1. The regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:15 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Nassersharif presiding.
All members were present except Senators Agostinucci, Chadha, Dunn, English, Hicks, Hutchison, Irvine, Kim, Krieger, Kusz, Licht, (L.) Mandel, Martin, Matthew, Meagher, Taveira, Torrens, and Zhang; ex officio members Vice President Dougan; Deans Bonn, Higgins, McCarthy, and Sullivan; and Mr. Zawatsky. Assoc. Dean Eaton represented Dean Brownell, Associate Dean Smith represented Dean Corliss, and Associate Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.
2. Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #1, September 18, 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.
3. REPORTS OF OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1) Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Provost would present administrator evaluation reports to the constituencies of the Chief information Officer, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management as part of the Administrator Evaluation Process. He explained that when an administrator’s constituency represents a university-wide group or a group that crosses units, the evaluation report is presented at a meeting of the Faculty Senate. Dean Brownell was also reviewed in 2013-14. Chairperson Nassersharif said that the Provost is making arrangements to report to the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences.
2) Chairperson Nassersharif reported that Vice President Valentino and Budget Director Barrett would present the annual State of The Budget Address.
3) Chairperson Nassersharif announced that Dean Wright, Dean of the College of Engineering, would provide the Senate with information about the upcoming (Nov. 4) statewide bond referendum in support of new facilities for URI’s College of Engineering.
4) Chairperson Nassersharif provided an update on general education implementation. As previously reported, the Senate Executive Committee had formed two new committees during the summer. The smaller group, a 5-member steering team (GEIST) chaired by Professor and Coastal Institute Director Judith Swift, had recently met with chairs and heads of general education groups and units that will be instrumental in implementation. Director Swift reported that the steering team is gathering information and making arrangements for website development, faculty training and student education, development of courses for the range of requirements, and developing a timeline for all steps of implementation.
5) Chairperson Nassersharif reported that the Executive Committee had met with Professor Webb, Chair of the Council for Research, and had discussed the annual review of the overhead distribution scheme (overhead policy). He said that Professor Webb will make a presentation to the Senate at the November meeting.
6) Chairperson Nassersharif noted that the vote at the September 18 Senate meeting to approve the recommendation to create a new standing committee (Committee on Information Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing, Communications) had been taken prematurely. University Manual, Appendix C, 12.1 states that an amendment to the By-Laws not be voted upon at the meeting at which it is first moved. He stated that the vote on the main motion of September 18 had been invalidated and would be called at today’s meeting.
7) Chairperson Nassersharif expressed his appreciation to Dean Wright for agreeing to sponsor the reception at the University Club after the meeting. He encouraged everyone to attend and noted that the reception gives Senators, ex officio members, and guests an opportunity to meet one another in an informal setting.
8) Chairperson Nassersharif asked everyone to remember to wait to be recognized by the chair before speaking. He noted that it would be very helpful for participants to identify themselves before they speak.
B. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster announced that the Minutes of the 2014-15 Executive Committee Meetings #9 through #13 were available on the Faculty Senate website. She asked if there were any questions. There were none.
C. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster announced that, per University Manual section 10.90.15, Verbal Reporting to Constituency, Provost DeHayes would report on the administrator evaluation survey results of Chief information Officer Bozylinsky, Dean Zawia, and Vice Provost Libutti. She introduced the Provost. The Provost indicated that he considers the new evaluation process [utilizing an electronic survey] an improvement over the former letter-writing process because it yields greater participation among faculty and staff. The report of results back to the constituency affirms the value of the input provided. The Provost made remarks about strengths and areas in need of improvement of each of the three administrators reviewed. He thanked the members of the evaluation committees for their work.
Senator Brady commented that she considered the new process a healthier review process and she thanked the Administrator Evaluation Coordinator, Senate Chair Bahram Nassersharif. Chairperson Nassersharif thanked the Provost.
4. REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
The President stated that the legislation forwarded to him after the September 18, 2014 Senate meeting had been approved.
