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Faculty Senate Minutes 9-1-10




September 1, 2010,  2:00 – 4:30 P.M.

Library Board Room

Meeting called to order at 2:05

Guests: President Champagne, Provost de Abruna

  1. Attendance: Peter Alfieri, Dorisa Boggs, Susan Bosco, Jim Brunnhoeffer, Robert Dermody, Kelly Donnell, Kathleen Dunn, Diane Harvey, Anthony Hollingsworth, Hasan-Uddin Khan, Rebecca Leuchak, John Madritch, David Melchar, David Moskowitz, Cliff Murphy, Nancy Nester, Lou Procaccini, Joseph Roberts, Anthony Ruocco, Scott Rutherford, Mark Sawoski, John Schlinke, Ferd Schroth, Tom Sorger, June Speakman, Josh Stein, Jennifer Stevens, Michael Swanson, Minoo Tehrani, Cliff Timpson, Laura Turner, Paul Webb, Rom Woodruff, Min Zhou.

Absent: France Hunter (sabbatical)

  1. Motion: Approval of Minutes of May 5, 2010 (Speakman/Alfieri) – 31-0-2
  1. Announcements/Communications

The Faculty Senate Steering Committee will add the newly passed changes (at the fall faculty caucus – August 31, 2010) to the Faculty Senate Constitution.

  1. Review of Executive Committee Minutes – 1st Vice President Alfieri

Discussion of the Faculty Senate’s input on revisions for the university website. Presented the President (Nirschel) and Provost with the motions from the May 2010 Faculty Senate meeting for informational purposes.


Accreditation in two programs in SEECM and upcoming accreditation in SAAHP requires a more robust website, what is the status on the update of the university website?

The university/program websites are being updated program by program.

Who is responsible for making decisions about updating the university website?

Questions regarding who is responsible for decisions about the website should be directed to Vice President Fawthrop.

Motion: Approval of the Executive Committee Minutes ((Moskowitz, Murphy) – 31-0-2

Standing Committee Reports

  1. Admissions and Enrollment –  Senator DonnellWorking on finding a common meeting time.
  1. Curriculum – Senator Hollingsworth

Met by email. Had a conversation with Associate Provost Koritz about the details in getting the Gen Ed new course proposal forms into the committee. The committee has suggested that course proposal forms will have an additional check box for “Gen Ed” so that the course proposals can be routed to the correct curriculum committee.

We have copies of the curriculum proposal form for new Gen Ed courses and will be providing feedback about that form.


We have at least three curriculum committees running with some overlap and perhaps we should revisit that discussion (Gen Ed Council, Faculty Senate, Graduate Curriculum Committee).

  1. Academic Standards and Policies – Senator Dermody

Working on finding a common meeting time. Anyone who is interested in serving on the committee, please volunteer.

  1. Faculty Development – Senator  Murphy

An email was sent today requesting who is still serving on the committee and when they would be available to meet.

  1. Steering – Senator Sorger

Having recently been told that I was selected to chair the committee (I was on sabbatical last year) I will be assembling the committee shortly.

  1. University Life –  Senator Roberts

An email will go out this afternoon requesting committee members from schools which currently lack representation: SAAHP/SEECM/SJS.

  1. Diversity – Michael Swanson

An email was sent out this morning with information about an upcoming diversity conference that faculty may wish to attend.

13. Old Business – Academic Standards Petition

Senators Dermody and Melchar will be working with President Bosco and the Provost on the revised form.

14. New Business – Adjunct Faculty Hiring and Process

This is brought to the Faculty Senate because an adjunct who has taught in the past at RWU was not approved to teach by the Dean of FCAS for the fall 2010 semester. In the ads that went out announcing the need for adjuncts, no mention of qualifications or experience was stated. Faculty in some schools or departments have greater input in the adjunct hiring process. Qualifications for adjuncts appears to be school/program/major specific, therefore, the Faculty Senate may want to examine faculty input in hiring and qualifications for adjuncts at Roger Williams University.


In GSB we have no input on the hiring of adjuncts or visiting professors.

The process and criteria are two separate questions. Criteria should be school specific.

The process is complex, the number of people who have to vet the candidate starts from the Department Chair, to the Dean to the Provost.

Motion: Refer the issue of adjunct faculty hiring and process to the Faculty Development Committee to examine best practices for hiring adjuncts and faculty involvement in the process (Speakman, Tehrani) – 31-0-2

Assignment of Faculty Caucus items to Committees

Discussion of the new Gen Ed program

Why the use of “Council” rather than “Committee” in the new Gen Ed Council?

The Faculty Senate should have final approval on all curriculum matters.

President Bosco recuses herself.

1st Vice President Alfieri chairing the meeting.

Senator Stein – I met with the Provost about my concerns of the General Education Program. The Faculty Senate has not yet been part of the process. I ask that the Provost submit the General Education package to the Faculty Senate for review.

I was disturbed with the difficulty, and some of my colleagues had similar difficulties, of the rubrics.

Faculty at the Division Meeting of the Social Sciences did not appear supportive of the Gen Ed proposal.

What was the problem with the current CORE program? And how do we put this program into effect? I sense that this may be the end of a liberal arts university by changing the delivery of the liberal arts. History is no longer presented as history, literature as literature, and instead a Gen Ed program that is catered to the job market.


From the professional schools we understand outcomes based education because our accrediting bodies require us to do it. It is more directed education in our professional school. As part of our accreditation process we are required to conduct an exit interview, and our students tell us that the core courses and the CISS is a waste of money.

