JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE
The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - September 10, 2001 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/
The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Al Schwarzkopf, Chair.
PRESENT: Abraham, Baldwin, Beach, Bemben, Blank, Bozorgi, Clark, Cline, Cox, Crawford, Cuccia, Davis, DeBacker, Dewers, Frech, Gensler, Gollahalli, Greene, Hanson, Harrison, Hart, Hartel, Hawthorne, Henderson, Knapp, Lee, Magid, McInerney, Morrissey, Nelson, Newman, Palmer, Ransom, Robertson, Roegiers, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Scherman, Schwarzkopf, Taylor, Vale, Wieder, Willinger, Wyckoff, Zagzebski
Provost's office representative: Mergler
PSA representatives: Smith
UOSA representatives: Magann
ABSENT: Civan, Foster, Gottesman, Kenderdine, Maiden, Milton, Pender
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Senate members for 2001-02 and schedule of meetings
Faculty Senate and General Faculty parliamentarian
2000-01 annual council reports
Faculty appointments to committees
Disposition by administration of Senate actions for 2000-01
Resources in Faculty Senate office
Revisions to discrimination/harassment grievance procedure
University health care summary plan description
Senate Chair's Report
Discussion of critical issues for 2001-02
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Senate Journal for the regular session of May 7, 2001 was approved.
A list of the Faculty Senate members is attached. The new senators and members of the Senate executive committee were introduced at the meeting.
The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for 2001-02 will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the following Mondays in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102: September 10, October 8, November 12, December 3, January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, and May 6.
The Senate Executive Committee elected Prof. Lindsay Robertson (Law) as parliamentarian of the Faculty Senate and General Faculty.
The compilation of the 2000-01 annual reports of University councils was mailed June 20 to the Faculty Senate members and to chairs/directors and deans to make available to the general faculty. Copies are available from the Senate office.
The 2001-02 list of faculty appointments to committees is available on the Faculty Senate web site at http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/roster.htm.
The summary record of the disposition by the administration of Faculty Senate actions for September 2000 to August 2001 is attached.
Academe, information about joining the AAUP, and the University budget are available in the Senate office.
In January 2001, Mr. Jerry Jensen, University Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer, proposed some revisions to the discrimination/harassment grievance procedure that he thought would make the procedure more understandable and easier to administer. After receiving comments from several faculty members, he decided to withdraw the proposal, saying it seemed that the current procedure was working well and faculty and staff were happy with it in its present form. He asked the Senate to convey his sincere appreciation and thanks to the faculty for the time and effort spent in responding to the proposal.
Copies of the University health care summary plan description were distributed at the meeting. Additional copies are available from the Faculty Senate office or Benefits office.
The Senate approved the following nominations of the Senate Committee on Committees to fill vacancies on Faculty Senate, university, and campus councils, committees, and boards.
Campus Tenure Committee
To replace Karen Hayes-Thumann, 2000-03 term: Dennis Shrock (Music)
Information Technology Council
To replace Barbara Greene, 2001-04 term: K. B. Lee (Mathematics)
Libraries Committee, University
To replace Philippe Foret, 1999-02 term: Cecelia Brown (Library & Information Studies)
Rita Lottinville Prize for Freshmen Committee
To replace Pam Fry, 2000-03 term: Michael Flanigan (English)
Scholars Selection Committee, University
To replace Philippe Foret, 2000-03 term: Mary Jo Watson (Art)
Faculty Senate Executive Committee
To replace Teresa DeBacker, 2001-02 term: Jody Newman (Educational Psychology)
SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Al Schwarzkopf
Prof. Schwarzkopf discussed what happened during the summer and what he expects to go on this year. The Senate has an ongoing and generally positive relationship with the administration. His goal is to continue the partnership.
The legislature earmarked a portion of the new money in the higher education budget, which meant that after taking care of the costs of doing business, there was little money for raises. In spite of that, the President thought it was important to give a 4 percent average increase. About one-fourth of the raise will come from next year's budget. A substantial amount came from altering or cutting out some of the optional programs. For example, the dual career couples and diversity initiatives programs had to be deferred.
