The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session –
September 8, 2003 - 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 Mike McInerney, Chair.


PRESENT:       Abraham, Baldwin, Bozorgi, Bradford, Brady, Brown, Burns, Caldwell, Cintrón, Davis, Devenport, Dohrmann, Fincke, Forman, Frech, Hartel, Havlicek, Hayes-Thumann, Henderson, Houser, Huseman, Kauffman, C. Knapp, R. Knapp, Liu, Marcus-Mendoza, McInerney, Megginson, Mendoza, Milton, Morrissey, Newman, Pender, Penrose, Rai, Ransom, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Schramm, Striz, Watts, Whitely, Wyckoff, Yuan

UOSA representatives:  Price 


ABSENT:         Catlin, Dewers, Ferreira, Grier, Hart, Scherman, Sievers, Wheeler  






Senate members for 2003-04 and schedule of meetings

Faculty Senate and General Faculty parliamentarian

2002-03 annual council reports

Faculty appointments to committees

Disposition by administration of senate actions for 2002-03

Resources in Faculty Senate office

Health benefits

Faculty development award guidelines

Senate Chair's Report:

Graduation rates of student-athletes

Health, retirement benefits; parking fee increases

Faculty development award

Classroom maintenance

Regents’ policy manual, renewable term faculty

Senate reapportionment

Peer universities

Academic misconduct—admonition

Research compliance

Legislative relations

Child care

Indirect cost rate

Faculty raises

Issues for 2003-04






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of May 5, 2003 was approved.





A list of the Faculty Senate members is attached.  Prof. McInerney introduced the new senators and the Executive Committee members.  Prof. McInerney asked the senators to let him know about issues the Executive Committee should address. 

The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for 2003-04 will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the following Mondays in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102: September 8, October 13, November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 8, April 12, and May 3.

The senate Executive Committee elected Prof. Roy Knapp (Petroleum & Geological Engineering) as parliamentarian of the Faculty Senate and General Faculty.

The compilation of the 2002-03 annual reports of University councils was e-mailed July 29 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 2003-04 list of faculty appointments to committees is available on the Faculty Senate web site at

The summary record of the disposition of Faculty Senate actions for September 2002 to August 2003 is below.  Prof. McInerney noted that the nepotism, compliance, academic misconduct, and computer policies had been approved by the regents. 


Date of Senate meeting



Disposition by administration;



Faculty appointments to councils/committees

Faculty Senate

Appointed; 7-3-03




Nepotism policy

Legal Counsel

Approved; 10-17-02



Compliance policy

Legal Counsel

Approved; 1-7-03



Tuition and fees

Faculty Senate

Accepted; 2-26-03



Computer policies--Security, Acceptable Use

Info. Tech. Council, IT, Legal Counsel

Approved; 5-9-03



Suggestions on How to Deal with Addtl. Budget Shortfalls

Faculty Senate
Fac. Comp. Comm.

Acknowledged with appreciation;



Faculty appointments to councils/committees

Faculty Senate

Appointed; 6-6-03



Academic Misconduct Code

Provost office

Approved; 6-6-03



Computer policy--E-Mail Use

Info. Tech. Council, IT, Legal Counsel

Approved; 5-28-03

*Full text of recommendation can be found in Faculty Senate Journal for date indicated at left

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe and the University budget are available in the senate office.

Because of the meeting of the OU regents and a presentation to the state regents, President Boren had to cancel his State of the University address scheduled for this meeting.  He will come instead to the October 13 meeting.





Human Resources Director Julius Hilburn and Mr. Joe Taylor from Mercer consulting firm gave an update on what happened with health benefits in the last year and what  changes will be made in the HealthChoice (state) plan. 


Mr. Taylor explained that for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2003, the funding for the health plan was $38.8 million.  The actual projected cost looks to be about $47 million, which means the University had to fund the difference.  Basically, we under-budgeted by 21 percent.  For Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the rates were 15.8 percent insufficient; for Schaller-Anderson, the rates were 22.5 percent below the actual need.  Mr. Taylor showed what the rates would have been had the premiums covered the claims plus expenses.  Schaller Option 2 rates for 2003-04, based on health care inflation, were projected to increase another 19.7 percent or to $344 per employee.  The state high option rate for 2003 is $267 per employee.  The difference is about $8 million worth of extra expense had we stayed with our Option 2 plan.


