Regular session – October 12, 2009 – 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789
The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Aimee Franklin, Chair.
PRESENT: Ahmed, Apanasov, Asojo, Baer, Bass, Blank, Bradshaw, Buckley, Deacon, Dial, Eodice, Franklin, Gan, Grasse, Hahn, Jean-Marie, Kent, Kershen, Lauer-Flores, Lifschitz, McDonald, Milton, Morrissey, Moses, Moxley, Muraleetharan, Palmer, Reeder, Rogers, Russell, Sadler, J. Schmidt, R. Schmidt, Strauss, Taylor, Vehik, Verma, Williams, Wyckoff
Provost's office representative: Mergler
ISA representatives: Cook, Hough
UOSA representatives: Robison
ABSENT: Atiquzzaman, Conlon, Cox-Fuenzalida, Keppel, Kimball, Miller, Tabb, Trafalis, Wallach, Weaver, Yi
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2009-10 Campus Departmental Review Panel
Retiree medical plan
Vice President for Research Advisory Committee
State of the University address by President Boren
Research Council recommendation concerning the process for hiring research faculty
Senate Chair's Report:
Death of former Governor Henry Bellmon
Research vice president/Graduate dean; graduate admissions process
Issues for 2009-10
Digital tenure review
Retirement fund record keeper
The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of September 14, 2009 was approved.
The following faculty will serve on the 2009-10 Campus Departmental Review Panel:
Michael Bemben (Health & Exercise Science), Catherine Hobbs (English), Jill Irvine (Women’s Studies), Mark Morvant (Chemistry & Biochemistry), Karen Schutjer (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), Mitchell Smith (Political Science), Victoria Sturtevant (Film & Video Studies), and Baxter Vieux (Civil Engineering & Environmental Science). The panel also will include associate deans Suzette Grillot (International & Area Studies) and Kevin Kloesel (Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences) and Graduate Council representative Jozef Raadschelders (Political Science). The units to be reviewed are Accounting, Finance, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Management, Journalism and Mass Communication, Art, Dance, Drama, Music, and Musical Theater.
Prof. Rong Gan (Aerospace
& Mechanical Engr.) was elected to complete the 2007-10 term of Prof. Fred
Striz (Aerospace & Mechanical Engr.) on the Faculty Senate, representing
Retiree medical plan recommendations: http://www.ou.edu/healthcareoptions/RetireeMedicalReportFinal.pdf.
Prof. Jeff Stout (Health & Exercise Science) was appointed to a 2009-10 term on the Vice President for Research Advisory Committee. A formal membership structure was established recently that designates a faculty position selected by the Faculty Senate. Next year, this appointment will go through the senate’s regular committee nomination process.
Prof. Franklin introduced Mr.
Jason Robison, the
President Boren distributed
several charts and a list of highlights (see http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/DLBFacultySenateOct2009.pdf). President Boren said he meets with the
OU is in second place in the
Big 12 again in terms of the size of our library collection. Per capita, we are the largest library in the
The average ACT score of our
first-time students is almost 26. The capabilities
of our students continue to increase.
This year, we have 196 National Merit scholars, which broke our previous
record by about 20. Those students have
a great impact on their peers. Our
graduation rate is the highest in the state of
We have maintained our position in the top three of the Big 12 in faculty salaries and benefits, adjusted for cost-of-living. Our student-faculty ratio has improved considerably since 2004. Because we are in a hiring freeze at this time, we are holding steady. This year, the freshman class went down by about 40, but the undergraduate population went up slightly because of improved retention. Some students are shifting to community colleges for financial reasons. Fortunately, our enrollment is roughly steady.
Endowed faculty positions are
up to 544 for the Norman Campus and
Referring to the highlights for 2008-09, President Boren said we have an extraordinary talent in our student body, and we have increased our lead in National Merit Scholars. The number of students studying abroad is up by about ten percent. One of our goals is to double the number over the next five years. We are number one in the nation in exchange agreements, and now we want to make sure our students are taking advantage of the exchange programs. The president said he thinks it is a moral imperative to prepare our students to function in an international environment and to expose our students to international experiences.
We continue to do well in the
Goldwater Scholars program. In our entrepreneurship
program in the
Our goal for student
retention over the next 3-4 years is to get our graduation rate up to 68
percent. We really ought to be beyond
the 70 percent mark. President Boren
thanked the Faculty Senate
President Boren said it was a
wake-up call to read Paul Krugman’s October 8 column in The New York Times. Mr. Krugman, an economist, said the biggest
jump in productivity in the
The economic downturn has hit
higher education very hard. Yale’s
endowment is down over 30 percent, so the cuts in their budgets are now ten
State Question 744 sets a salary target for teachers in common education (K-12). It was by initiative petition and will be voted on approximately a year from now. On the advice of counsel, President Boren cannot speak on this issue on behalf of the university to influence the outcome of a state question. Also, he cannot use any institutional resources or facilities. Speaking as a private citizen, he is very concerned about what SQ 744 would do because it does not grow the pie. The portion going to common education would increase, and the rest of the pie would be severely reduced. The possible impact on higher education is the OU Norman campus could face a $35 million shortfall within ten years, assuming revenue remains about stable. Other agencies also would be affected. The president has been a strong advocate for common education, but we would not improve the situation by drastically reducing the money for other vital state services. It could have an enormous financial impact on all the colleges and universities in the state as well as other functions of state government. It has been tried in other states and resulted in large tuition increases. He hates to see any education proposal voted down. If the proposal had identified a revenue source to enlarge the pie, then the citizens would have a real choice.
In closing, President Boren said, “Our momentum is still very strong, and we are continuing to do very innovative things.” We want to continue to set goals and think about the future. We should not stop thinking about the things that require resources, because the resources will return. We have a spirit of working together and helping each other. We want to be sensitive that all of us have needs. What we do should be done together, with a sense of fairness, with transparency, and with no surprises to anyone. We should continue to make the kind of progress that has brought the university a long way in the last few years. President Boren encouraged the senators to email him if they had questions or advice.
Prof. Milton asked President Boren if he would like to comment on the grade OU received on the green initiatives report card (see October 27 Oklahoma Daily article, “OU receives average grade in sustainability survey”). President Boren noted that we are making our buildings environmentally responsible, we are part of the Chicago Climate Exchange, we have been changing our fleet of vehicles, and we are one of the first universities in the country to get all our electricity from wind power. They [The Sustainable Endowments Institute] said our students are not active enough, yet OUr Earth and other student groups have had a lot of initiatives. Low grades were given on our investment portfolio. Our OU Foundation is an independent organization of trustees who make their own decisions, and those decisions are not controlled by the university. The president said he did not agree with the rating and thought the group had an investment policy agenda. We are continuing to put energy-saving devices in buildings, the new buildings will be LEED certified, and windows in classrooms are being renovated. We received Bs in transportation, climate change and energy, and food and recycling. The bad grades were in investment policies, where we have little control.
Prof. Bass inquired about the decrease in our endowment. President Boren said the endowment had decreased about 15-16 percent, but it has rebounded. We are fortunate to have Guy Patton, a former top executive at Fidelity, as president of the OU Foundation. He has hired a full-time investment manager. The foundation converted a lot of assets to cash at the right time, and we have rebounded more quickly than others. The percentage of our budget that comes from endowment is in the six percent range, compared to the 40-50 percent range at places like Harvard and Yale. When their endowments decline by 30 percent, they take a huge hit. Our endowments are an important additional asset to us, but we are not nearly as endowment sensitive as other institutions. It helps that the foundation bases its giving to the university on a three-year average. They had to reduce the university by about $2 million last year, but they helped the university four or five years ago to bring faculty salaries up.
Prof. Muraleetharan asked for a clarification about using university email to express views about SQ 744. President Boren responded that university employees should not use university email to advocate a certain political position. They may use non-university email. Guidelines will be provided as we approach the time to vote. University counsel is not trying to squelch free speech. Individuals may express their views as private citizens. President Boren said he feels very torn because the university has never lobbied against common education. He is disappointed that common education did not consult with higher education to identify a resource base for education in the state.
Prof. Kershen commented that
the university seems to be facing a continuing decline in state support. He asked President Boren if he thought the
university would become a sort of state/private institution in the long term. President Boren said the percentage of our
budget from the state has dropped below 20 percent. It would be a long time, though, before we
could do without that state support. One
of the problems is the amount the federal government gives to the state for
social services and health has declined as the government has gotten into
financial trouble, and the state has had to increase the portion of the state
budget going into those areas. President
Boren would like to see scholarships such as Pell grants increased at the
federal level. The
Prof. Taylor said she thought
it was interesting that the
The Faculty Senate approved the Committee on Committees’ nominations to fill vacancies on university and campus councils, committees and boards (attached).
The Research Council recommended a slight revision in the process that is used to hire research faculty. The modification would apply only to research faculty appointments, those that typically do not have teaching obligations. The new hire would be vetted by the department and reviewed by the Vice President for Research instead of the Research Council. The Research Council decided there is enough oversight in the process to remove the Research Council endorsement and voted unanimously to recommend this change. (See VPR’s letter – http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/RC Faculty Senate Letter.pdf – and recruiting form – http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/request to hire research professor.pdf.) If the Faculty Senate approves the recommendation, the following changes would need to be made in section 3.5.3(A) of the OU-Norman Faculty Handbook (deletions crossed through; additions underlined):
“Once the academic unit has made a
recommendation and the academic dean has endorsed this recommendation, the
credentials of the candidate and the final recommendation to hire the candidate
for the research faculty position shall be reviewed by the
Vice President for Research, whose recommendation shall be forwarded to
the Senior Vice President and Provost for review prior to presentation to the
President and the Board of Regents. All
subsequent practices currently in place for temporary faculty appointments would
apply in these cases as well. Contractual documents shall state clearly these
appointments will not become tenure-track.”
The Faculty Senate will vote on the recommendation next month. Prof. Franklin asked the senators to discuss the proposal with their constituents and send her any concerns or questions. Prof. Joe Rodgers, chair of the Research Council, would be happy to respond to any questions before the senate votes.
On a sad note, former Governor Henry Bellmon passed away on September 29. He endowed a faculty chair in the OU Political Science department.
The Vice President for
Research and Graduate College Dean positions were decoupled. Lee Williams will devote full time to the
Graduate College Dean position, and Kelvin Droegemeier will be the Vice
President for Research. One of the
initial issues Dean Williams will be exploring is the graduate admissions
process. During the transition to the
oZONE system, there were a lot of delays in the admissions process. We also have a new director of admissions,
Mark McMasters, who, hopefully, will work with the
Over the past six weeks, the
senators have been submitting issues that the Faculty Senate might work on this
year (see September Chair’s Report).
More than 20 issues were suggested as possible action items; an
additional 15 issues have been placed on a monitoring list. In attempting to prioritize the issues, the
Together with the Campus Tenure Committee, the Faculty Senate office has been exploring the possibility of having digital tenure dossier review. We could be greener by uploading the documents instead of making multiple copies of a large number of documents. Dossiers could be uploaded to a safe site for internal review and perhaps even for external review. Surveys have been sent to schools that currently have electronic systems, and the Big 12 schools have been asked about their procedures. The information will be assembled and reported to the Faculty Senate.
When the Human Resources
director made his presentation to the senate last month, some questions were
asked about the proposed record keeper for retirement funds. The Faculty Senate
Prof. Strauss said he thought Prof. Franklin had mentioned something in the last meeting about instructors’ access to class rolls or picture rolls in the spring. Prof. Franklin explained that she had said instructors would not have access to photo rosters in iThink during the transition to the oZONE system. Provost Mergler knows they are a useful tool for faculty, so she is exploring whether it would be possible to preserve the photo roster. Class rolls still will be available electronically. Provost Mergler noted that oZONE Alert 18 is particularly important. We are in a transition right now. This is the first time students will enroll in the new system. In January, Financial Aid will go live in the new system. Spring is the first time faculty will be really engaging with the system, primarily to look at the class roster and then to report grades. Instructors have to wait until the students get enrolled before they can look at the features. She is compiling a list of things that people want in the new system. Prof. Moses pointed out that many instructors are not receiving the oZONE alerts. Provost Mergler said she would send the information to deans, chairs, directors to forward to the faculty. Prof. Franklin added that the alerts also are available online [see http://www.ou.edu/portal/home/ozone_alerts.html.]
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 9, 2009, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
Amy Bradshaw, Faculty Secretary