The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – May 11, 2009 – 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 Cecelia Brown, Chair.


PRESENT:       Ahmed (0), Asojo (3), Atiquzzaman (0), Basic (3), Bass (2), D. Bemben (2), M. Bemben (0), Blank (0), Bradshaw (0), Brown (0), Brule (3), Buckley (1), Clark (1), Conlon (0), Eodice (1), Forman (0), Franklin (2), Grasse (0), Greene (2), Hahn (0), Hawthorne (1), Horn (2), Kent (0), Kershen (2), Lifschitz (2), Livesey (0), McDonald (1), Miller (1), Morrissey (2), Moses (1), Muraleetharan (0), Reeder (2), Riggs (3), Russell (2), Sadler (1), Schmidt (2), Strauss (2), Tan (2), Trafalis (1), Vehik (0), Verma (0), Vitt (1)

ISA representatives:  Bondy, Cook

ABSENT:         Apanasov (2), Graham (3), Milton (2), Rambo (3), Rogers (3), Striz (3), Weaver (3), Wyckoff (2), Yi (2)


[Note: During the period from June 2008 to May 2009, the Senate held 8 regular sessions and no special sessions.  The figures in parentheses above indicate the number of absences.]






Schedule of Senate meetings for fall 2009

Summary of Speakers Service program

Faculty retirees

Bicycle resolution, Final exam preparation period

Remarks by Athletics Director Joe Castiglione


Senate Chair's Report:

Making up classes due to unscheduled closings

Publishing colloquium

Recycling: phone books, textbooks

Faculty award recipients

Meeting with OSU and HSC

Status of faculty issues

Certificates of appreciation

Resolution of appreciation to Prof. Cecelia Brown

Election, councils/committees/boards and Senate standing committees

Election, Senate Executive Committee






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of April 13, 2009 was approved.





The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for fall 2009 will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102 on the following Mondays:  September 14, October 12, November 9, and December 14.


Summary of the activities of the Faculty Senate Speakers Service for the past year:  From May 2008 to April 2009, the Faculty Senate office arranged for 44 faculty and staff to give 141 presentations to 99 organizations in 32 communities throughout the state.  The Faculty Senate and the University sincerely appreciate the members of the Speakers Service who share their expertise and knowledge with the people of Oklahoma.


The Faculty Senate thanks these faculty members who retired during the past academic year for their dedication and contribution to our community.





Dickey, Leonid




El-Ibiary, M. Yousif

Electrical Engineering



Holmes, Gary

Human Relations (Tulsa)



McMillen, Kenneth




McQuarrie, Frank

Instr. Lead. & Acad. Curr.



Milhouse, Virginia

Arts & Sciences



Ogilvie, Marilyn

History of Science



Phelan, Andrew

Art & Art History



Toothaker, Larry




Wahl, M. Iver





In response to the resolution concerning bicycles on campus, which was approved by the Senate on April 13, President Boren said, “I am strongly supportive of these issues, and we will soon implement a campus bicycle plan that will guide the development of bicycling infrastructure on our campus.  I am very thankful for the great faculty input into the plan’s development.”  In response to the March 9 Senate vote against changes in the final exam preparation period, President Boren said, “As discussed with the Executive Committee, we will work toward greater awareness of the existing policy without changes at this time.”





Prof. Brown explained that Mr. Castiglione had been coming each year to a spring meeting of the Senate to give an update on what has been going on with the Athletics Department.  Mr. Castiglione said he always tries to keep his remarks very open and likes to leave time for questions.  He thanked Prof. Brown for inviting him and continuing the tradition.  He also meets with the Health Sciences Center Faculty Senate every year.  He recognized Prof. Connie Dillon, Faculty Athletics Representative for the NCAA and Big 12 conference, who also serves an important role with the Athletics Council.  Senate member Abi Asojo is a member of the Athletics Council too. 


Academically, the Athletics Department had one of its best years.  Last fall, 42 student-athletes earned a 4.0; for spring 2008, 46 earned a 4.0.  For those two semesters, more than two-thirds of all student-athletes, who number at least 355, earned 3.0 GPA or better.  The goal is to get the cumulative GPA of all teams to that level.  Last semester, 11 of 21 teams had a 3.0 GPA or better.  Several student-athletes have been recognized as Academic All-Americans, and many others have received other kinds of academic honors.  According to the Academic Progress Rate data recently released by the NCAA, our football team has the best APR in the Big 12 conference.


