The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session –
November 10, 2003 - 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 Mike McInerney, Chair.


PRESENT:       Bradford, Brady, Brown, Burns, Catlin, Cintrón, Davis, Dewers, Dohrmann, Forman, Frech, Havlicek, Hayes-Thumann, Henderson, Houser, Huseman, Kauffman, R. Knapp, Liu, Marcus-Mendoza, McInerney, Milton, Morrissey, Newman, Raadschelders, Ransom, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Scherman, Schramm, Sievers, Striz, Watts, Wheeler, Yuan

ISA representatives:  Smith

ABSENT:         Abraham, Baldwin, Bozorgi, Caldwell, Devenport, Ferreira, Fincke, Hartel, C. Knapp, Megginson, Mendoza, Pender, Penrose, Rai, Sharp, Whitely, Wyckoff






Faculty development award guidelines

New senator

Benefit deductions

Information technology services

Senate Chair's Report:


Higher education issues—needs budget, raises, academic integrity, health care

Honor code proposed by students

Athletic department—student athlete academic matters, academic support

Faculty compensation committee recommendations

Renewable term faculty policy

Faculty development award selection committee

Election, councils/committees/boards

Research Council charge

Password sharing policy






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of October 13, 2003 was approved.





President Boren’s response to the faculty development award guidelines approved by the Faculty Senate at its October 13, 2003 meeting (see 10/03 Journal) was, “I appreciate the senate’s development of these thorough guidelines for this important program.  As you noted, this program will receive my continuing support.”


Prof. Jos Raadschelders (Political Science) was elected from the College of Arts and Sciences to complete the 2001-04 term of Prof. James Hart (History) on the Faculty Senate.





Benefits Manager Nick Kelly reminded the group that benefits are now on a calendar year basis.  For people who are paid over nine months, deductions for any supplemental coverage for themselves or for their dependents will be taken out over eight months—January, February, March, April, September, October, November, and December—at 1.5 times the monthly rate.  The letters confirming benefit elections show what will be taken out of an individual’s check each month.  Mr. Kelly said he would appreciate assistance in spreading the word that the amount of money that 9-month individuals take home in January will change.  Prof. Milton asked how this method differed from the present policy.  Mr. Kelly said employees currently pay for one month.  Adjustments were made in May, and it was complicated.  The new method should make it cleaner.  When asked whether this information was written down somewhere, Mr. Kelly said it would be on the web within the next week.  He said the arrangement gets a little complicated if someone resigns from the University, goes on half-paid sabbatical, or adds or drops dependents during the year.  Prof. Burns pointed out that the deduction for a family is roughly $600 per month.  With this arrangement, the deduction will be around $900 per month. 





Vice President for Information Technology Dennis Aebersold distributed a handout concerning information technology services (available from the senate office).  He said he knew there had been some confusion about new services in IT and what costs money and what does not.  First, he talked about some of the good things IT has done the last year.  IT will continue to pay for the Microsoft campus agreement, which allows employees to use Microsoft software free of charge at the university and at home.  Office 2003 is coming out soon, and it will be free to download.  IT has provided a new online support system, with over 30,000 pages of answers to problems such as software.  It is located on the support tab at  Because the system is a knowledge base, it should get better as more people use it and put in information.  A lot of information is also available on the faculty tab.  IT upgraded the webCT license to accommodate increasing use and bought two new servers for that.  The online payment program is in place for faculty, staff and students.  The OU pop e-mail system has new virus protection software.  In January, the Exchange (Outlook) e-mail system will be upgraded.  Combined with the new Office 2003, users will get a lot of new capabilities.  IT has added or shifted people to work on security, added training sessions, and provides on-line training.  Wireless service has been added in several buildings.  OU was voted one of the top 100 wired universities this year.  Our supercomputer high performance center, now almost self-sufficient on the grants it is generating, is the 150th most powerful supercomputer site in the world and serves 23 departments.  Five classrooms were upgraded over the summer, and three more will be upgraded over winter break.  Dr. Aebersold said he was proud of these accomplishments, especially in a year of budget cuts.  He said IT had added quite a bit for the faculty, and he hoped faculty received it well.


