The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - October 16, 2000 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782
e-mail: web site:

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Ruth Okediji, Chair.

PRESENT: Abraham, Bemben, Blank, Bozorgi, Brown, Cline, Cox, Crawford, DeBacker, Deming, Dewers, Gilliland, Gollahalli, Gross, Guzman, Harrison, Hart, Hawthorne, Hofford, Houser, Hutchison, Kunesh, Maiden, Mau, McInerney, Murphy, Newman, Okediji, Robertson, Robson, Roegiers, Scherman, Schwarzkopf, Taylor, Vernon, Watts, Willinger

Provost's office representative: Provost Mergler
PSA representatives: Smith
UOSA representatives: Doss, Ellis

ABSENT: Damphousse, Foster, Gottesman, Greene, Henderson, Horrell, Kenderdine, Lee, Magid, Nelson, Osisanya, Ransom, Russell, Trafalis, Vale, Van Gundy



Announcement: faculty issues and concerns

North Central Reaccreditation

Huston Huffman Center

Senate Chair's Report:

Shared leave
Retiree e-mail
Class cancellation
Fall break

Approval of nomination to CDC




The Senate Journal for the regular session of September 11, 2000, was approved.



A list of the issues and concerns identified by the Faculty Senate will be sent to the president, provost, appropriate vice presidents, and appropriate committee chairs for their information and possible action.



Prof. Okediji explained that the University is undergoing accreditation next year. Prof. Michael Scaperlanda (Law), Provost Faculty Fellow and coordinator of the accreditation process, noted that the main accrediting body for the University is the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools. Every ten years, we undertake a process of self-study to prove to the NCA that we meet the requirements for continuing accreditation. The NCA has 24 General Institutional Requirements and five criteria for accreditation (outlined in a pamphlet available from the Senate office). To prove that we meet the criteria, we will gather data, describe the data, evaluate where our strengths and challenges are and where we have improved, and come to some conclusion. As coordinator, Prof. Scaperlanda will shepherd the study along and be the primary author of the self-study. The NCA site evaluation team will be on campus October 29-31, 2001. To get the task accomplished, he has created three reporting committees, three service committees, and a steering committee. More faculty members will be added to some of the committees. Each reporting committee will draft a report by March 1 describing how its area meets the criteria. Prof. Scaperlanda would like the Faculty Senate to provide feedback on the reports. He will then draft a self-study incorporating the three reports, which will be given to the Senate and other groups to edit. The final report will be sent to the NCA site team in September. A web site has been set up, which shows what is going on with the self-study process and includes a link to the NCA, the list of committees and membership, the 1992 self-study, and the NCA’s response ( Prof. Scaperlanda said his two purposes in being at the Senate meeting were to inform everyone of the process and encourage faculty to be part of the process. One previous criticism of the NCA was when the site team came to OU ten years ago, nobody knew about the visit except the people who were participating. He encouraged senators to inform their colleagues.

Prof. Okediji commented that the Faculty Senate Executive Committee met with Prof. Scaperlanda and will assist him in any way possible to make sure we make the best of faculty time. The Executive Committee will look over the report and will welcome other faculty input.



Prof. Okediji pointed out that several faculty members had indicated in the issues and concerns submitted to the Senate that the recreational services offered to faculty are of concern. Therefore, she asked Ms. Susan Sasso, Director of Student Publications and Chair of the Recreational Services Advisory Committee (RSAC), to discuss the expansion of the Huston Huffman Center.

Ms. Sasso said she appreciated the opportunity to talk to the Senate. The RSAC is composed of faculty, staff, and students. The faculty representatives are Claren Kidd and Allen Knehans. Prof. Laurette Taylor, Chair of Health and Sport Sciences, is an ex officio, nonvoting member. Ms. Sasso brought with her Mike Tower, OU staff architect with A&E Services, and Fred Schmidt, project manager with Frankfurt Short Bruza, Associates PC. An expansion task force was formed when students expressed interest in expanding Huston Huffman. The task force was charged with finding out what the students wanted, whether they were willing to pay for it, and how much they were willing to pay to meet the needs they had stated. The student body was surveyed, Student Congress and Graduate Student Senate passed legislation supporting the facility, and the committee made site visits to five other schools. UOSA approved the funding of a master plan. Ms. Sasso asked Mr. Tower to talk about what goes into the master plan process.

