The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – April 10, 2006 – 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 Roy Knapp, Chair.


PRESENT:       Apanasov, Badhwar, Benson, Biggerstaff, Blank, Bradford, Brown, Burns, Civan, Clark, Croft, Elisens, Fast, Fincke, Franklin, Frech, Gade, Geletzke, Gutierrez, Hamerla, Hawamdeh, Hayes-Thumann, Houser, C. Knapp, R. Knapp, Kolar, Lai, Lester, Liu, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, Megginson, Ransom, Roche, Rugeley, Scamehorn, Schwarzkopf, Skeeters, Tabb, Trytten, Warnken, Wood

Provost's office representative:  Heiser
ISA representatives:  Hough
UOSA representatives:  Vedala


ABSENT:         Albert, Catlin, Cramer, Draheim, Garn, Kutner, Pace, Raadschelders, Weaver, Wei, Wyckoff





Announcement:  faculty development awards

Student Honor Council

Benefits: short-term disability insurance, retirement

Senate Chair's Report:

Reference in Faculty Handbook to Information Technology Council policies

Searches:  Deans of Fine Arts and Journalism

Faculty tribute

Courses with numbers in the format of x960, x970, x980, x990

Environmental Concerns Committee proposal concerning ex-officio members

Resolution recognizing Senator Cal Hobson

Preliminary nominations for councils/committees/boards






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of March 20, 2006 was approved.





The Faculty Senate is pleased to present the faculty development awards for the spring 2006 semester to Loretta Bass (Sociology), Heidi Karriker (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics), Susan Laird (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies), Jeremy Lindberg (Dance), Yunjun Xu (Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering), and Vicki Williams (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies).





Mr. Ricker Deeg, chair of the student honor council, described the group’s activities.  He introduced three other members of the council: Melissa Renfro, Public Relations, Matt Maupin, a new member, and Luke Landis, secretary.  Mr. Deeg said the honor council had developed a brochure that will be distributed to freshmen.  The brochure explains the academic misconduct code and students’ responsibility and includes a quiz to tell students what cheating is.  Faculty who are interested in handing out the brochure to their students can send an e-mail to  Mr. Deeg explained that the new OU blue books will include the integrity pledge on the front.  The recent membership drive added 12-13 new members to the honor council, which brings the total membership up to 20.  With more members, the honor council will be able to tackle additional projects.  Mr. Deeg is redesigning the web page to make it easier to navigate.  He plans to include a list of best practices or guidelines to follow.  The honor council may try to hold a student seminar once a semester on proper study habits, which should lessen cheating.  Council members will possibly attend departmental meetings to encourage faculty to use the integrity pledge, address concerns that faculty may have, and ask them to discuss ethics in class.  The council expects to develop an online integrity quiz pulled from a large pool of questions so that every time a student takes the quiz s/he will see different questions.  Faculty could use the quiz as a tool in the classroom to help students learn about integrity.


Prof. Fincke pointed out that faculty members are required to take online quizzes on issues such as sexual harassment, and they are quite effective.  Mr. Deeg said the quiz would be taken online, but he would like students to see different questions every time they take it.  Prof. Knapp noted that passing the quiz online gives the person a quick pat on the back.  Prof. Megginson pointed out that making the quiz more complex could decrease participation.  The online sexual harassment quiz is surprisingly effective.


Dr. Greg Heiser, Assistant Provost, remarked that the honor council had received a lot of help from the Faculty Senate over the past years.  Former Senate chair Mike McInerney is the faculty liaison to the honor council.  The council is soliciting input from faculty and students who have used, the plagiarism detection service. 


Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether enough funds were available to print additional copies of the brochures.  Dr. Heiser said the Student Affairs office had funded the initial printing and would likely provide continuing support.  Prof. Trytten suggested that faculty members could include a link on their web sites to the honor council web site as a way to get information out to students.  If the integrity quiz was developed on Desire2Learn, it is possible that professors could download the quiz for their classes.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said her department requires its faculty members to include a link on their syllabi to the provost’s page on academic integrity.  She commented that the main reason for academic misconduct is plagiarism.  Students cut and paste electronic material into rough drafts and then forget where it came from.  The list of best practices should include information on how to avoid plagiarism.  She said she was grateful for because it saves so much time in identifying plagiarism.