IT is aligned into three departments:  (1) operations, directed by Jeralyn Snow, runs the hardware, software, applications, and network; (2) projects, directed by Eddie Huebsch, handles requests for new services; and (3) IT service centers, directed by Matt Singleton.  Mr. Singleton said the service center was a joint effort between IT and the College of Engineering.  There are two centers, one in Felgar and one in Couch.  Steps have been taken to improve the quality of service through 325-HELP.  IT added full-time employees and is trying to get the queue times down to a reasonable wait time.  With the new walk-in service, people can bring their computers to one of the centers and have a technician solve their problems.  The online support service has a wide range of articles.  If a user cannot find the answer there, s/he can send in a question and get help from an IT technician.  As IT provides solutions to a problem, an article on the topic will be published in the knowledge base.  Field service and tech room service have been added.  Both are fee-based.  Field service, when a technician goes to an office, costs $75 for the first hour then $65 per hour thereafter.  Tech service, when the customer brings the machine to one of the centers, costs $50 for the first hour then $45 per hour thereafter.  To help departments budget for computer problems, IT created three levels of service agreements that cover the labor costs for all field calls and tech room calls on a machine.  For faculty and staff, the silver level is $95 per year and has a response time of one day; gold is $225 per year with a four hour response time; and platinum is $500 per year with a one hour response time.  The colleges of Engineering and Architecture signed up for college-wide service plans.  Mr. Singleton said all of the free services are available with the Dell lease program.  In addition, IT can send a technician to determine if the problem has to do with hardware or software.  The hardware for leased systems is under warranty, and IT does all the warranty work at no additional cost.  If the problem is a minor software issue, IT will take care of that while they are at the machine.  The only time there is an additional fee is for an advanced problem, such as an operating system re-load. 


Dr. Aebersold asked him to explain what happens when someone brings a computer to a walk-in.  Mr. Singleton said the technician would solve any minor problem.  However, for an advanced problem, IT would tell the customer how to fix the problem and give him the opportunity to check the computer in or have someone else solve the problem.


Prof. Scherman asked about plans to address the spam problem.  Dr. Aebersold said IT was testing a couple of things.  The problem is IT cannot guarantee that strong spam software will not take out valid messages.  We could subscribe to blacklists that work very well and allow the user to determine the level that is put on a blacklist.  IT can check domain names, and if they are known to be sending spam, can block them.  A rational solution would be to mark messages and let the employee decide whether to delete the message or run it through a filter that deletes it automatically.  About 40 percent of the e-mail we are receiving on campus is spam.  Mr. Cochell pointed out that the new Exchange system would provide some better rules than our current version.  Prof. Forman asked whether IT could send out information about how to create filter rules.  Dr. Aebersold said that information was on the IT support web site.  Mr. Cochell noted that IT wanted to address the problem, but did not want to reject a message that was valid.  He said IT processes an average of 500,000 messages a day. 


Prof. Huseman commented that it is getting more and more difficult to identify what messages are safe and what are not.  Dr. Aebersold said he never opens an attachment without verifying that the person sent it, which is terribly wasteful.  Mr. Cochell said it is common for viruses to send messages to someone’s contact list or to forge an e-mail address.  Prof. Striz asked why we did not use some other e-mail program.  Dr. Aebersold said the viruses these days are becoming operating system neutral.  Mr. Cochell added that the student system is not a Microsoft product.  Prof. Watts asked about the availability of the walk-in support and security assessment.  Mr. Singleton said those services were not available last year but are this year. 


Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said she was confused as to what services were covered for leased computers.  Dr. Aebersold replied that the hardware is under warranty, so those kinds of problems are fixed at no charge.  There is a fee for a software problem that the user caused.  With the walk-in service, IT can tell the customer for free what the problem is and how much it will cost to fix it.  Then the customer can decide who should fix it.  For leased desktop machines, IT can come to the office and provide the estimate for free.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza noted that her account was charged for IT service without her authorization.  After a brief discussion, Dr. Aebersold said IT could contact the department to get authorization if there is going to be a charge.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza asked whether IT had enough staff to provide service for both university computers and personal computers.  Dr. Aebersold explained that Dell pays IT to fix the machines under warranty, and customers with personal machines pay a fee, which IT uses to hire the staff to accommodate that business.  Mr. Cochell said the number of private machines serviced is very small.  Some home machines have levels of access equal to university machines.  Dr. Aebersold said it was important for students to have the support.  Prof. McInerney pointed out that a number of faculty had personal computers at home that they use for university business and that it would be helpful if they had some place to go to fix problems.  Mr. Cochell mentioned that home machines can bring viruses on to our campus, so IT has some level of responsibility to ensure that is taken care of.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said her concern was that service on private machines was not reducing the time available for university machines or increasing the cost to departments.  Dr. Aebersold said customers with private computers were paying their fair share.


