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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Minutes for Faculty Senate Meetings

September 20, 2012

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 3:14 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Larsen presiding.

All members were present except Senators Blanpied, Clapham, Conley, Davis, Dorado, Heikes, Kincaid, Krieger, Lloyd, Mitkowski, Morin, Opaluch, Paton, Pearson-Merkowitz, Reynolds, Sun, Swaszek, Thomas and Torrens; Vice Provost Libutti (Vice Provost McCray was represented by his designee); Deans Bonn, Higgins, Maslyn, Richmond and Sullivan, (Deans Corliss and Kirby were represented by their designees).

2. Chairperson Larsen announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meetings #8, April 28, 2011, #8A, May 3, 2012 and #9, May 10, 2012 had been posted on the web. He asked if there were any additions, corrections to or questions about these Minutes. There were none.

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



A. Announcements

1) Chairperson Larsen introduced himself and welcomed the Senate to the first meeting of the 2012-13 academic year. He noted that two new members of the University Community were in attendance at that meeting. He welcomed and introduced Naomi Thompson, Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity and Diane Goldsmith, Director of Learning Assessment and Online Education.

He then addressed the Senate as follows:

"Faculty, deans, administrators, students, and guests, colleagues, and friends. Welcome to another year of the Senate. As I said in my welcome letter, we are living in complicated and interesting times. We have a great many challenges in front of us  - financial, organizational, directional, and personal - and we need to muster all our resources to effectively face each one.

We are all part of URI, all part of a university, not a "multiversity." We are all - students, faculty, staff, and administrators - engaged in the great work of teaching, learning, research, and scholarship, and we cannot do any of it without all of us. Perhaps it's idealistic of me, but when I say "great work," I mean exactly that. In my opinion, there are few other human activities that are more noble, more important than the work done at URI and other universities around the country and the world. We are, quite literally, the hope for the future. And when I say "all of us," I also mean exactly that - every person at URI has a place in this great work.

There is a Buddhist mealtime saying that goes "I give thanks for this food that comes to me through the suffering of innumerable beings." And what this means to me is that, say, I make a nice dish of green beans steamed and then quickly fried in butter with a bit of garlic and ginger and some salt and pepper and a little lemon juice to bring it together. But those beans (and the garlic, ginger, lemons, and so on) were doing their vegetative thing - trying to grow. And in the soil around them were worms and bugs and bacteria about their business. And someone planted that bean plant, and fertilized it and watered it and harvested the beans, which had to be sorted and processed and packed into boxes (which were designed and built by other people, out of trees that were busy in their arboreal lives), and those boxes were loaded on truck by other people, trucks that were designed and built and driven over roads designed and built by yet more people, and you get the idea. When I say "I made dinner," I could just as well say "I and a half a million beings made dinner." We are sustained by the vast semi-visible network of society and the physical world, and losing any link in that chain makes my dish of beans difficult or perhaps impossible.

Similarly, at URI, we are tied together by a semi-visible network of supporting duties and interests. As faculty, we focus on our own classes, our own students, our own research, our own departments, our own worldview. This is natural, but it can trap us if we don't lift up our heads and look around. None of us can do our work in a vacuum - no department can graduate a student alone; no researcher can pursue an experiment without the resources of the university; no project will be completed without the efforts of staff and administrators. The housekeepers, as an example, might seem peripheral to our work as faculty and administrators, but without their constant efforts, we would find our labors increasingly difficult. In my case, because physically getting into the library would become impossible from the accumulation of pizza boxes.

So, we need to keep ourselves aware of the larger needs of the university, to pay attention to how our work supports the mission of the university and what we can do to further that mission as well as our immediate "local" goals. Furthermore, we need to be aware of how our efforts support each other, how the goals and needs of other faculty, other departments, other colleges are affected by what we chose to do or not do, how our choices support or hinder theirs.

