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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Meeting

Minutes #8

April 17, 2014 (available in .pdf)


1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:08 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Byrd presiding.

All members were present except Senators Anderson, Davis, Dunn, Dunsworth, Heikes, Sau-Lon Hu, Hutchison, Irvine, Kim, Krieger, Kusz, (K. Wayne) Lee, Martin, Meagher, Pearson-Merkowitz, Spivack, Sullivan, Trubiano, Wittwer, and Ye; ex officio members Vice Presidents Dougan, Sonnenfeld, and Valentino; Vice Provosts Katz and Libutti; CIO Bozylinsky; Deans Bonn, Brownell, Ciccomascolo, Corliss, Higgins, Maslyn, Richmond, Sullivan, Wright, and Zawia. Assoc. Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.

2. Chairperson Byrd announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #7, March 20, 2014 had been posted on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any additions, corrections to or questions about these Minutes. There were none. Chairperson Byrd ruled that in the absence of any changes or corrections, the minutes were approved.


A. Announcements


1) Chairperson Byrd announced that today's meeting was the last meeting of the 2013-14 Faculty Senate. The first meeting of the 2014-15 Senate was scheduled for May 8, 2014. He said that new Senators would take their seats at that time.


Chairperson Byrd thanked the Senators whose terms were expiring at the end of the meeting:


  • Peter Blanpied, Physical Therapy, Human Sciences & Services
  • Bridget Buxton, History, Arts & Sciences
  • David Byrd, Education, Human Sciences & Services
  • Mark Conley, Music, Arts & Sciences
  • William Euler, Chemistry, Arts & Sciences
  • David Howard, Theatre, Arts & Sciences
  • James Sau-Lon Hu, Ocean Engineering, Engineering
  • Hillary Leonard, Business
  • Arthur Mead, Economics, Arts & Sciences
  • James Opaluch, Environmental & Natural Resource Economics, Environment & Life Sciences
  • Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz, Political Science, Arts & Sciences
  • Nedra Reynolds, Writing and Rhetoric, Arts & Sciences
  • Michael Rice, Fisheries Animal & Veterinary Science, Environment & Life Sciences
  • Arthur Spivack, Graduate School of Oceanography
  • W. Michael Sullivan, Plant Sciences, Environment & Life Sciences
  • Natacha Thomas, Civil Engineering, Engineering


2) Chairperson Byrd reminded the assembly that Senators Nassersharif and Eaton had been elected at the February meeting to fill the Senate Chair and Vice Chair posts next year. He said that Senator Cerbo would return to the Executive Committee to complete his 2-year term and that there will be three vacancies on the Executive Committee: two 2-year terms and one 1-year term. He encouraged returning Senators to submit nominations to the Nominating Committee (Senators Rice, Reynolds, and himself) for these positions. He said that Senators may nominate themselves and that new Senators were also eligible.


3) Chairperson Byrd announced that the Faculty Senate Executive Committee had developed a draft charge for an ad hoc General Education Implementation Task Force, which has been reviewed by the Provost. The Task Force will be responsible for establishing and overseeing a strategic plan for implementation of the new general education program. It will be charged to work with Faculty Senate Committees, the Office of Student Learning, Outcomes Assessment, and Accreditation, and academic units (colleges, schools, and departments) to implement goals as appropriate to satisfy the requirements of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges. He said that faculty would be kept informed of the progress of the task force.


4) Chairperson Byrd expressed his appreciation to Dean John Kirby for agreeing to sponsor the reception at the University Club after the meeting. He encouraged everyone to attend and noted that the reception gives Senators, ex officio members, and guests an opportunity to meet one another in an informal setting.


5) Chairperson Byrd asked everyone to remember to wait to be recognized by the chair before speaking. He noted that it would be very helpful for participants to identify themselves before they speak.


B. Vice Chairperson Rice announced that the Minutes of the 2013-14 Executive Committee Meetings #22 and #23 were available on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any questions. There were none.


C. Vice Chairperson Rice recommended approval of the proposed schedule of Faculty Senate meetings for the 2014-2015 academic year:

September 18, 2014*
October 16, 2014
November 20, 2014
December 11, 2014*
January 22, 2015
February 19, 2015
March 12, 2015
April 16, 2015*
May 7, 2015 (organizational)


(*General Faculty - Graduate Faculty meetings)


The motion passed.


D. Vice Chairperson Rice stated that on October 18, 2012, by a vote of the Faculty Senate, the Administrator Evaluation Process had been suspended for two academic years, 2012-13 and 2013-14, and legislation was passed outlining a pilot process that utilized an electronic survey instrument. He said that the pilot time period had ended and the Executive Committee recommend changes to manual sections 5.76.10-12 and 10.90.10-15, describing a new administrator evaluation process based on the pilot.