Two issues came up in the deans and directors retreat held in late August. One was formal recognition that retaining faculty excellence is important. We are not going to keep the excellent faculty we hire with state money. A possible solution is to use endowment money not just for external searches but to make professorships available for internal retention. We will have to change the Faculty Handbook, which currently mandates a national search, and include due diligence safeguards. That issue has been referred to the Faculty Compensation Committee. The second issue was that OU returned to Tier II status in U.S. News and World Report, based on the slight increase in the graduation rate. We have not been as proactive as a number of other places in trying to keep students here. We have had improvements in the quality of our undergraduates and have raised the standards. This year's freshman class has an average ACT of 25. The President announced that his goal is to have 60 percent of the freshmen graduate within six years. We have a reasonable retention from the freshman to sophomore year; where we lose students is from the sophomore year to graduation. Prof. Schwarzkopf is creating a task force to look into the ways faculty can contribute to a higher retention rate and not lower standards. Anyone interested in participating should contact Prof. Roger Harrison, who will chair the task force.
At the end of October, the North Central Accreditation visitation team will be on campus. One of the problems during the last visit was that nobody knew about the re-accreditation. This time, the university is trying to get the message out that we are being reviewed. Provost Mergler pointed out that the current draft of the self-study is on the OU web page.
On September 11, the regents will consider a modification in benefits, primarily for retirees. Retirees should be no worse off than they currently are. One of the proposals is that those who want to have health and dental benefits paid by the University when they retire must have participated in the benefit program as an active employee. The Faculty Welfare Committee will look into whether someone who has a major life change once s/he retires will be affected by these changes. Prof. Schwarzkopf said his hope was that the Senate could have discussed the changes beforehand. Last year, the Senate went through a major effort to demonstrate that faculty could help if brought in early on changes in benefits.
A couple of faculty reported a shortfall in textbooks for classes this fall. Prof. Schwarzkopf contacted the Vice President for Administrative Affairs and the Provost, and a meeting was held with the bookstore. If it looks like it is a big problem, the Senate may need to revisit the issue.
Referring to the attached list of critical issues, Prof. Schwarzkopf said the list would be updated each month to show the current status. He said it should help the Senators report back to their faculty. Much of the work of the Senate is done by various councils and committees, so this will be a way to track the progress.
Prof. Schwarzkopf called attention to four items on the list of issues. Prof. Harrison will be the Senate's point person for the 60 percent graduation initiative. Second, President Boren has agreed to allow some of the endowment money to be used for internal professorships, but we will need to revise the Faculty Handbook to permit internal searches. In a similar vein, the Senate also will consider whether certain administrative positions need a national search when the position is not primarily academic. Again, the Faculty Handbook would need to be changed so that administrators could be promoted internally but academic integrity is preserved. The Faculty Compensation Committee will address the issue of internal promotion of both faculty and administrators. A third idea is to form a committee to work with the legislature on an on-going basis. The committee, chaired by Prof. Greg Kunesh (Musical Theatre), will plan a proactive program to meet with legislators before they have to vote on issues. Prof. Schwarzkopf said he believed the best engine for economic growth was a strong higher education. He encouraged faculty to serve on the committee or to call legislators and tell them about the good things that are going on at OU. He said, "We want to be known as the University of the state of Oklahoma and not as the University of Norman." The final item--the definition of faculty--concerns the issue of non-tenured instructional personnel. The interests and needs of people who teach classes but are not tenured or tenure-track faculty should not be ignored. Anyone interested in working on this issue should contact Prof. Ed Cline, chair of the task force.
Prof. Magid noted that to get a 60 percent graduation rate after six years would mean 90 percent year-to-year retention. Prof. Schwarzkopf said the goal was 60 percent after four years. The first step is to change the expectations of students. He said he hoped the President would tell new students that they should graduate in four years. Prof. Magid said he merely was pointing out that the University was setting very high year-to-year percentage rates. Provost Mergler explained that our current graduation rate is 50 percent after six years. Five percent are continuing, and most of those students have something like a correspondence course that they need to finish. While the first five percent might be easy to gain, the last five percent will be tough. Our six-year graduation rate right now is based on a 1994 cohort of incoming freshmen. The credentials of freshmen coming in after 1994 have gotten better, so there are some hopeful signs. Students and their parents should focus on how rapidly they expect to reach their goals. Prof. Harrison said he wanted to find out why the problem existed before he made any assumptions. Prof. Taylor said she wondered how much of the problem was record keeping. She commented that some students matriculate into professional programs that do not require a bachelor's degree. Provost Mergler replied that the state regents do not let us count as a success a student who goes to a graduate program without completing an undergraduate degree. The graduation rate pertains only to direct from high school freshmen and not to other students who enter the system in different ways. It is an index that is being used nationally. By any of the standards, we are below our peers. She said she or the Enrollment Management Board could provide information to the task force. Prof. Hart asked whether it was possible to request that transfer students be included. Provost Mergler said the definition was set by the Department of Education. We have about 1000-1200 new transfer students a year. OU has a request before the state regents to raise the GPA from 2.0 to 2.5 for students who transfer in with less than 60 hours in fall 2002. It would apply to residents and non-residents. Students who transfer in with 60 hours or less have an average GPA of 1.8 and do not do well here. The University is trying to get appropriate admission criteria so that transfer students will have a strong likelihood of succeeding.