Some initiatives in the department will give student-athletes a chance to use their experiences in athletics to meet some of their academic goals.  OU is one of the leaders in college athletics in upgrading facilities and now has new video boards in football, basketball and some other sports venues as well as HD capabilities.  The department has worked with the College of Journalism over the last two years to offer students the opportunity to experience live production.  Toward the end of the basketball season, 15 of the 16 individuals who worked on the production of basketball for television were students.  Many of the packages and features on the video boards have been produced by OU students.


For the tenth consecutive year, the department will have a balanced budget, in spite of the economy and other concerns.  OU is one of only 4-6 schools whose Athletics Department is self-sustaining.  Athletics does not depend on any state support, does not receive any institutional dollars, and does not receive any student fees.  The department is self-sufficient and would like to remain self-sufficient and self-sustaining.  It is not immune from the economic challenges faced by the rest of the campus and other campuses.  Mr. Castiglione has taken steps to minimize any financial stress and is always looking for ways to increase revenues.  He is conservative with revenue projections and uses a zero-based budget philosophy.  The loan provided to the department for some debt incurred in the 1990s is being repaid in an accelerated manner and should be paid off in 2012, which is 10-11 years earlier than expected.  Strategies have been put in place to make the budget work.  For example, the Athletics Department pays a lower per diem and mileage reimbursement than the rest of the university, benchmarks what it is doing against other institutions, and watches closely the scheduling and traveling of teams to make sure it is done in the best way possible and minimizes non-essential travel.


For the last several years, a portion of home football ticket sales has gone to academics.  A fee of $2 per ticket per game goes to the institution to support academic initiatives.  Mr. Castiglione said he realizes that there would not be any athletics without academics and that athletics is here to support the institutional mission in the best way possible.  In turn, the institution has recognized that intercollegiate athletics adds to the quality of life on campus.  This year the fee will be increased to $5 per ticket per home game to support academic programs.  The fee has provided about $5.1 million of unrestricted support so far, and the increase is expected to add another $2 million this academic year.  Intercollegiate athletics wants to be a good partner so we can have the best possible campus environment. 


The compliance staff was expanded to eight full-time people.  A big undertaking was the automation of the department.  A data base was created to log rules and interpretation, which allows them to track, monitor, and interpret rules for coaches, staff and student-athletes.  It has strengthened the compliance program.  The competitive success has created over $20,000 for the campus to use for scholarships for students through the “player of the game.”  A green team was established to apply sustainable business practices to the day-to-day operation and to some of the venues.  The department has an athletics diversity council and is one of the most diverse departments on campus.  Dr. Penny Pasque (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies) is conducting research on some of the diversity initiatives that the department put in place.


It has been a pretty good year in terms of athletic performance, and some sports are still competing.  Individually and team wise, our programs have really excelled.  Football won a third straight Big 12 championship, played in a national championship game, and produced the National Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy winner.  Men’s basketball went to the Elite Eight, finished in the top ten and also produced the National Player of the Year.  Courtney Paris was the first four-time all American in women’s basketball history.  So far, four teams have won regular season conference titles, and several finished in the top 15 in the country.  Mr. Castiglione said he was willing to answer questions and to give as much information as he could.


Prof. Sadler said he loved the new baseball score board but noticed two typos on a game that is played.  Mr. Castiglione said some editing still needed to be done but he would look into it.  Prof. Bass asked if he had any plans to reinstitute the faculty coach program, where a faculty member is invited to certain sports events and gets to be on the sidelines.  Mr. Castiglione said the program had not been eliminated, but that some sports may not get it going each year.  He said he would check.


Prof. Brown asked about the impact the draft had on baseball.  Mr. Castiglione said student-athletes come to OU to improve their skills if they do not get drafted out of high school.  Scouts come to every game.  Many student-athletes have advisers by the 7th or 8th grade.  They come to campus to give themselves a chance to be successful.  That does not mean they are not interested in academics.  A coach almost has to manage the program in two-year increments.  Some student-athletes go to junior colleges to work on their skills and then come here for the last two years.  Hopefully, we can get them to graduate before they go into the pros.  Sometimes they come back and graduate.  In fact, we have one of the best degree completion programs in the country.  We created a good tracking system so we can get them to come back and finish their degrees.  The department advises them and tries to get them to a point of graduation. 