To do this, we need to communicate. We need to share our goals and perspectives. We need to listen to each other and see where our interests and plans and efforts overlap and align. We need to share, as much as possible, our resources - not just money and facilities, but our perspectives, and thoughts, and all the strength of our considerable intelligence. And, for this to happen, we need to fight against the urge to reflexively mistrust each other, to look for hidden agendas, to assume the worst possible will. And to facilitate *that*, we need to strive for greater openness, greater transparency. We need to do our work in the open, avoiding "back room deals," not seeking special accommodations or working leverage for short-term advantage. Because we literally cannot afford this; unless we make a serious commitment to working together, we are going to each sink in our own little boat. And, yes, we have substantial differences in our needs and goals, and there will be areas where we cannot easily compromise, where we need to take a stand for our work or discipline or college or division. But for those stands to matter, we have to be sure that they really do matter, that they are not just convenient or comfortable or traditional. And we need to accept that others may also have their stands from which they cannot reasonably back down.

Desmond Tutu said: "It is unity we are talking about, not uniformity. What is needed is to respect one another's point of view and not to impute unworthy motives to one another or to seek to impugn the integrity of the other. Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another and to cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other."

So, as Senators, faculty, deans, administrators, and students what can you do? First, pay attention. Read the materials posted for you and strive to understand them. Second, communicate. Transmit the information you receive to your colleges and departments and units urge their study and response, then bring those ideas back to the Senate. Third, speak up - rather than rush through the agenda to get it done with, take the time to engage in debate, if you deem it necessary. At the same time, listen  - your colleagues also have their reasons for speaking. Fourth, keep the community in mind. Always try to understand and respect your colleagues, assuming, as much as you can, the best, rather than the worst, intentions. If we stand together and pool our resources, we have every chance of survival.

I will leave you with a quote from Roger Williams: "By concord little things grow great, by discord the greatest come to nothing." Let us, as much as we are able, seek concord and not discord.

Thank you for your kind attention. Now, let's start the year's work, since I assure you there will be no shortage of it.

2) Chairperson Larsen expressed his appreciation to President Dooley for agreeing to sponsor the reception at the University Club that afternoon after the meeting. He encouraged everyone to attend the reception because it gives Senators, ex officio members and guests an opportunity to meet one another in a casual environment to continue any discussions we might have begun during the formal meeting.

Chairperson Larsen said that President Dooley had a major announcement and had asked to give the President's Report at that time.


A. President Dooley said that he had approved all of the legislation listed on the Agenda. He indicated that Bill #11-12--24, The Four Hundred and Ninety-Eighth Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee: Proposal for a B.S. Degree in Psychology, would be considered by the Board of Governors for Higher Education at their next meeting.

B. President Dooley announced the establishment of an Administration and Management Review Committee, chaired by Associate Vice President Anne Marie Coleman. He said the committee was charged to review the administrative and academic organization, administrative structures and procedures, and the business practices of the University of Rhode Island with the intention of reducing administrative costs in order to reinvest in academic priorities (full text of President Dooley's announcement is attached to the Minutes of the meeting).

President Dooley then responded to questions from the floor.

Before the Senate resumed its regular order of business with item 3 B, Chairperson Larsen asked that people who wish to speak wait to be recognized by the chair and also that they identify themselves before speaking. He explained that this would give more people the chance to participate and also provide the opportunity for the members of the Senate to become acquainted with one another.


B. Vice Chairperson Byrd announced that the Minutes of the 2011-12 Executive Committee Meetings #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, and #32 and the Minutes of 2012-2013 Executive Committee Meetings #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 were available on the web. He asked if there were any questions.

Discussion ensued during which Provost DeHayes, Chairperson Larsen and Vice Chairperson Byrd responded to questions from the floor.

C. Vice Chairperson Byrd announced that he had four recommendations on behalf of the Executive Committee.

1) He moved that the Faculty Senate establish a Joint Committee on Online and Distance Learning as outlined in the Report of the Executive Committee.

Discussion ensued.

Following discussion, the motion carried.

2) Vice Chairperson Byrd moved that the Faculty Senate establish an Ad Hoc Committee on Open Access to examine and discuss the issues of open access, other universities' practices, and how these issues affect URI. The committee shall make recommendations in a report to the Senate at the January meeting.

Following discussion, the motion carried.

3) Vice Chairperson Byrd moved approval of the committee appointments for 2012-13. The motion carried.

Vice Chairperson Byrd announced that there were a few committee vacancies. He said that if anyone were interested in serving on either the Library Committee or the Teaching Effectiveness Committee to please contact the Faculty Senate Office.

Chairperson Larsen said that the Executive Committee is seeking nominations for the position of Ombud as well.

Vice Chairperson Byrd moved to change the order of business and consider item 5, C with Executive Committee recommendation 4).

