Faculty Senate

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nneff@uri.edu – 401-874-2616, 401-874-5176

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April 16, 2015 Minutes

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 Nassersharif presiding.

All members were present except Senators Cerbo, Chadha, Davis, Deng, Dunn, Gallagher, Hutchison, Irvine, Licht, Mandel (N.), Martin, Matthew, Meagher, Menden-Deuer, Rynearson, Shin, Taveira, Wittwer, Xiao, and Zhang; ex officio members Vice Presidents Dougan and Valentino; Vice Provost Libutti, CIO Bozylinsky; Deans Bonn, Jervis, McCarthy, and Wright. Associate Dean Smith represented by Dean Corliss and Associate Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.

2. Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #7, March 12, 2015 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 Nassersharif ruled that in the absence of any changes or corrections, the minutes were approved.


A. Announcements

1) Chairperson Nassersharif said that today’s meeting was last Faculty Senate meeting for Senators whose terms were expiring in 2015. He thanked the following outgoing Senators:

Michael Cerbo, University Libraries
Kathleen Davis, English
Catherine English, Nutrition and Food Sciences
Brian Heikes, Oceanography
Marc Hutchison, Political Science
Steven Irvine, Biological Sciences
Mikyong Kim, Communicative Disorders
Will Krieger, Philosophy
K. Wayne Lee, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Naomi Mandel, English
(Bahram Nassersharif, Mechanical, Industrial, and Systems Engineering)
Seung Kyoon Shin, Business
Tracey Taveira, Pharmacy Practice
Kathleen Torrens, Communication Studies
Mario Trubiano, Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures
Christian Wittwer, Theatre
Jing Xiao, Human Development and Family Studies
Yinjiao Ye, Communication Studies

2) Chairperson Nassersharif noted that among today’s recommendations of the Executive Committee were revisions to the schedule of Senate meeting dates for 2015-2016 and approval of a one-time election in February 2016 of a Chair of the Senate to facilitate the transition to the new Vice Chair/Chair-Elect model.

3) Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Ad Hoc Committee on Senate Membership and Voting Rights would present a recommendation to allow full time non-tenure track faculty to serve on the Senate and on Senate Committees.

4) Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Curricular Affairs Committee would present the proposal to create the Academic Health Collaborative. He acknowledged the hard work over three years to bring the proposal to this point.

5) Chairperson Nassersharif thanked Dean Larrat for graciously agreeing to sponsor the reception at the University Club after the meeting. He encouraged all Senators and others to attend.

6) Chairperson Nassersharif reminded non-Senators to sign the Permission to Speak form and asked everyone to remember to wait to be recognized and to identify themselves before speaking.

B. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster announced that the Minutes of the 2014-15 Executive Committee Meeting #34, #35, and #36 were available on the Faculty Senate website. She asked if there were any questions. There were none.

C. Recommendations of the Executive Committee

1) Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster recommended that the Faculty Senate adopt an amended schedule of Senate meetings for the 2015-2016 academic year dates in order to avoid the scheduling of a meeting the week prior to Spring Break:

Sept. 17, 2015
Oct. 15, 2015
Nov. 19, 2015
Dec. 10, 2015
Jan. 28, 2016
Feb. 18, 2016
Mar. 31, 2016
April 21, 2016
May 5, 2016

The motion was approved.

2) Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster explained that, at the March 12 Faculty Senate meeting, the Senate had finalized changes to the By-Laws to create the new two-year Faculty Senate leadership position, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect. She said that a senator will be elected to this new position in February 2016 and that, in the first year of the new position, the Senate will also have to elect a Senate Chair because there will not be a Chair-Elect from the previous year to transition into the position. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster moved approval of a one-time election in February 2016 of a Chair to the Senate to serve during the 2016-17 Academic Year. The motion passed.

