University Manual

University of Rhode Island

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Part I

Statutes and Rules for the Government of the University

Chapter 1 –

Chapter 1 – The Board of Education, The Council on Postsecondary Education, and the President of the University

Board of Education

1.10.10 Background. On May 7, 1981, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted that public higher education in Rhode Island should be regulated by a body called “Board of Governors for Higher Education.” In 2012, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted that, beginning with 2013, the Board of Governors should be replaced by a Board of Education, in charge of all of public education in Rhode Island.  Administrative Report January 2017

1.10.11 Composition of the Board and Quorum Requirements. The Board of Education is to consist of seventeen (17) public members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Rhode Island Senate. The Chair of the Governor’s Workforce Board, or designee, and the Chair of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, or designee, shall serve as non-voting, ex-officio members of the board. The Governor shall select from the appointed members a chairperson and vice chairperson. A quorum shall consist of nine (9) members of the board. A majority vote of those present shall be required for action. The Chair of the Board shall have no term and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor.  Administrative Report January 2017

1.10.12 Chief Responsibility of the Board. According to its webpage (, accessed 1/5/17), “The Board of Education is the chief policy-setting body overseeing K-20 education in Rhode Island. Through its designated powers and duties, the Board helps shape the course of public education to ensure that all of the state’s students receive the best possible education.”  Administrative Report January 2017

Council on Postsecondary Education

1.20.10 Background. In June of 2014, the Board of Education voted to establish two separate sub-councils, one being the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, the other being the Council on Postsecondary Education. The Council on Postsecondary Education is chiefly in charge of those matters relating to the University of Rhode Island for which university-internal approval is not sufficient. “The Council is an independent public corporation vested with the responsibility of providing oversight for the system of public higher education in Rhode Island. This system consists of three public institutions of higher learning, the University of Rhode Island (URI), Rhode Island College (RIC), and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), along with the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner. The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, which operates under the direction of the Commissioner of Postsecondary Education, is the administrative and research arm of the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education.” (  Administrative Report January 2017

1.20.11 Composition of the Council. The Council on Postsecondary Education comprises eight members appointed by the Governor from the members of the Board of Education, to serve until their terms on the Board expire, and one non-voting student member appointed for a two-year term from one of the three public Rhode Island institutions of higher learning. The Council’s chair shall be appointed by the Governor from one of the eight voting members of the Council. In addition, the Chair of the Board of Education shall serve on the Council in an ex officio, non-voting capacity. (see RIGL §16-59-2).  Administrative Report January 2017

1.20.12 Chief Responsibilities of the Council. The Council’s responsibilities include (for more details, see Rhode Island General laws § 16-59-1 and § 16-59-4): (1) It shall retain all authority formerly vested in the Board of Education regarding the employment of faculty and staff at the public higher education institutions. (2) It shall prepare and maintain a five (5) year funding plan for higher education that implements the strategic financing recommendations of the Board of Education. (3) It shall prepare with the assistance of the Commissioner of Postsecondary Education and to present annually to the State Budget Officer in accordance with § 35-3-4 a state higher education budget. Prior to submitting the budget to the State Budget Officer as required by the budget office instructions and this subsection, the Council shall present the budget to the Board of Education for its review and approval. (4) It shall appoint and dismiss presidents of the public institutions of higher learning with the assistance of the Commissioner of Postsecondary Education, and to establish procedures for this, and with the assistance of the Commissioner to approve or disapprove vice presidents of the public institutions of higher learning appointed by the respective presidents of the public institutions of higher learning. (5) It shall delegate to the presidents of each public higher education institution the authority and responsibility for operational and management decisions related to their institutions, consistent with the goals of the statewide strategic plan for postsecondary education, provided however that the presidents may be required to provide information or updates to the council regarding any delegated operational or management decisions.  Administrative Report January 2017

The President of the University

1.30.10 Presidential Powers—Shared Governance. In 2014, the President of the University received authority over certain items that previously needed to be submitted for approval to the super-ordinated state body (Board of Governors, Board of Regents, etc.). The items over which the President now has authority include: “To create, and consolidate departments, divisions, programs, and courses of study within the university with the assistance of the commissioner of postsecondary education within the approved role and scope adopted by the council on postsecondary education pursuant to § 16-59-4” (See RI General Law § 16-32-2.1). The law stipulates, however, that this authority is to be exercised “consistent with shared governance practices, [and] in conformity with § 16-32-10,” which states that it “shall also be the duty of the president and a committee of the faculty, . . . 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.” For more than half a century, the committee of the faculty mentioned in this legislation has been understood to be the URI Faculty Senate.  Administrative Report January 2017




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