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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes #6

September 21, 2011

1. The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 in the President’s Conference Room, Green Hall, Vice Chairperson Larsen presiding.  All members were present except Chairperson Eaton, who arrived at 4:10 p.m. and presided over the meeting until adjournment.

  

2. Announcements/Correspondence: 

a. Senator Rice brought the FSEC up to date on his correspondence with the URI Foundation.  He said that he was waiting to hear further from the Foundation since his last e-mail to Ms. Bucci, Interim President of the URI Foundation. 

b. Senator Rice reported on a recent meeting he had attended Alumni Center on planning for a plaque or other monument to commemorate members of the faculty and staff who have retired after serving at least 40 years. He said that the group had discussed a possible location, as well as design ideas, and hoped to have something by this year’s commencement.  

c. Senator Honhart said that the Division of Research and Economic Development planned to hold a forum on Friday, September 23 at noon.  He said he understood it to be the annual fall meting and that he didn’t expect any additional information on the proposed Intellectual Policy to be presented at that time.  

Vice Chairperson Larsen announced that Chairperson Eaton had requested the Executive Committee postpone discussion of the September 22 Faculty Senate Meeting until after she arrived at the meeting.  The Committee moved to item 4. 

4.  The FSEC was brought up to date on committees: 

a. Ad Hoc Committee on Advising:  Senator Honhart reported that the committee continued to meet during and since the summer and that Dean Richmond wants to have a recommendation before the end of the semester.  He said that he hoped one positive result of the ad hoc committee’s efforts would be self-examination of advising within degree-granting colleges. 

Vice Chairperson Larsen noted that JCAP had been working on metrics for advising. It was agreed that the groups should share information related to advising.              

b. Academic Program Review Committee:  Senator Barbour said that the committee had no chair at that point, but that she and Vice Provost Beauvais had been working on the department chair survey, which was ready for vetting by chairs and other members of the academic community.  She said she hoped the survey would be on Survey Monkey shortly.  

c. Providence Campus Oversight Committee:  Ms. Grubman reported that because of a number of personnel changes, the Committee had not met for several years.  She said that the Faculty Senate had authorized the Committee to conduct a trial in the spring of 2008, but as far as she knew there hadn’t been a report.   The Executive Committee directed Ms. Grubman to ask Associate Dean Quina, who had been involved in the proposal and subsequently in its administration, for a report on what has happened during the interim period.  

5. The Executive Committee met with President Dooley from 3:40-4:50.  The following matters were considered: 

a. Administrator Evaluation:  In response to the Executive Committee’s question about what the President wanted to obtain from the administrator evaluation process, the President indicated that he wanted more useful and broader information from many people who interact with the administrator in different capacities. He noted that very few people had written letters, perhaps because only very positive constituents or very negative constituents took the time and trouble to do so. 

The President was also concerned by the very low response rate.  He said that there wasn’t an opportunity to determine the significance of concerns because there were too few people who took the time to respond, which meant that he had no way of judging whether concerns were widespread or just those of a few individuals. President Dooley also suggested that by constructing a committee with volunteers could lead to the greater possibility that the members of the committee could pursue individual agenda.  

He said that he preferred evaluations that included surveys of the administrator’s colleagues, immediate staff, people from outside the University with whom the administrator interacts, as well as a greater sampling of faculty members than provided in the letter writing process.  He said that he favored a process with 360° feedback. He noted that the survey he used for Provost DeHayes on Survey Monkey took less time, which allowed for more respondents.  It also provided greater opportunity for thoughtful responses, and as a result more useful information.  He also commented that the response rate had been significantly better than those from the administrator evaluated under the Faculty Senate’s process. 

President Dooley suggested that the FSEC consider the option of using a survey that would be confidential but not anonymous.  The Executive Committee said that the Faculty Senate evaluations were not anonymous because signatures were required on the outer envelope before the letters and envelopes were separated.  

The President also asked that groups other than faculty members be involved in the process.  

The Executive Committee agreed to discuss his suggestions at their next meeting. 

b. Strategic Budget and Planning Council:  The terms of the Faculty Senate’s nominees to the SBPC were discussed.  It was agreed that all of the original Faculty Senate representatives, with the exception of the Faculty Senate Chair, would remain on the Council through the current cycle and would rotate off in a staggered manner thereafter.

c. University Budget:  The Executive Committee asked President Dooley to clarify what appeared to be discrepancies between the AAUP’s budget estimate and the University’s.  Before providing information, it was agreed that there would be no discussion that was related to collective bargaining, but rather of general principles.

President Dooley said that the AAUP’s figures were consistent with the University’s but also noted that the “unrestricted” balances in fact included funds that were generated by specific entities or activities of the university, and would not be available for other purposes.  For example, He said that the University auxiliary enterprises did generate fund balances, but that they were intended to be used only for the purpose for which they were established.  He also noted that the University tried to build and maintain a fund balance, without which the University would have no resiliency if the state failed to provide promised support or the number of out-of-state students decreased. 

d. Culture of Community:  The Executive Committee reported on their decision to adopt Culture of Community as their theme for the 2011-12 academic year.  President Dooley said that given the climate of divisiveness and polarization that seemed to be growing nationally, he believed that it is vital that University’s take the leadership role and model what is the best of an academic community.  He complimented the FSEC for choosing the theme at such a critical time.  He said he hoped that URI can distinguish itself as institution dedicated to building a community that embraces diversity and where it members work together beyond toleration to respect.  

The Executive Committee asked President Dooley to address the University as a scholarly community as part of his remarks at the September 22 Faculty Senate Meeting.

After President Dooley left the meeting, the Executive Committee returned to item 3 on their Agenda. 

3. The FSEC reviewed the Agenda for the September 22 Faculty Senate Meeting in preparation for the following afternoon.  They discussed ways to encourage participation in the discussion of “Culture of Community” by members of the Senate. 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:57 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman