JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)Regular session - December 9, 1996 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102

office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782e-mail: web site:

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Rick Tepker, Chair.

PRESENT: Albert, Baker, Benson, Blank, Bremer, Civan, Dillon, Durica, Egle, Emery, Fiedler, Fung, Gana, Gilje, Gupta, Harris, Hobbs, Holmes, Hughes, Hutchison, Joyce, Kinzie, C.Knapp, Konopak, Laird, Lancaster, Murphy, Norwood, Palmer, Patten, Patterson, Ramsey, Reynolds, Shaughnessy, Smith, St.John, Stoltenberg, Tepker, Thulasiraman, Wahl, Wallach, Wenk, Williams

Provost's office representative: Mergler

PSA representatives: Iselin, Spencer

GSS representatives: Cohen

UOSA representatives: Cobb, Heaton, Taylor

ABSENT: Elisens, B.Greene, E.Greene, Hillyer, Horrell, F. Lee, Sipes, VanGundy




Spring 1997 schedule of Faculty Senate meetings 2

Reception for Provost 2

Meeting on faculty accountability 2

Faculty evaluation scale 2

Pre-finals week policy changes 4

Campus network rights and responsibilities guidelines 6

Election, councils/committees/boards 7

Senate Chair's Report:

Day of Learning 7

Big 12 academic conference 7

Revisions in Goddard Health Center Advisory Committee charge 7



The Senate Journal for the regular session of November 11, 1996, was approved.


The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for Spring 1997 will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Jacobson 102 on the following Mondays: January 13, February 10, March 17, April 14, and May5.

A reception congratulating Dr. Nancy Mergler on her appointment as Senior Vice President and Provost will be held Tuesday, December 17, 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the University Club. All faculty are invited to attend.

A special meeting of the Deans' Council, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and Faculty Development Task Force will be held Monday, December 16, 8:30 a.m.-noon (time changed from 3:00-6:00 p.m.) in the Conoco Auditorium of the library to discuss faculty accountability. This will be the first in a series of discussions on post-tenure review, faculty evaluations, and faculty accountability.

Faculty evaluation scale

In a memo dated December 4, Prof. Tepker outlined some recommendations for the faculty evaluation scale (Appendix I).

Prof. Norwood said he objected to the proposed terminology. He said faculty are doing impressive work and a remarkable job with extremely limited resources and low pay. He asked why the administration was trying to change the terms to imply the work is not as good as it is. Changing "good" to "meets expectations" is an insult. Faculty have to pay for books and research trips out of their own pockets. He said he did agreed that the bottom two categories should be marginal and inadequate. Prof. Holmes asked about the existing categories. Prof. Norwood said in the History department, the categories are outstanding, excellent, good (positive contribution), marginal, inadequate. He said the proposition suggests the faculty is not doing as good a job as it is. Faculty should be given more credit.

Prof. Palmer said the Art school has similar wording and it seems to work fine. She asked about the reason for this change. Prof. Tepker said last year, the administration decided to change the terminology, which was outstanding, excellent, good, acceptable, and unacceptable. The concerns were evaluation inflation and the courts' interpretation of "acceptable" in pre-tenure evaluations. Last year, each unit could use its own language. The two basic alternatives are an expectations-based scale and a comparative scale. There was a strong consensus among the Senate Executive Committee and Faculty Development Task Force for the expectations-based scale, with the proviso that the unit define expectations. It was an attempt to give the units some tools for indicating to individuals what ought to be done.

Prof. Laird asked whether it was true that standards for meeting these categories would be addressed at the unit level. Prof. Fiedler said some language should be added to say this is not meant to evaluate across units. Prof. Wahl said the goal is to develop faculty, not rate faculty. The focus should be on making the person a better professional in five years.

Prof. Joyce said part of the basis for the change is the liability of the university in terms of the wording. She said "acceptable" should probably be changed to "marginal," and the other terms should be left the way they were.

Prof. Dillon said "meets expectations" has to do with helping faculty decide where they want to be five years from now. Units will then have to define what those expectations are. Prof. Hobbs commented that "meets expectations" is a dull term for a year's worth of work. Prof. Norwood said he found it insulting that people in the middle category would be described in a way that suggests mediocrity, when most faculty are doing a good job, given the low pay and lack of resources. Prof. Hobbs moved to amend the Executive Committee recommendation by changing "very good" to "excellent" and "meets expectations" to "good/meets expectations." The motion to amend was approved on a voice vote.

Prof. Durica asked if the Executive Committee had discussed the length of the narrative. Prof. Tepker said there will be a number of meetings ahead to look at evaluations, accountability, and development, and that issue can be added to the agenda.

Prof. Blank asked whether expectations should have some input from administrators or be defined solely by the unit. He said he thinks the units within a college should correlate. Prof. Tepker responded that "in consultation with the college" could be added to point 2. Prof. Hutchison said the unit criteria, which have to be approved by the deans, already govern that issue.

Prof. Blank asked whether the Faculty Senate would also demand that the administration evaluate units. Prof. Tepker said that was not part of the recommendation. Prof. Blank asked, "All units are equal?" Prof. Tepker said the Executive Committee responded solely to the scale and did not look at interdepartmental comparisons. Provost Mergler said each dean submits a statement of progress toward goals. Prof. Blank pointed out that these evaluations make differences in raises for faculty. "What about units?" Prof. Mergler answered that she would allocate based on merit to units and colleges if we had the money. Prof. Tepker said the form does not provide a vehicle for interdepartmental comparisons.

Prof. Dillon said once faculty define expectations, departments may need to look at diversified loads. She suggested some additional language: "It is recognized that given the uniqueness of the goals set by each unit, these evaluations cannot be used for inter-departmental comparisons." Prof. Wahl moved approval of that amendment. Prof. Patten called for a safeguard in the case of a disunion between a Chair and Committee A. Prof. Dillon responded that the faculty as a whole will define the expectations. Prof. Patten said his concern was for untenured faculty. Prof. Dillon said the Faculty Handbook states that the faculty of the unit makes policy. The motion to amend was approved on voice vote.

The recommendations as amended were approved on a voice vote and read:

1. The terms to be used for annual faculty evaluations shall be: Outstanding; Excellent; Good/Meets Expectations; Marginal; Unacceptable.

2. Each unit should define expectations for faculty according to unit standards and procedures. Expectations may reflect goals defined by agreement between the unit and the professor. It is recognized that given the uniqueness of the goals set by each unit, these evaluations cannot be used for inter-departmental comparisons.

Pre-finals week policy changes

The Provost's office asked the Senate to consider some changes in the pre-finals week policy (Appendix II). The Senate Executive Committee proposed the following as a replacement or supplement to respond to concerns of students that they deserve notice up front about the expectations of the professor:

Each faculty member shall announce at the beginning of the semester (during the first week or before the third meeting, whichever is later) whether factors other than the final examination (for example, papers, quizzes and tests, classroom participation, attendance or lack thereof, etc.) will be used to determine the final course grade. If students are not made aware of other factors that will be used in the final determination of the course grade, then their course grades can be based only on their performance on the final examination.

Prof. Egle asked what that paragraph would replace. Prof. Tepker said it would substitute for any portion or all of 4.10. He noted that students are concerned about eliminating the percentage restrictions on pre-finals week. He reminded the group that at the last meeting, Prof. Egle had wanted to change "assigned" to "scheduled" in 4.10.1(b).

Ms. Lauren Cohen, Graduate Student Senate Chair, explained that the GSS passed a resolution supporting the Provost recommendations. She said students would not object to the paragraph as a supplement, but as a substitute, it is too vague.

Prof. Fiedler remarked that in the Executive Committee proposal, there are a number of ways to weasel out of the policy ("other factors," "grades can be based"). Prof. Patterson said it would be better to have the policy written into the course syllabus. Ms. Jean Byers, a graduate student, agreed that when a policy is written out, there is no misunderstanding about what is being said. Prof. Patterson moved to change the paragraph to read, "Each faculty member shall include in the syllabus and announce at the beginning..." Prof. Tepker suggested "Each faculty member shall announce in a syllabus and in class at the beginning..." Prof. Patterson said that adds unnecessary restrictions. Prof. Tepker asked what would happen if there is no syllabus. Prof. Egle moved to revise the paragraph to read, "Each faculty member shall announce distribute a written announcement at the beginning..."