The motion to consider item 5, C simultaneously with item C, 4) carried.

4) Vice Chairperson Byrd moved that the Faculty Senate endorse the recommendation of the Council for Research on Overhead Policy and Regulation on Overhead Cost Recovery (See item 5, C) along with the process for future revisions recommended by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

Professor Wood, President Dooley, Provost DeHayes and Vice Chairperson Byrd provided background on the original overhead proposal, the Council for Research consideration of the proposal and their subsequent recommendation and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee's proposal for a review process.

Discussion ensued.

When the time for discussion expired, a motion was made to extend debate for five additional minutes. The motion carried.

The Senate resumed its discussion of the motion.

When the five-minute extension of time for discussion expired, a motion was made to extend debate for five additional minutes. The motion carried.

The Senate resumed its discussion of the motion.

Following discussion, Senator Leo moved to terminate debate. The motion to terminate debate carried.

The main motion carried.


A. Vice Provost Beauvais, a member of the University College and General Education Committee, moved approval of the UCGE Committee's recommendation to amend section 8.15.12 of the University Manual to conform with the CLEP Examinations changes with regard to English Composition.

Discussion ensued.

Following discussion, Senator Leo moved to refer the report back to committee. Senator Dyehouse provided clarification about 100-level writing courses to Senator Leo, who then withdrew his motion.

The motion to amend section 8.15.12 carried.

B. Professor Wood presented the Annual Report of the Council for Research for 2011-12. He asked if there were any questions. There were none.

Professor Wood then moved approval of the Council for Research's recommendations on Centers.

Discussion ensued.

Following discussion, the motion carried.

C. Chairperson Larsen reminded the Senate that item 5, C had been considered with item 3, C, 4)


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


Chairperson Larsen asked if there was any new business. There was none.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Black Grubman


Attachment to Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #1, September 20, 2012

To: All Members of the URI Community

From: David M. Dooley, President

Date: September 20, 2012

Subject: Administration and Management Review Committee


In these challenging financial times for public higher education, it is especially important to insure that our resources are allocated strategically and spent wisely. Developing ways to make additional investments in the core academic missions of the university, while doing all we can to control tuition, should be among our top priorities. Accordingly, I am appointing a committee, chaired by Associate Vice President Anne Marie Coleman, to review the administrative and academic organization, administrative structures and procedures, and the business practices of the University of Rhode Island. The overall goal of the review is to identify opportunities and mechanisms by which URI can reduce the costs and improve the performance of its administration, management, and business practices, and add value to the academic and co-curricular experiences of our students. Savings that are achieved can be reinvested in priority areas, such as teaching, research and scholarship, and student services.

(1) Consult faculty, staff, administration, and students in the conduct of the review.
(2) Examine the academic structures, the administrative structures, and management structures of the university with a focus on promoting appropriate synergies across related units and minimizing any administrative redundancies that may exist. All divisions and areas of the university are to be included.
(3) Examine the administrative processes and business practices of the university with a focus on streamlining and enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.
(4) As appropriate, compare and benchmark URI organizational structures, policies, and processes to peer institutions.
(5) Identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve productivity and efficiency in URI's administrative, management, and business practices.


Many aspects of the University of Rhode Island's structure and organization are the result of decisions made decades ago. Indeed, this is a fairly typical situation for many higher education institutions. A critical re-examination of the organization across divisions, colleges, departments, and units is appropriate and timely for several reasons. First, we should not assume that historical administrative, academic, and management structures are necessarily the most appropriate now. Second, one of our key responsibilities to our students, and to those who support URI, is to do all we can to use our resources as wisely and efficiently as possible. The faculty, working with the Deans and the Provost, has undertaken a thorough, innovative, and productive revision of the academic work of the university, with the guidance of the Academic Strategic Plan. Their excellent work may be facilitated and magnified by changes in the organizational structures and business practices of URI. Third, if we can develop cost savings or productivity gains in the areas of administration and business practices, those resources can be reallocated to enhance education, scholarship/research, and student services.


I want to thank in advance the Committee, and the university community, for what will be a demanding and, at times, challenging endeavor. The outcomes of your work have the potential to make substantial and long-lasting improvements in the university, for the benefit of our students and our state.




Sheila Black Grubman

Faculty Outstanding Award

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