Mr. Tower explained that they asked for input from faculty, staff, and students last year, then they looked at the funding sources available from the student referendum to determine what was affordable. The result was a master plan, which may happen over the next ten to 20 years, and a smaller program that tackles the most important things. Right now, they are trying to get input during these early phases of schematic design and design development, when it is easiest to make any changes. Construction is expected to start next summer.

Mr. Schmidt explained that the drawings he brought to the meeting were conceptual plans of what could be achieved with the dollars that were defined as the budget. Right now, the sports/recreation side of the facility is about 80,000 square feet. The expansion will add an additional 42,000 square feet. Some of the top desired items are additional multi-purpose court space, weight training space, cardio space, and track facilities. The expansion will also provide a larger office space for additional counseling and programming. The breezeway will be enclosed in order to enlarge the lobby. In place of the ramp will be a central grand staircase and elevator. Additional storage space will be provided downstairs. On the lower level, the basketball court will be made into a weight room. Some of the racquetball courts will be made into two-story space, and the remaining courts will be improved. A new cardio studio will be created downstairs. Equipment will be issued upstairs. A large walkway through the center will be used for circuit training. The new track will be expanded around all of the court space and will have an additional lane. The new courts on the south will be high school regulation courts, so high school tournaments could be held there. Upstairs, an aerobics room will replace the cardio room, which is moving downstairs. Mr. Schmidt said they are trying to keep an open feeling to the facility. They are visiting with various campus groups and will display the drawings on the web (, Give Us Your Feedback) as well as at Huston Huffman.

Ms. Sasso said they hope to end the schematic design phase by the end of October, begin construction in fall 2001, and complete the project within 20-24 months. Prof. Schwarzkopf wanted to know who was working with the architects and who would approve the design. Ms. Sasso said it was the RSAC, but the committee had sought approval from different groups on campus in the design process. Prof. Vernon asked whether Huston Huffman would be off line during construction. Mr. Tower answered no. He said they are trying to lessen the impacts on the existing facility. The construction budget is about $6.5 million, and the total budget is $8 million. They would like to keep most of the facility open during construction, but they cannot put in too many phases without adding to the cost. When asked about the reduction in racquet courts, Ms. Sasso responded that the use statistics showed those courts as one of the least utilized areas. Mr. Tower said they are planning to take out the ones that are in worst shape. They also are trying to improve the existing air conditioning system.

Prof. Kunesh asked whether student government had been involved. Ms. Sasso said it had been. Prof. Kunesh said he thought faculty members were using the space less because of conflicts with scheduling in recent years. He said he thought there should have been more faculty input in determining what was needed. Ms. Sasso said she had not spoken to the Senate as a whole; however, they held three days of information sessions last fall targeting faculty and staff and also invited faculty and staff to come to any other sessions. They advertised heavily in the newspaper, sent an A/B distribution, and sent an e-mail to chairs and directors asking them to announce the sessions to their faculty. Their goal was to have broad-based input. Mr. Tower said one of the reasons for their presentation at this meeting was to get more input as they go from master planning into the design process.

Prof. Hofford remarked that there had been a reduction in use by faculty and staff and that someone should find out why and what could be done to get faculty more involved. Ms. Sasso responded that one of the things that came up in the process was the lack of parking during the lunch hour.

