Faculty Senate

35 Campus Avenue 310 Green Hall Kingston, RI 02881

nneff@uri.edu401-874-2616, 401-874-5176

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March 23, 2017 Minutes

1. The regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:04 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 Akhlaghi, Harris, Hume, Kirschenbaum, Krieger, Leonard, Licht, Lloyd, Meghani, Rynearson, Thulier, and Wyatt; ex officio members President Dooley, Vice Presidents Collins, Rider, and Sonnenfeld; Deans Bonn, Boughida, Ciccomascolo, Ebrahimpour, Kirby, Richmond, Wolfe, and Wright.  Associate Deans Eaton and Morokoff represented Dean Brownell, Associate Dean Smith represented Dean Corliss, and Associate Dean Riebe represented Dean Ligouri.

2. Chairperson Sullivan announced that the minutes of Faculty Senate meeting #6, February 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.


A. Announcements

1. Chairperson Sullivan recognized the performance of the men’s basketball team in winning the Atlantic 10 Conference title on March 12. He added that it was a challenge to be a student athlete.  Chairperson Sullivan recommended adoption of a resolution congratulating the team.  The recommendation was moved, seconded, and approved.

2. Chairperson Sullivan announced that the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Senate were again sponsoring the Sheila Black Grubman Faculty Outstanding Service Award. The award acknowledged, he said, a member of the URI Faculty who has made important contributions in the area of service and the deadline for submission of letters of nomination was April 3.

3. Chairperson Sullivan called on Director Goldsmith who provided an update on the Academic Testing Center (ATC). She said that the Center was operational and that initial use has been very successful. She reported that her office would be soliciting feedback from faculty and students on their experiences and would continue to make the Center as user-friendly as possible.  She said that she would be submitting a proposal to the Provost for funding to allow the Center to be available 5 days/week next fall.

4. Chairperson Sullivan thanked Dean Ligouri for graciously agreeing to sponsor the day’s post-meeting reception.

5. 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 meeting #25 were available on the Faculty Senate website.  He asked if there were any questions.  There were none.

C. Recommendations of the Executive Committee

1. Vice Chairperson Conley moved approval of the proposed schedule of Faculty Senate meetings for the 2017-2018 academic year:

September 21, 2017
October 19, 2017
November 16, 2017
December 7, 2017
January 25, 2018
February 22, 2018
March 22, 2018
April 19, 2018
May 3, 2018

The motion passed.  The schedule was approved.

2.Vice Chairperson Conley said that, at the November Faculty Senate meeting, an undergraduate certificate program had been approved. The Executive Committee proposed language to be included in Chapter 8 of the University Manual describing certificate programs and the administration of certificate programs.  He said that the new sections were developed collaboratively by the Executive Committee, Enrollment Management (Office of the Provost), and Enrollment Services.  He added that the Curricular Affairs Committee and the Constitution, By-Laws, and University Manual Committee had reviewed and approved the language.   Vice Chairperson Conley recommended approval of the new sections.  The motion was moved, seconded, and approved.


The Provost said that the President was not able to attend the meeting because he was at the Rhode Island State House testifying at the Senate Finance Committee.  The Provost acknowledged the championship win of the men’s basketball team and expressed his congratulations.  He reported that, on the previous day, the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies (ASFCEPS) had hosted an official launch event on both the Kingston and Providence campuses.  He said that the event had been an opportunity for faculty, students, and external constituents to celebrate. The Provost reported on the status of the fall 2017 admissions.  The number of freshman applications again exceeded those of the previous year (22,500 to date).  He said that the success of the university in continuing to attract record-breaking numbers of highly qualified and increasingly diverse applicants in a shrinking pool of high school graduates was a testament to the excellence of the work of Vice Provost Libutti and the URI faculty. He said that the university was in a good position, he reminded the faculty of the upcoming Welcome Days, and thanked the faculty for all that they do.  The Provost announced that Abigail Rider, the newly appointed Vice President for Administration and Finance, was also at the Rhode Island State House but planned to attend future meetings of the Faculty Senate.  The Provost reported that Vice Provost Katz had retired but would assist on a part-time basis for a few weeks until an interim Vice Provost was in place.  The Provost reported that the search committee for the Dean of the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies would soon be completing its work and that the search committee for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences was reviewing  the applicant pool of good candidates.