Prof. Williams moved to further amend the paragraph to change the last sentence to read "....course grades can will be based..." Ms. Amy Cobb, UOSA President, commented that if the professor does not say there are other factors, then the student is penalized because the grade will be based only on the final exam. Ms. Cohen added that the problem is making the final exam the sole basis for a grade. If the professor fails to distribute a notice, students could show up just for the final and have their performance based only on the final exam. Prof. Tepker asked what the consequence of not having notice up front would be. Ms. Cohen said the final sentence is unnecessary. The Provost office language is acceptable to the students. Putting assignments in a syllabus or other written format would be ideal.

Prof. Benson observed that the Provost proposal had the same result as the Executive Committee's. If assignments are not announced in advance, then they cannot be counted. The last sentence of the Executive Committee's is a clarification of the consequences. Prof. Tepker said the Executive Committee's proposal has been used at the law school for 20 years and has worked pretty well. Prof. Gana remarked that Ms. Cohen's concern is that students are penalized at the end of the semester. She pointed out the option of scheduling assignments 30 days in advance. Prof. Bremer said the difference is in notifying students the first week and in giving them 30 days' notice. Prof. Benson said then the Executive Committee version should be a supplement and not a replacement. Students should have notice; the Executive Committee's paragraph does not address that. Prof. Gana moved to add the Executive Committee's paragraph as a supplement and delete the last sentence.

Prof. Egle pointed out that the first sentence of the supplement contradicts the 30 days' notice requirement because it says factors other than the final exam must be published the first week. Prof. Durica said that would depend on whether "factors" meant at an assigned time or just the fact that there will be other instruments. Prof. Egle said if the professor fails to announce at the beginning that a term paper will be part of the course, then s/he violates the policy. Prof. Tepker noted that there is a difference between telling what the course requirements are and setting deadlines. Prof. Fiedler added that it is an announcement of the existence, not nature of factors.

Prof. Holmes asked whether a course syllabus should be required. Prof. Patterson responded, "That's a separate issue." Prof. Harris said she thought there was a rule that percentages for assignments had to be written into syllabi. Prof. Tepker said he thought that applied to pre-finals week, not to syllabi. Prof. Wenk observed that the professor could say that the syllabus is subject to change as long as 30 days' notice is given. Prof. Hutchison said he thought the language still conflicted. Prof. Tepker said he believed the Executive Committee's could coexist with the Provost's.

Prof. St. John asked, "What is this trying to accomplish?" Prof. Tepker said the intent was to clarify the 1993 policy and require more faculty compliance. A lot of faculty still are putting more work in the last week than is anticipated by the spirit of the policy. The supplement was intended to notify students at the beginning of their responsibilities in the course. Prof. St. John suggested stating if it is not in the syllabus or announced, whatever is added cannot be more than 10% of the course grade. Prof. Tepker said that is the way it reads now. Prof. Emery proposed the language, "Each faculty member shall announce at the beginning of the semester whether factors other than the final exam may be assigned and assessed during finals week. If students are not made aware of these factors, they may not be used to determine the course grade." The idea is to limit the scope to assignments during pre-finals week. Prof. Patterson stated that faculty can always cover themselves with a disclaimer in the syllabus.

Prof. Holmes said he would like to mandate course syllabi because the problem seems to be with faculty not having a contract relationship with their students in the form of a syllabus. Prof. Harris moved that "the course syllabus include all the assignments and the percentages each assignment contributes to the final grade as well as the schedule for all assignments. Should an assignment be rescheduled, it must conform to the rules concerning pre-finals week." Prof. Blank asked whether independent research courses would be included. Prof. Wahl remarked that most of the deviations are at the request of students. He does not want to close the door where he cannot respond to the student. Prof. Kinzie said often he does not know at what point a student will be in the course, due to the nature of his discipline.