3) Senator Sullivan presented the Second Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to address Faculty Senate Membership and Faculty Voting Rights. The committee report contained an explanation of the use of the terms “continuing” and “non-continuing” as applied to faculty and recommended that, in the University Manual and other official documents, the expression “non-continuing” be replaced by “non-tenure track,” and that the expression “continuing” be replaced by “tenure-track.” Regarding Faculty Senate membership of full-time non-tenure track faculty members, Senator Sullivan moved approval of the following: (1) full-time non-tenure track faculty members shall be eligible for election to the Faculty Senate after they have served for one academic year in their position; (2) the ratio of faculty members of an academic unit (such as a college) to senators representing that unit be changed from the current 10:1 to 12:1; and (3) upon approval of (1) and (2), the necessary steps be taken to implement these recommendations. The motion was seconded and discussion followed. Senator Sullivan answered questions. Senators expressed concern for unintended consequences within the Senate and on the demands of non-tenure track faculty. Senator Agostinucci asked if non-tenure track faculty would be eligible to serve on the Senate Executive Committee. He was informed that non-tenure track faculty would be eligible to serve on the Executive Committee and all other standing or joint committees of the Senate. The motion passed with 20 yeas, 12 nays, 2 abstentions. Senator Sullivan said that the Ad Hoc Committee will undertake a careful review of the University Manual and return to the Senate in the fall with recommended edits to reflect the approved changes.


The President reported on the status of the Rhode Island Senate Bill to establish performance funding (Senate Bill No. 603 SUB A, “The Performance Funding Act of 2015”). He said that the Bill had passed out of the Senate Education Committee and that it had his support and that of the other presidents (CCRI and RIC). He said that URI is positioned to benefit from this legislation because the performance funds will augment, not reduce, the annual state allocation to URI and because the development of a funding formula for higher education will allow predictability of our budget. The President said that URI has already established important performance measures consistent with, and unique to, its mission. He stated that URI would not be penalized for the strides it has made in recent years in student retention and graduation rates. He added that the Bill would likely be passed in this legislative session, but that it would take some time after that to define the metrics and the funding formula, the latter of which will require legislative approval. The President answered questions about the impact of this legislation on economically disadvantaged students and disciplines not associated with high wage jobs. He concluded that there would be opportunity for faculty input regarding the performance-based measures.


A. Associate Dean Killingbeck presented the Curricular Report No. 2014-15-9 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate. He presented 9 course change proposals (informational) and 3 new courses and moved approval. Senator Euler noted that the pre-requisite, CHM 227, in the proposed new course, BPS 557 Modern Spectroscopic Techniques in Drug Discovery, was not appropriate for that course and recommended that it be replaced by CHM 228. Discussion ensued. It was agreed that the course could be approved with the stipulation that the College of Pharmacy submit a course change proposal to change the pre-requisite. The motion to approve the new courses passed. The Associate Dean presented two curricular change proposals, one from the Department of Electrical Engineering and the other from the Department of Physics, and moved approval. The motion passed.

B. Professor Brand presented the Five Hundred and Twenty-Third 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 said that Section II required confirmation by the Faculty Senate and moved approval of 11 new courses. Senator Kaufman questioned the pre-requisite statement of WRT 332, Technical Writing. A motion to amend WRT 332 by deleting the statement “Competence in basic skills required.” was made, seconded, and approved. The main motion to approve the new courses was passed. Professor Brand moved approval of 6 course change proposals. The motion passed. Professor Brand moved approval of proposed curricular changes to the BA in Chinese, the BS in Biomedical Engineering, the BS in Computer Engineering, and the BS in Biomedical Engineering. The motion passed. Professor Brand presented the final item of the 523rd Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee, the Formation of the Academic Health Collaborative. Vice Provost Beauvais, co-chair of the Phase II Health Committee, presented Power Point slides summarizing the development of the proposal over the past three years. She described the evolution of the proposed 3-college structure of the Collaborative, the process of soliciting input from external constituencies and feedback from the URI community, and reported on voting results from the departments and colleges involved. Chairperson Nassersharif moved approval, the motion was seconded, and discussion ensued. Senators expressed concerns regarding resources and the potential negative impact on academic units that are not part of the proposal. Vice Provost Beauvais, Vice President Sonnenfeld, and Provost DeHayes answered questions about the proposal. Given time constraints, Chairperson Nassersharif set aside the motion and moved to extend discussion which was approved at 4:50 p.m. Returning to discussion, questions were raised regarding the means by which the goals of the Collaborative would be evaluated. A motion to call the vote was made and approved. The motion to approve the Academic Health Collaborative was passed.

6. The extended meeting time expired. The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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