Prof. Hartel asked whether we had tried to find another company that could insure us for $38 million.  Mr. Taylor said because of the time frame and other issues, the state plan was the best option for July 2003.  For the next year, we will look at our options and address issues that are not working well.  Prof. Striz pointed out that the state plan distinguishes between one child and multiple children, and the premium for multiple children is higher than for one child.  Mr. Hilburn said he recognized that the new structure was different.  However, the state rates are lower than what we had for an employee plus children.  The big difference in premium is when a spouse is included.  What made the change critical and why it had to be done in a very short time frame was the growing deficit and the possibility that our funding from the state would be reduced.  We needed to move from being responsible for the full amount as a self-insured organization to the predictability of an insured arrangement.  At the same time, the administration made a commitment to look at other options for 2005 and get input from the committees and governance groups.  Prof. Hartel remarked that since the insurance business is competitive, the university should be able to propose a package to six or seven good companies and find out which ones could insure us for $38 million.  Mr. Hilburn said Prof. Hartel had described the process we will go through (see later comments). 


Mr. Hilburn said we were about to start enrollment for calendar year 2004.  The state will have a nine percent rate increase for individual coverage.  The University will continue to pay the full amount for employees and retirees.  Dependent rates will increase by an average of 12 percent.  The preliminary recommendation was to increase the deductible, but based on feedback from clients and the governor, the state moderated the increases by using some investment earnings.  Office co-pays will increase from $20 to $25.  The $1 million lifetime maximum cap on medical expenses was eliminated, and the lifetime maximum for pharmacy was increased to $2 million.  The out-of-pocket maximum increased from $2300 to $2800.  A new option, called the basic plan, will be available to employees and their eligible dependents.  Under the basic plan, the first $500 of eligible expenses is covered, the next $500 for an individual ($1000 for family) is the deductible, then benefits are paid at 50 percent, subject to a maximum of $5500 for an individual ($11,000 for family).  The premiums are about 12 percent lower than the high option.  It has a component of consumerism in that the employee decides how to spend the $500.  Representative from the state will speak at a series of employee meetings on campus about the new basic plan and the changes in the high option plan.  Prof. R. Knapp asked whether there would be a co-pay for an office visit in the first $500.  Mr. Hilburn said, “No, it would be covered at 100 percent until you reach the $500.”  The plan might be worth the risk for someone who does not use much health care, but it is probably not for someone with chronic conditions.


Prof. Burns commented that individuals were concerned about medical coverage when they travel.  Mr. Hilburn said the administration would consider options for 2005.  He has already met with various groups, such as the senate Executive Committee.  Only about 4-5 insurers have the financial stability and broad networks necessary to take on our 9000 employees.  We would want a long-term commitment in terms of rate guarantees so we do not have to keep switching plans.  Although we bring a lot of people to the table, we have people who use a lot of health care.  Our demographics are not ideal in that our group is a little older and uses health care a lot more than the normal.  Because some of our faculty and staff work at a health center, they tend to utilize health care more than the average.  Human Resources will aggressively seek proposals from national companies.  When asked whether any of the companies were non-profit, Mr. Taylor said the closest thing would be Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  He noted, though, that even non-profits try to build reserves.  Mr. Hilburn said the administration would be working with the state plan as well.  One of the biggest issues is for people who travel or live out of state.  He will continue to press that point with the state.  Most plans have a way to rent networks out of state, but the state has not made that change.


Prof. Kauffman asked about cost and coverage comparisons with other universities.  Mr. Hilburn said we were the last university in the state to go with the state plan.  Mr. Taylor said the national average increase in health care for 2004 is 15-22 percent.  Most companies, including state and private universities, are having the employee pay more.  For 2004, there will be bigger deductibles, out-of-pocket, and contributions across the country.  Prof. Kauffman asked for information on costs and increases for the Big 12 schools for the last 5 years.  Mr. Hilburn said OU is about in the middle in terms of plan design.  We pay 100 percent for employees and nothing for dependents and spouses.  At some universities, the employee pays something and the dependent’s coverage is subsidized by some amount.  The Employment Benefits Committee discussed whether to charge some for employees and use the dollars saved to buy down the increases for dependents and spouses.  When it was discussed across campus, the majority did not want to change what the university is paying for employees and retirees.  One of the criticisms in changing to the state plan was that there was not enough time and dialogue.  The process for 2005 will allow time to select an alternative to the state plan by May, compare it to the state plan in August, when those rates are established, and have the regents make a decision in September.  Responding to earlier questions, Mr. Taylor noted that ten years ago, 15 vendors might have been interested in our business.  However, now only four or five are financially viable with good ratings.  It is unlikely the rates that are bid will be lower than the state’s 2004 rates.  Health care costs will go up about 15-22 percent again.  As Medicare gets less funding, there will be more cost shifting to employers who sponsor health care plans.  Prof. Striz asked whether we could get a better benefit.  Mr. Taylor said the university would look at that but would have to consider the cost as well.


