1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty – Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:09 p.m. in Room 105 of the Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences, Chairperson Sullivan presiding.
All members were present except Senators Bide, Boving, Djurdjevic, Green, Krieger, Lloyd, Meghani, Rosenbaum, Thiem, and Wang; ex officio members President Dooley, Vice President Collins; Deans Bonn, Brownell, Ciccomascolo, Ebrahimpour, Wolfe, and Wright. Associate Dean Smith represented Dean Corliss, Associate Dean Thornber represented Dean Kirby, and Associate Dean Riebe represented Dean Ligouri.
2. Chairperson Sullivan announced that the minutes of Faculty Senate meeting #7, March 23, 2017 had been posted with the agenda. He asked if there were any additions, corrections to or questions about the minutes. There were none. Chairperson Sullivan asked for a motion to approve. A motion was made, seconded, and the minutes were approved.
3. REPORTS OF OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1. Chairperson Sullivan recognized and thanked the senators whose terms were to expire upon adjournment of this meeting (with the exception of the Executive Committee members):
ARTS AND SCIENCES
Ashish Chadha, Film Media
William Euler, Chemistry
Will Green, Landscape Architecture
Louis Kirschenbaum, Chemistry
Lauren Mandel, Library and Information Studies
Arthur Mead, Economics
Alan Verskin, History
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
David Byrd, School of Education, FSEC Member
Stephen Licht, Ocean Engineering
George Tsiatas, Civil Engineering, FSEC Member
ENVIRONMENT AND LIFE SCIENCES
Todd Guilfoos, Environmental and Natural Resource Economic
Brian Maynard, Plant Sciences & Entomology
W. Michael Sullivan, Plant Sciences & Entomology, Faculty Senate Chair
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF OCEANOGRAPHY
James Agostinucci, Physical Therapy
He said that returning Senators would welcome new Senators and hold elections to fill three positions on the Executive Committee at the May 4 Faculty Senate meeting.
2. Chairperson Sullivan summarized the status of the proposed changes to the Policy for Articulation and Transfer Between Public Institutions of Higher Education. The Commissioner’s Office had convened a meeting on March 28. Chairperson Sullivan had learned that changes had been proposed at that meeting that would substantively impact the General Education Program at URI. Chairperson Sullivan had followed up with a memorandum to the Commissioner’s Office affirming the shared governance rights and responsibilities of the faculty at URI through its representative body, the Faculty Senate. Chairperson Sullivan said that he had received a reply indicating that no encroachment on URI faculty rights or the URI General Education Program was intended. The Provost added that a section of the revisions that he had re-written (earlier in the year) had been accepted. He had affirmed that developmental and vocational classes offered at the Community College of Rhode Island would not transfer to URI. The Provost stated that the goal, endorsed by all institutions, was to maximize the transfer of credits but only for those classes that had comparability.
3. Chairperson Sullivan said that he had received a technology update from Chief Information Officer (CIO) Kubica subsequent to the presentation of the report from the Committee on Information Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing, Communications, and Networking at the March 23 meeting. Chairperson Sullivan said he would accept the information as a communication. For clarity, CIO Kubica had wanted to add that wireless deficiencies that had been identified in an AAUP report in 2016 had been addressed by ITS (Information Technology Services). The Provost had provided ITS with approximately $300K of year-end funding in 2016 to upgrade the wireless network in the following buildings and locations: The Robert Carothers Library, Washburn, East, Bliss, Davis, Woodward, Quinn, and general assignment classrooms. In addition, all residence halls had received significant Wi-Fi upgrades with funding from Housing and Residential Life. ITS adds or replaces wireless access points when alerted to coverage issues. Academic areas are the top priority. In areas of poor coverage, ITS requests that the Help Desk be contacted.
4. Chairperson Sullivan introduced Ms. Abigail Rider, the newly appointed Vice President for Administration and Finance.
5. Chairperson Sullivan noted the recent appointment of Dr. Matthew Bodah, Professor in the Schmidt Labor Research Center and former chair of the Economics Department, to the position of Interim Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Budget.
6. Chairperson Sullivan asked members of administrator evaluation committees to complete their work.
7. Chairperson Sullivan introduced Dr. Joanna Ravello, Director of Community and Organizational Development in the Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity. She informed those assembled that the Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity (CED) was seeking feedback on a recently published draft of its Strategic Plan. Senators were directed to the website where the Plan and a feedback form could be accessed. She thanked Dean Zawia, Vice Provost Libutti, Senator Derbyshire, and members of the Equity council for their input in the development of the Plan.
8. Chairperson Sullivan thanked Dean Zawia for graciously agreeing to sponsor the day’s post-meeting reception.
9. Chairperson Sullivan asked that those who wished to speak wait to be recognized by the chair and also identify themselves and their department.
B. Activities of the Executive Committee
Vice Chairperson Conley announced that the Minutes of Executive Committee meetings #30 and #31 were available on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any questions. There were none.
C. Recommendations of the Executive Committee
Vice Chairperson Conley presented proposed changes to University Manual section 8.51.13. He explained that changes to section 8.51.11 (previously approved by the Faculty Senate on March 31, 2016) had not been approved by the President and that, at the September 22, 2016 Faculty Senate Meeting, the Faculty Senate had referred University Manual sections 8.51.11 – 8.51.13 to the Executive Committee for further consideration and revision. The Executive Committee had consulted with the Provost to address the President’s concerns. Vice Chairperson Conley recommended approval of the revised section. The motion was moved, seconded, and approved.
D. Senate Vice Chairperson Conley presented a report on Senate Committee restructuring. Using Power Point slides, he reviewed the motion passed at the February 23, 2017 Faculty Senate meeting and summarized the reasons for considering the committee restructuring. He reviewed section 4.13 of the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate, which describes committee structure (unless otherwise specified): six faculty members, one of whom chairs the committee, one graduate student and two undergraduate students. He said that the plan was to return the standing committees under consideration to this structure with the addition of administrators to serve as liaisons on an as-needed basis to provide expertise when requested. Vice Chairperson Conley said that an ad hoc committee would be formed to work over the summer to advance the restructuring process and to ensure that all committee duties were reflected accurately in any new Manual language. He also reported that a second committee would be formed to address proper training for faculty members of the Curricular Affairs and General Education Committees. He noted that the Administration [Provost’s Office] had offered to provide compensation for summer committee work.
4. REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
The Provost said that the President was not able to attend the meeting because he was in New York. The Provost thanked the outgoing Senators whose terms were ending with this meeting. He thanked Chairperson Sullivan and Senators Byrd and Tsiatas for their service on the Executive Committee. The Provost reported on the upcoming 2017 commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients. He said that broadcast journalist Vladimir Duthiers, a  URI political science graduate, would deliver the undergraduate commencement address on May 21; Boston Globe columnist and associate editor, Thomas Farragher, a  URI journalism graduate, would give the address at the graduate ceremony on May 20. These individuals would receive honorary doctoral degrees along with University of Rhode Island President Emeritus Robert L. Carothers, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Indian Museum Lorén Spears ’89; and economist, composer, and author Alfred J. Tella ’55. The Provost said that the final Welcome Day for accepted students would take place on April 22. He thanked those who had participated in these events for prospective students.
5. REPORTS OF STANDING, JOINT, AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
A. Dean Zawia presented Curricular Report No. 2016-17-6 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate. He summarized the informational section of the report: approval of an online version of MBA 503 Financial Accounting. He moved approval of two new courses: MAF 650/650X Marine Affairs Doctoral Research Seminar and MCE 585 Solar Thermal Engineering. Senator Nassersharif noted an error in the name of the department listing for MCE 585 and asked that “Civil” be removed from Mechanical, Civil, Industrial and Systems Engineering. The correction was noted. The two new courses were approved. Dean Zawia presented the following program changes: elimination of the requirement for the comprehensive exam in the Human Development and Family Studies Master’s Program specialization in College Student Personnel; elimination of the requirement for the comprehensive exam in the Masters of Environmental Science and Management; elimination of the requirement for the comprehensive exam in the non-thesis Masters of Marine Affairs and Master of Arts in Marine Affairs; elimination of the requirement for the comprehensive exam in the non-thesis program in Civil and Environmental Engineering; elimination of the requirement for the comprehensive exam in the non-thesis Masters of Oceanography; elimination of the requirement for the comprehensive exam in the non-thesis Master’s in Fashion Merchandising and Design; change in the unit specialization title and course requirements in the MS and PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences degrees; and change in the name of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration. He also presented a proposal to allow transcripts of graduate students who complete the Professional Development Badge in Diversity and Inclusion to bear the notation: “This student has completed a series of five one-hour, professional development workshops offered in partnership between the Graduate School and the Office of Community Equity and Diversity.” The Dean moved approval of all proposals. The motion was seconded and discussion followed. Assistant Dean Austin was recognized and provided an explanation of the development of the Professional Development Badge in Diversity and Inclusion and the rationale for its inclusion on the academic transcript. A motion was made to divide the motion and vote on the Notice of Change proposals (program changes) separately from the proposal concerning the transcript notation. The motion to divide was approved. The vote on the program changes was called. The program changes were approved. Discussion continued concerning the Professional Development Badge in Diversity and Inclusion, which was described as a non credit-bearing credential earned as a result of completing five one-hour workshops. Chairperson Sullivan called on Senior Associate Director (of Enrollment Services) Humphrey who explained that non-credit “milestones”, i.e., completion of comprehensive exams, theses, NCATE (National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education) exams, etc. were currently included on URI transcripts. He further explained that these milestones were verified either through a curricular committee process or, in the case of the comprehensive exam, verified by the Graduate School. Dean Zawia added that the Graduate Council had reviewed the workshops that comprise the Badge in Diversity and Inclusion. Senator Nassersharif was recognized and moved to table the motion suggesting that a proposal be returned that defined the process of achieving a badge designation. The motion was seconded and approved. Chairperson Sullivan addressed additional concerns and clarified that a proposal describing badges as credentials, at either or both the graduate and undergraduate level, would be appropriately considered by the Senate after approval by one of the coordinating and review committees.
