PRESENT: Badiru, Benson, Bremer, Burnett, DeBrunner, Dillard, Dillon, Durica, Elisens, Fiedler, Fung, Gana, Genova, Gilje, Greene, Gutierrez, Harris, Hertzke, Hillyer, Holmes, Horrell, Konopak, Laird, Lucey, R. Miller, Mouser, Murphy, Ogilvie, Palmer, Ragep, Scaperlanda, Shaughnessy, Sipes, Stock, Stoltenberg, Tepker, Thulasiraman, Van Gundy, Wallach, Weaver-Meyers, Weinel, Wenk
Provost's office representative: Mergler
PSA representatives: Iselin, Spencer
GSS representatives: Royal
UOSA representatives: Barron, Scott
ABSENT: Baker, Carnevale, Egle, Gupta, Havener, Hutchison, F. Lee, Nelson, Patterson, Wallach, Williams
Law dean search committee 2
New senators 2
Committee A workshop 2
Information Technology Council 2
Remarks by Interim Senior Vice President and Provost Nancy Mergler 2
Legislative issues discussion by Sen. Hobson, Rep. Boyd, Mr. Burrage 4
Senate Chair's report 6
Composition of dean search committees 6
Election, search committees: provost, Arts and Sciences dean 6
Paid leave and short-term disability policy 7
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Senate Journal for the regular session of December 11, 1995, was approved.
Prof. Daniel Wren (Management) was selected from nominations submitted by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for the faculty-at-large position on the search committee for the College of Law dean (see 12/95 Journal, page 2). Dean Richard Cosier (College of Business Administration) will chair the committee.
Prof. Andy Van Gundy (Communication) was elected to complete the 1995-98 term of Prof. Robert Griswold (History) in the Faculty Senate from the College of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Victor DeBrunner (Electrical Engineering) was elected to complete the 1993-96 term of Prof. Jean-Claude Roegiers (PGE) in the Faculty Senate from the College of Engineering.
The Faculty Senate will hold a workshop for Committee A members on Tuesday, January 23, at 3:30 p.m. in the Conoco Auditorium. The workshop will focus on annual faculty evaluations.
President Boren approved the establishment of the Information Technology Council (see 10/95 Journal, page 5) with the following changes: add one staff member and one student, include a provision that one of the three students should be majoring in an academic area in which computer fees are highest and computer use is most common, and delete #4 of the charge--survey campus expenditures related to the provision of, training in, and use of information technology and resources--because that authority rests with the Budget Council.
REMARKS BY INTERIM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST NANCY MERGLER
Dr. Mergler announced that we have had the best year in the history of the institution in grants and contracts expenditures. We have launched a $200 million fund-raising campaign, and $52 million has been raised the past year. A 2% salary increase was provided for faculty and lower paid staff. The President won a two-year compromise on the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS) changes.
This spring should be an interesting budget season. There may be more money on the table. The state Equalization Board estimated an increase in tax revenues. There is a proposal for a 16.5% increase ($93.4 million) for higher education. OU would get about 16.1% ($15 million) of the money. We need to convince the legislature that higher education is a better investment than prisons. Considerable progress has been made in building the computer network system, the library computer system has been upgraded, and the mainframe will be upgraded with the HERO bond money. If a computing networking fee for students is approved, OU would have the means to support and upgrade the network. The state regents' Council on Graduate Education and Research met in December to evaluate duplicate graduate programs in Engineering. By the end of the meeting, the members of the council recognized the need to fund Engineering better.
Dr. Mergler then discussed challenges to the institution. At the federal level, NSF, NOAA, Department of Education, and NASA are vulnerable to budget cuts, which would impact the budgets of many of our units. It is important for Congress to hear from taxpayers about federal funding. Public institutions are trying to improve their image with taxpayers. Faculty accountability, program duplication, and quality of undergraduate education are being reviewed across the country. Institutions are being pressured by polarized constituencies to change nothing or everything in the affirmative action system.
At the state level, if State Question 669 is approved, local governments would lose millions in revenues. Governor Keating has a series of tax reduction proposals, which would offset revenues. The Governor's commission has recommended some changes in higher education, such as the elimination of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. President Boren is working to repair OU's image in the state. The state regents have been reviewing the endowed chairs and professorships program. They may want more oversight and define targeted areas.
At the University level, the Provost has made some budgetary decisions to improve the quality of undergraduate education based on the recommendations of the undergraduate education panel: academic advisor salaries were increased by 5%, additional academic advisors were hired, the instructional development program received additional funding, and the English Language Assessment program was given additional funding and was asked to review all G.A.s, lecturers and instructors. During the past year, $550,000 of new money was spent on a one-time basis to add more class sections. Next budget year, that money will be spent on a permanent basis to add faculty. Funding for general education was increased by $100,000. The $150,000 designated for the retired faculty program supported 48 sections. The Writing Center was permanently funded for the first time, G.A.s received a 5% salary increase, and the library received an additional $400,000 in funding to avert cuts in acquisitions.
Faculty salaries have slipped in comparison to the Big 8. In some disciplines, we are 95% of our peers; in others, 75%. We will start to look at comparisons with the Big 12. A faculty salary increase is the number one priority. It takes $1 million to give a 1% increase to faculty and staff ($.5 million for faculty only). Cost-to-continue items, which now include computer software and hardware maintenance, will cost about $2 million. Some of the money could be found through re-allocation. The Governor and legislature continue to talk about administrative fat. Re-allocation makes a powerful statement to them. Re-allocation carries questions of whether it should be done core versus non-core and whether it should be a tax on year end carryover funds. She asked the Faculty Senate members to share their thoughts with the Budget Council or Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
Another challenge is the expense of technology's role in restructuring higher education, especially instruction. To complement the HERO bond money and be able to support and staff a computer network system, Dr. Mergler supports the student computer network fee. The Provost development workshop will focus on technology and teaching.
The President looks to the academic side of the University for leadership in academic priorities. Faculty self-governance and accountability are volatile issues. Honest evaluation of performance for faculty and the administration is an important issue to address. The deans' annual evaluation was implemented this year, with feedback to each college's committee. The process should be completed this week and will be reviewed with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. The process sensitized the deans to the emotional impact of annual faculty evaluation. Dr. Mergler is interested in feedback about the process. Annual faculty evaluation will be discussed in the Committee A workshop January 23. Nothing is more important in this climate than to prove that we can govern ourselves in a rigorous and fair system.
Turning to the role of athletics in public universities, Dr. Mergler said she was optimistic about resolving the funding issues with the Athletic Department. A subcommittee of the Athletics Council will look at comparative data in order to make decisions on budget issues such as gender equity.
In terms of searches, the dean of Education has been named. The dean of Law search is under way. The Provost search will be in place in March. The Arts and Sciences dean search will be started in March or April. Dr. Mergler has been interim provost one year. The Provost and Research Vice President join President Boren in a strong commitment to support the academic mission. Dr. Mergler thanked the faculty for their many acts of kindness and said we made significant progress in spite of budget constraints.
Prof. Fiedler said the public thinks we are not training students the skills they need for the market place. There is no formal mechanism for feedback from the market to academia. Dr. Mergler said the Business and Engineering colleges use their boards of advisors to critique curriculum. It helps to have the board survey the needs of the market. It is also a matter of informing the public about what they ought to expect from a college graduate.
Referring to Provost Mergler's earlier comment that it costs $.5 million for faculty to get a 1% raise and $1 million for all employees to get a 1% raise, Prof. Fung observed that the salary paid to faculty is equal to the salary paid to staff. He asked about the total number of faculty and total number of staff. Provost Mergler said there are about 765 faculty on the Norman campus. Dr. Lisa Portwood, Staff Senate Chair, reported that the Norman campus has about 3000 staff.
PANEL DISCUSSION ON UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE ISSUES BY SENATOR CAL HOBSON, REPRESENTATIVE LAURA BOYD, AND DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL AND STATE RELATIONS SEAN BURRAGE.
Senator Cal Hobson, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, distributed a handout of the Senate Democratic plan for higher education. This year seems to be the best funding year for the state since 1982. In 1982, 31% of the revenue came from oil and gas; now it is less than 5%, which reflects the increasingly diversified state economy. President Boren has made a tremendous difference at the Capitol. The state Equalization Board has certified $287 million of new money. We must use this money for higher education and resist tax cuts. The Senate plan calls for $82 million for higher education and $8 million for OCAST. Last year Governor Keating asked for a 2% cut in higher education, but this year he says it is important to fund higher education. We should not spend our growth money on prisons.