Prof. Brown asked Mr. Castiglione about the coaches’ raises.  Mr. Castiglione replied that OU is in a unique environment, especially with a successful athletics program.  The reason we are having success is because we have been able to generate the revenue necessary to best package our program.  In many cases, our coaches are considered the best in the business.  If we ignore the market place, then we have a problem with retention.  Our coaches are the reason why the program is self-sustaining.  The compensation of the coaches is commensurate with the market, their performance, and how their teams do overall.  The increase in compensation is paid from sources that would not be possible without their success.  It comes from radio and television, corporate sponsorship, and licensing revenue.  At the same time, we have to navigate a difficult journey because many of the staff will not get raises, just like the rest of the campus.  It is important to keep the people who are creating success and, when possible, to share the success with the rest of the campus, such as with the academic enhancement fee and the endowment that was created several years ago for the University library.  In the last month, Sam Bradford, Coach Sherri Coale and Coach Bob Stoops were on the cover of magazines.  The student-athletes and coaches profoundly impact our state. 


Prof. Forman noted that a lot of money comes the University’s way when we go to a playoff or bowl game.  However, the Athletics Department takes quite a few people on the trips, which is expensive.  Mr. Castiglione said the travel size reflects the type of bowl.  A travel allowance is put in place by the conference, and it is larger for a BCS bowl.  For the Athletics Department, it is a business trip.  They have to move their operations to another city for eight or nine days.  It is very expensive to move the players, coaches and their families, support staff, University delegation, and the marching band.  A budget is set aside, and it is the Athletics Department’s job to stay within the budget.  The department does it in a cost-efficient way but still makes it a first-class experience for student-athletes, because they got us there, they deserve the reward, and hopefully it puts them in a great position to win the game.


Prof. Muraleetharan pointed out that another tangible benefit of having a successful athletics program is it makes fundraising easier for the University.  Mr. Castiglione said there is some debate on whether a successful athletics program has an effect on institutional fundraising and admissions applications.  A good athletics program is like a high tide in the harbor: it can raise all the boats.  Perhaps the program can bring recognition and visibility to the University.  The program’s mission is to be successful but also to stay true to its core values. 


Prof. Bass asked whether the coaches would again pledge financial support for the library.  Mr. Castiglione said he could not speak for them.  However, a number of the coaches help the campus and the community in many ways and do it without a lot of publicity.  It is their choice whether they support the library or something else. 





Human Resources Assistant Director Nick Kelly said he hoped to bring a new and positive message to Faculty Senate about wellness.  Wellness has been discussed with the Faculty Senate for several years.  This year, the administration has made a commitment to instill a culture of wellness and help people achieve wellness.  It started with the president’s committee, which resulted in a subcommittee that had a lot of ideas on how to encourage wellness.  One approach does not work for everybody, but the expectation is to develop an effective partnership with the faculty.  One cannot put a price on the ability of people to lead more productive and healthier lives.  One of the first steps was to hire Breion Rollins as the wellness coordinator.  He is housed at the HSC but is responsible for all three campuses.  Mr. Kelly said HR would be happy to hear any thoughts and suggestions.


Mr. Rollins said HR had a great deal of success with the screenings that were held during staff week events in April.  He said he was aware that the event was geared toward the staff.  He would like to set up some dates in the fall to do screening events for faculty.  The screenings test for cholesterol, blood glucose, body fat, and BMI.  About 1500 faculty and staff were screened during the first event.  They were able to talk with people about health problems or about excellent health.  Surveys showed that weight management is a primary interest.  HR will try to implement something like Weight Watchers at work in the near future.  There is also interest in smoking cessation.  Mr. Rollins asked for suggestions on how to get people involved in the screenings, which are free to all employees.  A walking program will be coming up.  Pedometers were given to those who came to a screening, and they will be issued to participants in the walking program. 


Prof. Vitt said he thought it would be useful if the campus would develop a strategy for eliminating smoking campus wide.  Mr. Rollins said that is being discussed.  Perhaps next time he may be able to give an update on that.  Prof. Muraleetharan asked if the wellness program had a web site.  Mr. Rollins said the URL is  Prof. Morrissey asked when the next wellness check would be held.  Mr. Rollins said he would like to schedule it for two days in early fall from 8 to 5.  The process takes about 20 minutes, and individuals are given the information to pass along to their health care provider.  Prof. Brown asked about the possibility of adding a bone density screening.  Mr. Rollins said he would look into it.  Prof. Brown noted that some fitness centers in town offer discounts to OU employees.  Mr. Rollins said he could take suggestions on places he should call to ask for discounts.


Prof. Vitt commented that there is a big delay in when employees are paid and when the retirement contribution arrives at TIAA-CREF.  The delay is longer than for other companies and totals about 124 days a year.  Mr. Kelly said there had been a transition in the way OU sends the funds to TIAA-CREF.  HR hopes to shorten the time to be the same as other vendors.  We are within the applicable guidelines.  Within the next month, the time frame should be about the same.  Prof. Vitt said it seemed that we should be able to transfer money within minutes with electronic transfer.  Mr. Kelly said our payroll has to go to the state and come back, which does not save much time.  Prof. Vitt said the TIAA-CREF delay is 70 days longer than other vendors.  TIAA-CREF says the state has to cut a check to the plan.  Mr. Kelly said we may be able to eliminate some days from the process.  It would be consistent with the other vendors.  Prof. Vitt asked if an update could be provided in the fall.  Mr. Kelly he could do that. 


Prof. Forman reported that a TIAA-CREF representative had indicated that the University might leave the program.  Mr. Kelly said he was surprised that a TIAA-CREF representative would say that.  We are in the process of trying to get a single administrator.  With the market situation, some of the expectations have changed and some of the pricing may be different.  Several outcomes could happen.  It is a longer process than anticipated, and we are not close to a resolution.  HR is convinced we will have a better program, clearer choices, lower fees, consolidated statements, and loan features. 


Prof. Moses asked if any changes would be made before they could be communicated to the faculty in the fall.  Mr. Kelly said HR is in the process of discussion and negotiation.  Before any big change is made, there will be communication to the faculty and staff and some opportunity for feedback.  It is not likely that anything would be done over the summer. 


Prof. Brown asked about the status of the retiree medical benefits.  Mr. Kelly said the committee still is working hard on that, is trying to reach a decision, and has received a lot of feedback.  There are no good answers.  Some resolution should be available in a couple of months, but the committee needs more discussion.  Any recommendation will go to the president, who will decide when and what to present to the board of regents.  Prof. Brown said President Boren assured the Senate Executive Committee that it would not be a summer surprise because there is no rush.  Prof. Bob Dauffenbach, Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee, said in a meeting last week with President Boren, he expressed concern about moving the decision forward rapidly.  President Boren said nothing would be decided over the summer.  Any committee recommendation would be brought before the faculty.  Prof. Brown said Prof. Dauffenbach had worked hard on this and had proposed some alternatives. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Cecelia Brown


“Last month the Small Executive Committee proposed a policy for scheduling make-up classes when the University has an unscheduled closing, with a plan to vote on it at this meeting.  Since we are working on the wording and gathering data on its interpretation, it is not ready for a vote at this time.


“The Publishing Colloquium on April 24 in the new offices of the Writing Center in Wagner Hall, sponsored by the Program for Instructional Innovation and the OU Writing Center and Prof. Franklin’s brainchild, was a great success.  There were 60 people in attendance, with representation from the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and engineering.  Graduate students, post docs and faculty were in the audience.  There was a terrific morning of panels about publishing scholarly works and writing grant proposals, followed by an afternoon workshop where attendees developed a research writing agenda for summer.  We are planning for this to be an annual event.  We have support from the president and provost, so look for it again next spring.


“In March Bill Henwood from Physical Plant came to our meeting and told us about recycling on campus.  Physical Plant’s recycling program has been expanded to accept phone books year round.  Those offices disposing of small quantities (fewer than 10) can place their phone books in regular paper recycling containers.  Offices with a large number of phone books to recycle may contact Recycling at, and someone will come to pick them up.  The other good news is their high-powered paper shredder is working really well.  All office paper is shredded.  Lockable recycling containers are available upon request for confidential material.  If you have any questions, please contact Physical Plant.


“One issue that was brought up was what to do with old textbooks.  Physical Plant does not believe they have the resources currently to recycle textbooks, but Grettie Bondy, who is one of the Informational Staff Association representatives to Faculty Senate from Staff Senate, and many of you know her for her role as the Undergraduate Advisor in English, has been the sponsor of two student groups that for several years have held an annual book drive for prison libraries and the Veterans Administration volunteer groups, among others; however, these groups are not interested in textbooks.  Grettie has recently learned of an organization called BetterWorldBooks that promotes textbook drives on campuses across the country.” 


