Faculty Senate

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

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January 22, 2015 Minutes

1. The regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:09 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Nassersharif presiding.

All members were present except Senators Agostinucci, Chadha, Dunn, Heikes, Kaufman, Kim, Krieger, Lee (E.), Mandel (L.), Martin, Meagher, Rynearson, Torrens, Wittwer, Ye, and Zhang; ex officio members Vice Presidents Dougan and Sonnenfeld; CIO Bozylinsky; Deans Bonn, Corliss, McCarthy, Richmond, and Wright; Mr. Zawatsky and Mr. Swanson. Associate Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.

2. Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #4, December 11, 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 Nassersharif ruled that in the absence of any changes or corrections, the minutes were approved.


A. Announcements

1) Chairperson Nassersharif welcomed back faculty from the January break. He commented that the 7th Annual Academic Summit (held on January 16) had been a successful event. He welcomed Director and Professor Judith Swift to the meeting who, he said, would provide the Senate with an update on the implementation of the new general education program. She and her committee members Senators Goldsmith and Mead and Professors Conley and Honhart have been busy meeting with key individuals and groups and, the Chair noted, had hosted three information sessions the previous week.

2) Chairperson Nassersharif commented on the advancement of the proposal to create a Health College and the requests that the Executive Committee had received to clarify the approval process, protocols, and voting rights regarding the proposal. He noted that he had distributed a memorandum to the faculty in early December describing voting rights as stipulated in the University Manual. He said that it was the intent of the Executive Committee to form an ad hoc committee to review the University Manual and address Faculty Senate membership and faculty voting rights on matters requiring Faculty Senate approval. He said that it was expected that the ad hoc committee would work expeditiously.

3) Chairperson Nassersharif said that, at the December 11 Faculty Senate meeting, the FSEC had moved approval of changes to the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate, Section 5.1, Election of Officers. At today’s meeting, it will be recommended that the vote to approve those changes be postponed until corresponding changes to the Senate Constitution have been proposed and approved.

4) Chairperson Nassersharif introduced Ms. Vicki T. Sapp, the new Director of Community and Organizational Development in the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity. Ms. Sapp announced an upcoming conference, 20,000 Voices: Create Solutions to Reform and Rebuild, to be held on March 26-28, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (distinguished professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College). She asked faculty to save the dates, the conference would feature a Teach-In, and more information would be following.

5) Chairperson Nassersharif expressed regret that there would be no reception after today’s meeting because of a water pipe break at the UClub.

6) Chairperson Nassersharif 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 Meetings #17, #18, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25 were available on the Faculty Senate website. She asked if there were any questions. There were none.

C. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster announced that there were three recommendations from the FSEC.

a. The first recommendation was to approve the members of the 2015-2016 Nominating Committee. The Vice Chairperson moved approval of Senators Cerbo, English, and Nassersharif. The motion was seconded. Senator Davis asked if any faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences had been considered for the Nominating Committee. Senator Davis was asked if she would like to be considered for the Committee. She agreed. The motion was amended to add Senator Davis to the Committee. The main motion, as amended, was approved.

b. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster moved approval of the formation of an ad hoc Committee to address Faculty Senate membership and faculty voting rights on matters requiring Faculty Senate approval. The charge to the committee is to:

1. Review the current language in the University Manual regarding Senate membership eligibility and criteria and make recommendations for changes to the Executive Committee. Changes may include expanding membership to full-time, non-tenure track faculty.

2. Review the current language in the University Manual regarding faculty voting rights and make recommendations for changes to the Executive Committee. Changes may include expanding faculty voting rights at the department and college level to full-time, non-tenure track faculty.

3. Clearly define the role of tenure-track faculty in the governance of the University by reviewing the meaning and intent of “continuing faculty” in the University Manual and, if necessary, recommend changes for clarification and consistency.

The proposed committee membership is Laura Beauvais, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Ruitang Deng, Senator and Associate Professor of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences; Debra Erickson-Owens, Senator and Assistant Professor of Nursing; W. Michael Sullivan, Senator and Professor of Plant Sciences; Fritz Wenisch, Professor of Philosophy.

The motion was seconded. Senator Hicks asked if a due date should be required for the work of the committee. Senator Sullivan replied that, as one of the proposed members of the committee, he hoped that the committee would meet frequently, carry out an expeditious review of the Manual, and return with a recommendation at the February Faculty Senate meeting. Provost DeHayes said that several faculty had approached him to ask that clinical faculty and lecturers be represented on the committee. Senator Sullivan noted that one of the proposed members, Senator Erickson-Owens, was formerly a clinical faculty member. Chairperson Nassersharif said that there was desire to keep the committee small for ease of meeting and that the committee will solicit input from clinical faculty and lecturers. The motion was passed.

c. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster moved approval of postponing the vote on changes to By-Laws of The Faculty Senate, Section 5.1 Election of Officers, until corresponding changes to the Faculty Senate Constitution have been approved. The motion passed.


The President stated that the legislation forwarded to him after the December 11, 2014 Senate meeting had been approved. He noted that some of the bills required Board of Education. He expected approval of these items at the next Board meeting in two weeks.

The President thanked everyone who had participated in the 7th Annual Academic Summit. He had heard that it had been a positive event and rewarding to those who had participated. He said that he looked forward to the work that would be produced from the Summit, the new Academic Plan (2016-2021). He commented that budget decisions are derived from the Academic Plan and he hoped that the new plan would be as influential as the last. The President noted that the new active learning classroom, featured at the Summit, would be ready (in the Library) for use in the fall of 2015.

The President remarked that the 2015 Winter J-term had been very successful and had surpassed the success of the program last year. Over 600 students had participated in either one of the many on-campus courses or one of the 16 study abroad programs. He said that he was encouraged by the accounts of the students’ experiences and that he hoped that the program would continue to grow. The President wished the faculty a successful spring semester.


Chairperson Nassersharif introduced Director Swift, Chair of the General Education Implementation Steering Team (GEIST). She introduced the other faculty members of GEIST and thanked them for their contributions to the effort. She said that general education information sessions had been offered to the community during the January break and a temporary website had been established to host materials and resources. Director Swift said that GEIST will not attempt to change the legislated program but will address design issues if they arise by directing issues to the appropriate group or committee. She presented Power Point slides describing the new general education program, which her team is planning to launch in Fall 2016. Courses need to be approved by November 2015. She reported that the General Education and Curricular Affairs Committees have tentatively agreed to work together to develop an expedited approval process. Course approvals by the full GE and CAC will be pro forma. Rubrics and the definition of a Grand Challenge course for use in course development are forthcoming from the GE Committee in February. URI will develop a permanent General Education website for both faculty and students. The website will be designed to convey that the institution values the program across a student’s full, four-year academic experience. Director Swift thanked the FSEC for appointing an earnest group of faculty to facilitate implementation.


A. Associate Dean Killingbeck presented the Curricular Report No. 2014-15-4 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate. He described the single item for approval from the College of Nursing, that 42 credits earned in the MS program be allowed to be used toward the 72-credit DNP degree and he moved approval. Senator Goldsmith asked if the full expression of the abbreviation, DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), be included in the proposal. The motion passed.

B. Professor Brand presented the Five Hundred and Twentieth 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 5 new courses, and 1 course change. Senator Kirschenbaum asked if the College of Business Administration had been consulted regarding the development of EGR 325, Engineering Entrepreneurship I and EGR 326, Engineering Entrepreneurship II. Professor Brand said that these two courses were part of an interdisciplinary minor and that contributing colleges and departments had been consulted and consented. The motion was approved.

C. Professor Kinnie presented the General Education Committee Report #2014-15-1. HPR 202 Students Teach Teachers: Flipping the Script was approved by the Committee for Fine Arts and Literature (A) with the following skill areas: examining human differences, reading complex texts, speak effectively, use of information literacy. This report is informational because of the agreement between the (University College and) General Education Committee and the Honors Program since the initiation of the current General Education program, and prior to that under the previous General Education program, that specific Honors topics courses are approved with the understanding that the Director of the Honors Program would ensure that the topics taught under the approved number integrate at least 3 of the approved skills.


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


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

9. A motion was made to adjourn. The motion carried.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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