Prof. Blank asked what the median salary increase was. Provost Mergler said the actual average increase for faculty was 4.5 percent. Prof. Blank said he thought the median was considerably below that. A number of faculty and staff are discouraged because most did not get the average. Prof. Schwarzkopf said he would try to get that figure. He said he hoped to start using endowment money to make major differences in faculty salaries, so it would be important to have median information. Prof. Harrison pointed out that some deans set part of the money aside for special cases.
Prof. Schwarzkopf reported that the Senate Executive Committee met with the President last week. President Boren still remembers that we are trying to include a faculty fitness facility as part of the stadium improvement project. The committee also cautioned him that if any shortfall occurs in the athletic budget, then E&G money has to be used.
DISCUSSION OF CRITICAL ISSUES
Prof. Schwarzkopf invited the Senators to bring up other issues that the Senate should address this year. Prof. McInerney commented that there did not seem to be a policy on whether the Physical Plant or a department was responsible for servicing things that were built into a building. Moreover, the initial bid for work from the Physical Plant is high. Prof. Schwarzkopf said that was an example of a collection of issues that came to the Faculty Senate last year and that he was assigning to a committee. Prof. McInerney volunteered to serve on the committee, and Prof. Taylor volunteered to be the chair. Prof. Taylor mentioned that it could take 75 percent of start up funds just to make major renovations of a lab space. Provost Mergler suggested Bill Henwood, Associate Vice President for Administrative Affairs, for the committee. Prof. Schwarzkopf said Vice President for Research Lee Williams or someone from his office was willing to help, and the Vice President for Technology Development should also be contacted.
Prof. Greene asked about the approach to investigating student retention. Prof. Harrison said he needed to figure out the problem first, by finding out what records the University had and what other people have done and by contacting students. Provost Mergler noted that the University had information on students who drop out. Prof. Greene mentioned that Time magazine had an article the previous week about programs for retaining students. Prof. Taylor said she was not surprised that the greatest loss is at the upper level because students get frustrated that they cannot get the upper division courses they need. Provost Mergler added that another problem was the time students spend at a job. Prof. Schwarzkopf said one possibility was that freshmen retention and scholarships should be lower in order to get the upperclassmen graduated. When asked about students who transfer to professional programs, Provost Mergler said they are counted as dropouts.
Prof. Lee said his colleagues were concerned that the faculty size had not increased at the same rate as the student body. Provost Mergler said the faculty size was the largest it had ever been but was not keeping up with student enrollment. The number of tenured/tenure track faculty is close to 900, and there are additional instructional faculty and researchers. Prof. Taylor asked about the number of clinical (renewable term) faculty. Provost Mergler said we had about 15. Prof. Schwarzkopf said the issue of non-tenured faculty would be addressed by the faculty redefinition committee. President Boren has indicated that he wants the student body to be at the current size or smaller. Provost Mergler explained that we would have had about 300 fewer freshmen if the change implemented in March had been in place the whole year. Prof. Schwarzkopf observed that under the state regents' formula for allocating money, it did not seem to matter whether enrollment went up or down. Provost Mergler responded that the state regents had just changed their system effectiveness rating to three criteria: one-year retention rate, six-year graduation rate, and the number of graduates (degrees).
Prof. Taylor said a critical issue was compression and inversion of mid-career faculty salaries. New assistant professors make almost as much as mid-career faculty. Provost Mergler asked whether that was important enough to allocate a dollar amount to compression and inversion instead of giving across-the-board raises to everybody. Prof. Taylor said she thought some of both needed to be done, and ideally some funds other than state funds could be utilized. She said she thought merit raises could be used as a mechanism. Provost Mergler said it did not look like there would be much extra money this year. There are about 60 endowed positions to be filled, which means some resources. Prof. Schwarzkopf noted that some of the deans wanted to take care of the current associate professors and would be happy not to see another endowed chair. Discussions are taking place with the President about using endowment money for retention of faculty excellence. Prof. McInerney said he would argue for some kind of raise every year. In prior years, some faculty members have had productive years in times when there were no raises. Provost Mergler added that before there was a separate pool for promotions, some people were promoted in a year without raises. Prof. Taylor said a three-year average evaluation could catch people who missed out.
The meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, October 8, 2001, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
James S. Hart, Jr., Secretary