Prof. Tepker commented that it is extremely difficult to draft policy in a committee of a whole. He questioned whether the decision should be postponed. Provost Mergler said the revisions could be delayed. Prof. Williams suggested that the Senate act on the language and decide later on the issue of a syllabi. Prof. Fung said it would be simple and workable just to change the Executive Committee version. Prof. Tepker said the revised policy could be labeled as an interim policy. Provost Mergler pointed out that a sunset clause would have to be included then. Prof. Hutchison contended that the main problems had to do with the syllabi. The policy could be corrected later. Prof. Tepker announced that the motion on the floor was to change "assigned" to "scheduled" in 4.10.1(b) and to include the Executive Committee version as a supplement with the last sentence eliminated and the first sentence revised:

Each faculty member shall distribute a written announcement at the beginning of the semester (during the first week or before the third meeting, whichever is later) whether factors other than the final examination (for example, papers, quizzes and tests, classroom participation, attendance or lack thereof, etc.) will be used to determine the final course grade.

The motion was approved on a voice vote.

Prof. Patterson asked when this would be distributed to faculty. Provost Mergler said she would send a memo to all instructors as soon as possible. Prof. Patterson asked whether it would be effective next semester. Provost Mergler said Senate policies typically are effective as soon as they are approved. Prof. Tepker said the Senate will consider the other related issues at the February meeting.

Campus network rights and responsibilities guidelines

The Information Technology Council (ITC) proposed a set of guidelines concerning the campus computing network (Appendix III). Prof. Tepker announced the suggestion from the last meeting to amend IV to read, "Every member of community has a right to a minimum level of should have reasonable access to the University network and services." Prof. Fiedler said the reason was "right" implies that groundskeepers and faculty have the same minimum level and that the University must provide that minimum level. Prof. Bruce Mason (Physics and Astronomy), Chair of the ITC, said the reason "right" was in the document was because he thought we needed to express the responsibility of the institution and the expectations of the users.

Prof. Egle asked about the interpretation of "without proper due process." Prof. Mason said as those issues come up, we will have to determine due process. He will seek guidance from other documents within the University. This document will give the ITC something to work with. Prof. Tepker said if this is a set of goals, then it should be written in terms of future objectives and should eliminate the due process language and the "rights." Prof. Fiedler moved to amend section IV to read, "Every member of the University community has a right to ought to have a minimum level of access to the University network and services." Prof. Tepker noted the references to rights in II and III. Prof. Mason said he would be happy to change those to "oughts." Prof. Williams proposed, "Members of the University community ought to have a minimum level of access as appropriate to the University network and services." Prof. Fiedler accepted that as a friendly amendment. The motion to amend was approved on a voice vote. The motion to approve the policy as amended was approved on a voice vote.


The Senate approved the following Senate Committee on Committees' nominations to fill vacancies on councils, committees, and boards.

Budget Council: Roger Rideout (Music)

to replace Allan Ross, 1994-97 term

Environmental Concerns Committee: Chad Smith (Art)

to fill additional faculty position created by revised charge, 1996-99 term

Research Council: Frank Durso (Psychology)

to replace Scott Gronlund, 1995-98 term [social sciences and education]

Faculty Senate Faculty Welfare Committee: Joyce Palomar (Law)

to replace David London, 1994-97 term

Senate Chair's Report

A Day of Learning associated with Mom's Day weekend is being planned for Friday, April 4. This would involve parents going to classes, faculty presenting special lectures, and parents meeting faculty. Provost Mergler said the Mom's Day committee wanted parents to attend classes, although some classes may not accommodate the parents. The idea is flexibility. Prof. Tepker said suggestions should be given to the Provost's office.

Provost Mergler and Prof. Tepker attended the Big 12 academic conference December 2. A number of common issues were discussed, including post tenure review, faculty accountability, and faculty development. Those issues will be the subject of the December 16 meeting (see announcements). A lot of institutions are considering the adoption of policies that have been in place here 20 years.

Revisions in the Goddard Health Center Advisory Committee charge

Prof. Tepker announced that the proposed revisions in the charge of the Goddard Health Center Advisory Committee will be voted on at next meeting. Prof. Dillon said the Committee on Committees will make a recommendation about the revisions to the Executive Committee. Prof. Tepker added that one of the principal issues is whether there will be increased faculty participation in the committee.


The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30p.m. on Monday, January 13, 1997, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Alexander Holmes, Secretary


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator