1. The meeting was called to order at 11:06 a.m. on Monday, January 30, 2012 in the President's Conference Room in Green Hall, Chairperson Eaton presiding. All members were present.
2. Following discussion, the Minutes from FSEC Meeting #18, January 13, 2012 were approved.
a. Chairperson Eaton announced that Senator Barber had resigned from the Senate. Ms. Grubman was asked to contact the Dean's Offices in Arts and Sciences and the GSO about filling the two vacant positions.
b. Chairperson Eaton reported on the January 23, 2012 meeting of the Board of Governors. She said that the I-Cubed Center was approved at the meeting. In addition, the General Education Program at Rhode Island College and the Facilities, Finances and Management Committee's recommendation with regard to the Board's procurement regulations had been approved as well. In addition, the Personnel Review Committee's recommendation to change the titles of the Assistant Vice President for Research/ Intellectual Policy Management and Commercialization and the Assistant Vice President for Research Administration to Associate Vice President was approved.
She shared with the FSEC a list of Board of Governors subcommittees and their charges that had been distributed at the meeting.
c. Chairperson Eaton reported that she had sent a letter to the URI AAUP expressing appreciation for providing the opportunity for herself and Senators Barbour and Rice to attend the AAUP Governance Conference in Washington, D.C.
4. The FSEC discussed Faculty Senate Meeting #5, which was held on January 6, 2012. In response to a question, Ms. Grubman clarified that she had interpreted the motion regarding the six-year calendar to be a motion to refer to committee with instructions they consider the time between Christmas and the end of the grading period.
Chairperson Eaton asked the Executive Committee whether Faculty Senate presentations should be put online. There was general agreement that this would be a good idea for improving communication and Ms. Grubman was asked to find out what might be done. It was suggested she contact Professor Eaton, who was able to stream the Library Forum on the web.
It was noted that during the report on the Academic Affairs Diversity Task Force Senator Morokoff and Vice Provost Beauvais noted that there was no official Faculty Senate representation on the various diversity groups. Ms. Grubman explained that the Faculty Senate had a standing Minorities and Special Groups Committee, which had been eliminated when other groups were formed on campus. She also said that the Faculty Senate had two appointees to the Affirmative Action Committee, one of whom was supposed to report to the Faculty Senate each spring. The Affirmative Action Committee has not been appointed in several years. The last report was in the spring of 2007.
5. The Executive Committee discussed planning for future meetings:
a. Ms. Grubman reviewed with the FSEC reports that were expected to be on the Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting #6, February 23, 2012. It was noted that the Forum on the IDEA was postponed until March. Chairperson Eaton suggested that there were other active groups who might be asked to report on their progress. Senator Honhart agreed to check with Dean Richmond about the possibility of presenting an update on the work of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Advising.
b. The Executive Committee reviewed the list of spring meetings. It was noted that Vice President Weygand had agreed to report on the Budget at the March Meeting.
c. The Executive Committee reviewed their list of topics for their February 1 meeting with President Dooley and decided to discuss topics for their February 15 meeting with Provost DeHayes until their next meeting.
6. The Executive Committee considered the following matters of continuing concern:
a. Drop Period Legislation: Chairperson Eaton and Vice Chairperson Larsen reported on their series of meetings with the Student Senate leadership about Senate Bill #10-1--23, which President Dooley signed with the condition that the drop period change not go into effect before fall 2012.
Chairperson Eaton and Vice Chairperson Larsen explained the proposed compromises with regard to the legislation and asked the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to vote on which they found acceptable.
Following discussion, the Executive Committee agreed to recommend that the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee consider an amendment to the legislation that would remove the "W" assigned between the third and 6th week period during which students could drop courses without obtaining special permission.
b. Culture of Community: Chairperson Eaton and Vice Chairperson Larsen reported on conversations they had each had with Dean Zawia about expanding the scope of DISCOVERY@URI program. They said that Dean Zawia was generally positive about the idea but wanted to discuss financial support for the event with the President and Provost before expanding the program.
With regard to a faculty representative from CCE, it was agreed that since there are no continuing full-time faculty at the Providence Campus, Ms. Grubman suggested that Dean Quina continue to serve as the college's representative. Ms. Grubman was asked to assure Dean Quina that if she wanted to introduce a motion at a meeting, she might request that a member of the Senate make the motion for her.
The FSEC agreed to suggest that the CBUM Committee meet with Vice Provost Katz about Chapters 4 and 7 of the University Manual with regard to position titles for faculty and faculty-like positions.
Ms. Grubman said that there were still a number of people who questioned whether the significant number of continuing, but not-tenure track, faculty should remain excluded from service on the Faculty Senate and from voting on matters to be considered by the Faculty Senate.
Following discussion, Ms. Grubman was asked to contact the Deans and request a separate list of continuing faculty who did not hold tenure track positions in their colleges.
The meeting was recessed at 12:40 p.m. to be continued on February 1 at 11:00 a.m.
The meeting was reconvened at 11:10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 when President Dooley arrived. All members were present except Senator Barbour who was unable to attend and Chairperson Eaton, who arrived at 11:25.
7. The following matters were discussed:
a. Governor's Budget Proposal: President Dooley reported that he had attended the speech the previous evening. As far as the University is concerned, the budget is flat when compared to the current year. One positive move was the Governor's commitment to a Nursing Building in the Providence Knowledge District, which demonstrates the Governor's support for higher education. Many of the recommendations from Mr. Licht's department appeared to have bee taken into account.
The University would prefer to avoid a bond in favor of a public/private partnership because it would take less time to complete. It would also be more of an economic stimulus, since it could grow beyond the size of the bond. With regard to the new taxes, President Dooley noted that higher education is not currently dependent on the Governor's additional tax plans, but there could always be an effect on higher education if his taxes are rejected.
b. Retirement Incentive Plan: The University administration is still trying to educate the legislators about the intent and effect of the plan. URI was still hopeful that it might be allowed to proceed and the Board of Governors might approve the request in March. A number of related issues that could delay implementation into the 2012-13 academic year, but the situation is too tenuous at this point to make any predictions.
c. Research Park: The Executive Committee asked President Dooley for an update on the Research Park. President Dooley said that there was nothing new with regard to the park. Although there appears to be substantial potential interest from businesses, a proposal must be more concrete and defined before we can really get any confirmations of willingness to participate. The President said that a critical issue was where the commuter rail is situated. If the rail is located to the north side of campus, the park would be more attractive, but that is dependent on the DoT and Amtrak. If we do build an on-campus station, that would have a major impact on placement and questions about the turf fields.
President Dooley left the meeting at 12:40. In the remaining minutes, the FSEC asked Chairperson Eaton and Vice Chairperson Larsen to address the remaining issues identified by the FSEC for that meeting's discussion when they meet with President Dooley on February 16:
a. Expansion of DISCOVERY@URI to include a greater variety of academic disciplines
b. President Dooley's thoughts about possible new positions for potential faculty members
The meeting was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.
Sheila Black Grubman