I feel that the Gen Ed proposal is a positive change. The program was developed by the faculty through focus groups and town hall meetings and general education curriculum meetings and not by the Provost. Our colleagues have spend an enormous amount of time on the development of the Gen Ed program and it would be a disservice to them to tell them that their work was unnecessary. Delivery of our current CORE is taught by adjuncts and the program was handed down by the (then) Associate Provost. We should also think about our students who see an advantage to the integrative approach over information that is provided in a discipline specific way.

It was difficult at Town Hall Meetings to have discussion on items that were not the focus of the meeting. The elimination of a second writing course was not vetted by all of the faculty and may be a disservice to students who need the additional writing course.  I also do not know how the courses in each house are organically related across level (freshman year – intermediate – advanced – capstone).

Having been involved in the process of the new gen ed proposal and having taught in the current CORE, the process was inclusive and democratic and was not designed to exclude the Faculty Senate from the process. The shift to outcomes based education is a national shift. It is the humanities and social sciences faculty who have the greatest challenges with the move to an outcomes based education.

Part of the problem with this whole process is that we have not written down what we are doing so that we can see how the new Gen Ed flows logically from FYS (Freshman Year Seminar) to Capstone. Put a proposal out there and let us offer our feedback which would allow the proposers to reflect upon those comments and concerns. If we want to have student oriented productive education we should begin by looking at the kids. Maybe we can have four models of Gen Ed if we were four 700 person schools. Where is the logic and cohesiveness of having one model for all 2800?

My recollection of this process is as one of the most transparent processes that I have seen during my 15 years at the university. The CORE was on the table, that CORE withered from benign neglect. There was no systematic way of testing/evaluating the CORE; there is with the current Gen Ed proposal.

We have had anecdotal evidence about dissatisfaction about the CORE. This past May we have had outside people conduct the exit interviews and have complaints about the CORE.

We were continuously updated about the Gen Ed process, but when we met during the breakout sessions at the Faculty Conference, there were a number of questions that could not be answered.

We individually chose to attend the Gen Ed meetings, some did not because of the eduspeak and process at these meetings. Early on it was decided that this was not simply going to be a distribution based gen ed: take two religions, two philosophies, etc. Lab science and math are almost totally avoidable. It was not clear during any time whether the Faculty Senate would be consulted or asked to review the Gen Ed proposal.

Discussions with colleagues at the Fall Faculty Conference showed their concern and difficulty with the what was proposed yesterday. There is also a concern with how we can contribute to Gen Ed but we are currently strapped covering the courses in our major and staffing our contribution to the CORE.

The presentation of the Gen Ed at the Fall Faculty Conference did a disservice to the hard work of the faculty and the Gen Ed Committee.

What I feel in the room is an incredible angst, and note that change is always a difficult thing. I want to acknowledge that the process this time was open and inclusive.

I have been doing outcomes based learning since 1998 – looking at outcomes and objectives allows students and faculty to think about what they are doing and how they can refine it.

I would be in favor of the committee which has been working on this to receive questions from the faculty to use to generate a primer on outcomes based general education.

Basic question, when was the decision made and by whom that we are moving to an outcomes based education and was the Faculty Senate ever asked to weigh in on it? At the beginning of this process we were asked what our students can not do that we would like them to do.  The language was not what the general faculty, those not on the Gen Ed Comm, could understand.

Three phases of the CORE – a response to a grant from an outside source, there was a CORE committee of the faculty teaching in the CORE, there was a common syllabus for each CORE course, next faculty were asked to teach to their passion so long as they addressed the three questions, and culminated with the CORE being transferred from Academic Affairs to the Dean of FCAS and the Core Committee became the Core Curriculum Comm which concerned itself with approving CISS and not a discussion of the bigger philosophical questions. And the CORE died on the vine. We can learn from the phases of the CORE for the new Gen Ed – teaching from a common syllabus, can we validate a section of a course for Gen Ed.

There was never a directive from the Faculty Senate to move to an outcomes based education – it was clear that the CORE was not meeting student needs, and department needs. Those of us who were interested spent two years looking at best practices. We went to a workshop by the AAC&U on general education reform and investigated the best practices. Spoke with faculty across the schools and proposed an outcomes based education.

Perhaps the Gen Ed group can get involved with the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee so that periodically changes and proposals can be brought to us. It would be helpful for the groups to rewrite the rubric standards.

What troubles me is that another group has developed outside of the Faculty Senate, with a separate set of processes. The skeptics and the nay-sayers should be kept close, take them to the conferences and bring them along.

Things to keep in mind: If your rubric has to have a glossary it’s a bad thing. You cannot ignore questions. There are only so many classes that you can put into a general education program. Questions like the double-dipping need to be clarified because of its impact on certain programs.

What does this do to the timeline if we take time to answer these questions?

Motion (Murphy/Moskowitz) Call the question

Motion: That the Faculty Senate of Roger Williams University continue to explore the merits of the General Education program prior to endorsing it (Stein, Sorger) – 27-0-3

Further Discussion

Is there any interest in doing writing about the Gen Ed – perhaps a place where your thoughts can be shared with your colleagues?

You can use Blackboard’s “discussion board” to post questions about the Gen Ed.

Please go back to your constituents and urge our colleagues to get up to speed on the Gen Ed and make comments about the Gen Ed.

Motion (Moskowitz/Sawoski) to extend for five minutes. Passed unanimously.

President Bosco resumes chairing the meeting.

President Bosco – How do you want us to proceed with our charge from the faculty caucus to have additional faculty members serve on the presidential search committee?


A letter will be sent to Board of Trustees Chair Bready with the motions passed at the Fall Faculty Caucus. The letter will be drafted by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and distributed to the Faculty Senate for comment and revision.

Motion (Stein/Alfieri) to adjourn

Meeting Adjourned at 4:35 p.m.

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