The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - January 22, 2001 - 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, DeBacker, Deming, Dewers, Gilliland, Gollahalli, Gottesman, Greene, Gross, Guzman, Harrison, Hart, Hawthorne, Henderson Hofford, Houser, Kenderdine, Lee, Magid, Maiden, Mau, McInerney, Murphy, Nelson, Newman, Okediji, Robertson, Robson, Roegiers, Russell, Scherman, Schwarzkopf, Taylor, Trafalis, Vale, Van Gundy, Vernon, Willinger

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

ABSENT: Crawford, Damphousse, Foster, Horrell, Hutchison, Kunesh, Lakshmivarahan, Ransom, Watts




2000-01 Campus Departmental Review Panel
Faculty Compensation Committee

Senate Chair's Report:

Revisions in discrimination/harassment grievance procedure
Online class notes
Online test files
FY2002 benefits package
Fitness facilities for faculty
Administrative appointments

Pre-finals week

Voting status of Senate Secretary

Remarks by Yearbook Editor




The Senate Journal for the regular session of December 11, 2000, was approved. Prof. Okediji noted that the minutes of the meetings were available online and that the senators could circulate the minutes to colleagues.



Prof. Okediji congratulated the football team, coaching staff, and athletic director for their national championship. She said, on behalf of the faculty, "We are proud of our athletes and their performance on the field and in the classroom and for the character that they have demonstrated throughout this year."

The following faculty will serve on the 2000-01 Campus Departmental Review panel: Michael Buckley (Management), Tim Hudson (Journalism & Mass Communication), David Nagle (Botany & Microbiology), Simin Pulat (Industrial Engineering), Joe Rodgers (Psychology), Karen Rupp-Serrano (University Libraries), and Cal Stoltenberg (Educational Psychology). The panel also will include Dean Jim Pappas (Liberal Studies) and Associate Dean Doug Elmore (Geosciences). The following units will be reviewed this year: the five divisions in Architecture, Health & Sport Sciences, Human Relations, Library & Information Studies, and Social Work. Prof. Okediji noted that the CDRP is a lot of work and asked the senators to tell the individuals who agreed to serve how grateful we are.

Prof. Terry Pace (Educational Psychology) has replaced Prof. Don Maletz (Political Science), who is on sabbatical, as chair of the Faculty Compensation Committee and will serve on the Senate Executive Committee. Prof. Okediji pointed out that the Compensation Committee plans to send a survey to faculty to find out their views on raises and other issues.


SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Ruth Okediji

In December, Mr. Jerry Jensen spoke at the Senate meeting in his role as Interim Director of Human Resources and Acting Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer. The Senate Executive Committee and Mr. Jensen thought it might not be prudent for him to wear both hats, so the President split the positions. Mr. Bill Henwood, Associate Vice President of Administrative Affairs, is now serving as Interim Human Resources Director, and Mr. Jensen is the Acting EEO/AA Officer, pending regents' approval in February. Mr. Jensen has proposed some revisions in the discrimination/harassment grievance policy, which will be brought to the senate for its input.

At the last meeting, a motion was approved to investigate the problem of class notes being sold by students for posting on the Internet (see 12/00 Senate Journal). The Senate Executive Committee decided to form a committee with Prof. Bob Swisher, Chair of the Information Technology Council, as Chair. Other members are Prof. Fred Striz from the ITC, Senators Gottesman, Kenderdine, Nelson, and another faculty member to be appointed by Prof. Swisher. They will look at what other universities are doing and present a summary of what faculty might do to protect their rights. A report will be presented to the Senate Executive Committee March 26 and to the Senate in April. The committee will be looking at current and prospective issues.

Prof. Okediji plans to meet with the leaders of the Sooner Information Network and Provost Mergler concerning the question of placing exam files online.

Recently, the Employment Benefits Committee was asked to look at some changes to the benefits package. The Executive Committee is working with the President, Vice President for Administrative Affairs, and members of the EBC. President Boren gave the Executive Committee a commitment that until the proposal has been fully vetted by the Faculty Senate, no changes will be made. The proposal will not be on the regents' agenda in February as first thought. Prof. Okediji said she might try to get a presentation at the next Faculty Senate meeting in order to get comments from faculty at large. Insurance costs are rising, so it is clear that we must engage constructively in this process. However, we want to make sure we have the best possible balance between costs and benefits and have looked at all the alternatives. The Faculty Senate will work with the Staff Senate to make sure staff also have input into the process. The community will be involved in this process since the benefits package affects everyone.

