JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE
The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - November 13, 2000 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782
e-mail: email@example.com web site: http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/
The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Ruth Prof. Okediji, Chair.
PRESENT: Abraham, Bemben, Blank, Bozorgi, Brown, Cline, Cox, Crawford, DeBacker, Deming, Gollahalli, Gottesman, Guzman, Harrison, Hart, Hawthorne, Henderson Hofford, Horrell, Hutchison, Kunesh, Lee, Magid, Maiden, Mau, Murphy, Nelson, Newman, Prof. Okediji, Osisanya, Ransom, Robertson, Schwarzkopf, Taylor, Trafalis, Vale, Van Gundy, Vernon, Watts, Willinger
PSA representatives: Smith
UOSA representatives: Ellis
ABSENT: Damphousse, Dewers, Foster, Gilliland, Greene, Gross, Houser, Kenderdine, McInerney, Robson, Roegiers, Russell, Scherman
TABLE OF CONTENTS
State of the University address by President David President Boren
Senate Chair's Report:
Sexual harassment and discrimination training
Proposed revisions in intellectual property policy
Huston Huffman Center
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Senate Journal for the regular session of October 16, 2000, was approved.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT DAVID BOREN
Prof. Okediji said the Senate Executive Committee had the privilege of meeting with President Boren regularly and was able to take faculty concerns to him directly. He has been very responsive and oftentimes will ask for input when making policies or revising policies. Prof. Okediji expressed appreciation for his approval rate on Faculty Senate recommendations.
President Boren said a few nice things had happened all at once. Starting with the Reach for Excellence campaign, he noted that 98% was academically directed, and it was the fourth largest drive by a public U.S. university. The opening of the Weitzenhoffer art collection was being celebrated that evening.
Referring to a handout (available from the Senate office), President Boren discussed his goals, which he believed reflected the goals of the Faculty Senate and University community in general. The Reach for Excellence campaign topped off at $514 million, with the largest part, $224.7 million, in endowments, mostly for endowed professorships and chairs. Research support totaled $59 million, annual program support, which includes scholarships, $78.7 million, and capital projects $152 million.
The campaign helped establish an Honors College and provide scholarships and fellowships. We are trying to begin on the graduate level what we have done on the undergraduate level with scholarships so we can become more competitive in attracting graduate students. Over the next three to four years, we plan to add to the funds for graduate fellowships. We have new computer labs and enhanced library endowment. Private funding for research projects helped us match government grants and further our research program. An International Programs Center was created with almost $5 million in gifts. The absolute priority has been to increase faculty endowment; $125 million went into endowed chairs and professorships.
The capital projects reflect, for the most part, the academic priorities of the University. The Natural History Museum is close to the 200,000 mark in visitors this year. Other facilities built or enhanced include the Biomedical Research Center at the Health Sciences Center, the student unions, College of Law addition, and Nielsen Hall addition. The construction of Gaylord Hall is timed to begin when the parking garage is completed. Even though we will lose some parking spaces on the south oval because of Gaylord Hall, the parking garage will bring us a net increase of about 500 parking spaces in the center of the campus. A wing will be added to the art gallery for the gift by Clara Weitzenhoffer of French Impressionist art, 18th century furnishings, silver, and porcelain. The Weitzenhoffer collection is the largest collection of French Impressionist paintings given to a public university anywhere.
The University endowment is now approaching $550 million, which places us 14th among public universities in endowment per capita. We now have almost 300 endowed chairs and professors. Faculty salary increases remain a priority. Over the past six years, the cumulative increase in salaries has been 27.6%. This retains us in the top four in the Big 12 in total faculty compensation, adjusted for cost of living. The goal is to be in the top three. Faculty salaries, library funding, and research facilities remain the top priorities. Library funding is at $9.7 million this fiscal year.
The students we are getting are exceptional. Last year, we had 262 state regents' scholars (students in the top one-half of one percent) in the freshman class. This year, we have 290, which is four times as many as the other universities in the state have. We attracted the greatest number of in-state national merit scholars. The biggest growth in our enrollment has come from those who previously would have gone out of state to school. However, the growing enrollment is really straining our resources. Instead of 3420 first-time freshmen, we should probably drop back to about 3150. We cannot grow the faculty fast enough with the appropriations we have received to keep up with the growing enrollment. In addition, we are at the limit on housing, and we are stressing class sizes.
Sponsored research expenditures for the Norman and Health Sciences campuses were at $92 million in 1994 and now are at $155 million. In the international programs area, we have 119 agreements with universities around the world. We are broadening the curriculum in the international areas of study and hope to have more dual majors in international studies.
