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Fifth Annual State of the University Address

McMurtry Auditorium, Duncan Hall

October 22, 2009

4:00 p.m.



Duane Windsor, Speaker of the Faculty Senate, welcomed the faculty to the Fifth Annual State of the University Address by President David Leebron. Windsor asked any students or members of news media to leave. He explained that while all University staff were welcome to stay for the President’s address, the confidential question-and-answer session following would be restricted to faculty and senior administrators only. He invited everyone to a reception which he estimated would begin at about 5:30 p.m. Windsor said that he was pleased to see so many faculty members in attendance.


Windsor asked the current Senators to stand and they received a round of applause. He stated that the regular monthly Senate meetings are open and held in Lovett Hall, with the next meeting scheduled for November 18, 2009. There are two more regular plenary meetings for degree approvals scheduled for the 2009-2010 year; January 28 and May 14, 2010.


Windsor outlined the working agenda of the Faculty Senate for 2009-2010. The Senate operates through its Working Groups and the University Committees. Current efforts of the Senate include:

·         The University Committee on Undergraduate Admission has a new name (formerly Admissions and Student Financial Aid) and charge.

·         Two reviews of Deans have occurred under the new policy spearheaded by the Senate.

·         Three working groups are continuing in 2009-2010: the Working Group on the Honor Council, the Working Group on Teaching, and the Working Group on non-tenure-track teaching and research faculty.

·         Two new working groups have been formed. One will study the issue of possible “grade inflation” and the awarding of academic honors. This issue has been mentioned often by faculty when academic honors are announced at graduation time. The second will study faculty appeals, grievances, and hearings, for which the Senate is responsible.

·         The Senate is discussing with the Dean of Undergraduates how to handle CRUP III (Committee on the Rice Undergraduate Program).

·         The work of the Senate has been directed heavily towards the Faculty Merger Review Committee (FMRC) established to review the possible merger of Rice with Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).  In September 2009, the Senate met in executive session with Don Morrison, chair of the FMRC, to discuss the FMRC interim report (August 2009) prior to Morrison’s meeting with the Rice Board of Trustees. Again in October, the Senate met in executive session with Morrison and with representatives of various committees that have been studying the academic issues. Another executive session should be expected during the November 18 Senate meeting, but it is the formal responsibility of the Senate Executive Committee (meeting November 11) to approve meeting agendas.

·         A plenary meeting of the faculty to discuss the status of the possible merger is tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 23, from 12 noon until 2 p.m.  The meeting content depends on conditions at the time and views of the Senate (meeting November 18).


President Leebron then delivered his address. Please use this link to view the slide show he presented:Fifth Annual State of the University Address.  Following the President’s formal remarks, Windsor indicated a short break to permit staff and others to depart the auditorium. During the break he explained that the Senate had moved the FMRC interim report into the public domain at the Senate website. Following the question-and-answer session, Windsor adjourned the meeting for the reception at approximately 5:30 p.m.