Faculty Senate Report 2/23/2023

GRAPHIC BY: Ronan Himelrick | Managing Editor

The University of Rhode Island’s Faculty Senate met for the second time this fiscal year to review curriculum standards and discuss a number of University changes.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the meeting began with the nomination of Theodore A. Walls as the next Senate vice president. Walls, a professor in the department of psychology, said that his experience and enthusiasm for URI have made him prepared to take on the job.

“If elected, I would be interested in fostering a more integral Senate role in advancing University directions,” Walls said.

According to his nomination biography, Walls wishes to restructure the Faculty Senate so that each committee could help collectively in decision-making. He also said that URI can approach diversity and inclusion of a diverse faculty with greater rigor.

Walls was unanimously nominated after a short presentation and thanked the Senators for their support.

The Executive Committee recommended an amendment to the Senate bylaws, requesting that a Senator may be re-elected to serve a second consecutive term, after which they may not be re-elected until one year. After some discussion, the Senators collectively agreed to vote on this next month. 

Provost Barbara Wolfe spoke on behalf of URI President Marc Parlange regarding recent University happenings. Wolfe said that after a successful kickoff event, URI’s 10-year strategic plan entitled “FOCUS URI” is making strides with action plans and website updates.

The plan revolves around four strategic priorities with an end goal of enhancing URI in achievement and impact, according to their website. 

 Wolfe also presented a recap of the recent Board of Trustees meeting. Two bills are currently pending approval, both involving program closures in URI’s NonProfit Administration and Professional Leadership Studies degrees. 

The University, according to Wolfe, is working closely with the state to ensure success rates for students, faculty and staff.

“We will continue to advocate for support from the state level, and that is going on as we speak,” Wolfe said.

Program descriptions, prerequisites and course numbers are being changed by the Graduate Council to better reflect the organization of classes, according to Graduate School Dean, Brenton Deboef. Additionally, a new accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program in interdisciplinary neuroscience is being introduced.

The Senate motioned to table a discussion regarding the course “PLA100: Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio Development.” Members debated on whether it was appropriate to change the title, description, prerequisites, credits and method of grading for this course, as well as the introduction of an online version. 

To facilitate more productive discussion, Senators also agreed that a remote option for Faculty Senate meetings shall be offered for each meeting moving forward. This decision was confirmed within the Senate bylaws.  The next Faculty Senate meeting is scheduled to be held on March 23. More information can be found on their website.