1. The meeting was called to order at 9:35AM on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in the Dorothy Vocino Conference Room in the URI Library, Chairperson Byrd presiding. Senators Brady, Cerbo, Davis, Nassersharif, and Rice were present.
2. Minutes of FSEC Meeting #16, #17, #18, and #20 were approved as amended. Minutes from FSEC meeting #15 had been approved through email on January 16, 2014.
a. Chairperson Byrd noted the upcoming forum, initiated by the FSEC (co-sponsored with the Office of the President, the Provost, and the Student Senate), scheduled for January 30th, "Campus Security: Broadening the Discussion." A campus-wide notice has not yet been distributed but should occur later in the day. Ms. Neff was asked to send a Save the Date message through the Faculty Senate listserv.
b. Chairperson Byrd reminded the committee that Professor Jacqueline Webb, Chair of the Council for Research, would be joining the meeting at 10:30AM.
c. Chairperson Byrd reminded the FSEC that the UCGE committee had submitted its final report on the General Education revisions on December 15th and that FSEC members had received the report through email.
4. ONGOING BUSINESS
a. The FSEC reviewed the agenda for the Faculty Senate meeting upcoming on January 23, 2014. Relative to the proposed changes to the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program contained in Curricular Report No. 2013-14-3 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate, the committee noted the anomalous placement of the program in a non-degree granting unit. They discussed the fact that these changes were proposed by the Graduate School and approved by the Graduate Council. FSEC members wondered if participating departments -Biological Sciences, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Communicative Disorders, Electrical, Biomedical, and Computer Engineering; Mechanical, Industrial, and Systems Engineering; Psychology; and Physical Therapy- had been notified and had approved the changes.
b. The committee discussed their ongoing concerns about the plans to hire a vendor to market online degree programs (for example the RN to BS in Nursing). The committee said that careful review of this decision is needed by the Curricular Affairs Committee regarding the implications for the institution’s control of its curriculum and teaching.
Professor Jacqueline Webb, Chair of the Council for Research, joined the meeting at 10:30AM. She reported that, as a new Chair of the Council, she had reviewed the University Manual sections relative to the Council, had conferred with the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Gerald Sonnenfeld, and had made a few changes. Council membership was adjusted to better reflect the Manual description. A number of unofficial ex officio members of the Research Office staff were eliminated. The role of the Chair was affirmed, to call all meetings (with the exception of the first one of the year which is called by the Vice President for Research) and set the agenda items. She reported that, after meeting with Vice President Sonnenfeld, her understanding of the duties of the Council were consistent with those of Vice President. She initiated the use of an evaluation form for assessing center proposals. The Council reviewed its grant programs -Proposal Development and Faculty Career Enhancement- and restricted eligibility to full-time faculty with continuing appointments (tenured and tenure-track faculty, research faculty, research scientists) on 9-month appointments only. Professor Webb also reported that she had proposed to the Graduate School that they change their policy regarding publishing students’ theses in the digital commons upon graduation. She asked the Graduate School to place a two year embargo on making the work public to allow for publication by the PI who may have funded the thesis. Professor Webb reported that the Subcommittee on the Distribution of Overhead Funds had carried out its annual review of the overhead distribution and had prepared the required report recommending that the current distribution scheme remain in place through the 2014 calendar year. The report had been distributed to the community for comment for a two-week period and would be submitted to the Faculty Senate (and others) by January 31st. Senator Nassersharif asked Professor Webb, in future years, to give particular attention to the SPA (sponsored project administration) rates.
Chairperson Byrd thanked Professor Webb for the update and information. Professor Webb left the meeting.
The committee resumed Ongoing Business.
c. The FSEC discussed the UCGE committee and its final report on the General Education revisions. Ms. Neff was instructed to assemble a short report and link the full and short reports on the Faculty Senate website. An announcement would be made at the upcoming Senate meeting that the reports were available and that a forum to discuss the proposed General Education program would take place during the February 20th Senate meeting followed by a vote at the March 20th Senate meeting. Ms. Neff was asked to ask UCGE Chairperson Maier-Speredelozzi to forward to the FSEC the motion.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:00PM.