Prof. Murphy asked whether a climbing wall was still being considered. Ms. Sasso said that was still a possibility. Mr. Tower added that it would depend on the budget. Several alternatives will be included in the bid. Ms. Sasso said this discussion was about the first stage of expansion. They hope to continue to expand the facility in the future as more funds become available. Right now, the task is to balance the budget against the highest priorities. Provost Mergler pointed out that the students recently agreed to pay a larger facility fee. An additional source of funding is the fee charged to faculty and their families for membership. Ms. Sasso said the students began paying $25 per student per semester this fall. The number of faculty and staff memberships is between 200-250. She offered to put together a brief document outlining some of the budget breakdown. [Note: In an e-mail sent later to senators, Ms. Sasso reported that student fees would fund $6 million and private funds $2 million of the $8 million expansion. The annual operating budget of Recreational Services is $1.1 million, $950,000 of which is from student fees, $90,000 from across the counter sales, and $60,000 from faculty and staff memberships.]

Prof. Cline noted that one of the faculty/staff parking lots nearby had been eliminated. Ms. Sasso said that decision was not made by anyone associated with the facility. Prof. Taylor cited some lots in the area that were designated for faculty and staff but agreed that parking was still very difficult. Ms. Sasso asked the group to send comments to her at

Prof. Okediji said she thought one of the reasons the faculty felt a little left out was because the Faculty Senate had not been directly involved as a body. She said concerns could also be sent to the Faculty Senate. A large issue that has been percolating for the last couple of years is the general issue of recreation facilities for faculty. Several senators have raised concerns about the Field House. The Senate Executive Committee will be looking at ways to address that concern.


SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Ruth Okediji

Last year, the Faculty Senate approved a proposal for shared leave that would allow a university employee to donate paid leave to a fellow employee who required that leave because of a serious medical condition. Two versions were presented to the president. They were alike except for whether the leave could be used for the employee's illness only or for the employee to care for a sick family member. The president approved the proposal for the employee only but indicated that if the program is successful, it may be possible, in the future, to expand it to care for family members. Copies of the proposal are available from the Senate office or (Proposal B was the one approved.) Prof. Okediji asked the senators to inform their colleagues as well as the staff members in their areas. She pointed out that the Staff Senate had initiated the proposal.

About a year ago, the Senate Executive Committee talked with Provost Mergler about benefits for retiring faculty, not only as a measure of thanks, but to give them time to transition out of the university. One of the issues was the availability of e-mail accounts. Thanks to Provost Mergler and Vice President Aebersold, OU e-mail addresses are now provided for retirees.

Several e-mails were sent to the Senate expressing concern that classes were cancelled on the Monday after the OU-Texas win. The Senate Executive Committee discussed the concerns with President Boren, as part of the regularly-scheduled meetings. He expressed appreciation for bringing the concerns to his attention and promised that class cancellations would not become customary. The cancellation was intended to represent a celebration of several OU high points, including the successful completion of the Reach for Excellence campaign.

Prof. McInerney commented that today's student newspaper had an article concerning student interest in a fall break. Provost Mergler said she had asked Registrar Marc Borish to count the number of days we have in the fall semester. Her recollection was that a count two years ago indicated we had one spare Tuesday or Thursday beyond what we are required to have to meet state regents requirements. Mr. Kent Doss, UOSA liaison, said the proposal had been discussed a bit in Student Congress. OU is one of the few campuses without a real fall break. Prof. Hart said his understanding was that Thanksgiving was fall break. He asked when we had started taking the Friday before the OU-Texas game as a holiday. Provost Mergler said the Friday holiday had been in place about ten years; before that, Monday was a holiday only if we won the game. We cannot legally cancel a MWF class because those days are not spare. Prof. Okediji asked whether a policy had been developed by UOSA. Mr. Doss said it was just being discussed at this point. He said it was frustrating to hear that other campuses, like Oklahoma State and Nebraska, have a real break, while we only have one day. Provost Mergler remarked that we could possibly have a Tuesday or Thursday off and still comply with the state regents policy. She noted that the UOSA president had proposed as a holiday the Thursday before the OU-Texas Friday, according to the newspaper. Prof. Okediji asked Mr. Doss to express to the UOSA some of the concerns and comments made at this meeting.



The Senate approved the nomination of Meg Penrose (Law) to complete the 2000-02 term of Maureen Weston (Law) on the Campus Disciplinary Council.



The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 13, 2000, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.

Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

Valerie Watts, Secretary