Chairperson Sullivan said that, if there were no objection, he would like to move the order of business and call on Senator Nassersharif to present the Report of the Committee on Information Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing, Communications, and Networking.  The motion was approved.

A. Senator Nassersharif presented the annual Report of the Committee on Information Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing, Communications, and Networking (CITICCN). He listed the Committee members noting the two Senate members (Senator Maynard and himself) and the ex officio member, Chief Information Officer Kubica.  He said that the Committee had met six times this year.  He enumerated the Committee’s areas of accomplishments: worked with ITgov (IT Strategic Governance Committee) in developing the 2017-2021 IT Strategic Plan; addressed internet, Wi-Fi, and phone services and associated weaknesses including the lack of a dedicated budget and limitations of the VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system which results in phone service for only 20 minutes into a power outage; and conducted a survey of faculty regarding information technologies to guide CITICCN activities in the future.  Senator Nassersharif reported that CITICCN strongly recommended that the search for a permanent Chief Information Officer be undertaken expeditiously in order to be able to appoint a permanent Chief Information Officer before the fall of 2018. Senator Nassersharif answered questions.

B. Professor Gindy presented Report 2016-17-3 of the Academic Standards and Calendar Committee (AS&CC), which contained the academic calendars for accelerated online programs for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 and the academic year calendar for 2022-2023. She asked for a motion to approve the accelerated online calendars.  The motion was made, seconded, and approved.  Professor Gindy reviewed the discussion about the 2022-2023 calendar that had taken place at the February 23, 2017 Faculty Senate meeting.  She reported that the AS&CC had subsequently considered the options requested in order to assess the need for and feasibility of no classes on Election Day in fall 2022. Professor Gindy reported that the Committee had examined the fall academic calendars of all state universities in New England, noting differences with and similarities to the URI calendar.  Seven of 7 universities scheduled classes on Election Day.  The Committee examined the possibility of condensing the final examination period and concluded that reducing the final exam period to 6 days (freeing up another class day) would be possible but would require a change to the University Manual.  The Committee reviewed the results of a survey conducted by the Student Senate regarding Election Day.  Survey results indicated that 69% of students who had wanted to vote had been able to vote while 26% had not been able to vote because of academic or time obligations.  The AS&CC had concluded that holding classes on Election Day does not prevent students from voting.  The Committee conducted a survey of faculty and students to ask their preference of choice of an “extra” day in the fall semester.  Professor Gindy reported that the top request of both students and faculty was to not schedule classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Professor Gindy indicated that these findings did not warrant any changes to the previously submitted 2022 – 2023 calendar.  Discussion followed.  Senator Cooper said that she considered significant the percentage of student respondents who indicated that they had not had the opportunity to vote because of academic obligations.  She said that, for the students who claimed that they could not vote, no classes on Election Day would make both a political and social statement.  Senator Williams called the question.  The motion was seconded and approved.  Senators were asked to approve the 2022-2023 calendar.  The motion was seconded and approved.  The Provost added that the institution should and can, in the future, promote the responsibility of voting.

C. Associate Dean Rusnock presented Curricular Report No. 2016-17-5 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate. She summarized the informational section of the report: three course deletions, 22 course change proposals, and one temporary course. She moved approval of six new 500 and 600-level courses from the Department of Physical Therapy. The motion passed.  The following program proposals were presented and moved for approval: change in catalog language for the Medical Physics program, change of degree requirements for the Master of Science degree in Kinesiology (KIN 578 optional); and curriculum changes to the Doctorate in Physical Therapy including a change from 109 to 112 credits.  All program changes were approved.

D. Chairperson Sullivan presented the 539th 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.  Three new courses from the College of Business and one course change (Computer Science) were approved.  Chairperson Sullivan asked for a motion to approve the following proposals: change to the requirements to the Minor in Cyber Security, change to requirements to the Minor in Digital Forensics, requirement of background criminal checks for the Medical Physics major, and changes to catalog language for the College of Pharmacy regarding (PharmD) student interviews and evening exams.  The program proposals were approved.