Human Resources Assistant Director Nick Kelly gave an update on the new short-term disability insurance and on retirement.  Mr. Kelly said the University will offer a short-term disability insurance program on a voluntary basis.  The Human Resources (HR) office did a request for proposals last fall, Aflac was chosen, and the plan was presented to the Employment Benefits Committee in February.  The plan will provide 50 percent of income protection, with a 3-month or 6-month benefit period and a waiting period of 7 or 14 days.  The program is intended for new employees who have not accumulated much leave.  It is not a guaranteed issue plan, that is, individuals with chronic conditions probably will not qualify.  The other companies that offered a guaranteed issue also required a participation rate of 25-30 percent of our population.  With the leave that most employees have accrued, we would not have that level of participation.  The initial enrollment will be in August, rather than the regular annual enrollment period, in order to give the program more attention.  The rates will vary depending on the employee’s salary and length of benefit, but should be $25-40 per month.  A pre-existing condition clause will exclude some individuals, but maternity leave is covered if the individual was not pregnant at the time of enrolment.  The deductions will be on an after-tax basis, so individuals will not be taxed if they draw on disability. 


In June 2004, the legislature passed a bill that allowed new employees at OU to make a choice between the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System (OTRS) or the University’s optional plan, which pays nine percent of base salary.  The bill also extended the choice to existing employees who were in OTRS, pending approval by the IRS.  The University hopes to hear this summer whether the IRS will allow existing employees to make a decision between remaining in OTRS or switching to the optional retirement plan.  The choice is irrevocable, even if the individual leaves and comes back or transfers to OSU.  The bill applies to both of the state’s comprehensive universities.  HR plans to provide a lot of information and is working with an actuary to develop a personalized calculator.  The calculator will compare the benefit of staying in OTRS to leaving OTRS.  Individuals will have to make some assumptions, such as how long they will remain at OU, how long they expect to live after retirement, and their overall financial situation.  Another question the University asked the IRS was whether employees could roll their OTRS money into the optional plan if they leave OTRS.  HR believes there is little economic benefit in leaving OTRS for anyone who came here before 1995.  Another issue that will complicate the decision is that the salary caps will come off in July 2007.  Then employees will have to pay OTRS on total compensation, including certain benefits.  Although some individuals will have to pay more, it will significantly increase their retirement benefit.  People might want to start budgeting for that additional contribution.  HR will pass along any news to employees who need to make a choice.  If the IRS approves the choice, employees will have a year after the approval to make a decision.


Prof. Marcus-Mendoza asked whether the calculator could tell her what she will have to contribute when the caps come off.  Mr. Kelly said the calculator will do that.  He pointed out that employees would get a randomly generated number to access information from the calculator, but there will be no personal identifying information.  Prof. Biggerstaff asked whether the University would provide any financial counseling during the period of transition.  Mr. Kelly said the University would have some general financial counseling.  People in a borderline situation will be able to meet individually with staff who have been trained on those financial issues.  Prof. Kolar asked about the solvency of OTRS.  Mr. Kelly replied that OTRS says there is no retirement system in the country that has been allowed to fail.  The state is aware of its obligation.  OTRS handles investments for individuals, whereas employees are more or less on their own when they invest in defined contribution plans.  OTRS has a long-term plan to reach the average retirement funding of 80 percent; right now it is at 50 percent.  The state is putting more money into OTRS this year.  OTRS has a guaranteed return versus the unpredictable return of defined contribution investments. 





The Information Technology Council requested that a reference to approved ITC policies be added to the Faculty Handbook.  The statement would be added to section 8.12, services and facilities, so the addition should not require any Senate action.


The Provost asked the faculty in the colleges of Fine Arts and Journalism about their views on promoting their interim deans to permanent deans.  She has interviewed the Committees A of both colleges.  The Senate Executive Committee has talked with the president almost every month this year about the search process for the deans of those colleges.  He asked the Executive Committee to help him with the process by interviewing the candidates.  Prof. Knapp asked the senators to notify the Executive Committee or the college Committees A if they or their colleagues had questions or issues they wanted raised.


The Faculty Awards ceremony was held April 6.  More than 45 faculty received awards, including Senator Kolar, who won the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching.  In response to the Faculty Compensation Committee proposal to recognize length of service for faculty members, the Provost agreed to initiate a program this year.  More than 70 faculty were recognized for 30 or more years of service, including Senators Blank, Catlin, Clark, Frech, Kutner, Schwarzkopf, and Wyckoff.  Prof. Knapp congratulated them and said he was grateful to the provost for providing the support.





At the February meeting (see 2/06 Senate Journal), the Senate considered three proposals of the Academic Regulations Committee (ARC) concerning courses with numbers ending in 60, 70, 80, and 90.  The third proposal was approved, with the following revisions (additions highlighted; deletions crossed through):

Proposal 3:  It is also requested that a University policy be adopted so that Directed/Honors Readings, Independent Study, Thesis/Dissertation/Honors Research and Special Topics/Seminar courses will be added to the course inventory as part of the process of creating any new degree-granting department or program.  Existing departments or programs which do not have these courses established would also be identified, and the courses would be created in coordination with the academic department or program.  The Curricular Changes and Academic Publications office will coordinate creating the course forms and will send the forms to the department or program for departmental and dean’s office signatures department or program, dean and provost approval in order to record the date of the action. The requests would not require review/approval by college committees or the Academic Programs Council, which is normally required for adding a course.


