The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – February 8, 2010 – 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 Aimee Franklin, Chair.


PRESENT:       Ahmed, Apanasov, Asojo, Atiquzzaman, Baer, Bass, Blank, Bradshaw, Conlon, Cox-Fuenzalida, Deacon, Dial, Eodice, Franklin, Grasse, Hahn, Jean-Marie, Kent, Kimball, Lauer-Flores, Lifschitz, Milton, Mitra, Morrissey, Muraleetharan, Palmer, Rogers, Russell, Sadler, R. Schmidt, Stock, Strauss, Tabb, Taylor, Trafalis, Vehik, Verma, Weaver, Williams, Wyckoff, Yi

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Cook

ABSENT:         Gan, Kershen, McDonald, Moses, Moxley, O’Neill, Reeder, J. Schmidt, Wallach






Schedule of spring 2010 Faculty Senate meetings

New senators

Faculty deaths

Higher Education Day

Museum of Art reception and lecture

Greg Mortenson lecture

The Big Event

Senate Chair's Report:

Wellness webinars

Faculty/staff night at women’s basketball game

Athletics-academic reception

Call for committee nominations

Environmentally-friendly upgrades

Photo rosters

Online grade submission

Admissions process

Retirement fund record keeper

Meeting with OU Board of Regents chair

Meeting with Human Resources director: defined contribution retirement plan

Posting course materials to

Faculty Senate reapportionment for 2010-13

Tobacco-free campus







The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of December 14, 2010 was approved.





The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for the spring 2010 semester will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102 on the following Mondays:  February 8, March 8, April 12, and May 10.


The following faculty members were elected to the Faculty Senate as of February 2010:

Aparna Mitra (Economics), completing the 2008-11 term of Claude Miller (Communication), representing the College of Arts & Sciences;

Sean O’Neill (Anthropology), completing the 2009-12 term of Ben Keppel (History), representing the College of Arts & Sciences;

Duane Stock (Finance), completing the 2008-11 term of Mike Buckley (Management), representing the College of Business.


The Faculty Senate is sad to report the deaths in December of retired faculty members Homer Brown (Accounting), Ned Hockman (Journalism & Mass Communication), and Linda Wallace (Botany & Microbiology). 


Higher Education Day at the State Capitol is Tuesday, February 16, 2010.  Students can apply to attend on the UOSA web site.  Faculty members are encouraged to attend and share information about the value provided to the state’s economy through higher education.


The opening reception of “Revisiting the New Deal: Government Patronage and the Fine Arts, 1933-1943” will be held Friday, February 5, 2010, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.  The opening reception will be preceded by a lecture from Dr. Mark White, Eugene B. Adkins Curator, at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium.  This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, call 325-4938.


The College of Engineering invites you to attend a free, public lecture by Greg Mortenson on April 22 at 10:00 a.m. Attendees are asked to pre-register at to help determine the appropriate venue.  Mortenson is involved with building schools that will multiply their effect through teaching girls in the developing world.  He is the co-founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute ( and Pennies for Peace ( and is the bestselling author of "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones into Schools."


The Big Event, a student-run community service effort, will be held on April 10.  Faculty members are encouraged to volunteer as individuals or in groups at from February 16 to March 5.  Faculty may also suggest potential job sites. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Aimee Franklin


The Wellness office is offering two webinars in February:  Managing the Emotional and Financial Stress of Today’s Economy” on February 10 at 11:30 and “Heart Healthy” on February 18 at 11:30.  Further information is available at  


The Athletics Department is holding a faculty/staff night at the women’s basketball game on February 24.  Tickets to the game are $12 and include an OU basketball t-shirt and a pregame tailgate party. 


An athletics-academics reception will be held March 2 at 3:00 p.m. in the football stadium.  An announcement will be sent to the faculty later this month.


Nominations for councils, committees, and boards are due March 12 for the positions that will start in fall 2010.  The call will go out this week.  The Faculty Senate has more than 50 positions to fill.  Consider volunteering or nominating colleagues for this service.  It is important to get wide-spread representation across the campus.


The Oklahoma Daily reported on January 27 about environmentally-friendly upgrades across campus.  Hand dryers have been installed in the restrooms in Dale Hall as a pilot test.  At a meeting last spring, the Faculty Senate had suggested hand dryers as an alternative to paper towels.  Users are being asked to submit their thoughts.


