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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes #24

March 5 and March 7, 2012

1. The meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m. on Monday, March 5, 2012 in the President's Conference Room in Green Hall, Chairperson Eaton presiding. All members were present.

2. The Minutes from FSEC Meeting #23, February 27 2012 were approved as corrected.

3. Announcements/Correspondence

a. Chairperson Eaton and Vice Chairperson Larsen reported on their meeting with President Dooley and Provost DeHayes on the issues related to the drop deadline legislation. They said they had provided the Provost and the President with the background on their discussions with the Student Senate leadership and the FSEC on Bill #10-11--23 and the compromise proposal that had been agreed upon by the Executive Committee. They explained that the compromise proposal had been forwarded to Mr. Humphrey for the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee's consideration. They also sent the proposal to students involved in the discussions, and noted that the students did not feel that the compromise legislation went far enough to satisfy them. The next step would be to discuss the matter with President Dooley on Wednesday.

b. The Executive Committee discussed a letter from Professor Wenisch on behalf of the CBUM Committee, which was in response to an inquiry related to the authority under the University Manual to administratively change a student's grade to a pass/fail grade after the grade was given.

It was agreed that the letter should be attached to the Minutes of this meeting. (See attached Addendum).

c. Chairperson Eaton noted that President Dooley's Conversation with the University Community had been rescheduled from its original Tuesday date to Monday, March 26 at noon. The Executive Committee agreed to hold their regular meeting an hour earlier on March 26 to be able to attend the Conversation without cutting their meeting short.

4. The Executive Committee discussed the following matters of continuing concern:

a. Culture of Community

1) Vice Chairperson Larsen and Senator Davis reported that they still waited for a meeting with the committee planning the 2012 Discovery@URI program. It was agreed that they would indicate to the group that the FSEC was interested in and willing to participate in planning for 2013, but it was too late to do anything this semester.

2) Ms. Grubman reported that once the tenure-track faculty data had been received for the current year's apportionment, she wrote to Deans requesting information about continuing faculty in their colleges who were not in tenure-track positions such as Lecturers and Clinical and Research faculty.

Chairperson Eaton reported that Dean Bullock had asked College of Arts and Sciences academic department chairs for this data with regard to their departments.

b. The Faculty Outstanding Service Award: The Executive Committee reviewed the most recent draft on criteria for the Joint Faculty Senate-Provost Faculty Outstanding Service Award. After discussion they agreed on a final version.

They decided to set a deadline of April 9, 2012 for receipt of nominations and Ms. Grubman agreed to notify the URI community within the next week.

The meeting recessed at 12:25 p.m. to be continued on March 7 at 11:00 a.m.

The meeting was reconvened at 11:18 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 when President Dooley arrived. All members were present.

5. The following matters were discussed:

a. University Manual: the Executive Committee expressed their concern that the administrative portions of the University Manual were out of date and hadn't been revised in a number of years. Ms. Grubman explained that as editor of the University Manual she was caught up on all of the Senate legislation aspects of the University Manual but could not update the administrative sections without approval by President Dooley. It was noted that administrative sections are lagging behind administrative changes. For example, the SBPC is not mentioned in the Manual, nor is the Chief Diversity Officer.


President Dooley said that he had spent his first few years learning about the institution and hadn't been ready to make too many changes. He said that with Vice President Beagle's retirement, it was an excellent opportunity to review the University's administrative structure and consider changes this summer. He indicated that he didn't plan to write any new sections but would be willing to have his office work with Ms. Grubman to craft them for his review and approval once changes became official.

President Dooley explained that it was not only time for review for the reason he stated earlier, but that given the fiscal future, he intended to invite several alumni and members of the University Community to review the University's organization in light of financial predictions and suggest options for the University to continue to move forward in light of economic concerns. He said that he would welcome someone from the FSEC to join this group.

b. SENATE BILL #10-11--23: President Dooley and the FSEC reviewed the history of the drop legislation and his approval with the stipulation that the effective date for implementation of the Drop Period is no sooner than Fall 2012.

President Dooley agreed that he would allow the legislation to go forward if it was the consensus of the Executive Committee that they had made efforts to respond to the students' concerns, and were ready for immediate implementation.

The Executive Committee reminded President Dooley that they had spent a good part of the year working on ways to improve syllabi and advising and had offered a compromise that the student leadership felt didn't adequately resolve their concerns and the FSEC was now ready to move forward. *

The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman

*President Dooley agreed on March 21, 2012 to the implementation of Senate Bill #10-11--23 for Fall 2012.


Addendum to FSEC Minutes #24

March 1, 2012

Faculty Senate Executive Committee
Green Hall

Dear Faculty Senate Executive Committee Members,

The Faculty Senate Constitution, By-laws, and University Manual Committee has been asked to examine whether the University Manual does grant authority to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to extend, in cooperation with a department chair and the Provost, the deadline for a student to choose the Pass/Fail option up to close to the last day of classes (or perhaps even beyond).

