Skip to main content
Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Meeting

November 21, 2013

Minutes #3 (available in .pdf)


1. 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, Brady, Blanpied, Cohen, Hu, Hutchison, Kusz, Lee, Martin, Menden-Deuer, Paton, Pearson-Merkowitz, Rarick, Spivack, Sullivan, Thomas, Wittwer, Ye, and Zhang (Senator Welters was represented by Prof. Hannel); Vice President Dougan, Vice President Sonnenfeld, Vice Provost Katz and CIO Bozylinsky, (Vice Provost McCray was represented by Prof. Hubbard); Deans Bonn, Ciccomascolo, Corliss, Higgins, Maslyn, Richmond, Sullivan, Wright, and Zawia (Dean Kirby was represented by Assoc. Dean Veeger).

2. Chairperson Byrd announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #2, October 17, 2013 had been posted on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any additions, corrections to or questions about these Minutes. A request was made to make the minutes available in .pdf once posted. There were no corrections.

Chairperson Byrd ruled that in the absence of any changes or corrections, the Minutes were approved.


A. Announcements


1) Chairperson Byrd announced that plans were underway for another co-sponsored forum on campus safety. "Critical Components of a Comprehensive Approach to Campus Safety and Well Being" will feature experts in mental health issues and psychological counseling, training for campus police in non-violent intervention, and emergency preparedness and protocols. The purpose is to bring together components of campus security other than arming to facilitate a comprehensive approach toward reducing the risk of violence at URI and improving campus safety. There is no date yet for this event.

2) Chairperson Byrd reported that the UCGE committee has been asked to prepare a report on the revised general education program to be distributed to senators in advance of a Senate forum on the subject. He said that he has asked for the report to be completed in December so that a forum can be scheduled for the January Senate meeting to be followed by a vote on the revisions at the February meeting. He said that he wants to avoid a vote on the revisions late in the spring (April) because it is a busy time of year.


3) Chairperson Byrd expressed his appreciation to Dean Mark Higgins 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.


4) 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 #8, #11, #12 and #13 were available on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any questions.


Senator Eaton inquired about the progress of the Administrator Evaluation Committee selection. Senator Nassersharif, the Administrator Evaluation Coordinator, reported that the senate selections have been made. The next step will be completing the committees with the administrators' and supervisors' selections and scheduling the first meeting of each committee.


A. President Dooley announced that he had approved the legislation forwarded to him after the October 17, 2013 Senate meeting.


B. The President thanked all who had attended the event announcing the gift of $15 million from the Tom and Cathy Ryan family and the establishment of the George and Ann Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. The President reported that this is the largest gift in the history of the university and he commended the process that brought it to fruition, a process that was in place before he came to URI. The gift will be used to partner with Brown University, Lifespan, Care New England, and the Veterans Administration to create a Center of Excellence in Neuroscience. This gift will fund research and training, a professorship in Tom Ryan's name and a center director. URI will provide funding for 3 new faculty positions structured after the cluster hires.


The President reported that he had recently returned from a trip to Japan where he visited the corporate headquarters of Toray Plastics, a major manufacturer in Rhode Island and corporate supporter of the university. Toray has recently announced a $2 million gift to the College of Engineering to augment the International Engineering Program.


The President reported that the Board of Education is preparing a report to the governor and to the legislature proposing its governance structure. The Board will propose two councils, one to oversee K-12 and the other to oversee higher education. The Board will "bridge" the two councils and be involved with the issues that affect both of them. The Board is encouraging input from the institutions on this proposal.


Professor Kirschenbaum remarked that the proposed structure sounded remarkably similar to the former one under the former Board of Governors. Senator Eaton asked if the current Board members would be split between the two new councils or if additional members would be added to each of the new councils. Professor Hubbard asked the President if there would be a seat on the new council for higher education for a student representative. The President answered that that would likely depend on the size of the council. He said that the new structure will likely include a Commissioner of Higher Education with staff.


A. Dean Killingbeck presented the Graduate Council Report No. 2013-14-1 to the Faculty Senate. The first course proposal for consideration was a 400 level course for graduate credit, ELE 425. Dean Killingbeck reviewed the 400 level proposal process from college to Senate Office, to the CAC, then to the Graduate Council (if for graduate credit), then to the Faculty Senate for final approval.


He moved approval of the new courses and course changes. The motion passed. He presented a proposal from the Department of Chemistry: curricular requirements adjusted to include new courses. He moved approval of the degree requirement changes from Chemistry. The motion passed.


B. Professor Brand presented the Five Hundred and Ninth 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 and moved approval. The motion passed.

C. Professor Hubbard presented the University College and General Education Report 2013-14-1 to the Faculty Senate. She moved approval of two History courses for inclusion in the General Education Program. The motion passed. She reported on an informational item, a course change for an approved general education course. The change did not impact the core area or skills.


D. Senator Conley presented the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee Report #2013-14-2 to the Faculty Senate. The first part of the report consisted of the University Calendar for 2019-2020. He noted that the Monday, October 14, 2019 Columbus Day schedule would take place on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 and that there would be no classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Senator Conley answered questions about reading days and J-term. He moved approval of the calendar. The motion passed.


He also presented the calendar for the 2015 summer session. He moved approval and the motion passed.

E. Professor and Honors Program Director Lynne Derbyshire presented the 2012-2013 Annual Report of the Honors Program and Visiting Scholars Committee. She commented on highlights of the program. She reported that the standards of eligibility for students to participate in the Honors Program had changed for incoming students. Beginning with the class of 2013, students must have earned a high school GPA of 3.4 or higher, and a combined SAT score of 1100 or higher in Critical Reading and Mathematics. Director Derbyshire was asked how these differ from the former standards. She answered that class rank was used formerly not GPA and SAT scores so she could not make a comparison. Because the academic profile of entering students is higher than a few years ago, there has been growth in the Honors program.


Director Derbyshire commended the success of the colloquium lecture series, a hallmark of the Honors Program. This year's colloquium, "Great Public Schools" has offered opportunity for rich discussion. The theme in Fall 2014 will be Cyber Security.  She cited the successes of the Honors Undergraduate Research Conference, the many honors courses, visiting scholars, scholarship opportunities, and pre-health student advising.


F. Professor Barbour presented the report of the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) to the Faculty Senate. She listed the membership and described the APRC as the keeper of the process of program review. She outlined the 3-pronged approach:


1) Review of the Central Data Report: offers benchmarks (distributed through Institutional Research)


2) the Chairs' survey: data collected at the department level every two years (next one Spring 2014)


3) Self study of each department (every six years)


Professor Barbour directed the senators to a list on the Faculty Senate website of the review schedule for departments. Some reviews are scheduled to coincide with accreditation visits. If departments do not have an accredited program, an external reviewer is identified. The APRC is developing a guideline for external review. Departments can choose someone from a peer institution. Professor Barbour answered questions.

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

Chairperson Byrd asked if there were any New Business.

Senator Gordon raised the issue of access to student health services in the evening, during evening class hours. He recalled an incident in one of his classes that brought attention to the fact that health services closes at 8 PM and raised the question of how to respond to a student who appears in need of medical attention. Discussion ensued about emergency procedures on campus. The issue of denial of medical service to students with the university health insurance policy was discussed.

It was suggested that someone from Student Affairs be contacted to address the Senate on the subject of these concerns.

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



University Libraries LibGuides