Faculty Senate

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September 17th, 2015 Minutes

1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Rollo-Koster presiding.

All members were present except Senators Agostinucci, Chadha, Dunn, Erickson-Owens, Kaufman, Lee, Mahler, Maynard, Meagher, Moran, Omand, and Pearson-Merkowitz; ex officio members Vice Presidents Dougan; Vice Provost Libutti, CIO Bozylinsky; Deans Bonn, Ebrahimpour, and Sullivan.  Associate Dean Seitsinger represented Dean Ciccomascolo, Associate Dean Smith represented Dean Corliss, and Associate Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.

2. Chairperson Rollo-Koster announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #9, May 7, 2015 had been posted with the agenda. She asked if there were any additions, corrections to or questions about these minutes. There were none. Chairperson Rollo-Koster ruled that, in the absence of any changes or corrections, the minutes were approved.


A. Announcements

1. Chairperson Rollo-Koster thanked the President for his address to the General Faculty and welcomed those assembled to a new academic year. She informed the Senators that the Senate derives its legislative power on all educational matters from State of Rhode Island General Laws, TITLE 16 Education, CHAPTER 16-32, University of Rhode Island SECTION 16-32-10:

16-32-10 Award of degrees – Curriculum and government. The board of trustees, with the approval of the president and a committee of the faculty of the university, shall award academic degrees and diplomas and confer honors in the same manner as is customary in American colleges. It shall also be the duty of the president and a committee of the faculty, with the approval of the board of governors for higher education, to arrange courses of study conforming to all acts of Congress, and prescribe any qualifications for the admission of students and any rules of study, exercise, discipline, and government as the president and committee may deem proper.

Chairperson Rollo-Koster continued that this authority is expressed in the Constitution of the Faculty Senate, found in the University Manual, as follows:

Constitution of the Faculty Senate, Article II – Powers
The Senate, subject to the provisions of state and federal law, subject to consistency with the general objectives established by its governing Board, and subject to the referendum power of the General Faculty, has ultimate legislative power on educational policies. It shall, with the concurrence of the President, formulate policy concerning teaching and research, study, exercise, discipline and government: for example, and without excluding others not listed, academic standards (scholastic standing, admission and dismissal policy, class attendance, grading systems, etc.), the University calendar, University-wide curriculum matters both graduate and undergraduate, and research and patent policy as they may affect the faculty as a whole. Nothing in this article should be construed to interfere with the authority or responsibility of the appropriate administrative officers in the carrying out of established policy, or in proposing, through the President, such changes in policy, as they deem desirable.

2. Chairperson Rollo-Koster announced that, at today’s meeting, the General Education Committee (GEC) would be presenting amendments to the General Education program. She said that the General Education Implementation Steering Team (GEIST) had worked with the GEC, hosting rubric and course development workshops throughout the spring and summer.  She thanked the faculty who had participated in the workshops and the Provost for his financial support.  She reported that, to date [since the general education course submission form had been made available on July 30], 75 course proposals had been submitted, covering nearly 140 full outcomes, offering approximately 27,000 seats.  Courses in student learning outcomes Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities proposed over 5000 seats. 90% of the courses, the Chair said, were proposed to assess two full outcomes.

3. Chairperson Rollo-Koster announced that, under Unfinished Business, changes to the By-Laws first moved and discussed at the May 7, 2015 meeting would be returned to the floor of the Faculty Senate for a vote.

4. Chairperson Rollo-Koster acknowledged the closing of the UClub and expressed the hope that ongoing discussions by the administration would produce another venue.

5. Chairperson Rollo-Koster reminded non-Senators to sign the Permission to Speak form and asked everyone to remember to wait to be recognized and to identify themselves before speaking.

B. Activities of the Executive Committee

Vice Chairperson Welters announced that the Minutes of the 2015-16 Executive Committee Meetings #1 – #6were available on the Faculty Senate website.  She asked if there were any questions.  There were none.

Vice Chairperson Welters recommended that the FSEC approve committee appointments for 2015-16.  Senator Martin said that the list of members of the Intellectual Property Committee was incomplete. She was asked to email the Senate Coordinator a complete list. The motion was seconded and approved.

4. Status of Actions Forwarded to the President

Chairperson Rollo-Koster said that the legislation forwarded to the President after the May 7, 2014 Faculty Senate Meeting had been approved.


A. Dean Zawia commented on an Informational Report to the Senate from the Graduate Council re-instating a section in the University Manual regarding Thesis and Dissertation Copyright Ownership that had been inadvertently omitted when the Intellectual Property Policy language was revised in 2012. There were no questions.

B. Professor Owens presented the Five Hundred and Twenty-Fifth­­­­ Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee. She said that course changes and new temporary courses presented in the Report were informational in nature.  She reported on the changes to three Nursing courses designed for the online BS to RN degree program and asked if there were any questions. There were none.

C. Professor Kinnie presented General Education Committee Report 2015-16-1. He summarized the proposed amendments to the General Education Program and explained that the amendments were the result of feedback from faculty during workshops and concerns that NEASC guidelines were not adequately addressed in the program.  Professor Kinnie said that the General Education Implementation Steering Team had met with a representative from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in late May.  Professor Kinnie moved approval of separating the Arts and Humanities outcome into two distinct outcomes, Humanities, and Arts and Design.  The motion was seconded and discussion followed.  Director Swift and Senator Conley explained the reasons for contacting NEASC and the outcome of their meeting in May 2015.  Senator Boudreaux-Bartels expressed concern about the impact on the Engineering degree programs of an additional outcome requirement.  She said that satisfying both accreditation and general education requirements without increasing overall program credits would require that 8 of the Program outcomes be met by 4 – 5 courses.  Senator Boudreaux-Bartels moved to postpone the General Education Program changes until January 2016 at which time it was presumed that the impact of pending changes to NEASC requirements concerning general education would be understood.  The motion was seconded.  The vote was called.  The motion failed.  Discussion on the main motion continued.  At the end of the debate time, the vote was called.  The motion passed.

Professor Kinnie moved approval of eliminating the Integrative student learning outcome.  The motion was seconded and discussion followed.  Senators from the College of Engineering commented that eliminating the Integrative outcome would negatively impact their degree programs.  Senator Williams commented that the problem with this outcome was designing its assessment.  Existing capstone courses would not necessarily be approved under the current rubric for this outcome.  At the end of the debate time, a motion was approved to extend debate by 5 minutes.  The Provost said that higher education is criticized for its inability to apply what is learned in the classroom and that there are many ways to fulfill an integrative experience.  At the end of the debate time, the vote was called.  The motion failed.

Professor Kinnie moved approval of limiting to three (or up to 12 credits) the number of general education courses within the same disciplinary code (with the exception of HPR).  The motion was seconded and discussion followed.  Senator Tsiatas pointed out that this limitation might negatively impact those science lecture courses requiring concurrent registration in separate laboratory sections, like Physics.  Director Swift responded that, in such cases, the Program should allow flexibility.  A motion as made to postpone the main motion until January 2016.  The vote was called.  The motion failed.  Discussion on the main motion continued.  At the end of the debate time, the vote was called.  The motion passed.

Professor Kinnie presented General Education Committee Report 2015-16-2 asking approval of SCM 101 in the existing General Education Program.  The motion passed.


Chairperson Rollo-Koster said that, at the May 7, 2015 Meeting of the Faculty Senate, the following amendments to the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate were first moved and discussed.  Per Section 12.1 of the By-Laws, she said that they are now returned to the Faculty Senate for a vote.  In an effort to streamline the course approval process, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, with consent of the President, recommends, in Section 10.1, adding ‘creation of new courses, changes to existing courses’ to the actions that do not require approval of the President. Other changes to sections 10.3 – 10.7 are editorial.  The motion was approved.   Chairperson Rollo-Koster said that, having approved this change to the By-Laws, she proposed approval of changes to University Manual Section 8.81.10 for consistency.  The motion was seconded and approved.

Chairperson Rollo-Koster reported that, on May 7th, the Library Committee recommended adding the Faculty Senate Designate for the Open Access Policy to its Committee.  In that this required a change to the By-Laws, the motion was reintroduced to the floor today for a vote.  The motion passed.

Chairperson Rollo-Koster asked if there were any additional Unfinished Business.  There was none.

7. Chairperson Rollo-Koster asked if there were any New Business. Senator Sullivan moved to direct the General Education Implementation Steering Team and the General Education Committee to clarify their recommendations and report back to the Senate at the November meeting.  The motion was seconded.  After a brief discussion, the vote was called.  The motion failed.

8. A motion was made to adjourn. The motion carried. The meeting was adjourned at 4:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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