The President reported that the Rhode Island Board of Education Council on Postsecondary Education has begun a strategic planning exercise under the direction of the new Postsecondary Commissioner Jim Purcell. The President said that development of the plan is moving rapidly and approval is expected in the next legislative session. The plan will likely incorporate some of the Complete College America metrics including performance-based funding. When a draft is available for public release, the President will provide it to the community.
The President remarked that the election of a new governor may alter the composition of the Board of Education and its future direction.
5. REPORTS OF STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Professor Brand was introduced to present the Five Hundred and Seventeenth 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. She moved approval of Section II and asked if there were any discussion. Senator Kaufman asked about the intent of the new course code in University College. He asked if University College would be submitting its own courses. Dean Richmond explained that University College currently offers several courses in career exploration, college success, academic skills, leadership, and internships utilizing different course codes (CSV, ITR, URI, EDC, and HDF) some of which belong to academic departments. The intent of the new code, UCS, is to develop a single code to be used by University College to reduce confusion for students. Dean Richmond said that the immediate plan is to convert all of the University College course offerings to the new UCS code. It was noted that the credits for University College courses apply as electives. The 517th Report was approved, 11 yeas, 3 nays, and 12 abstentions.
A. Vice President Valentino and Director Barrett reported on the University’s budget for FY’15 and FY’16. They presented a series of Power Point slides and responded to questions throughout their presentation. A few highlights from the presentation: total FY’15 revenue budget is $729.1 M; tuition and fees continue to represent the greatest source of revenue ($268.5 M); the state appropriation is approximately 9% of the university’s budget ($69.1 M). The state appropriation was increased by $6.2 M and $5.2 M, respectively, in FY’14 and FY’15. Tuition rates have remained level since FY’13. New items in this year’s budget include 3 tenure track cluster hires, 2 lecturers, and the hire of an Assistant to the Provost for Global Strategies. The University continues to be very successful in the area of student recruitment, yield, and retention: undergraduates total 12,891; graduate students number 1441. A record number of undergraduate applications was received in 2014 (21,000); there were 1350 transfer applications. The fall 2014 student profile includes increases in SAT scores, high school grade point averages, numbers of underrepresented students, numbers of honors-eligible students, and selectivity. There were 24.5 vacated faculty lines in FY’14 and 39 allocated FTE’s in FY’15. There was a 7% decrease in sponsored research awards between FY’14 and FY’15. Highlights of the FY’16 budget requests were reviewed. The state appropriation budget request is $6.3 M, approximately 10% of the total budget. Through the Strategic Budget and Planning Council (SBPC) initiatives, there are 10 tenure track faculty and 4 lecturers requested; 2 video coordinators (Athletics), a Business Engagement Center, Contract Specialist, and capital projects.
Vice President Valentino and Director Barrett answered questions. When questioned about the SPBC initiatives, Director Barrett explained the process of priority ranking that is used in the Council to determine goals and initiatives.
B. Dean Wright, Dean of the College of Engineering (COE), reported on the upcoming (Nov. 4) statewide bond referendum in support of new facilities for URI’s College of Engineering and its importance to the university. He presented a series of Power Point slides that provided an overview of the programs in the COE and summarized its successes in the areas of enrollments, graduation rates, corporate partners (internships and employers), and research and design. The Dean explained that the constraints of the facilities are an impediment to growth. Approval of the $125 M referendum will fund demolition of four existing buildings, each representing single departments, and construction of a single, new URI engineering building that will integrate departments. Associated renovations to Bliss Hall are also part of the plan. The COE can report an annual economic return to the state ($142 M) that exceeds the amount of the bond. Dean Wright and President Dooley answered questions.
7. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Chairperson Nassersharif said that, at the September 18, 2014 meeting of the Faculty Senate, the recommendation to add Sections 4.85 – 4.88 to the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate to create the Committee on Information Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing, Communications, and Networking (CITICCN) had been moved and amended. He presented the amended sections to the Faculty Senate and asked if there were any discussion. Brief discussion ensued. The motion was called and approved.
8. 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 4:56 p.m.