National Guard scholarships, started by the regents last year, should be funded next year because the guard serves all over the world. It is important for the members to earn degrees because of the increasingly sophisticated work. We must have a college-educated work force to attract the kind of jobs we want.
Representative Laura Boyd, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, said the state is expected to have $287 million more. The final amount certified in February could be a lower figure. This will be higher education's year. The House and Senate agree that the OTRS issue should be resolved this year. The legislature also understands the importance of salaries.
In a survey of Oklahoma citizens by HEACO last summer the public ranked the following areas in order of importance of funding: (1) common education, (2) higher education, (3) human services, (4) transportation, (5) corrections. The public understands the value of higher education to economic development. She hopes the elected officials understand that message.
The debate will center on tax cuts versus investment. Representative Boyd's position is we need to have a pool from which business can hire. The House will have a fight about doing away with the law school and the endowed chairs program. It is critical to write letters to newspaper editors, the leadership of the House and Senate, and the Governor about these issues and about investing in human capital.
Mr. Sean Burrage, Director of State Relations, thanked Representative Boyd and Senator Hobson for coming to the Faculty Senate. It is fortunate to have them working for OU in the legislature. Last year OU got a two-year reprieve on OTRS. The caps increased 10% for two years, which helped relieve the expense to the individual and to the institution. However, individuals in the smaller schools, whose only retirement plan is OTRS and whose school makes the contribution for the individual, are upset because their retirement cannot be based on their entire salary. President Boren will meet with the other presidents to discuss this issue. The legislature probably will not let OU out of the OTRS system because of the unfunded liability. OU would like the legislature to give the institutions a choice on whether to cap salaries.
There probably will be public attempts to embarrass the Speaker of the House because he is running for Congress. The Senate and House are committed to giving new money to higher education, but higher education will have to make its case.
Prof. Stock said he had heard rumors that it is the responsibility of the state, not the individual, to fund the OTRS liability. Representative Boyd said the legislature has a responsibility to work things out. Prof. Holmes explained that the Governor's commission raised the question of whether it is the responsibility of the state or the school district to pay the unfunded liability of OTRS.
Prof. Weinel said morale is low, partly because we are constantly told there is not enough money. Political creatures accuse faculty of not doing their jobs. Is there anything faculty can do to show that what faculty do has value? Provost Mergler said faculty have a responsibility to articulate what they do. Self-evaluation is a key part of positioning ourselves politically. We should present the economic impact to the state of better educated citizens, make sure no student has a cause for complaint, and articulate what we do on sabbatical. We need to show that we run a clean ship and we are proud of our product. Senator Hobson said the only major agency to avoid a cut last year was higher education. The owner of the state's largest newspaper is anti-education, but we are winning. Representative Boyd remarked that the university always will be attacked about administrative costs and efficiency. Senator Hobson commented that the Senate is willing to give higher education more than the state regents requested. He said S.Q. 669 will be a tough fight.
Prof. Fiedler cited an earlier remark by Representative Boyd that higher education is a better investment than prisons and might help reduce crime. We have more college graduates, yet crime has increased. Representative Boyd pointed out that property crimes have increased, but certain violent crimes are down. Oklahoma incarcerates more women than any other state, yet over 75% of them are crimes of poverty--bad checks or selling drugs. Education can give people skills and options and deter criminal behavior. Senator Hobson said we have not really tried pumping money into higher education. We are spending $14,000 a year to lock up a young woman whose crime was three hot checks, but only $3400 a year to send a child to high school.
SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Pat Weaver-Meyers
There was no chair's report.
RESOLUTION: COMPOSITION OF DEAN SEARCH COMMITTEES
Prof. Weaver-Meyers explained that Prof. Tepker rewrote the resolution about the composition of dean search committees based on suggestions made last month (Appendix I). Prof. Tepker said he included AAUP language. The resolution contains four proposals. He said he could make no prediction about what the regents will do with this, but it will be a focal point for a discussion with the regents about the role of faculty.
Referring to part (c), Prof. Benson asked whether the search committee could recommend just one person. Prof. Tepker said the president usually asks for a certain number, such as three, and selects from those three. The language allows for a new search, so the committee could not force the selection of someone who is unacceptable to the president. Prof. Benson asked what force this would have if approved by the Faculty Senate. If this language is in the Faculty Handbook, does anyone have to pay attention? Prof. Tepker said the courts treat the Faculty Handbook as a contract between the individual and university. The proposed resolution was approved on a voice vote.