The immediately pertinent University Manual provisions (8.37.10-17, attached) specify that deadline as "prior to the end of the add period" and state specifically, "A student may not exercise this option after this time." (See 8.37.13.) The Manual passages immediately pertinent do not contain anything that would authorize anyone to extend this deadline.

A deadline extension could conceivably be granted, however, in accordance with Manual passages 8.26.10-12 (attached), which allow colleges to "establish and publish procedures for dealing with student requests for exceptions to . . . academic rules prescribed . . . by the General Faculty." (8.26.10) Such procedures must be published, however. The College of Arts and Sciences appears to have published nothing about procedures pertaining to a waiver/extension of a Pass/Fail application deadline. Moreover, the University Manual specifically states, "No waiver of any college or University rule or requirement . . . may be granted except in conformity with 8.26.10 and 8.26.11" (see 8.26.12), which includes, as indicated, that the procedures according to which waivers are granted must be published, presumably to make sure that individual colleges might not become too lenient with respect to allowing exceptions to certain academic requirements.

Thus, currently, the College of Arts and Sciences does not have the authority to grant, in cooperation with a department chair and/or the Provost, an extension of the deadline for a Pass/Fail application.

During the deliberations, the question also came up as to whether shifting a student who has earned a low grade in a course to the Pass/Fail option for the purpose of avoiding the low grade might not also constitute a change of grade, and whether consequently, there might not also have been violations of the University Manual procedures specified in 8.26.13. The Committee noted this concern as legitimate and as prima facie valid, did, however, not conduct a detailed examination of the issues connected with it.

As the Committee discussed these matters, anecdotal information was presented indicating that in some URI units, circumvention of academic regulations similar to the one dealt with here are not infrequent. Thus, it is imperative to impress upon University administrators that they also are obligated to abide by the academic rules and requirements spelled out in the University Manual.


Fritz Wenisch
Chair, CBUM Committee


Donald H. DeHayes, Provost
Winifred E. Brownell, Dean, A & S
Calvin B. Peters, Chair, Sociology and Anthropology
Frank R. Annunziato, Executive Director, URI/AAUP
Members of the Fac. Sen. CBUM Committee


8.37.10 Pass-Fail Grading Option. With the exception of freshmen and students who are on probation, all matriculated undergraduate students at the University may participate in the Pass-Fail Grading Option as follows (8.37.11-17):

8.37.11 Courses that are stipulated in the student's curriculum as degree requirements shall not be taken for P/F credit. The pass-fail grading option shall pertain only to those courses that are considered as free, unattached electives by the college in which the student is enrolled. In addition, any course above the credits required for graduation may be taken as P/F. A college may, however, by a vote of its faculty, permit other courses to come under this option for students enrolled in that college. This vote must be confirmed by the Senate through the Curricular Affairs Committee and/or the Graduate Council.

8.37.12 Undergraduate students may elect up to three P/F courses per semester; students may elect two P/F courses during a calendar summer. Graduate students are limited to maximum of four credits in the masters program of study and eight credits toward the doctoral program (including those taken for the masters degree).

8.37.13 An undergraduate student choosing to take a course for P/F credit shall complete the special form designed for that purpose and shall return the completed form to the Office of Enrollment Services prior to the end of the add period of each semester. A student may not exercise this option after this time. Graduate students must obtain approval of the Dean of the Graduate School on a special form designed for that purpose.

8.37.14 A student may notify the Office of Enrollment Services by the end of the drop period that he or she has decided not to use the P/F grading option.

8.37.15 The instructor is not to be informed of the P/F status of the student. Such a student shall be graded by the instructor in the same manner as all other students and the Office of Enrollment Services shall convert all passing grades to "P."

8.37.16 A student completing satisfactorily a course under the regulations of this plan shall receive a "P" (pass). Unsatisfactory completion of a course shall result in the student receiving an "F" (failure).

8.37.17 A student receiving the "P" shall receive credit toward fulfillment of degree requirements, but the "P" shall not be used in calculating the student's quality point average.


8.26.10 Appeals Procedure. Every undergraduate college shall establish and publish procedures for dealing with student requests for exceptions to courses of study or to other degree requirements or academic rules prescribed by that college or by the General Faculty.

8.26.11 Undergraduate students seeking exceptions to any University rule pertaining to their academic circumstances, including degree requirements and courses of study, shall do so by written petitions submitted to the students' respective deans. Copies of all such petitions shall be preserved by the respective deans for not less than two years.

8.26.12 No waiver of any college or University rule or requirement pertaining to an individual student's academic circumstances may be granted except in conformity with 8.26.10 and 8.26.11.




Sheila Black Grubman

Faculty Outstanding Award

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