E. Chairperson Sullivan presented General Education Committee Report 2016-17-6. He said that the General Education Committee had met on March 2 and had approved 4 courses in the new general education program.  One course was an existing course, MUS 111, and was presented as informational.  Three courses required Senate approval because they were new: ARB 120, Arabic for Heritage Learners; MTH 103, Applied Precalculus; and PHP 405, Fundamentals of Epidemiology.  The Chair asked for a motion to approve.  A motion was made, seconded, and the motion passed.  Chairperson Sullivan said that the Committee had been asked to consider allowing courses that fulfill the Integrate and Apply outcome (D1) to be graded using the S/U grade because these courses often involved internships.  He presented changes to section 8.20.14 of the University Manual allowing no more than 6 credits of S/U-graded D1 courses to be applied to the total number of credits needed to complete Gen Ed requirements.  Senator Harlow moved approval.  The motion passed.

F. Mr. Mark Oliver, Manager of Classroom Media Assistance, presented the annual Report of the Joint Classroom Steering Committee. He summarized AV classroom updates that been completed during the previous summer (2016) in Quinn Hall and Independence Square.  He reported on updates that had been recently completed in CBLS Room 100, Pastore Hall, Morrill Hall and plans for upgrades in Chafee Building, East Hall, Ballentine Hall, and CBLS 10 to take place in the summer (2017).  He listed the classrooms with the most persistent technology issues and said that three of the rooms had been repaired and three were scheduled to be repaired in the summer.  He reported that there was a budget of $300,000 for furniture each year and $300,000 other items for general use classrooms.  Mr. Oliver answered questions.

G. Professor Barbour presented the 2016-2017 Academic Program Review Committee Report. She stated that the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) shepherds the process of program review at the institution, which is required by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  She said that there were two components, data collection and the chairs survey.  Professor Barbour reported that, since 2014, 15 departments had completed the review process, and 6 departments and two colleges (with no departments) had completed the external review process.  Thirteen departments or programs were engaged in ongoing self-study.


Chairperson Sullivan reported the results of the referendum of the General Faculty, authorized by the Faculty Senate on February 23, 2017, to amend the membership paragraph of the Constitution of the Faculty Senate.  Of a total of 574 ballots distributed between February 27 and March 10, 231 eligible votes had been cast, 142 to approve (62%) and 86 to not approve (38%) (3 abstentions).  He reported that the referendum had failed, as ratification required an affirmative vote of two-thirds of those voting on the question (excluding abstentions).  Senator Rosenbaum proposed the following: that the Senate provisionally approve that Clinical Faculty be eligible, after five (5) years of service in their positions, to serve on the Faculty Senate as well as on Faculty Senate committees, and that the Faculty Senate CBUM Committee be directed to draft appropriate changes to the Senate Constitution, the By-laws, and the University Manual to be submitted to the Senate, and that the Senate vote, at its April 2017 meeting, whether or not the changes to the Constitution should be submitted to the General Faculty for a referendum; and the implementation date of any approved membership and service changes shall be the 2018-19 academic year. Furthermore, at time of implementation the ratio of eligible faculty to senator ratio shall be changed to 1:15.  Her statement was moved and seconded.  Discussion followed.  Professor Wenisch pointed out that the ratio of eligible faculty to senators would likely not have to be changed to 1:15 because the number of clinical faculty at the institution would not warrant that much of a difference.   Senator Betensky objected to the splitting of the original motion and said that excluding Lecturers would be a mistake. Chairperson Sullivan asked Senators to vote; the motion failed.  Changes to Faculty Senate By-Laws sections 6.1 and 6.2, related to the referendum question, which had been moved and seconded at the February 23, 2017 Faculty senate meeting, were returned to the floor.  Professor Wenisch stated that, because the referendum question had been rejected, the changes as proposed at the previous meeting could be amended to accomplish the same purpose, to allow Senior Lecturers, Teaching Professors, and Clinical faculty (after 5 years of service) to be eligible to serve on Senate committees.  Professor Wenisch proposed this amendment to the motion to change 6.1 and 6.2.

The amendment was approved.  The main motion to change By-Laws 6.1 and 6.2 was not approved.

Because the time had lapsed to 5:00 p.m., the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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