Returning to the issue of enrollment, President Boren said we really must drop back. The number of freshmen from the Dallas/Fort Worth area is almost double the number we had six to eight years ago, and they are exceptionally good students. The president said he thought one of the reasons they come to OU was they do not want to go to a university with 50,000 or 60,000 students. He said he thought something was lost when you got too big. Our admissions standards of a 24 ACT or top 30 percent of the class are the highest of any public college in the state. If we had stayed with those standards, our average ACT among freshmen would have been above 25.5. A little over 300 students were admitted under the third alternative—a 3.0 GPA in core high school courses. They averaged a 20 ACT, and 55 percent required remedial course work. A number of high schools are turning out students who have 3.0 grade averages but are not prepared to enter a comprehensive university. The state regents appear to be willing to adopt, at least on a trial basis, a standard of a 3.0 GPA and a minimum ACT of 22. When he is asked whether that is fair, President Boren responds that higher standards will push the schools to do a better job in preparing students. We also may have to change application deadlines. Students who apply earlier have a much lower dropout rate. As we raise these standards, we are committed to attaining diversity in the student body and among faculty. Faced with legal actions, we have adopted other criteria for scholarships, such as lack of economic opportunity, which will still help those students who are underrepresented. We are one of the few public universities with a higher percentage of minority population in our student body than in the state. Our students grow intellectually and as people the more diverse the atmosphere is on campus. We are working to find ways to find talented students in underrepresented communities. It is not an easy task because of the court cases. We are also strongly committed to recruiting faculty and staff from underrepresented groups. We have used mechanisms such as spousal hires and adding people from other departments to form more diverse search committees. This year, we had less than a one percentage point decrease in the diversity of student enrollment. We do not want that to become a trend. We must continue to be committed as an institution to diversity.
For the first time in a decade, the Athletic Department budget is balanced. A $100,000 payment was made on the outstanding debt, and a $600,000 contingency fund was set aside. The Athletic Director has been careful in spending, and revenue is up with the success of the football team. We will probably set up an amortization schedule for clearing the debt to the university. It is a positive picture. For the first time in ten years, we are not going further in the red, and we are not using central university funds to subsidize the Athletic Department.
Capital needs include classroom and research space. We desperately need to more forward with the weather center, which will be east of the Lloyd Noble Center. We have received funding for the first phase. It will be a $60 million facility, the largest weather center in the world. The center will have a lot of opportunities for private sector spin-off and will free up space in the Sarkeys Energy Center. Also needed are laboratory and other space for other units. The president is considering a backbone computer information and technology support facility and a multi-purpose research facility on the south base. We desperately need a state higher education capital bond issue to build those facilities. Ellison Hall is being restored for the College of Arts & Sciences and advising center.
Turning to legislative and future goals, President Boren said the top priority was a minimum faculty salary increase of 5%. This year, the Gross Production Tax is about $250 million ahead of the estimate, which may make for a better year with the legislature. The state is almost $30 million behind in matching the private gifts for endowed chairs and professorships. The president will ask the OU Foundation for bridge funding in certain cases so we can advertise for some positions that are really needed. Faculty salaries, library, laboratory needs, and the backlog of endowed chairs will be the issues pushed for in this session. Last year was the year for common education, the year before was for roads and prisons, but this year must be the year for higher education. For the state's economy to continue to prosper, we must have this emphasis on higher education.
President Boren thanked the Senate Executive Committee for advising with him and setting him straight at times. He said the faculty is the continuing life of the university and the keepers of the standards.
Prof. Hutchison asked whether the state regents would allow OU to increase admission standards. President Boren said the regents had not wanted to do away with standards based on grades. We are in a year of experimentation to see how those standards work. In informal discussions, President Boren has suggested that a minimum 22 ACT be combined with the grade average. As we have raised standards, the University has become more attractive to students and parents. We will have to continue to find ways to hold enrollment down. An earlier deadline for applications might help.
Prof. Magid said he believed we were in better shape than we had ever been in the three decades he has been here. However, the one thing that has declined lately has been the health facilities available to the faculty, primarily through the way the Athletic Department has exerted authority over the Field House. President Boren said he had discussed the issue with the Senate Executive Committee and would try to address the situation. He said he intended to visit the Field House site to inspect the facilities. It is important for the health and fitness of the faculty, but it also is a community builder. President Boren noted that the students have wanted to engage the faculty in discussions about a fall break and a prep week. This would be a good time for the faculty to engage the students in a discussion of faculty wishes regarding the Huston Huffman center.
Prof. Harrison asked for more information about the expansion of graduate fellowships. President Boren responded that a few departments have received some targeted graduate fellowships through the dean of the Graduate College. The president asked the OU Foundation to fund 25 more a year over the next four years with discretionary funding available from the interest on endowments. He has been soliciting private donors to endow fellowships as well. The goal is to try to help departments that have really strong national competition for graduate students. Graduate enrollment tends to fall when the economy is good and there is competition from the private sector. It will probably take five years to get where we want to be as far as graduate fellowships.