B. Dean Zawia presented Curricular Report No. 2016-17-7 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate. He presented and moved approval of a Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia, a 12-credit graduate program that enables educators to acquire knowledge, skills, and competencies required to teach K-12 students with dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties. The motion was approved.
C. Chairperson Sullivan presented the 540th Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee. He said that Section I was informational and asked if there were any questions. There were none. He reported that Section II required Senate approval. Nine new courses from the College of Arts and Sciences, one new course from the College of Business, one new course from the College of Educational and Professional Studies, five new courses from the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, four new courses from the College of Engineering, one course from the Graduate School of Oceanography, and seven course change proposals were approved. Chairperson Sullivan asked for a motion to approve the following program proposals: creation of ASL (American Sign Language) course code; changes to the BA and BS in Computer Science; creation of DSP (Data Science Program) course code; creation of a BA, BS, and Minor in Data Science Program; creation of Creative Writing Option for the English major; creation of a Business of Digital Media (BDM) Minor; creation of a Minor in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship; change in the name of the Entrepreneurial Management major to Management; change to the Environmental Engineering Minor; changes to BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering; notation on the student transcript of “International Engineering Program –(with language noted)” for those students completing a degree in the IEP; changes to the BA in Biology and BS in Biological Sciences; changes to the BS in Marine Biology; deletion of the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Minor; changes to the BS in Psychology; change in the admission GPA for RN to BS Online Program; creation of a Minor of Proficiency in Ocean Data Science. The program proposals were approved.
D. Chairperson Sullivan presented General Education Committee Report 2016-17-7. He said that the General Education Committee had approved 12 existing courses as qualifying in the general education program. These courses were presented as informational. He said that the Committee had approved 11 new courses as general education courses. He asked for a motion to approve. A motion was made, seconded, and the courses were approved.
E. Professor Owens presented the Annual Report of the Learning Outcomes Oversight Committee (LOOC). She said that her report included a description of the mission of the Committee and she read the names of the Committee members. The Committee had approved student learning outcomes Assessment Plans for the following proposals: the MS in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, the BS and BA in Data Science, the Certificate in Embedded Systems, and the Certificate in Energy Economics and Policy. Professor Owens reported on the (cohort-based) program assessments (since May 2016). She noted that NEASC-accredited programs were no longer required to complete as rigorous a report as in prior years because of the reporting that was already required by the accrediting agency. She commended those faculty who had submitted assessment reports for their departments and reported on the compliance results. She read the names of people who had carried out the assessments and noted the comments of their reviewers.
F. Professor Harps-Logan, Chair of the Athletics Advisory Board, presented a report of the University of Rhode Island Department of Athletics. She used Power Point slides to enumerate the many accomplishments of URI’s student-athletes and achievements of the 2016 – 2017 women’s and men’s athletic teams. She introduced academic advisors Ms. Jennifer MacNab and Ms. Kristen Casamento who thanked the faculty for helping to facilitate successful careers for student-athletes by providing feedback and information. Professor Harps-Logan introduced two student-athletes, Ms. Kylee Wolfe and Mr. Dante Lamb. Each provided personal impressions of their experiences at URI and expressed gratitude for the opportunities that they have been afforded through URI Athletics.
6. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Professor Wenisch presented changes to By-Laws 4.31 – 4.86 as proposed previously in Constitution, By-laws, and University Manual Committee Report 2016-17-3. He explained that these language changes (updating committee memberships as a result of prior legislation) had been moved at the February 23, 2017 Faculty Senate Meeting. They were returned for approval today because By-Laws changes, he reminded Senators, cannot be voted on at the meeting at which they are first moved. He moved approval. The motion was passed.
7. NEW BUSINESS
Chairperson Sullivan introduced a request for consideration of an admissions waiver of the foreign language requirement (two years of a foreign language) for students who satisfy the New York Regent’s Diploma requirements (one year of language other than English). This request was brought to his attention by faculty who have partnered with the New York Harbor School (supported by the New York Harbor Foundation). He asked for a motion to convene an ad hoc committee to study the options. The motion was approved.
Chairperson Sullivan asked for a motion to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.