Administrator Evaluation Coordinator, Senator Nassersharif, summarized the results of the pilot process that replaced letter-based submissions with the use of SurveyMonkey. He thanked the faculty who served on evaluation committees, and he answered questions. Senator Nassersharif was asked about the confidentiality of the survey and about constituencies for individual administrators.


A motion was made to amend section 5.76.10 from


"The constituent groups shall be defined as the follows:" to


"The constituent groups shall be defined as, but not limited to, the following:"


The amendment was approved.

A motion was made to approve the recommended manual changes, as amended.

The motion passed.


The President stated that all legislation forwarded to him after the March 20, 2014 Senate meeting had been approved.

The President commented on the pending legislation in the Rhode Island General Assembly to establish a new organizational structure of the Board of Education that inadvertently included additional powers of the President of the University. He said that amended language has been forwarded to the legislature and that the Senate's views on the matter have been influential.

The President commented on the Governor's proposed tuition freeze and additional $5 million to higher education and expressed optimism that meeting our budget will be possible. He indicated that the size of the incoming class of freshmen is a key factor. The President thanked the faculty who had participated in the three Welcome Days at the university.

The President commented on the continued support and progress of the development of the Nursing center (Providence) and plans for renovations of the Engineering complex.


A. Dean Killingbeck presented the Graduate Council Report No. 2013-14-6 to the Faculty Senate. He moved approval of a new course code and new courses. The motion passed. He moved approval of several program (curricular) changes. The motion passed.


Dean Killingbeck presented the Graduate Council Report No. 2013-14-7 to the Faculty Senate. He moved approval of a Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy and Post Masters Certificate Programs in Nursing. He answered questions and explained that the reasons for offering certificate programs are evolving.

The motion passed.


B. Professor Brand presented the Five Hundred and Fourteenth Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee. She said that Section I was informational and asked if there were any questions. There were none. Professor Brand noted that Section II required confirmation by the Faculty Senate. She moved approval of Section II and answered questions. Senator Boudreaux-Bartels noted an error in the College of Engineering curriculum changes. The report was amended to remove "The Department of Nuclear Engineering" in the request for a new course code, NUE (Nuclear Engineering).


A question was raised regarding the changes to the BA in Public Relations, requesting "the GPA requirement of a 2.00 GPA overall and 2.50 GPA in the pre-major courses be changed to a 3.00 GPA overall and a 2.50 in the pre-major courses effective September, 2014. Exception: approval by the Chairperson of Communication Studies, since the Public Relations Program resides within Communication Studies."


Concern was expressed that this change was a large step and might exclude a significant number of students who had intended on majoring in Public Relations. Associate Dean Morokoff answered questions about the proposal. The report was amended to remove this proposal.


The motion to approve the report as amended passed.

C. Professor Maier-Speredelozzi presented the University College and General Education Report 2013-14-5 that required confirmation by the Faculty Senate. Professor Maier-Speredelozzi moved approval of ARB 111, 112, 211, and 212 in the Foreign Language/Cross-Cultural Competence Core Area. The motion passed.


D. Professor Webb presented the Annual Report of the Council for Research. She was asked about the subcommittee on overhead distribution. She said that the subcommittee had met and had sought out any egregious issues. The subcommittee had voted to recommend that the current distribution scheme remain in place through the 2014 calendar year and planned to review overhead distribution and spending so that it could recommend changes, if necessary, for the 2015 calendar year based on a full-year of data gathered under the new review policy.


E. Professor Hicks presented the Annual Report of the Learning Outcomes Oversight Committee (LOOC). She explained that LOOC engages in policy recommendations and support of assessment for undergraduate and graduate programs. The committee is developing an action plan to determine the value of assessment to the institution, engaging new faculty early. She said that the assessment of 50 undergraduate programs would occur this summer. LOOC and SLOAA are seeking volunteers to review programs.

6. Chairperson Byrd asked if there were any New Business.

Senator Gordon asked about the hours of operation of the on-campus health services, indicating concern for availability of emergency care during the hours of evening classes. He was informed that the Senate had followed up on his concern (originally raised at the 11/21/13 meeting) by inviting Vice President Dougan and Health Services Director, Ellen Reynolds to the December 12, 2013 meeting. They made a presentation to the Senate and answered questions about health services and emergency care.

Professor Kirschenbaum commented that contract negotiations were progressing. He hoped that there would be a vote mid-May. After ratification, negotiations would commence on the new contract.

Chairperson Byrd asked if there were any New Business. There was none.

A motion was made to adjourn. The motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff



Sheila Black Grubman

Faculty Outstanding Award

2015 Notice and Criteria



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