of date language "SET" and "Regents" to the attention of the AAUP and the Administration as a basis for discussion.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman