Faculty Senate

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

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May 4, 2017 Minutes

1. The organizational 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 Akhlaghi, Anderson, Ashley, Bide, Boving, DiCioccio, Djurdjevic, Gordon, Harris, Hashemi, Kincaid, Meghani, Ohley, Pearson-Merkowitz, Robinson, Thompson, and Uchida; ex officio members President Dooley, Vice Presidents Collins, Rider, and Sonnenfeld; Chief Information Officer Kubica; Deans Bonn, Ciccomascolo, Ebrahimpour, Larrat, Ligouri, Richmond, Wolfe, and Wright. Associate Dean Smith represented Dean Corliss and Associate Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.

2. Chairperson Sullivan announced that the minutes of Faculty Senate meeting #8, April 20, 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 the minutes.  A motion was made, seconded, and the minutes were approved.


A. Announcements

Chairperson Sullivan recognized newly-elected Senators and welcomed the following:

Eliane Aberdam, Music
Ben Anderson, Art
Michael Barrus, Mathematics
Kristine Bovy, Sociology and Anthropology
William Gordon, Landscape Architecture
Michael Honhart, History
Justin Wyatt, Film/Media

Christy Ashley

Mayrai Gindy, Civil and Environmental
Reza Hashemi, Ocean Engineering

Lenore Martin, Cell and Molecular Biology
Robert Thompson, Marine Affairs
Hiro Uchida, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Rebecca Robinson

Jennifer Audette, Physical Therapy

B. Chairperson Sullivan announced that elections would be held at today’s meeting to fill three positions on the Executive Committee. He said that the names and biographies of the nominees had been posted on the agenda.  He called on Senator Byrd to present the Report of the Nominating Committee.  Senator Byrd placed in nomination the names of the following Senators for the two, 2-year vacancies on the 2017-2018 Executive Committee:  Senator Lynne Derbyshire, Senator Mayrai Gindy, and Senator Robert Schwegler.  He asked if there were any nominations from the floor.  There were none.  Nominations were closed.  Ballots were distributed; Senators were asked to vote for two candidates.  Chairperson Sullivan said that the Senate would proceed to the next item of business during balloting.

C. Chairperson Sullivan announced that Professor Ruby Roy Dholakia from the College of Business Administration had been selected to receive the 2017 Sheila Black Grubman Faculty Outstanding Service Award. He said that the award was made annually to a member of the faculty in recognition of exemplary service to the University.  He thanked Professor Dholakia for her service to her college and the University, noting the following work: University Marketing Task Force under President Eddy and again under President Carothers, the Branding Task Force that created the “Think Big We Do” campaign, the Committee on Reshaping Health Education, Research and Outreach at URI, which led to the restructuring of health sciences; the University 125th Anniversary Committee, co-chair of the Honors Colloquium “DeMystifying India,” and current Director of Doctoral Research (CBA).  Chairperson Sullivan introduced Senate Coordinator Emerita Sheila Grubman in whose name the award is given annually.  Grubman extended her congratulations to Professor Dholakia, noted additional accomplishments of distinction, and presented Professor Dholakia with a plaque.

D. Activities of the Executive Committee

1. Vice Chairperson Conley announced that the Minutes of Executive Committee meetings #32, #33, and #34 were available on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any questions.  There were none.

2. Vice Chairperson Conley introduced the following resolution:

Whereas, Michael Sullivan was elected as Chair of the Faculty Senate in early 2016, serving in that capacity from May of 2016 to May 2017, and

Whereas, he has overseen and facilitated the Faculty Senate’s move to a more intimate space in the Beaupre Center and has created a special education session on procedure for new senators, facilitating greater participation among all senators, and

Whereas, he has shown tremendous care in approaching all charges given the Executive Committee by senators, ensuring the committee provided the information the senate needed to deliberate on difficult issues, and

Whereas, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving not only as chair of the Faculty Senate, but also as chair of the General Education Committee and the Curricular Affairs Committee, and

Whereas, he has, as a new grandfather, shown almost superhuman restraint in his sharing of social media, now,

Therefore be it resolved, that the University of Rhode Island Faculty Senate thanks Chairperson Sullivan for his outstanding service to the University and wishes him well in all his future endeavors.

Vice Chairperson Conley asked for a motion to approve.  A motion was made, seconded, and the resolution approved.

3. Vice Chairperson Conley presented an update on Senate Committee restructuring. He said that the Executive Committee had begun seeking volunteers to form an ad hoc committee to continue work on restructuring during the upcoming summer.  He briefly described to new senators the restructuring proposal and its application to the standing committees of the Senate.  Vice Chairperson Conley reported that a second ad hoc committee would convene during the summer to address training for the Curricular Affairs and General Education Committees.  He asked Senators to contact him if interested in serving on either of these committees.

Chairperson Sullivan added that he intended to convene an ad hoc committee to consider the admissions waiver of the foreign language requirement for students who satisfy the New York Regent’s Diploma requirements.


The Provost announced that the President was out of the country and that he would provide a brief report.  The Provost congratulated Professor Dholakia and thanked her for her outstanding service.  He added that the Outstanding Service Award included a $2000 stipend.  He underscored that the award had been renamed for Sheila Black Grubman in honor of Ms. Grubman’s achievements, hard work, and dedication. The Provost thanked Ms. Grubman for her service and for attending the meeting.  He said that the award would carry her name in the future for her extraordinary service.  The Provost thanked the new senators and new, the soon-to-be announced Executive Committee members.  He provided a brief report on the incoming freshman class.  The University had received 22,620 applications, 1,000 more than in 2016, and expected to enroll 3250 freshmen. The Provost reported that he was pleased with the quality of the students.  The admitted student profile included an average GPA of 3.54 and average SAT score of 1175.  He reported that the diversity of the entering class was 23% and that the percentage of underrepresented students had doubled in the last 7-8 years.  The Provost thanked the faculty for all their efforts with Welcome Days and acknowledged the hard work of the Office of Admission, Enrollment Management, and Vice Provost Libutti.

3. B. Senator Byrd announced the results of the election for the two, 2-year terms on the Executive Committee for 2017-18: Senators Derbyshire and Gindy. He then placed in nomination the name of the following Senator for the one-year term on the Executive Committee: Senator Michael Rice. He asked if there were any nominations from the floor.  There were none. Senator Byrd asked for and received a motion to close nominations.  Senator Byrd moved that the Faculty Senate cast the ballots of the Senate for ­­­­­­­­­­­Senator Michael Rice for member of the Executive Committee.  The motion passed. Senators Derbyshire, Gindy, and Rice were congratulated.


A. Professor Romanow presented the Report of the Undergraduate Academic Advising Committee (UAAC). She summarized the activity of two subcommittees.  The advisor support and training subcommittee continued to offer a voluntary Master Advisor Education program intended to provide opportunities for faculty to learn how to help students navigate the University and their academic plans and to allow faculty to reward students with financial need. Twenty-two advisors have completed the program since the Fall 2015 launch. Faculty members received a letter of recognition upon completion and students of their choice were awarded $500.00 each in scholarship funds from the Provost’s Office.  The UAAC planned to market the Master Advisor Program to increase participation.  Professor Romanow reported that the Models and Practices /Workload subcommittee had designed a survey to obtain information on the current status of advising across colleges. The survey was distributed to department chairs and deans in order to better understand the current advising models in use and what resources might be needed to improve advising. The survey was emailed in Spring 2016 and repeated in Fall 2017.  A total of 15 responses was received, 8 of which were from departments in the College of Arts & Sciences. The subcommittee considered the data useful and planned, for next year, a project that would incorporate students’ advising experiences into the results. The goal would be to build a knowledge base of how advising is functioning from the multiple perspectives of all users of the advising system. Professor Romanow commented that there had been 7 vacancies on the UAAC during the 2016-17 academic year and expressed hope that, next year, the Committee would have full faculty membership in order to best represent the advising needs and concerns across the University.

B. Director Goldsmith presented the annual Report of the Joint Committee on Online and Distance Learning. She summarized the Committee’s work: the successful move to Longsight as the SAKAI host, plans to execute new Sakai enhancements in August 2017, improved accessibility of online classes for all students (captioning), expanding the number of faculty subscribed to and using the SAKAI listserv, expanded online program enrollments, and continuing professional development opportunities.  Director Goldsmith answered questions.


Chairperson Sullivan announced that 2015-16 Senate Chair Joëlle Rollo-Koster, Professor of Medieval History in the College of Arts and Sciences was a 2017 recipient of the Advanced Career Faculty Research and Scholarship Excellence Award in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities and that Senator (2014-2017) William Euler, Professor and Chair of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences was a 2017 recipient of the Advanced Career Faculty Research and Scholarship Excellence Award in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Engineering.  Chairperson Sullivan recognized Dean Winifred Brownell from the College of Arts and Sciences, the longest serving academic dean at the University, on the occasion of her retirement.  Noting that she had served as both Faculty Senate Chair and Vice Chair, Chairperson Sullivan said that she had served nobly with sincere intent of behalf of the faculty.


Chairperson Sullivan directed the Senators’ attention to an electronic committee solicitation page on the Faculty Senate website and asked Senators to consider volunteering for committee work as a way of becoming more involved in University governance.


Chairperson Sullivan asked for a motion to adjourn.  The meeting was adjourned at 3:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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