The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – October 9, 2006 – 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206   phone: 325-6789
e-mail:   web site:


The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Roger Frech, Chair.


PRESENT:       Albert, D. Bemben, M, Bemben, Benson, Biggerstaff, Blank, Bradford, Brown, Croft, Draheim, Elisens, Fincke, Forman, Frech, Gade, Ge, Greene, Gutierrez, James, Keppel, Knapp, Kolar, Kutner, Lester, Livesey, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, Miranda, Rambo, Riggs, Roche, Scamehorn, Schwarzkopf, Skeeters, Strawn, Thulasiraman, Trytten, Vitt, Warnken, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Cook

ABSENT:         Badhwar, Basic, Brule, Civan, Cramer, Franklin, Hamerla, Houser, Lai, Raadschelders, Tan, Weaver, Wei






2006-07 Campus Departmental Review Panel

Faculty development awards

State of OU-Norman campus address by Senior Vice President and Provost Nancy Mergler

Senate Chair's Report:


Plaques honoring retirees

Library serials

Health insurance

Election, councils/committees/boards

Resolution of appreciation, faculty enrichment grant

Statement on evolution






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of September 11, 2006 was approved.





The following faculty will serve on the 2006-07 Campus Departmental Review Panel:  Nancy Barry (Music), Noel Brady (Mathematics), Fred Carr (Meteorology), Pat Daugherty (Marketing), Scott Greene (Geography), and Irene Karpiak (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies).  The panel will also include Associate Dean Simin Pulat (Engineering), Associate Dean Meta Carstarphen (Journalism & Mass Communication), and Graduate Council representative LeRoy Blank (Chemistry & Biochemistry).  The units to be reviewed are Anthropology, English, Honors, Modern Languages, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, African & African-American Studies, and Film & Video Studies.


The Faculty Senate sent out the call for proposals for the faculty development awards on September 27.  Proposals are due to the Faculty Senate office on October 31.  Up to $2500 is awarded.  Further information is available at 





Provost Mergler said her presentation would provide more detail concerning the challenges and opportunities in meeting the goals the President mentioned in his address to the Faculty Senate last month.  The handouts she distributed are available from the Senate office.  Her first handout was the provost organizational chart, which, as she said, gets ever bigger and more complicated.


The President has a goal for maintaining enrollment at about 30,000 students.  The size of the student body has an impact on how we are perceived at the national, state and local level, on our revenue, on the size of our faculty, and on our academic facilities.  To meet this goal, we need to recruit about 3500 direct-from-high school freshmen each year.  Projections show declining numbers of high school graduates over the next decade in adjacent states except Texas.  We want to continue to recruit about seven percent of Oklahoma’s high school graduates (about 2600), and about 900 non-resident high school students.  An external consultant has been hired to analyze the cost to attend and family choice of the college selected, particularly for families from Texas.  Effective marketing will be important for the next decade.  Students are applying to more schools than they did in the past.  We are trying to produce much clearer web-based information about OU, from the perspective of a prospective student.  Academic units can assist by providing interesting, compelling pictures of their faculty and students engaged in activities inside and outside the classroom, labs and studios.  Faculty members should have current web pages, including pictures of themselves.  Over the next decade, the web will be one of our effective tools.  We are reviewing how we package need-based aid, especially to OHLAP students.  OU enrolls about 12 percent of all OHLAP participants in the state.  Increasing numbers of high school graduates will be OHLAP eligible.  These students are need based and meet OU’s eligibility requirements.  A second component of aid is tuition waivers.  We are likely to need an eight percent increase in our waiver budget next year.  Faculty and academic units will need to attend more carefully to the recruitment of undergraduate students as we try to stabilize the size of our student body. 


Another issue that is front and center for the provost is faculty compensation.  We hope to be at 90 percent of the average for the Big 10 and 12 in faculty salaries.  The Employment Benefits Committee forwarded a recommendation concerning health insurance for next year and also recommended the formation of a blue ribbon committee to look at the mix of benefits.  We have had an exciting year in recruiting faculty.  We have the largest cohort of new regular faculty (100) ever, which will probably give us a net gain of about 25.  The growth will hopefully have an impact on our student/faculty ratio, areas of enrollment pressures, and strategic research initiatives.  It continues to be important that we conduct nationally advertised searches.  This fall, 45 percent of new faculty members are females or minorities, which increases the diversity of our faculty.  Hiring senior level faculty with tenure no longer requires vetting through the Campus Tenure Committee but does rely on the search committee process to assess the appropriateness of tenure recommendations. 


