Faculty Senate

35 Campus Avenue 310 Green Hall Kingston, RI 02881

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

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September 18, 2014 Minutes

1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:45 p.m. in the Cherry Auditorium, Chester Kirk Building, Chairperson Nassersharif presiding.

All members were present except Senators Anderson, Chadha, Hutchison, Kusz, (Eugene) Lee, Licht, Matthew, Shin, Taveira, and Ye; ex officio members CIO Bozylinsky; Deans Bonn, Higgins, McCarthy, Richmond, and Sullivan. Assoc. Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby; Assoc. Dean Smith represented Dean Corliss.

2. Chairperson Nassersharif announced that the Minutes of Faculty Senate Meeting #9, May 8, 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 thanked the President for his address and greeted the Senate. He provided an update of the activities of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) since the end of the spring semester.

a. Rhode Island General Assembly legislation that included a reorganization of the Board of Education (House Bill No. 7133 sub A) was signed by the Governor on June 19, 2014. When introduced, the bill had not referenced the legislation that enabled the URI Faculty Senate (State of RI General Law 16-32-10). The President supported and advocated for an amendment to Article 20 of the bill. The amendment was successful.

b. The FSEC formed two committees to undertake the task of implementing the revised General Education Program, approved March 20, 2014. The General Education Implementation Steering Team (GEIST) is a committee of 5 faculty, chaired by Professor and Coastal Institute Director, Judith Swift. This committee will be invited to the Senate to provide periodic updates. A second committee, the Key Stakeholders, is comprised of associate deans from all the colleges and representatives from Enrollment Services, Information Technology, Institutional Research, the Office of the Provost, Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and Accreditation, and the UCGE committee. Professor and School of Education Director, David Byrd is the Chair the Key Stakeholders.

c. The FSEC is reviewing the descriptions of many of the standing and joint committees in order to update their charges and bring about greater efficiency. Language for the creation of a new technology committee will be introduced at today’s meeting.

d. In the last two years, ten administrators have been reviewed by means of the faculty evaluation process. In 2014-15, President Dooley, Vice Provost Katz, Deans Wright and Corliss will be reviewed. The FSEC will be forming administrator evaluation committees soon. Senators are encouraged to nominate themselves and their colleagues. All faculty are encouraged to participate in the surveys.

e. In response to the evaluation of the Provost in 2013-14, the President has reported to the Provost’s constituents by means of a letter (posted on the Faculty Senate website). At the next Faculty Senate meeting, Oct. 16, 2014, the Provost will report on the evaluation results other administrators who were reviewed in 2013-14: the Vice Provost of Enrollment Management, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Chief Information Officer.

f. Work continued over the summer on the proposal to reorganize the health-related colleges and departments. The Phase II health committee is finalizing its report. It is expected soon and will be submitted to the Curricular Affairs Committee for their consideration.

g. The University Manual is being updated.

2) Chairperson Nassersharif expressed his appreciation to President Dooley 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.

3) 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 #1 through #8 were available on the Faculty Senate website. She asked if there were any questions. Senator Kirschenbaum asked if the FSEC had discussed their concerns about the Confucius Institute with the President as noted in the June 23, 2014 minutes. Chairperson Nassersharif said that the committee had not yet spoken with the President on that subject but that they intended to do so.

C. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster reported that, based on legislation passed in 2013-14, changes to the University Manual will be incorporated into the electronic version of the University Manual subsequent to full approval, not at the end of the academic year as was previously the practice. These changes will be noted on the Senate agenda for sections falling under Senate jurisdiction as well as Presidential jurisdiction. She said that, per Manual provision 11.10.14, the following passages under Senate jurisdiction have been changed at web.uri.edu/Manual:

1) Replaced former Chapter 10 sections 10.40.10-10.44.10 with new sections 10.40.10-10.46.36 (Rhode Island Intellectual Property Policy) (Bill #11-12–17)

2) Changes based on 2013-2014 Faculty Senate Legislation

Senator Mandel asked a question about section 8.26.13. Ms. Neff replied that the section had been previously approved, that this report was informational, and that she could email her question to Ms. Neff and it would be directed to the appropriate committee for consideration.

D. Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster announced that the FSEC recommended approval of the committee appointments for 2014-15. Senator Hicks, Chair of the Learning Outcomes Oversight Committee (LOOC), said that the committee was in need of additional members. Vice Provost Beauvais noted that some committees included the names of faculty who had recently retired from the University. Ms. Neff said that she would make corrections. The motion was seconded and subsequently approved.