Prof. Osisanya asked about tuition waivers for children of faculty. President Boren said he would like to provide such waivers; it is just a matter of funding. The last two years have been difficult in terms of funding. Waivers are high up on our wish list, but we have had funding only for the top priorities such as salaries and library. President Boren said he knows this issue is important to faculty and staff recruitment and retention. However, even a small help costs a lot of dollars.
Prof. Henderson commented that OU is a leader in diversity in the Big 12. He said he appreciated the president's comment that we would not deviate from that course. President Boren it was the best thing to do in term of the educational experience of our students. We cannot have leaders who are not the product of a real community experience.
In closing, President Boren asked the faculty to continue to send him ideas through the Senate Executive Committee or to contact him directly. Prof. Okediji thanked President Boren, on behalf of the faculty, for his hard work, especially in regard to raises. She noted that faculty members had received raises every year President Boren has been here.
SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Ruth Okediji
Prof. Okediji asked for feedback about the sexual harassment and discrimination awareness training. The modules are designed to ensure that there is enough basic knowledge about University policy concerning sexual harassment and discrimination in general. The office of Human Resources has mandated that every employee must obtain certification. Prof. Okediji asked whether the senators had heard of any concerns or difficulties with the training.
Prof. Vale said she thought it was helpful to be able to do the exercise online, but in one section, it was hard to tell which response went with which question. Prof. Kunesh said he questioned whether we really were being trained, based on the questions that were asked. He suggested that if the training is going to be done every year, it should be done earlier in the semester. Prof. Cline asked why it was necessary to do this every year. Prof. Nelson wondered whether the questions would change from year to year. Prof. Okediji answered that no one is quite sure. The office of Human Resources is supposed to manage the training. She hopes to meet with the key officers to discuss the timing, how often the training needs to be done, and what needs to be changed. Several faculty members have suggested that the questions cover a broader spectrum.
Prof. Van Gundy asked what would happen if someone did not take the test. Prof. Okediji said her guess was that the individual would be notified and asked to take it. She said the test was important for several reasons. When a big employer gets sued for discrimination, the employer has to demonstrate its efforts to educate employees. She pointed out that an alternative to online training is attending a seminar.
Prof. Watts noted that some people in the Music School were unable to take the test because of the lack of compatible technology. When asked whether this test would be required for graduate teaching and research assistants, Prof. Okediji said every employee would have to take it. There should have been some notification. Prof. Kunesh pointed out that even undergraduate hourly employees were required to obtain certification.
Prof. Schwarzkopf remarked that the University was looking at this mechanism for other kinds of broad-based training, such as academic misconduct. He asked the senators to let the Senate Executive Committee know of any problems or issues.
Prof. Crawford mentioned that the server was not secure initially, and people were hesitant to give their social security numbers. Prof. Okediji said that problem was fixed. Prof. Cline asked whether the administration could substitute the 4+4 and password system. Prof. Okediji said the administration would have to have some way to monitor who completed the test, but she could investigate that suggestion. Prof. Guzman commented that while some of the questions might seem pedestrian, the 10-15 minute exercise lends itself to the basic core questions that can be built upon later. Prof. Okediji said the key thing was the basic information was covered. She asked the senators to encourage their colleagues to take the exercise. It is relatively painless.
Prof. Okediji said she had announced earlier this semester that the office of Technology Development had contacted the Faculty Senate about making some revisions in the intellectual property policy. It was almost a yearlong process to get the current policy approved, and it has not been very long since the policy was put in place. The Senate Executive Committee determined that it did not have a strong basis for changing the policy yet. Prof. Okediji came to an agreement with Vice President Porter to let the policy remain unchanged for another one to two years. In the meantime, his office will tell the Senate about any obstacles they have experienced. Prof. Okediji urged the senators to get feedback from their colleagues on their experience with the policy. The Faculty Senate will keep a list of concerns the faculty has encountered. If there are enough concerns, the faculty and administration can work out a consensus as to how the policy needs to be revised. Vice President Porter agreed that it might be wiser to have more experience with the intellectual property policy before we consider revisions.
At the last meeting, Ms. Susan Sasso gave an overview of the Huston Huffman expansion. Some concerns have been raised since then about faculty input into the process, especially the design phase. Prof. Okediji asked Prof. Hofford to draft a memo that she will present to the president regarding fitness facilities for the faculty, including concerns about the Field House. Specific requests or concerns should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is still some opportunity to provide input, because the president has not seen the plans yet.
The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, December 11, 2000, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
Valerie Watts, Secretary