Our library system is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).  Among the 112 university libraries in ARL, OU has risen from a rank of 92 up to 48, which came about through a ten-year strategic plan for the library.  The library acquisition budget was increased by $6.5 million through E&G sources and direct student fees.  Because access to research materials is changing rapidly as electronic technology evolves, it is timely to review the library with regard to serials acquisition.  President Boren asked that we go through a serials review exercise this fall and is forming a task force to recommend 5- and 10-year goals for the library system. 


Exciting initiatives have come about in the past year.  Dr. Kent Johnson was hired as director of the Program for Instructional Innovation (formerly called Instructional Development).  He is charged with assisting faculty in instruction, instructional technology, imbedding writing into our curriculum, service learning, and increasing significant learning through innovative pedagogy.  Dr. Michele Eodice was hired as director of the writing center and associate director for instructional innovation and will work to implement more writing into the curriculum.  The two are working closely to provide additional opportunities to faculty who want to enhance their pedagogy. 


This August, all Norman campus deans joined the provost for a retreat to begin strategic planning.  The issues of accountability and compliance will be impacting the Norman campus and all of public higher education.  With the issuing of U.S. education secretary Spellings’s report, we will be hearing much more about the ways in which higher education is held accountable for what it does.  OU has a four-tier assessment started by Provost Joan Wadlow and then mandated by the state regents.  The first is entry-level assessment and course placement, which is carried out by the assessment and learning center under Tamara Pratt.  She also will expand the opportunities for supplemental instruction (tutoring and study sessions).  The second is assessment of general education, under vice provost for Instruction Paul Bell and the provost advisory committee on general education.  The third is assessment of program outcomes, handled within the academic units and coordinated by Paul Bell.  The fourth level is assessment of general student satisfaction, done online in the spring by the assessment coordinator, Susy Jorgenson.  Departmental review is an ongoing responsibility of the provost office.  We are set to complete the last group of reviews under cycle three.  We now have a seven-year cycle because we have added academic programs that need to be reviewed.  Doug Elmore, associate provost, chairs the reviews.  Summary reports are given to the state regents, and the results are used internally as part of our continuous colleague improvement and peer critique.  The National Research Council is starting a new project, which will provide us better data on graduate programs.  We are one of over 200 participating universities.  Quantitative data is collected about every ten years via four questionnaires.  One purpose is to provide the public with a sense of our openness and willingness to be reviewed.  The council would like to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate at the federal level the importance of sustaining, building, and growing the research capacity of the universities across the country.  There will be an online data base and a final report issued.  We can set goals internally for where we want to be for the next ranking.  Participants will include Institutional Research and Reporting, the Graduate College, representatives from applicable degree program, and selected doctoral students.  Because of NRC rules, units will not participate if they did not produce more than five Ph.D.s in the past five years.  The issue of compliance is getting ever more complicated.  Debra Chionopoulos is director of compliance for the Norman, HSC and Tulsa campuses.  Gretta Rowold was recently hired as the export controls officer.  Of increasing concern in the applied social science arenas are the issues of billing compliance and protection of privacy. 


Two task forces have been formed.  The one on textbooks is to ensure access to the most economical and efficient process for obtaining the best required course materials.  With the many changes in the textbook, publishing, and distribution industries, it is timely to look at the process.  When the bookstore went to an online ordering system, some of the mechanisms for placing orders in a timely fashion broke down.  Over 50 percent of instructors had not ordered materials by the beginning of August, which means students cannot find a used market.  A national group is reviewing this and has had several hearings recently.  Legislators in 19 states have shown interest in how universities provide textbook materials to students.  We need to be proactive and use best practices from across the county.  The task force has met once and will meet later in the month.  The second task force is on the grading scale.  We are beginning a four-year process to migrate our current academic student record system into a new relational database.  Now is the time to make some key decisions, such as the kind of grading system we will have for the next quarter century.  The task force is looking at the grading scales currently in use at public research universities.  Their recommendation will be presented to the Norman Faculty Senate and then will be taken to a vote of the entire faculty.  They will also make a recommendation on how to keep students and faculty informed throughout the process of building the new system.  The task force is composed of faculty, staff, and students and is chaired by Dr. Joe Rodgers (Psychology).  We are in phase one, the request for proposals, of the new student information system (OU SIS).  A decision should be brought to the Faculty Senate in the spring.  The OU SIS project team is headed up by Eddie Huebsch from IT and Brad Burnett, director of Financial Aid.


The last handout was the provost’s website.  Provost Mergler said she tried to make it user friendly and make most information just two clicks away. 