Last October, the Senate was told about the proposed changes to the Huston Huffman facility. A comment was made that faculty had not been very involved in the process. One of the repeated concerns of faculty is that the fitness facilities available to faculty are deteriorating. The President said he would try to address the Field House facility. Senator Hofford surveyed the Faculty Senate by e-mail to find out specific needs and interest concerning fitness. About 15 issues were raised. Prof. Okediji asked him to identify the top five that we might ask the President's Office to work on. He indicated that the issues that faculty mentioned most frequently and felt most strongly about were a separate facility or at least designated times for faculty/staff use, subsidized fee structure, health assessment resources and facilities, class offerings that are more attractive to faculty/staff, and drop by change/shower facility arrangements for both genders (outside exercisers).

Several faculty members have raised concern about the appointment of some additional vice presidents. Prof. Okediji met with the President's Office and expressed concern again about following process as well as the number of vice presidents appointed recently. She will continue to communicate with the President's Office about this concern.

Prof. Russell asked whether the Senate would have an opportunity to comment on the benefits proposal. Prof. Okediji said some changes had been proposed, but no dollar amounts were available yet. Once that information is available, the changes will be circulated in time for faculty to respond. It is important to the President to have faculty and staff input. Some of the options are to have a forum and/or ask the Vice President for Administrative Affairs to come to the next meeting. Prof. Russell commented that the Faculty Senate had deliberated a couple of different options two years ago and had essentially agreed to give up one percent of any raise in exchange for better options or improved benefits. He remarked that this is one thing that truly affects our lives on a daily basis. Prof. Okediji said she had pointed that out to the President and Vice President for Administrative Affairs. Prof. Kenderdine noted that in the late 1970s, it was reported that every $.50 increase in the price of natural gas increased the cost to the university by $1 million a year. He said the Senate would have to be careful that the administration does not use the benefits package to balance the budget after utility costs are factored in.



The Senate Executive Committee has been talking with the student leadership for about two years about some sort of prep week. Students do not want the burden of studying both for finals and for a test that will bear some weight on the final grade. After considering several different versions, the Executive Committee came up with the policy proposed at the December Senate meeting (see 12/00 Senate Journal).

A couple of senators, referring to the first sentence of 4.10.1.b, said it would be difficult to set a firm date for an exam and would like more flexibility in scheduling exams. Prof. Schwarzkopf said that statement was current language in the Faculty Handbook. He suggested that "scheduled" could mean the process had to be articulated 30 days in advance, preferably in the syllabus, but that the exact date did not necessarily have to be set. Prof. Abraham commented that several professors in Chemistry strongly objected to the change, because it would have the practical effect of reducing the semester by one week. Prof. Harrison said his department had the same concern and thought it was excessive to give that much time to study for finals. He said he thought two days should be more than enough. Prof. Abraham remarked that his department thought two days would be an acceptable alternative. Prof. Murphy said she wondered about the pedagogical value of giving a major exam right before finals. Provost Mergler reported that this topic had been raised by many groups of students. Students want a system that is defined more clearly so they have a better period for study. This is not a narrow student concern. Prof. Cline pointed out that students usually favor several tests to give them a lot of chances for reprieve, yet this policy could decrease the number of tests professors are willing to give. The last test often prepares students for the final. Prof. Robertson asked whether classes that meet once a week could still have class presentations the last week. Prof. Okediji responded that classes meeting one day a week are excluded from the policy.

Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that this issue had come up so often that he thought it was time to make it clear what faculty members were willing to do. The Executive Committee left the existing ten percent and said small tests and assignments could be given in the last week (except the last two days) but not major tests and assignments. He said this was a response to professors who try to get their students prepared for finals and do not want another faculty member usurping their time by giving major assignments/exams. OSU has had a pre-finals week policy since 1986 that says no more than 5% can be due.

Prof. Kenderdine asked whether any consideration had been given to adding some days to the calendar between the last day of class and first day of finals. Prof. Schwarzkopf said that had been considered, but that faculty had opposed starting school a week early in the past. Prof. Magid said he wanted to hear why this proposal was incompatible with the pedagogy of various disciplines. Prof. Okediji pointed out that 4.10.1.c provided for special case deviations in order to accommodate courses that might not fit with this policy. Prof. Greene said she thought the policy sounded very flexible. Prof. Abraham said he could teach Chemistry in 15 weeks instead of 16, but the last week would not be meaningful.

Prof. Deming asked when the policy would go into effect. Prof. Okediji said it would take effect this fall. Prof. Deming said he would like to put off voting then to get more feedback from the faculty as a whole. Prof. Lee said he resented having to put in his syllabus that students could complete papers early (4.10.1.b). He said he thought students should know that they could turn in work early, and therefore the sentence was not necessary.

Prof. Harrison said he did not think students would like one week less to turn in research papers. Prof. Okediji replied that a student could ask for an extension. Prof. Russell said the professor would then have to give an extension to all the students and could be viewed as being in violation of policy. Provost Mergler remarked that if a student asks for an extension, then it is at the professor's discretion to grant the request. Prof. Hart added that exceptions would usually be due to special circumstances. Prof. Schwarzkopf said the spirit of the proposal was to give students the opportunity to manage their time right before finals. Semester-long projects are exceptions and could be due later. The real effect is to move the last big test back before the last week of class. Prof. Abraham commented that if he gave three exams in the semester, the last test would be a forced study of one-third of the content, which students would not have to review before finals. Prof. Harrison agreed that a last test before finals was an efficient way to study. Prof. Taylor contended that since professors could test a week earlier and deliver new material, they had not lost the ability to provide the content they wanted. Prof. Harrison responded that students might not understand the new material if they had not been tested on it before. Prof. Russell said there was no doubt that this policy would affect someone's pedagogy. Prof. Vernon asked whether the expectation was a demonstrable increase in student performance by not having tests in the last week. Prof. Schwarzkopf answered that the real issue was what was acceptable to faculty and still respond to the students. Given the quality of the faculty members, they will adjust their style in such a way that there will not be a demonstrable loss in learning. Provost Mergler said she thought it was not only about the amount of learning, but also the stress that students perceive or actually feel during that time.

Prof. Okediji explained that last year, there was no agreement between the undergraduate and graduate students. This year, the Executive Committee wanted to make sure the graduate students were in agreement, since they are both students and teachers. Present at the meeting were Chris Grossman, Chair of the Graduate Student Senate, Chris Kannady, Student Association President, and Tara Palmer, Chair of Student Congress. Mr. Grossman commented that the GSS did not agree to last year's proposal because no new material could have been presented the last week. The last week would have been for review, so there would be no purpose in students coming to class. This year's compromise proposal is reasonable. Mr. Kannady pointed out that students could now be assessed on 99% of their work the week before finals. Under the proposed policy, faculty could still cover new material and test students on that material on the final. Not evaluating students the last two days before finals would take some of the stress away. Students just want more time to focus on the final, which covers the entire course. Ms. Palmer reiterated the stress on students when projects worth a large percentage of their grade are due the week before finals. Prof. Harrison suggested that part (b) be limited to the last two days of pre-finals week. Mr. Kannady said he did not think it was reasonable to have an exam worth more than 10% the week before finals. He said he thought there had been an informal practice in some courses of not giving a final; this policy could emphasize the need for a final that evaluated all or a significant portion of the course. There was a brief discussion concerning finals requirements. Prof. Lee asked why a 30-day lead-time was not sufficient warning for managing time. Mr. Kannady responded that it was possible for students to have two tests right before finals; however, students will study instead for the final, which is worth more. He suggested that the evaluation should be spread throughout the semester. One week should not significantly affect a semester. Professors could still cover new material and evaluate the students. This is something the students have wanted for many years. Prof. Blank asked whether students would be willing to come a week early in order to have a dead week. Mr. Kannady said the major concern was to stay within the regents' calendar and in line with other schools. Prof. Henderson remarked that the Senate could discuss this another several years, or it could at least try this proposal. He noted that there were provisions for exceptions.

Prof. Harrison moved to amend the proposal to limit part (b) to just the last two days of pre-finals week. His motion failed on a voice vote. Prof. Hofford made a friendly motion to amend part (b) to read, "... first day of finals but and must be due or given prior to pre-finals week" and part (d) to read, "... prep pre-finals week ..." There was no objection. Prof. Russell asked whether the last sentence of part (b) should say, ".... 'shall' be scheduled." Prof. Schwarzkopf said "may" was correct. The intent was to accommodate end-of-the-semester presentations by teams that might require more time to finish.

Prof. Okediji noted that the Executive Committee had included the language concerning exceptions in the event that some units might not want to be covered by the policy. Section 4.10.3, which is current policy, states that student organizations may not hold any functions during pre-finals week. In order to avoid talking about this for another several years, a five-year moratorium was added. The proposal as amended (attached) was approved 22 to 8.



The Executive Committee proposes the following change in the Charter of the General Faculty and the Faculty Senate, section 10.2.3--Powers, third paragraph, to allow the faculty Secretary to become a voting member of the Senate: "The Faculty Senate shall elect a Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Secretary, and such other officers as it shall by its operational procedures provide. The Secretary shall not be a member of the Senate." This item will be voted on at the February meeting.



Ms. Kayte Owen, Yearbook Editor, encouraged individual faculty and departments to get their portraits taken for the yearbook February 5-9 and 12-16. She said students like to see their professors represented in the yearbook. Prof. Schwarzkopf pointed out that faculty have archive pictures on file. Ms. Owen said they wanted pictures of what a professor looks like now. She said the photographer could not come to the department, but they would try to get faculty in and out as quickly as possible if they would call ahead. She encouraged departments to purchase yearbooks and display them in their departments. This year, they are adding an entire section on academics, which will include profiles of professors, interesting or unique classes, and students who have excelled.



The meeting adjourned at 5:12 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 2001, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.

Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

Valerie Watts, Secretary