With the conversion to the new student system, the faculty was concerned about the loss of the class rosters, which had been available on iThink.  The Faculty Senate Executive Committee worked with the Provost to make photo rosters available this semester without a break in availability.  Instructors may log in to oZONE, click on the link for rosters, and log in to The Book.  They are able to see themselves and all of the students they are working with.


As we transition to oZONE this semester, we will also be able to submit grades online at the end of the spring 2010 semester.  The process went well for December intersession classes, with hardly anyone needing assistance.  A detailed instruction sheet will be available.  Currently, grades have to be entered manually, not uploaded from Learn (course management system), but the oZONE team is working on providing the capability to upload.  Prof. Strauss asked if he would be able to upload grades from a spreadsheet eventually.  Prof. Franklin responded that the plan was that grades would be captured from Learn.  She said she thought there also would be a way to upload grades from a spreadsheet into the grade submission system or into Learn.  She said she would check.


The Senate Executive Committee has been looking into the admissions process.  There have been lengthy delays, especially in graduate admissions, in part because of the oZONE transition.  The new admissions director is sensitive to the need to process the applications quickly so departments can get offers out for assistantship positions.  He has established a single point of contact in the admissions office: Susan Wyatt.  Units should be aware that some delays are caused because students have not submitted all of their materials.  The admissions office is trying to streamlining the process and to provide more online processing so there are fewer physical documents exchanging hands.  One suggestion is for units to have only the most elemental materials submitted to admissions and have everything else sent to the department so the file is not held up waiting for all the materials to come in to admissions.  The admissions office also is working with the Graduate College to find ways to streamline the exchange of information between the Graduate College, departments, and admissions.  Prof. Franklin has discussed the issue with Graduate College Dean Williams, and it will be discussed this week in the graduate liaisons meetings.  Prof. Milton pointed out that the Physics Department has the students apply directly to the department.  All of the materials come to the department, which makes a decision and then sends them to admissions.  Prof. Rogers said the admissions office is working on a way for departments to find out who has applied.  Prof. Franklin noted that it has been a learning process during the transition to oZONE, and some kinks still need to be worked out.


Representatives from the Senate Executive Committee met with the university’s retirement management committee and with a consultant concerning the change to a single administrator for the retirement accounts (401a, 403b, 457b).  The university is close to signing a contract with a vendor.  The Executive Committee has been asking for more details about fees, investment opportunities, the types of funds that will be available and the kinds of funds people like to invest in.  Tier 3 will be a brokerage window for people who actively manage their portfolios, and it will have a fee.  Discussions are going on concerning the types of funds that will be available in Tier 2.  The Executive Committee had concerns about what a single vendor would mean in the future in terms of the cost, opportunity to change investments, and the long-term contracting relationship.  The Executive Committee discussed some concerns with President Boren, who agreed to add faculty and staff representation on the retirement management committee.  The committee will meet with the new representatives before the next meeting with the President to find out the concerns of the faculty and staff. 


The Senate Executive Committee met with Max Weitzenhoffer, chair of the OU Board of Regents, about faculty issues, the role of governance, and larger issues, including the state budget situation.  Mr. Weitzenhoffer suggested that the Executive Committee could share ideas with the regents before their retreat in early summer and could contact them with specific concerns throughout the year.  They are actively involved in campus issues.  Subcommittees of the regents review issues before they come to the full regents’ meeting.  The regents feel a sense of commitment to protecting the gains we have made in salaries and think we need to do what we can to recruit and retain the best talent. 


