Faculty Senate

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

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September 22nd, 2016 Minutes

1. Immediately following a meeting of the General Faculty-Graduate Faculty, the regular meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:16 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 Kincaid, Licht, Lloyd, Mahler, Ohley, Pearson-Merkowitz, Post, Rosenbaum, Rynearson, Taylor, Thiem, Tsiatas, Wang, and Xu; ex officio members President Dooley, Vice President Sonnenfeld; Vice Provost Katz; Deans Bonn, Boughida, Corliss, Ebrahimpour, Larrat, Wolfe, and Wright.  Associate Dean Seitsinger represented Dean Ciccomascolo and Associate Dean Veeger represented Dean Kirby.

2. Chairperson Sullivan announced that the minutes of Faculty Senate meeting #9, May 5, 2016 had been posted with the agenda. He asked if there were any additions, corrections to or questions about the minutes. Senator Bide said that he had been incorrectly recorded as absent. The minutes were approved as amended.


A. Announcements

Chairperson Sullivan introduced himself and welcomed Senators to the new academic year and to the new chambers.  He noted that 63 new faculty of varying ranks had joined the institution this fall.  He encouraged Senators to communicate with their new colleagues, with their Senate representatives, and with the Senate leadership.  He pointed out that there was a link to an electronic sign-in on the agenda and encouraged its use.

B. Activities of the Executive Committee

1. Vice Chairperson Conley announced that the Minutes of Executive Committee meetings #1 – #5, #8 and #9 were available on the Faculty Senate website. He asked if there were any questions.  Senator Verskin asked for more information about the plans of the Department of Public Safety to acquire of a scenting dog.  Vice Chairperson Conley responded that the FSEC had been assured that the scenting dog would be trained only for explosive detection.

2. Vice Chairperson Conley reported that the Executive Committee, as authorized by the Faculty Senate in March 2016, had approved general education courses and catalog changes pertaining to the implementation of the General Education Program during the summer.

3. Vice Chairperson Conley reported that, subsequent to the December 10, 2015 Faculty Senate approval of the Creation of College of Education and Professional Studies (CEPS), the legislation had been amended in May 2016 with the addition of “Feinstein” to the name of the college. Senator Kirschenbaum asked for an explanation of the change.  The Provost said that a legal determination had been made that the addition of the name Alan Shawn Feinstein to the College of Continuing Education 20 years ago had been made in perpetuity.  When the College was merged with the School of Education last year, the institution was obligated to retain the name.

4. Vice Chairperson Conley reported that portions of the University Manual that fall under the President’s jurisdiction had been updated. Changes were presented as informational.

C. Recommendations of the Executive Committee

1. Vice Chairperson Conley reported that, subsequent to the March 31, 2016 Faculty Senate approval of Bill #15-16-30, which included changes to selected sections of Chapter 8 of the University Manual, the changes to section 8.51.11 had not been approved by the President. Vice Chairperson Conley moved to refer University Manual section 8.51.11 (taken together with sections 8.51.12 –13) to the Executive Committee for further consideration and revision.  The motion was approved.

2. Vice Chairperson Conley presented a list of standing and joint committee appointments, to date, for the 2016-2017 academic year and moved approval of the appointments. The motion was seconded.  Senator Betensky asked why the Undergraduate Academic Advising Committee was not listed.  Senator Williams also voiced concern about the absence of the advising committee from the list. Vice Chairperson Conley said that the Executive Committee had not confirmed new appointments to the advising committee because discussions were ongoing with the chair of the committee.  Associate Dean Morokoff said that the lecturers that had been nominated by the College of Arts and Sciences for the advising committee had been rejected because of their non-tenured status.  She asked the Executive Committee to re-consider permitting them to serve.  Associate Dean Seitsinger said the Curricular Affairs Committee incorrectly listed a vacancy from the College of Continuing Education indicating that it should state as from the Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies.  The motion was approved.

D. Vice Chairperson Conley called on Provost DeHayes to present the report of the evaluation of Vice Provost Beauvais, the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, which had been carried out in 2015-16. The Provost said that, several years ago, the administrator evaluation process had been revised to include a report back of results to the constituency of the administrator. He further explained that, as part of the revised process, evaluation results of those administrators with no single college constituency were to be presented at a meeting of the Faculty Senate.  He thanked the members of the Vice Provost’s review committee: Professors Bodah, Derbyshire, English, Hales, and Moakley.  The Provost reported that 155 individuals had responded; 79% of the respondents were faculty.  The report had concluded that the Vice Provost was considered one of the most talented leaders on campus and that she was held in high esteem.  The Provost commented on other aspects of the report, all highly positive characterizations of the Vice Provost’s performance.  He concluded that he had no concerns for her role except that it was clear that the Vice Provost’s workload was too great.  He indicated that there were plans to move global initiatives into a new position.

4. Chairperson Sullivan reported that the status of legislation approved at the May 5, 2016 Faculty Senate meeting had been indicated on the meeting agenda.


Chairperson Sullivan presented General Education Committee Report 2016-17-1.  He said that the General Education Committee had met three times over the summer and had approved 89 courses.  Section I, 87 existing courses, were presented as informational.  The Chair moved approval of SPA 110, a new course, and COM 243G, a new Grand Challenge course. The motion passed.


Athletic Director Bjorn and Professor Harps-Logan, Chair of the Athletics Advisory Board presented Power Point slides of information about the 2015-2016 student-athletes highlighting student demographics, academic accomplishments, and academic services available for student-athletes.  Director Bjorn answered questions about athletic scholarships and the financial investment in the football team.  He said that basketball is URI’s headlining sport and that the school receives national exposure through media coverage of basketball.  He was asked if cable/television appearances and team successes generate funds and if URI tracks website hits during or after media coverage.  Director Bjorn said that he would seek specific information on that question.

7. Chairperson Sullivan asked if there were any Unfinished Business. There was none.

8. Chairperson Sullivan asked if there were any New Business. Senator Verskin asked about accommodating students who require undistracted testing space.  Chairperson Sullivan said that, last year, the Executive Committee had discussed with the Provost establishing a testing center.  The Provost said that there were plans to provide a staffed testing center for use by three populations of students: those who miss exams due to illness or other serious matters, athletes with schedule conflicts, and those with documented disabilities. He said that the space should be available in January.  Senator Sama added that there is a shortage of classroom space on campus.  Chairperson Sullivan said that the Joint Classroom Steering Committee had commissioned a report on classroom utilization.  He said he would attempt to provide the report at the next Faculty Senate meeting.  Chairperson Sullivan asked if there were any more New Business.  The Provost said that the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) evaluation of the University would take place in 2017.  He said that 75 faculty and staff were working to prepare reports for each of the nine Standards for Accreditation.   Professor Bodah had been asked to coordinate the work and he would be presenting an update at the next Faculty Senate meeting.

Chairperson Sullivan reminded those assembled of the upcoming event to thank all who had participated in any way in the implementation of the new general education program.  The event was scheduled to be held September 28 at 4:30 PM on the quad and Senator DiCioccio, Director of Innovation in General Education, was in charge of planning.

Chairperson Sullivan acknowledged Vice President Valentino’s resignation from her position, effective October 1, and thanked her for her work and support of the Faculty Senate.

9. Chairperson Sullivan moved to adjourn. The motion was approved. The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Neff

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