Vice Chairperson Rollo Koster announced that she had another recommendation of the FSEC: that the Faculty Senate approve proposed new sections 4.85 – 4.88 to the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate: Proposed New Standing Senate Committee: Committee on Information Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing, Communications, and Networking (CITICCN).

A motion was made and seconded to approve the new sections. Discussion ensued. A motion was made to amend section 4.86 to add one faculty representative from the Graduate School of Oceanography.

The motion was seconded. Discussion ensued. The motion to amend was approved.

A second motion was made to amend section 4.86 to add a representative of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. The motion was seconded. Discussion ensued. The motion to amend was approved.

Discussion on the main motion continued. The vote was called on the main motion. The motion was approved.

NOTE: [Subsequent to the adjournment of the 9-18-14 Senate meeting, it was noted that an amendment to the By-Laws may not be voted upon at the meeting at which it is first moved (UMAN, Appendix C, 12.1). The vote on the main motion of 9-18-14 is invalidated and will be called at the 10-16-14 Senate meeting].


The President stated that all legislation forwarded to him after the May 8, 2014 Senate meeting had been approved. Bill #13-14–27B, Curricular Report No. 2013-14-8 from the Graduate Council to the Faculty Senate: Program Modification for the M.L.I.S. in Library and Information Studies, approved by President Dooley on Sept. 5, 2014, was still pending Board of Education approval.

Noted also was that, per Manual provision 11.10.14, the following passages under Presidential jurisdiction had been deleted at web.uri.edu/Manual: Chapter 5 sections 5.22.10 – 5.22.12, The Information Resources Council (IRC).


A. Professor Brand was introduced to present the Five Hundred and SIxteenth Report of the Curricular Affairs Committee. Prior to presenting the Report, she made the following remarks:

Good afternoon. I am Susan Trostle Brand from the School of Education. This is my second year serving on the CAC which is one of the sub-committees of the Faculty Senate. It has been a pleasure working with Nancy Neff and Joanne Lawrence as well as the 14 very devoted committee members. At Chairperson Nassersharif’s request, I will specify the roles and future goals of the Curricular Affairs Committee.

1. BACKGROUND: The CAC is comprised of 4 faculty representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences and one from each of the other baccalaureate degree granting colleges of the university, as well as one member from the library, one from the Provost’s office, and one from the College of Continuing Education. The CAC representative from your college serves as the liaison between the CAC and your department and college. Therefore, even though it is not a requirement, this CAC faculty member is in an excellent position to review your syllabi and course or curriculum changes prior to the proposal’s moving forward for the approval of your department.

2. ROLE OF THE CAC (information from University Manual, Faculty Senate section, number 4): The CAC shall study and make recommendations to the Faculty Senate on the following matters: the establishment, abolition, division, or merger of colleges and schools of the university at the undergraduate and graduate levels including the College of Continuing Education, the establishment or abolition of undergraduate degrees or credit certificates, the establishment or abolition, division, or merger of departments of instruction or other units or areas affecting instruction, the establishment, modification, or abolition of curriculums or programs of study leading to degrees or credit certificates at the baccalaureate level or lower, the establishment, abolition, or modification of individual courses intended primarily for undergraduate instruction, unresolved problems with curriculum, course numbers, titles, and university catalogue descriptions. In addition, the CAC shall initiate action on matters within its jurisdiction by referring them to the faculties of colleges and schools concerned. It shall review all such proposals originating in college faculties, the senate, or elsewhere, and shall recommend procedures that permit matters within its jurisdiction to be handled expeditiously.

3. EXPECTATIONS: The CAC reviews a large number of course and curricular proposals from across the university at each of our monthly meetings. While many of the proposals receive a favorable vote and subsequently move forward to the next level, which is the vote of the faculty senate, others require more information for a number of reasons, such as an incomplete proposal, missing signatures, and unclear or non-measurable student learning outcomes. When information in the proposal is incomplete or unclear, a member from the CAC promptly contacts the professor who has submitted the course proposal and requests more information and/or clarification. The proposal is then revised and resubmitted for another review by the CAC members who may vote electronically or in person on the proposal.

4. TIMING: From onset to completion, a given course proposal may take up to one year to achieve approval, depending upon how quickly it receives approval from one committee to the next in the approval process. Please keep in mind that, in order to ensure a vote at the CAC meeting, Nancy Neff must receive your materials, including syllabi, signature of the chair and dean, Library Impact Statement, and a 30 word course description within two weeks of our meetings. Our CAC members and meeting dates are listed on the CAC section of the Faculty Senate webpage.