Human Resources director Julius Hilburn and assistant director Nick Kelly met with the Senate Executive Committee to talk about the proposal to cut the amount OU contributes to the defined contribution retirement plan.  The contribution varies depending on the plan an employee is in.  Last fall President Boren said in view of the economic situation, we would probably need to look at our benefits programs.  OU pays about $200 million a year in benefits, not including salaries.  Around $60-70 million of that goes toward health insurance and roughly $60 million toward retirement.  OU has one of the best benefit packages in the Big 12.  The standard is an employee would match a retirement contribution.  OU pays all of the contribution to the defined contribution plan.  For some people, retirement contributions are up to 20 percent of their salary.  The President asked Human Resources to look at ways to cut $9 million in benefit costs.  The directors have been looking at several options, in consultation with the Employment Benefits Committee.  The concern is that cutting benefits has a long-term impact and tends to become permanent.  Furloughs tend to be temporary and can be discontinued when fiscal situations are better.  On the other hand, the current University contributions to retirement and health insurance may not be sustainable over the long haul.  The University’s contributions to OTRS have gone from 2.5 percent of compensation in 1995 to 8.5 percent.  Health insurance premiums also are escalating.  In discussions with the President, the Executive Committee expressed concern about permanent benefit cuts.  Faculty and staff are not monolithic; they are at different stages in their careers and in different financial conditions.  The Executive Committee asked the President if it would be possible to have alternatives so people could pick the option that would be best for them or to have a combination approach.  The President asked for ideas from the Faculty Senate about a range of things to consider in terms of cost containment and revenue enhancements.  On the revenue side, private giving is down, and it will be difficult to raise tuition and fees.  The legislature continues to threaten to take back tuition-setting authority.  Ideas should be sent to Prof. Franklin, who will discuss them with the Executive Committee and then the President.  Prof. Franklin said she wanted to reassure the Senate that her main theme is that decision making needs to occur after information is shared and feedback is gathered; she tries to reinforce that with the President.  President Boren is committed to not making decisions in the summer when the faculty is not around.  However, the faculty needs to offer ideas and preferences so the administration has a good sense of what the faculty wants if something happens at the Capitol after the semester is over. 



Posting course materials to


Background: In 2005, the Student Congress passed a resolution requesting the posting of course syllabi and current grade information on  After discussion, the Faculty Senate approved a resolution stating: “Faculty Senate encourages faculty to make undergraduate course syllabi available online.”  On November 3, 2009, the Student Congress passed a resolution about the availability of exam preparation resources.  The resolution encouraged “…the Faculty to provide study guides, lecture notes, previous tests, syllabi, grades, and/or sample exam questions to all students in their classes by utilizing the Desire2Learn (D2L) platform.”  Nearly five years later, we are a campus that has long-term experience with, encourages green initiatives, and employs alternate course delivery formats (especially with the advent of absences caused by H1N1).  In addition, there is an emphasis on improving graduation rates and time to graduation and increasing retention rates.  The Faculty Senate Executive Committee presented a motion at the December meeting:  “The Faculty Senate encourages faculty to use the University’s online course management system to distribute syllabi and other course materials or links to course materials.” 


Prof. Franklin explained that a suggestion was made at the December meeting to make the posting of syllabi required and the posting of other course materials recommended.  Faculty could post the syllabus to Learn or post a link on Learn to another web site so that students would be able to find the materials electronically.  Modifications were made in Faculty Handbook sections 4.25 and 4.25.1 (attached) to incorporate the proposed revisions.  [Note: the second sentence in the final paragraph of 4.25 was moved from the last section of 4.25.1.]  The motion to change Faculty Handbook 4.25 and 4.25.1 was approved on a voice vote, with two opposed and one abstention.  Prof. Franklin said the proposal had been vetted with the Deans’ Council and with the students.  If it is approved by the administration, it will likely be in effect in fall 2010.



Faculty Senate Reapportionment for 2010-13


Prof. Franklin explained that the Faculty Senate goes through a process every three years to divvy up its 50 seats.  A reapportionment committee was formed that looked at the number of regular full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty appointed as of November 2009 and made a recommendation concerning the assignment of the 50 seats as well as a policy change in the way seats are handed out (attached).  The Graduate College has no faculty but awards all of the graduate degrees and as such, has had one seat.  Liberal Studies is a degree-granting unit that had a seat but has not had faculty.  Now Liberal Studies has 3.5 FTE faculty.  The International Programs Center is a new degree-granting unit that was not on the list last time.  A category called Pooled Programs was proposed for some degree-recommending and some non-degree-recommending units.  As members of non degree-recommending divisions, the Library and ROTC have each been given a seat in the past.  They have 26 and 14 FTE faculty, respectively.  The policy change proposed for the Faculty Handbook would establish a minimum number of faculty in order for a unit to be eligible for a seat.  Units with one percent but less than two percent of the full-time equivalent faculty would get a seat.  Units that are below the one percent threshold or do not hand out degrees would be in a pool and assigned a certain number of seats.  Everyone on the faculty would have the possibility for representation, and it would be proportional representation.  A couple of colleges would lose a seat, and a couple would gain a seat.  The pooled programs, with 18.8 FTE faculty, would have one seat.  Prof. Franklin asked the senators to discuss the recommendations with their colleagues.  The Senate will vote in March.  She said she had invited Prof. Amelia Adams, a faculty member in Liberal Studies, to speak about the change in the Liberal Studies representation. 