When asked about the new limit on attachment size, Mr. Cochell said the Information Technology Council had set the size at 20 MB, and that seems to be running fine.  The average size in the Big 12 is 10 MB.  The University has about four messages a day with illegal attachments, which usually involve students trying to send movies.  Prof. McInerney said if we did not have a limit, then virus problems could slow the network down.  IT is working on a way to make exceptions for very large legitimate files.  Mr. Cochell remarked that to keep users from getting viruses, IT needs a realistic attachment size and uses a software program to scan files.


Prof. Havlicek commented that it is possible to use programs other than Microsoft to read e-mail and avoid viruses.  Dr. Aebersold said the IT support web site had information on how to use other products to connect to the Exchange e-mail server.


Prof. Yuan asked how she could get information about connecting to the wireless services available in the buildings.  Dr. Aebersold said most of the new machines come with wireless cards; otherwise, she could have one installed.  Prof. Yuan asked whether the user had to have a password.  Mr. Cochell said a password was not required at this time, but IT was looking at security issues.  With wireless capability, users can walk in a campus building, the computer will say wireless access is available, they can click on yes to connect, and they are on the network.  Prof. Yuan said she had recently e-mailed a question to IT support and got a very good response except that she received a message before the problem was solved saying the case was closed.  Mr. Singleton said he would check into that.  The procedure should be that a follow-up e-mail asks whether IT has solved the problem and includes a link for the user to indicate it is okay to close the case.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Mike McInerney


“We thank President Boren, Vice President Hathaway and Provost Mergler for their efforts regarding the upcoming bonus for faculty and staff at the university. I think that sends a message that they consider faculty compensation a critical priority. We will continue to work with the university administration to develop a permanent compensation package for next fiscal year.


“I attended the Faculty Advisory Council to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on November 1. Chancellor Risser gave a brief presentation. He discussed the need for increased funding for higher education and gave us his thoughts for a needs budget for next year. Part of the needs budget would include a $1500 raise for faculty at all institutions. The council passed an academic integrity policy that is intended to serve as a model policy that institutions can adapt to their particular needs. In addition, we discussed problems with health care. The council will set up a forum with Health Choice this spring to discuss these problems. This will allow higher education to speak as one voice to Health Choice. We will keep you updated on the forum.


“On a related development, I would like to commend the University of Oklahoma Student Association for their efforts in writing an honor code and establishing an honor council. We support the students’ collaboration with the faculty on this matter and offer our assistance to achieve this worthy goal.


“The executive committee of the Faculty Senate met on November 3 with Mr. Joseph Castiglione, Director of Athletics, to discuss the progress of our student athletes. We also received a tour of the academic center. The university is providing our student athletes with many services, including continued guidance and training on a variety of issues such as nutrition, substance abuse, and career planning as well as on academic matters. There are about 480 student athletes on campus. This year, the graduation rate of all athletes was 74%. Next year, it will be about 56%. This is due to the coaching changes that occurred in football several years ago; a number of students left the university due to these changes. Retention of student athletes is very good, about 80%, so graduation rates are expected to be very good in the upcoming years. Some of the funds from the sale of OU licensed items are going into a fund to support the library. In addition, a number of coaches have also contributed to this fund. Also, the sale of football tickets contributed another million dollars to the university’s operating fund this year. We certainly appreciate this support. Mr. Castiglione emphasized the importance of building champions on and off the field and the importance of continued dialogue and communication with the faculty. He has volunteered to give a report to the senate every year on our athletic program.