Prof. Vitt asked whether the number of Oklahoma high school graduates could be increased by reducing the number of students who drop out.  Provost Mergler said the dropout rate is not the issue; it is the number of students born.  The number of students who graduate from high school and go on to college has increased slightly because of programs like OHLAP.  The dropout rate in high school remains fairly constant.  The decline is caused by depopulation in the rural areas and the end of the boomlet from the baby boomers. 


Prof. C. Knapp said the graph comparing OU salaries to peer institutions seemed inconsistent with the numbers President Boren presented last month.  Provost Mergler said she prefers to use average salary as a percentage of the aggregate average salary for our peer group, the Big 10 and 12.  Ms. Cheryl Jorgenson, director of Institutional Research and Reporting, added that only one or two schools in the Big 12 are comparable to the Big 10 in faculty salaries.  The chart the President uses comes from an AAUP study and includes benefits.  Provost Mergler said both analyses are accurate.  However, she tends to look at the data where we are challenged to do more.  The President looks at salaries and benefits, adjusted for cost of living.  The provost hears from faculty members that in their efforts to recruit, the salary that is offered makes the most difference.  Her chart is just a slightly different format.


Prof. Forman asked the provost to comment on retention and graduation and our success in offering courses that students need.  Provost Mergler replied that the graduation and retention task force meets regularly and looks at what students need to get graduated in a timely way and whether we are providing the courses they need.  We ask the freshmen what they have an interested in to determine the courses we need to offer.  Currently, there is an increased interest in health-related careers.  We also are trying to eliminate logjams that would keep students from enrolling in the courses they need and getting through the system in a timely way.  For example, a hold on enrollment is now triggered when a bursar bill reaches $250 instead of $50.  We need to have better communication with the HSC so we are aware of forthcoming changes in the curricular requirements at the HSC, especially in Pharmacy, that impact our campus.  We must be able to predict and get ready for the changes in student interest. 


Prof. Livesey noted that many units were concerned about the library serials cut or review.  Units were asked to identify the journals they could do without.  The natural inclination is to say we cannot do without any of them.  Provost Mergler replied that we have made significant progress with the library.  No change in acquisitions for FY08 would require $800,000 of additional E&G funds because of inflation.  If the library received only half the money, what would happen?  Many faculty may use electronic resources now.  The library rankings published this spring were for the 2004-05 academic year.  By spring 2008, we could jump ahead of Kansas.  There might not be a cut in existing funding but not as great an increase to the library acquisition budget as we have had in past years.  It may mean we would change what we are requiring.  That was what the exercise was intended to do.  The Faculty Senate Executive Committee talked with President Boren about putting together a task force to look at what the plan should be in the next five years and the next ten years.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said she was confused on how much was an exercise or reality.  She had indicated her department did not want to cut anything and was told she had to identify cuts or the library would choose the ones to cut.  Provost Mergler answered that we could dump all new money into the library but nothing else would get accomplished.  We need to look at the ARL criteria and decide an appropriate goal.  Should it be to stay in the top 50; should it be to be in the top 25?  Are there resources available both in print and electronically?  ARL has not completely flushed out how to define and rank the electronic database holdings of libraries.  The president and provost have been very supportive of the library system. 


Prof. Keppel noted that just to stay where we are would mean spending more money.  Existing journals go up in price, and faculty would like add new journals.  Education secretary Spellings recently gave a speech on assessment.  Prof. Keppel said we seem to be in good shape to meet what the Education Department is proposing for higher education.  Provost Mergler said we have many parts of assessment and accountability that are ongoing.  We do not want to get into the situation that common education has where the government keeps mandating additional measurements.  We always are looking at best practices.  Higher education will have to define learning outcomes and measure them because there is a national movement to develop standardized tests that students would have to take in order to be granted baccalaureate degrees. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Roger Frech


The pamphlet, What Do You Know About OU, was distributed at the meeting.  It is a summary of talking points that faculty might use in discussions with students, friends, and new faculty recruits.


“Plaques honoring retirees are now being prepared and distributed after a six-year hiatus.  The responsibility is now in the office of the Faculty Senate, and we have put in place a procedure that involves the home department of the retiree and the individual being honored.  The response from the first group of retirees so honored has been extraordinarily heart-warming.  Roy Knapp and Sonya Fallgatter have been the key initiators of this change, and I thank them for their efforts.