Ms. Bondy distributed a handout describing the textbook drive.  Students are interested in doing this because it would raise money to buy books for some literacy projects.  The student groups would like to know whether faculty members would be interested in participating and whether August would be a good time.  If a book is less than 10 years, BetterWorldBooks pays fairly good money.  If a book is over 10 years old, they will sell them or send them to international literacy projects.  They do not ever destroy books.  We could try it once and see how it goes.  We only need 25 books per drive.  Comments may be sent to Ms. Bondy. 


“Several senators were honored at the Faculty Tribute on April 23.  Karl Rambo was awarded the Provost’s Outstanding Academic Advising Award, Kevin Grasse was given a Regents Award for Superior Professional and University Service and Public Outreach, Muralee Muraleetharan became a David Ross Boyd Professor.  Kevin Grasse and Provost Mergler celebrated 30 years at OU this year, while James Hawthorne and David Tan were recognized for 20 years at OU.  Congratulations!  Unfortunately, we lost three faculty the past year:  Loren Hill, Michael Pfau, and Andy VanGundy.  The Senate wants to express sympathy to their families.  We are grateful for their service.  They will be missed.


“In April, the Executive Committee met with OSU and HSC at the Health Science Center.  Each year the three campuses take turns hosting the meeting, and this year it was hosted by OUHSC.  The three campuses have similar concerns about the budget and about student plagiarism.  On the positive side, all are working towards more sustainability and greening of our campuses. 


“I would like to thank all the senators, the Executive Committee, Jon Forman, our Parliamentarian, and the Provost for all their hard work and dedication this year!  We have made progress this year in green initiatives by learning more about recycling, passing the bicycle resolution, and moving toward doing student evaluations of teaching online.  So far the response rate is about 30 percent with the Arts & Sciences pilot using the homegrown eValuate system.  The Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences College will do its evaluations online this summer.


“Also this year we are beginning to see our health care provider benefits move from treating illness towards promoting wellness among faculty and staff for disease prevention and improved quality of life.”





Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the following outgoing senators who completed full three-year terms (2006-09):  Rozmeri Basic, Debra Bemben, Mike Bemben, W. Steve Brule, Jon Forman, J. Scott Greene, Steve Livesey, Karl Rambo, Wayne Riggs, David Tan, Laurie Vitt and Barry Weaver.  Certificates also were presented to other senators whose terms expired and to the outgoing members of the Senate Executive Committee. 





Before the resolution of appreciation was read, Prof. Conlon reminded the group that Prof. Brown’s research focuses on the relationship between trainer and trainee. 

Whereas Cecy has worked tirelessly to strengthen close and effective relationships with many constituencies associated with the University, in particular the administration, staff, students, and media, and

Whereas Cecy has encouraged commitment to a program of promoting a healthier and greener campus through multiple collaborative initiatives, and

Whereas Cecy has trained us to use best practices research to inform discussions of faculty concerns across campus regarding recruitment and retention policies, and

Whereas Cecy has, with good humor and patience, been our coach and spotted us in dialogues on changes to classroom activities such as dead week, campus closings, and online evaluations, and

Whereas Cecy did the heavy lifting required in the naming of the Ed Cline Faculty Development Awards, and

Whereas Cecy has steadily increased the repetitions of communication between Faculty Senate and Administrators so that we have built up the transparency regarding changes to employee compensation and benefits policies, and

Whereas, these efforts have strengthened faculty governance on campus,

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate expresses its sincere appreciation to Professor Cecelia Brown for providing leadership and service to the University faculty for the academic year 2008-2009.


By applause, the resolution was unanimously approved by the Senate.  Prof. Franklin presented Prof. Brown with a certificate of appreciation and an engraved clock.  Prof. Franklin then assumed the office of 2009‑10 Senate chair. 





The Senate approved the Committee on Committees' nominations for end-of-the-year vacancies on university and campus councils/committees/boards and Faculty Senate standing committees (attached).  The names of the remaining volunteers will be forwarded to the administration to consider for the appointments they make. 





The Senate elected the following faculty to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for 2009-10:



Lucy Lifschitz (Associate Professor of Mathematics, Ph.D. Yale, at OU since 2001)

Mark Morrissey (Associate Professor of Meteorology, Ph.D. Hawaii, at OU since 1993)

K.K. Muraleetharan (Professor of Civil Engr. & Environmental Science, Ph.D. California-Davis, at OU since 1994)


Amy Bradshaw (Associate Professor of Educ. Psychology, Ph.D. Arizona State, at OU since 1998)


C. LeRoy Blank (Professor of Chemistry, Ph.D. Kansas, at OU since 1973)





The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, September 14, 2009, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Paula Conlon, Faculty Secretary