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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Meeting

September 19, 2013

Minutes #1



1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:50 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Byrd presiding.

All members were present except Senators Blanpied, Dunn, Hunter, Hutchison, Krieger, Leonard, Meagher, Paton, Rarick, Spivack, Sullivan, Thomas, and Ye; Vice President Dougan, Vice Provosts Beauvais and Katz, (Vice Provost McCray was represented by his designee); Deans Bonn, Ciccomascolo, Corliss, Higgins, Kirby, Larrat, Richmond and Sullivan.

2. Chairperson Byrd announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #9, May 9, 2013 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 comments or corrections, the Minutes were approved.


A. Announcements

1) Chairperson Byrd introduced himself and welcomed the Senate to the first meeting of the 2013-14 academic year. He thanked President Dooley for his address to the faculty as part of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty meeting earlier on the agenda. Chairperson Byrd brought to the attention of the Senators that the Senate derives its legislative power on all educational matters from State of Rhode Island General Laws, TITLE 16 Education, CHAPTER 16-32, University of Rhode Island SECTION 16-32-10:


§16-32-10 Award of degrees - Curriculum and government.

The board of trustees, with the approval of the president and a committee of the faculty of the university, shall award academic degrees and diplomas and confer honors in the same manner as is customary in American colleges. It shall also be the duty of the president and a committee of the faculty, with the approval of the board of governors for higher education, to arrange courses of study conforming to all acts of Congress, and prescribe any qualifications for the admission of students and any rules of study, exercise, discipline, and government as the president and committee may deem proper.

This authority is expressed in the Constitution of the Faculty Senate, found in the University Manual, as follows:

University Manual
Constitution of the Faculty Senate
Article II - Powers


The Senate, subject to the provisions of state and federal law, subject to consistency with the general objectives established by its governing Board, and subject to the referendum power of the General Faculty, has ultimate legislative power on educational policies. It shall, with the concurrence of the President, formulate policy concerning teaching and research, study, exercise, discipline and government: for example, and without excluding others not listed, academic standards (scholastic standing, admission and dismissal policy, class attendance, grading systems, etc.), the University calendar, University-wide curriculum matters both graduate and undergraduate, and research and patent policy as they may affect the faculty as a whole. Nothing in this article should be construed to interfere with the authority or responsibility of the appropriate administrative officers in the carrying out of established policy, or in proposing, through the President, such changes in policy as they deem desirable.


Chairperson Byrd noted some of the legislative accomplishments carried out in the previous Senate (2012-13):

  • A procedure for revisions to the distribution of facilities and administrative (overhead) funds
  • Establishment of the joint committee on online and distance learning
  • Establishment of the undergraduate academic advising committee
  • Approval of an open access policy through the university libraries
  • Passage of a resolution in support of a firearms-free campus


He commented that national issues in higher education have ramifications here at URI. Financial challenges seem to dominate the conversations. In a recent ranking of US colleges and universities (PayScale, 2014), the criteria were based on post-graduate pay scale assessments. Affordability of the degree and how much graduates are earning once employed are the emerging measures of accountability. Accessibility, too, is an issue that receives much attention in Rhode Island and resonates with our Board of Education.


2) Chairperson Byrd 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.


B. Vice Chairperson Rice announced that the Minutes of the 2013-14 Executive Committee Meetings #1 through #4 and #6 were available on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any questions. There were none.

C. Vice Chairperson Rice announced that he had one recommendation on behalf of the Executive Committee. He moved approval of the committee appointments for 2013-14. The motion carried.


Vice Chairperson Rice announced that there were a few committee vacancies. He suggested reviewing the list linked in the agenda and to contact the Senate Office if anyone were interested in serving.


Chairperson Byrd announced that the President had approved all of the legislation forwarded to him after the May 9, 2013 Senate meeting.


A. Professor Brand presented the Five Hundred and Seventh Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee. She said that report was informational, she read the list of courses that had been approved, and asked if there were any questions. There were none.


B. Senator Conley presented Report #2013-14-1 of the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee. He moved approval of amendments to University Manual Sections 8.20.50, 8.26.13, 8.70.50, 8.53.10, 8.53.11, 8.53.30. The motion carried.


Provost DeHayes and former JCAP Vice Chairperson Byrd presented the Annual Report of the Joint Committee on Academic Planning. Provost DeHayes explained that the JCAP presentation customarily takes place in the Spring; he said the report contained 2012-13 accomplishments. In its third year, Provost DeHayes reviewed the purpose of the committee. Its mission is to address and monitor achievement of the goals of the Academic Plan. The recommendations of the Committee are advisory to the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Senate. Establishing metrics from which to measure progress of the Academic Plan and gathering data in the metrics is useful in the accreditation process. Accomplishments last year included implementing a new pre-program proposal, developing a response to AMRC solicitation for ideas, furthering the Cluster Hire Initiative, developing guidelines to promote and remove barriers to interdisciplinary work, review of the revisions of the General Education Program, and hosting the 5th Annual Academic Summit, The Future of Learning. Former Vice Chairperson Byrd elaborated on some of the accomplishments. Provost DeHayes reviewed the data on undergraduate credit completion rates: in 2003, only 45% of freshman had earned at least 30 credits by the end of their second semester; data from 2012 indicate that the percentage has increased to 65%.

The presenters responded to questions about their report.

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

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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