As a result of the Senate’s suggestions, the ARC revised proposals one and two as follows:

Proposal 1:  It is requested that a University policy be adopted that all new courses with numbers ending in in the format of x960 (Directed Readings or Honors Readings), x980 (Thesis/Dissertation or Honors Research) and x990 (Independent Study) be S/U graded except by appeal, and that all new courses ending in in the format of x970 (Special Topics/Seminar) be letter or S/U graded at the instructor’s discretion.

Proposal 2:  It is also requested that a University policy be adopted that all new courses with numbers ending in in the format of x960 carry the title of Directed Readings or Honors Readings, courses with numbers ending in in the format of x990 be titled Independent Study, courses with numbers ending in in the format of x980 be called Thesis/Dissertation or Honors Research, and courses with numbers ending in in the format of x970 have the title of either Special Topics or Seminar with an additional variable title.  If a topic is offered under this number, a specific topic could only be offered twice within a six-year period.  After offering the course a maximum of twice, the department must request a permanent number for that specific course content.


Discussing proposal one, Prof. Marcus-Mendoza asked what would happen to requests to letter grade directed readings courses that are currently going through the approval process.  Mr. Breck Turkington, Enrollment Services Director, said his guess was the requests currently in the system would clear as is, and the new policy would be in effect as of fall.  Proposal 1 was approved on a voice vote.


Referring to proposal two, Prof. Marcus-Mendoza noted that the Human Relations Department offers courses on multiple campuses.  She asked whether the second sentence meant a course could only be offered twice within a six-year period per site.  Mr. Turkington answered that multiple sections of the same course offered in the same term would count as once.  Prof. Benson said he thought the last sentence was confusing.  He suggested, as a friendly amendment, that the language be changed to, A course cannot be offered a third time within that six-year period without requesting a permanent number.”  The two voting members of the ARC who were present agreed to the change.  Prof. Megginson proposed that the last part of the sentence read, “…without having approval for a permanent number.”  Prof. Knapp asked whether the revision would lead to any unintended consequences.  Mr. Matt Hamilton, Registrar and Associate Vice President and Chair of the ARC, said the University would notify individuals who offered a course a second time that they needed to start the process if they planned to offer the course a third time.  Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether a department could create a course with another number such as 5950, call it special topics, and have it letter graded.  It would take care of situations described by Prof. Marcus-Mendoza, would allow courses to be taught on a special experimental basis, and could be controlled by the Graduate Council.  Prof. Knapp commented that if a course was offered on an experimental basis, the University should be able to accommodate that rather than build rules to meet every exception.  Prof. Schwarzkopf inquired whether there was flexibility in the system to allow those kinds of exceptions on a special basis.  Mr. Hamilton said the Academic Programs Council would make that decision.  Prof. Knapp remarked that Prof. Megginson’s modification probably should read, “without being approved for a permanent number.”  Proposal 2 was approved on a voice vote, with the last sentence amended to read, “A course cannot be offered a third time within that six-year period without being approved for a permanent number.”  The three proposals, including the revisions, are attached ( 





The Environmental Concerns Committee withdrew its proposal to allow ex-officio members to be voting members of the committee (see 3/06 Senate Journal and  In response to concerns expressed at last month’s Senate meeting, the committee decided to change its bylaws to allow ex-officio members to vote if they hold an office.  The terms of the staff appointments had been increased from two years to three years by the administration 5/23/05 at the request of the Staff Senate when the ECC had asked for equal representation of faculty, staff and students (see 5/05 Senate Journal).  Prof. Knapp commented that since the change was to the committee’s by-laws, the Faculty Senate would not have to take any action.





The Faculty Senate approved a resolution proposed by Prof. Schwarzkopf recognizing Senator Cal Hobson (see 3/06 Senate Journal):  “The Faculty Senate of the University of Oklahoma Norman Campus recognizes Senator Cal Hobson for over a quarter century of service to higher education in general and the University of Oklahoma in particular.”  Prof. Schwarzkopf said the resolution would be presented to Senator Hobson at the April 14 AAUP meeting.  He distributed fliers at the meeting and invited the senators to attend.





The Senate Committee on Committees’ preliminary nominations for the end-of-the-year vacancies on university and campus councils, committees, and boards were distributed at the meeting and will be voted on at the May meeting.  Prof. Frech, chair of the Committee on Committees, asked for volunteers for four openings on committees. 





The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.  The last regular session of the Faculty Senate for 2005-06 will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8, 2006, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


A. Steve Bradford, Secretary