5. ENSURING SUCCESS OF YOUR PROPOSAL: Representatives from your college or department are always welcome to attend meetings of the CAC in order to clarify their proposals or explain aspects of them to the CAC members. We ask that you notify Nancy Neff of your intention to attend a given meeting at least one week in advance. Likewise, we are available to speak to your department should you so desire, in order to explain procedures and updates. If you would like Nancy or me to learn more about your course or curriculum proposal, whether minor or major, we welcome you to contact us by phone or e-mail in order to discuss specific aspects of the proposal that may elicit questions or, potentially, a split vote at a CAC or Faculty Senate meeting.

6. NEW INITIATIVES: Thanks to the work of Nancy Neff and Joanne Lawrence, the Faculty Senate website now provides a Tracking Link for all course and curricular proposals that begins prior to their submission to the CAC. A faculty member can now quickly and simply track the status and progress of his or her proposal. We collaborate closely with the Joint Committee on Online and Distance Learning, chaired by Diane Goldsmith and Kathleen Torrens. Because of the ever-increasing relevance of online learning to the course proposal review process, we are keeping abreast of new developments in the field of online teaching and learning and implementing revised criteria and rubrics for online courses in conjunction with this committee. We look forward to consolidating information about the Curricular Affairs Committee that now exists in various places on the Faculty Senate site onto one succinct page that includes links to committee members, meeting dates, minutes, sample face to face syllabi, sample syllabi links to the online committee, and other relevant information. Please watch for our new webpage this year! We welcome your feedback as this site is now in the preparation stages. We anticipate working closely with college and department faculty representatives and committee members regarding the re-organization plan for the colleges, including the possible merger of the School of Education with the College of Continuing Education and the anticipated Health Program and merger initiatives. We encourage visitors to attend our meetings in order to keep us informed of developments and to solicit our feedback prior to our voting on these major proposals.

Professor Brand proceeded to present the 516th CAC Report. She said that Section I was informational and asked if there were any questions. A typographical error was noted in the course description for PLS 395X Agroecology and Global Food Systems. Professor Brand noted that Section II required confirmation by the Faculty Senate and moved approval. The motion passed.

B. Ms. Morrissey presented the Report of the Joint Classroom Steering Committee. She discussed highlights of the classroom utilization study and remarked on scheduling, physical classroom environment, technology, and faculty development regarding technology. Ms. Morrissey summarized the results of the JCSC faculty survey on classrooms. Faculty were asked about their current preferences in classroom arrangements. 183 of 749 responded. The most problematic conditions involved noise and temperature. Of note, 75% of the respondents indicated that they do not use technology beyond a projector and sound system. The committee endorsed the development of a set of classroom standards through the work of a professional consulting firm. The committee envisioned these standards would serve as a guide for future improvements to better ensure that classrooms are improved with consistency and attention to thoughtful standards. The standards detail materials and conditions relative to different types of classrooms (small, medium, large, auditorium, seminar, interactive, case study, lecture, etc.) with regard to lighting, general attributes, flooring, furnishings, acoustics, special needs, AV systems, windows, HVAC system, signage, accessories, instructor’s stations, and other related elements. The standards were reviewed initially in draft form in May and the committee provided feedback. They will continue to be developed and consideration will be given to the extent of their use in classroom planning.

In 2013-14, technology and furnishing upgrades totaled $600,000. Improvements were made in Swan, Pastore, and White Halls and the Memorial Union. Looking forward, the committee is considering acquiring AdAstra to add new capacity to the room scheduling system.

Chairperson Nassersharif thanked Ms. Morrissey for the excellent job she has performed as the Chair of the JCSC.

C. Dr. Goldsmith and Senator Torrens presented an update from the Joint Committee on Online and Distance Learning (JCODL). Last year, the JCODL became concerned about support for the URI learning management system, SAKAI. As a major part of the infrastructure with 13,000 unique users and as many as 4000 users online at one time, only one programmer, 25% of a systems analyst, and 5% of a database technician are available to support the system. Faculty are generally satisfied with SAKAI but there are increasing requests for 24/7 on-call technical support and additional tools. In May, the committee recommended to the Provost and the Faculty Senate that ITS move to a vendor supported version of SAKAI and provide 24/7 help and support. Dr. Goldsmith has researched the companies that perform this kind of work and an RFP is being prepared. The rollover is expected to be seamless. Bandwidth is not a concern. Dr. Goldsmith will keep the community informed of the progress of the RFP.

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

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

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

The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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