Prof. Adams asked the Faculty Senate to consider the proposed handbook change.  Liberal Studies is a small college in terms of faculty members but has a lot of students.  Being part of the Senate is very important.  The Senate is a place where the faculty learns what is going on with faculty issues and serves as a connection to faculty colleagues.  As a degree-granting college, Liberal Studies should have a voice in what is happening.  She said she understands the proportional representation but believes a degree-granting college needs a representative and an opportunity to be involved.  All of the faculty members in Liberal Studies are renewable term.  If they are pooled with tenure-track faculty, it could be difficult because one group may not be aware of the issues that are related to the other.  Prof. Palmer said she agreed.  Liberal Studies has a huge student enrollment and is an important college.  The faculty members proposed for the pool have nothing in common. 


Prof. Strauss pointed out that the current policy would give Aviation, with one faculty member, one seat automatically.  Prof. Franklin said that was correct.  In addition, Liberal Studies and the Graduate College would each retain a seat, and the other colleges would be reduced.  Prof. Strauss said unless the Senate makes a change, Aviation would get a seat for one person.  Prof. Franklin said she had made some suggestions to the deans in Liberal Studies on ways representation might be managed.  At the next meeting the Graduate College may introduce a proposal to accomplish representation for them.  The Graduate College dean likes that conduit of information so they know what the Senate is talking about and can be a part of the discussion; however, the dean said the college did not need to be one vote out of 50.  He trusts, as faculty members, the Senate could vote on behalf of graduate programs.


Prof. Bradshaw asked about the number of program areas in Arts & Sciences.  Prof. Franklin said she would find out.  She summarized by saying this was an important issue because it sets up the representation for the next three years.  She encouraged the senators to talk with their faculty colleagues and to bring their ideas back to the March meeting. 



Resolution, tobacco-free campus


Prof. Franklin reported that the Faculty Welfare Committee had brought forward a resolution to eliminate smoking and/or the usage of tobacco on the Norman campus (attached) as part of a four-pronged proposal.  The students have proposed a resolution for a smoke-free campus, which is directed toward stopping smoking.  Editorials in the OU Daily called a ban on smoking paternalistic and said the university should not tell people whether or not they can smoke.  The tone of the discussion in Faculty Senate meetings in recent years has been about how to make our employees healthier and how to address the rising costs in health care.  The University is trying to take a wellness approach by offering tobacco cessation programs, along with Weight Watchers at work.  The Faculty Welfare Committee, which is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate, thought we should look at this issue not just in terms of our employees but also in terms of visitors to campus who are exposed to second-hand smoke.  The resolution talks about the impact of second-hand smoke, the short-term and long-term health costs, and the number of campuses that are smoke free.  OU is already smoke free on the Health Sciences campus and the Tulsa campus.  The Senate Executive Committee talked it over with the President.  He has concerns about individual liberties but understands the impacts of second-hand smoke.  The Senate Executive Committee is working with Student Congress as well as Staff Senate to try to have a partnership with the other governance groups.  Prof. Franklin asked the senators to discuss the resolution with their colleagues.  The Senate will vote on the resolution in March.


Prof. Eodice asked for a definition of smoke free.  Prof. Franklin said the resolution asks for the elimination of tobacco on campus.  The OUHSC is smoke free, but apparently people are smoking in the medians.  President Boren asked about having a smoking area.  Prof. Franklin said if we are going to argue that this is a health concern, then we should not have people being exposed to smoke.  Prof. Palmer asked about the current law.  Prof. Franklin said smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of a door.  It is also prohibited in public parks in Norman.  Prof. Eodice said a non-smoking on campus might be largely a symbolic gesture since it will be difficult to enforce, but it might shift some behaviors. 





The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 8, 2010, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Amy Bradshaw, Faculty Secretary