“The faculty compensation committee discussed a number of issues/questions that came across my desk this year. Regarding the possibility of switching TIAA/CREF funds to salaries, this would represent a pay cut since the retirement funds are pre-tax monies and taking these funds as salary would make them taxable. The committee strongly recommends against this option. Since a dependent tuition program would be difficult to define and would benefit only a subset of OU employees, they recommend that this be handled though a scholarship program. They recommend that faculty receive awards for service in increments of five years after 10 years of service have been completed. Examples could involve pens, clocks, and chairs, and after 25 year of service this could be announced at commencement exercises with special seating. Lastly, they mentioned that loyalty and equity adjustments (compression and inversion) be considered in the salary compensation program along with merit. Specific allocations would depend on the size of the salary program.


“The executive committee met with Susan Marcus-Mendoza to discuss the renewable term faculty policy. The simplest way to do this may be to change the definition of regular faculty in the faculty handbook to include individuals who are ranked assistant professor and above. The committee to review the regents’ manual has met. They will meet with the Provost in the near future to discuss issues that have arisen with the combination of the various handbooks for the three campuses. We will keep you updated on these activities.


“Jim Davis has agreed to serve as chair of the faculty development award selection committee. He will work with Hugh Benson of Research Council to establish the committee and send out the request for proposals. We will probably have one round of requests this year given that the fall semester is almost over. In the future, the goal would be to have two solicitations.”





The senate approved the following nominations of the senate committee on committees to fill vacancies on the Research Council. 

To replace Yiqi Luo (Botany & Micro.), 2003-06 term:  Lee Krumholz (Botany & Micro.) [biological sciences]

To replace David Sabatini (Civil Engr. & Envir. Sci.), 2003-06 term:  Shivakumar Raman (Industrial Engr.) [engr.]





The Research Council proposed the following changes in its charge.

[1] Add a 13th faculty member to be appointed by the Senate from the College of Fine Arts.

[2] Add the following sentence immediately after the first sentence of the last paragraph.  "If a member of the Council is nominated for a research professorship considered by the Research Council, the member must either have his/her name withdrawn from nomination or resign from the Council for the remainder of his/her term."


Prof. McInerney explained that the council currently has 12 members, with two members each in six categories.  The College of Fine Arts is included in the Arts & Humanities category.  With the change, there would be two members from Humanities and one additional member from Fine Arts.  The creative activity in Fine Arts is so different that the Research Council would like to have someone from that college guide the council in those deliberations.  Concerning the second recommendation, Prof. McInerney said when someone is nominated for a research professorship, such as a Cross or a Rinsland, it is awkward to have that person sit on the council.  Prof. Hugh Benson, chair of the Research Council, will come to the next meeting to answer questions. 





The Information Technology Council proposed the following policy on password sharing. 


The University of Oklahoma holds as one of its highest values and as a primary basis of the academic community the right of faculty, staff, and students to explore and develop knowledge. The University considers it a violation of this value policy to falsely represent oneself as another individual, to use the name or identity of another person without authorization as that individual's delegated agent, or to present oneself as the spokesperson of an organization or unit without proper authorization to do so.

Password Policy

Accounts and passwords are given to individuals for individual use and should not ordinarily be shared, except when necessary to accomplish the mission of the University. If a password has to be shared, it should be changed as soon as possible.


Observance of this policy and adherence to the rules of good practice in use of user IDs and passwords does not imply or suggest privacy in use of the information resources included in University computing systems and networks. The University policy on privacy in electronic communication is found in the Policy on Email Use at the University of Oklahoma and in the Policy on Information Systems Security. Enforcement of this policy is detailed in these documents.


Prof. McInerney noted that last year the senate had approved a policy on the acceptable use of information resources, which included a reference to a policy on password sharing.  Because the wording was not worked out, the password policy was deferred to this year.  We need to have a policy so we can take action if someone steals a password, yet allow an individual to share a password if there is a good reason.  The policy is rather simple.  Sharing a password can occur, such as giving a password to an IT employee in order to fix a computer problem, but then the password should be changed.  Although not part of the policy, the ITC also developed some recommendations for password sharing (  ITC leadership will come to the next meeting to answer questions.





The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, December 8, 2003, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

Karen Rupp-Serrano, Secretary