“At the meeting with the President on October 4, the Executive Committee brought up some concerns about the confusion surrounding the current library serials review.  The President stated that a memorandum would be forthcoming to clarify the nature and scope of the present review.  Discussion then shifted to the question:  Where do we want the library to be in the next decade?  We had previously raised this question with Provost Mergler on Monday, October 2, and all had agreed that a task force be established.  The President asked that the task force address these questions in the context of the entire library system.  To paraphrase him, ‘We’ve finished one decade; now it’s time to start the second.’  It was stressed that faculty must be involved in this process from the ground up.


“Nick Kelly (Human Resources) asked that the following be announced:  Benefits enrollment is October 30 through November 10; enrollment materials will be mailed the week of October 23.  On-line enrollment is available this year.  The annual benefits fair is Thursday, October 26, in the Union ballroom.

Changes for 2007:  Deductible increase from $300 to $500 for individual, from $600 to $1000 for family; out-of-pocket maximum increase from $2000 to $3000 for individual, from $4000 to $6000 for family; no changes in prescriptions. 


“There have been several very recent developments related to health care benefits and the question of health insurance.  The Senate Executive Committee has identified several concerns about some of the many issues surrounding the rising costs of health insurance.  The primary concerns are the process by which recommendations are developed and the nature of the information on which those recommendations are based.  On September 22, Robert Dauffenbach (Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee), Fran Ayres (a member of both the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Employment Benefits Committee), and I met with Julius Hilburn (Director of Human Resources) and Nick Kelly (Assistant Director of Human Resources) to discuss in some detail our concerns.  Mr. Hilburn then raised some of those issues with the Employment Benefits Committee at its next meeting.  These concerns were further discussed at great length by the Executive Committee on October 2.  On October 4, the Executive Committee met with President Boren, and we continued our conversations with him about health benefits issues.


“Where are we now?  President Boren has mandated a ‘Blue Ribbon’ study panel with a very broad charge.  This panel was recommended to him by the Employment Benefits Committee in a September 5 letter.  The focus is now on the formation of the panel, which will include faculty from both the Norman and HSC campuses as well as staff representation.  The HSC Faculty Senate has been contacted with a request to provide names of individuals who might serve on the panel.  The Executive Committee will recommend to the President the faculty to be appointed.  We are currently soliciting suggestions for individuals to serve on the committee, formally through the Faculty Welfare Committee, the Employment Benefits Committee, and informally through this request to you.  The Staff Senate will also be requested to recommend names.”


[Although not reported at the meeting, Prof. Frech wishes to acknowledge the death of the following faculty retiree:  George Kalbfleisch (Physics & Astronomy), September 12.]





The Faculty Senate approved the following Committee on Committees’ nominations to fill vacancies on university and campus councils, committees and boards. 

Campus Disciplinary Council – 2006-08 term of Keith Gaddie:  Liesa Richter (Law)

Campus Tenure Committee – 2005-08 term of Scott Gronlund:  Calvin Byre (Univ. Libraries)

Faculty Appeals Board – 2004-08 term of Christine Ormsbee:  Irene Karpiak (Educ. Lead. & Pol. St.)

Parking Violation Appeals Committee – 2006-09 term, not filled in May:  Linda McKinney (Instr. Lead. & Acad. Curr.)

Research Council [other] – 2005-08 term of Peter Gross:  Fred Beard (Journalism & Mass Comm.)

Rita Lottinville Prize for Freshmen Committee – 2006-09 term, not filled in May:  Ellen Greene (Classics)

ROTC Advisory Committee – 2004-07 term of Joseph Sullivan, as of 1/07:  Al Schwarzkopf (Mgt. Info. Systems)

ROTC Advisory Committee – 2006-09 term of Christina Kulp:  Cheryl McCain (Univ. Libraries)

Student Code Revision Committee – 2005-07 term of Jeffrey Wilhite, as of 1/07:  Jay Shorten (Univ. Libraries)





Prof. Frech said the motivation for the resolution was to thank someone who had done something nice.  The Senate approved the following resolution on a voice vote: “The Faculty Senate expresses its deep appreciation to the OU Foundation for the recently announced Faculty Enrichment Grant.  We also express our thanks to the various donors for their generosity and to President Boren for his work in bringing this grant to fruition.”





Prof. Frech explained that three statements had been distributed:


Prof. C. Knapp said he planned to vote against the Zoology statement because in his view, it was blatantly political and irresponsible.  He did not think it was appropriate for the Zoology department to co-opt the masthead of the University.  The department has the right to attempt to influence public policy, but this statement goes beyond that into the political domain.  It also contains conjecture, is egocentric, and in many respects, condescending.  When the time comes, he will ask for a roll call vote so he can distance himself from the proposal.


Prof. Fincke asked what was political in the statement.  It addresses an issue in biology that is being misrepresented.  Prof. C. Knapp said he was disappointed by references at last month’s meeting to the gullible public and the suggestion that one of our state representatives was pandering to the public.  He said he did not think it was appropriate in this forum to make disparaging remarks.  He said he thought Prof. Fincke had said many people would take it as a political statement.  Prof. Fincke replied that she never said it would be taken as a political statement.  It is not meant to be a political statement.  Prof. C. Knapp said he viewed certain terms as pejorative and inflammatory and found the term, “supernatural,” offensive.  He thought it was going to be taken out.  He had suggested the alternative term, “theological explanations,” to the Executive Committee. 


Prof. Schwarzkopf said he had a background in mathematics and physics and had spent recent years talking to legislators.  He fully endorses the idea that science and theology should not be mixed in a classroom setting unless the differences are being discussed.  We could make the point that science should be science without having to worry about the motivation of somebody who does not understand the difference.  The Zoology and Biology departments have a right to make statements about their sciences in the languages that they think appropriate in their environment.  However, in the environment of a general senate, he would prefer the statement crafted by the Executive Committee.  He moved to receive with thanks the report from the Zoology department and endorse as a Senate the statement proposed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  He said he believed the senators should get more input from their constituents, though, and vote on the Executive Committee version next time.


Prof. Fincke said she thought the Executive Committee statement should be amended to read, “modified from the OU Department of Zoology statement on evolution.”  She said she would like to make a motion that the Faculty Senate support the OU Department of Zoology statement on evolution and vote up or down on it at this session.  Prof. Benson pointed out that all Zoology was asking right now was for the Senate to support its statement, not that it be the Senate’s statement.  If the Senate wants to come up with its own statement, it can do that.  He said, “I think we should support our departments.  This was voted on unanimously by the Department of Zoology.”  Prof. Skeeters asked what was objectionable specifically in the Zoology statement that the Executive Committee thought it had to change.  Prof. Schwarzkopf said he wanted a general statement using scientific arguments with as few references as possible to intelligent design.  Prof. Frech said the Executive Committee version would be re-titled to acknowledge the modification of the Zoology version.  Prof. Schwarzkopf said he would like to be able to sit down with legislators and tell them that anything that goes under scientific curriculum ought to be evaluated on the basis of something and say as little as possible about the alternative.  Prof. Benson noted that intelligent design was being put forward as a scientific theory.


Professors Frech and Forman clarified that two motions were on the floor, but Prof. Schwarzkopf’s had not been seconded.  Prof. Gade said he supported what Zoology was trying to do and agreed with what the statement said, but he believed the revision went backwards.  We have to think about the way others might accept it.  The statement the Executive Committee tried to craft is a statement of science as science.  Prof. Bradford said he knew it was not Prof. Fincke’s fault, but the timing made it a political statement because it was coming out right before the general election.  He said he did not see the harm in waiting a month until after the election.  Prof. Fincke responded that she tried to bring it up last spring.  She said it was not a political statement; it was a statement about science, and she did not see how the statement was offensive.  Prof. Forman called the question on the motion.  Prof Fincke repeated the motion:  The Faculty Senate supports the OU Department of Zoology statement on evolution. 


Prof. Kutner moved that it be tabled.  Prof. Frech explained that a motion to table was not debatable or discussable.  It cannot be used to kill legislation but to postpone the vote until the next meeting.  The motion to table failed, with 14 in favor and 18 opposed.  Prof. Brown asked for clarification of the motion.  Prof. Fincke said the motion was the Senate supports the statement on evolution of 9/27/2006, which was voted positively by all Zoology faculty.  Prof. C. Knapp asked for a roll call vote and agreed to have just the “no” votes recorded.  The Senate approved the motion, 27 in favor, 4 opposed (Blank, Gade, C. Knapp, Kolar), and 2 abstentions.  Prof. Strawn commented that his abstention was because of his employment with the U.S. Air Force. 


Prof. Schwarzkopf moved that the Faculty Senate adopt the statement proposed by the Executive Committee.  Prof. Frech said it would be modified to say it was taken from the Zoology statement.  Prof. Schwarzkopf moved to table the motion.  Prof. Forman offered to make the motion to table since Prof. Schwarzkopf had made the original motion.  Prof. Benson suggested that the Senate accept it as a friendly amendment.  The motion to table was approved 22 to 10. 





The meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 13, 2006, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Cecelia Brown, Secretary