ELECTION, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT/PROVOST SEARCH COMMITTEE AND COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES DEAN SEARCH COMMITTEE
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee proposed the following slate of nominees.
Eugene Enrico, Music (Fine Arts)
Trent Gabert, Health and Sport Sciences (Arts and Sciences)
Katheleen Guzman (Law)
Barbara Hillyer, Human Relations (Arts and Sciences)
S. Lakshmivarahan, Computer Science (Engineering)
Kenneth Nicholas, Chemistry and Biochemistry (Arts and Sciences)
Wilbur Stolt (University Libraries)
Cal Stoltenberg, Educational Psychology (Education)
Bret Wallach, Geography (Geosciences)
Michael Scaperlanda, Law
Prof. Fung asked for more information about the qualifications of the nominees. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the Faculty Senate Executive Committee tried to recommend faculty who were reasoned and reputable and represented a balance across campus. Prof. Fung asked whether the Faculty Senate had to vote for five for the Provost search committee. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the Senate needed to vote for 10, and the President would select five from those nominations. Prof. Genova said the humanities area was not represented. She asked about the balance between tenured and untenured faculty. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said most of the nominees were tenured. Prof. Dillon noted that it is good to have an untenured perspective, too. Prof. Genova asked for clarification on when the search would begin. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the President will try to get regents approval before March. She offered to provide a short biographical statement on nominees in the future. Prof. Murphy said the nominees could provide a statement of what they think a good provost should be. Prof. Dillon said if the Senate had questions, then it should take a more aggressive role in nominating. This body had been asked several times for nominations. The slate of nominees for the Provost search committee was approved on a voice vote. The slate of nominees for the Arts and Sciences dean search committee was approved on a voice vote.
CHANGES BEING CONSIDERED IN PAID LEAVE AND SHORT-TERM DISABILITY POLICY
Prof. Weaver-Meyers explained that some changes were being considered in the paid leave and short-term disability policy (Appendix II). Mr. Don Flegal, Personnel Services Director, was present to answer questions. Prof. Weaver-Meyers reported that the Employment Benefits Committee had been asked to make a recommendation about the changes being considered and had voted in favor of all the items except number 4. She said a question had been raised as to whether 9-month faculty would accrue short-term disability. Mr. Flegal said they would still accrue 12 days a year; the change would affect the initial deposit. Prof. Weaver-Meyers asked him about the impact on the family leave policy. Mr. Flegal said the law does not require that family leave has to be paid leave. This would impact an employee if s/he did not have short-term disability. Prof. Stock asked that number 2--terminal leave--be clarified. Mr. Flegal said this would not apply to someone who retired. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the Senate Executive Committee was concerned about number 1, because an individual might never be able to accrue short-term disability. One option would be to require that employees be here for two or three years before receiving a deposit. Prof. Sipes objected to the language in number 1 that implied that new employees do not have a demonstrated commitment to the University. Prof. DeBrunner asked why faculty and staff have to be treated the same.
Prof. Mouser asked how number 4--overtime pay--would affect faculty. Prof. Weaver-Meyers replied it would not. Prof. Gilje said this sounded like it was written for staff and was not really relevant to faculty. He said he found it objectionable that this would apply to faculty. Prof. Van Gundy suggested that the language in number 1 about terminating employees be clarified. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the Executive Committee could include that in the statement it sends to the President.
Prof. Durica asked whether the proposed changes came out of some study. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the vice presidents were asked to identify ways to keep staff from being laid off and to demonstrate that we are reducing administrative cost. Prof. Durica asked where we would save money. Prof. Weaver-Meyers said it is a liability rather than actual dollars. The University spent about $800,000 on short-term disability last year. Prof. Weinel asked about the possibility of having an initial deposit available that could be discounted if not used. Mr. Flegal remarked that he did not think short-term disability was used as a recruiting tool. Prof. Holmes asked about the amount of sick leave and vacation for faculty. Mr. Flegal said 9-month faculty do not have paid leave. They get one day a month of short-term disability. Prof. Weaver-Meyers asked for a consensus on number 1. Prof. Sipes said number 1 is a contradiction with building morale. Prof. Weaver-Meyers asked the Faculty Senate to submit comments of their colleagues soon so the Executive Committee can incorporate them. This issue will be considered by the Faculty Senate next month.
The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 1996, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter Connie Dillon
Administrative Coordinator Secretary
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