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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Minutes for Faculty Senate Meetings

September 22, 2011

Number 1

1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:12 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Eaton presiding.

All members were present except Senators Barber, Buxton, Dilworth, Hamel, Hu, Husband, King, Lardaro, La Luna, Mitkowski, Moran, Sun, Swaszek and Thomas; Vice Presidents Beagle, Dougan and Weygand; Vice Provost Libutti; Deans Bonn, D’Hondt, Higgins, Jordan and Maslyn (Deans Brownell, Kirby and McKinney were represented by their designees); Mr. Coates was represented by his designee.

2. Chairperson Eaton Chairperson Eaton announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meetings #7, April 21, 2011, and #8, May 12, 2011, had been distributed and posted on the web and asked if asked if there were any additions, further corrections to or questions about the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meetings #7 and #8. There were none.

Chairperson Eaton ruled that in the absence of any comments or corrections, the Minutes were approved.


A.  Announcements


1. Chairperson Eaton introduced herself and welcomed everyone back for the 2011-12 academic year.

She then introduced members of the Executive Committee: Vice Chairperson Peter Larsen from the University Library Senator Stephen Barber from the Department of English, Senator Marilyn Barbour from the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Senator Michael Honhart from History and Senator Michael Rice from Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science.

2. Chairperson Eaton said that she hoped everyone had an opportunity to browse through the Faculty Senate website, which was brought into the URI brand this summer with the help of Mr. Phillip Teixeira.  She explained that there is a great deal of information for Senators on the Faculty Senate home page and recommended that Senators bookmark so it would be available when needed.

3. Chairperson Eaton noted that last year’s Executive Committee had identified as a theme “Culture of Participation,” which they found useful and effective. She said that this year’s theme is “Culture of Community.”

She reminded the Senate that she had mentioned the theme in her welcome letter which was available on the Faculty Senate website at She said that the Executive Committee intended to follow through with the theme and would begin with the forum later in the meeting.

Chairperson Eaton said that Vice President Dougan and Interim Associate Vice President Friedman encouraged members of the URI community to support an inclusive, safe, and welcoming community at the University of Rhode Island by taking a pledge which appeared on the web at http 

She invited members of the Senate to join her in reciting the following:

As a Member of the University of Rhode Island Community I Pledge:

To help to sustain a safe, equitable, and inclusive environment
recognizing and respecting diversity.

To be there for the URI community by developing authentic relationships
based on dignity, respect, and mutual trust.

To aspire to promote positive change where needed.

To maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility.


She said it is important to keep those principles in mind while the Faculty Senate thinks about the theme of community this year.

4. Chairperson Eaton expressed appreciation to President Dooley, who graciously agreed to host the reception that afternoon. She noted that the reception gives Senators, ex officio members, and guests an opportunity to meet one another and to continue any discussions that might have begun during the formal meeting.  She invited everyone to go to the University Club after the meeting.

5. Chairperson Eaton asked that people who wish to speak wait to be recognized by the chair and also that they identify themselves before speaking. She said that this would give more people the chance to participate and will provide the opportunity for the members of the Senate to become acquainted with one another.

B.  Vice Chairperson Larsen said that the Minutes of 2010-11 Executive Committee Meetings ##33, #34, #35, #36, #37, #38, #39 and #40 were available on the Faculty Senate website at and 2011-12 Executive Committee Meetings #1, #2, #3, and #4 were accessible at He asked if there were any questions.  There were none. 

Vice Chairperson Larsen moved that the Faculty Senate approve Committee Appointments for 2011-12.  He noted that there were a few faculty vacancies on the Admissions Advisory Committee, which required representation from at least 5 colleges.  He encouraged anyone who was interested to contact Ms. Grubman.

After discussion, the motion carried.


President Dooley commended the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for their choice of a very timely and important theme for the 2011-12 academic year.  He said that he believed that Universities should not hide differences within them, he said we should look at these differences as a source of strength and continue to work toward understanding each other and, if possible finding a common ground.  He said that by listening to different voices, the University would be able to build some bridges that appeared not to be possible in the current climate.


Professor Maier-Speredelozzi, Chair of the University College and General Education Committee, reported on the activities of the UCGE Committee since the previous spring.  She explained that a small subcommittee of the whole met during the summer and agreed on 11 learning outcomes.  She distributed a draft of the single sheet describing the outcomes and said that she expected the full list with elaborations to be available shortly.  Senator Maier-Speredelozzi announced that the UCGE Committee was sponsoring a Rubric Workshop at the University Club on October 13 from 3-8 p.m. with dinner included.  She explained that the UCGE Committee hoped that faculty members from all disciplines who are interested in general education join the committee to develop rubrics for each of the 11 outcomes.   (See  for a complete list of general education outcomes.)  Senator Maier-Speredelozzi reported that the subcommittee also discussed possible structure(s) for the revised General Education Program and the possibility of requiring students to engage in one or more grand conversations.  Senator Speredelozzi then answered questions about her report.  Professor Wood, Chair of the Council for Research, presented the Council for Research Report on the Institute for Immunology and Informatics, which appeared on the web at

He then moved approval of the Council’s recommendation to establish the Institute for Immunology and Informatics as a continuing center at URI.  The motion carried.


Chairperson Eaton began the open discussion of “Culture of Community” by posing the following questions:

What do you think the Senate could do to foster a stronger sense of University community among students, faculty, and staff, while recognizing and honoring difference?”

What does it mean to be a university citizen?

What Forums would you attend?

Discussion ensued. 

During discussion Chairperson Eaton took notes on suggestions and ideas.  These notes are attached to the Minutes of this Meeting as an Appendix.


Chairperson Eaton asked if there was any unfinished business.  There was none.



Chairperson Eaton asked if there was any New Business.  There was none.

A motion was made to adjourn.  The motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Sheila Black Grubman        


(Notes from September 22 discussion during the Forum on Culture of Community)


Some people are more equal than others.

Clinical faculty do not have a voice in the senate.

What are we doing to prevent an atmosphere of community and inclusion?

Maternity leave for staff, for first year?

Include all kinds of families in campus activities.

What we do here is reflects society as a whole.

Connecting online - is connecting to people globally.

Connecting online is not connecting to the people in the room.

Consider "community" as "global community".

Reconsider what campus means - all campuses.

Define the gap.

Less time to chat.

Better faculty orientations.

AAUP - include lecturers in shared governance

Divisions on campus - as in college of business being isolated.

Things we can consider doing:

Our forums could include student panels

Representation of staff on committees

Sponsor events in LLC

Have conversations in Senate meetings (as we did)

Allow faculty other than only tenured and tenure-track in the Senate (I think this would be a very meaningful action step)

Coffee shops. (I think we have one.)

Shared experience - campus newspaper

Master Calendar.

The on-campus experience

"Nothing to do but drink"

Retention of out-of-state would be improved by weekend activities




Sheila Black Grubman

Faculty Outstanding Award

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