Prof. McInerney pointed out that the Faculty Welfare Committee would probably solicit opinions from the faculty to get ideas on how the decisions should be made.  Also, the Employment Benefits Committee will be involved in the RPF analysis, so there will be faculty and staff input on the bidding process.  Mr. Hilburn said he would share information with the Faculty Senate at some of the decision points.  Mr. Taylor commented that a finalist will be selected in April and the company’s proposal will be compared to the state plan in August.  Typically, the process and selection are done at the same time.  Prof. Megginson asked whether the information presented would be available electronically.  Mr. Taylor said he would set it up in PDF format so that the senate office could distribute it.   [Note:  The information was sent electronically to the senators on September 17 and is available from the senate office.]





Prof. McInerney explained that former senate chair Ed Cline had arranged to get some money for faculty development.  President Boren earmarked $15,000 for that purpose last year.   The proposed guidelines (attached) are somewhat analogous to those of the Research Council.  A committee, with representation from the Research Council, will review proposals, probably in the fall and spring.  The awards will differ from the ones awarded by the Research Council in that all aspects of a faculty member’s responsibilities, for instance teaching, could be supported, not just research.  Awards will be limited to $2500.  The application will be short.  Prof. McInerney asked the senators to review the proposed guidelines and make suggestions.  The senate will vote in October.  He noted that President Boren said he would provide additional funds for the award for next year.   



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Mike McInerney


“First, I would like to commend our student athletes and Joe Castiglione and his staff for their commitment to academics.  The results of all of their hard work are evident by exceptional improvement in the graduation rates of our student-athletes.  We were best in the Big 12 in graduation rates this year. 

“During the summer, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and I have been busy on a number of issues. In addition to meeting with Julius Hilburn and Benefits Manager Nick Kelly about health and retirement benefits, we met with Nick Hathaway in June to discuss parking fee increases.  Parking fees did go up, but they did not go up as much as originally planned.  We were able to prorate the fee increases over several years in order to avoid a large increase in a year where we have seen reductions in benefits and no pay increases.

“We will keep pushing for additional funding for the Faculty Development Award so the faculty can have support for both teaching and research.

“Last year, the issue of classroom maintenance was brought to the attention of the Executive Committee.  Provost Mergler has established a task force to review all aspects of the classroom environment including, maintenance, technology, access (disability) and novel teaching approaches.  The Provost has earmarked money for this purpose. The task force is active and recently conducted a survey of the facilities on campus.

“Last year, the regents wanted a single manual that covered their responsibilities for all of the campuses under their direction.  Basically, it will put all the policies in one place.  Provost Mergler compiled a document that was reviewed by a committee set up by Ed Cline last year.  We have established a committee this year to work with the Provost to finalize the document. David Levy will be the chair of the committee.  We will keep the senate informed of the progress of this committee. 

“One outcome of the regents’ manual is the differences in how renewable term faculty is viewed on the Health Science Center and the Norman campuses.  Such faculty, clinical faculty, has representation on their senate at the HSC. Our renewable term faculty does not.  We would like to set up a committee to review this issue for the Norman campus, particularly the form of representation on the senate.  We would like to get representation from across campus and are seeking volunteers to serve on this committee. Please contact me or Valerie Watts.  The provost has put a maximum of 10 percent renewable term faculty relative to regular faculty (tenured/tenure track faculty).  One of the fears was that there would be a big shift from tenured/tenure track to renewable, so that will not be the case.

“We also need individuals to serve on a committee to study the reapportionment of the senate.  The charge is to do this on a regular basis.

"The provost would like the senate to look at what would be good peer institutions for assessment purposes.  We need individuals to serve on a committee.  This is an important issue because when the president seeks additional funding, we can say we want to strive to be like this university, and this is what we need to do to get there.  It also helps us to explain what we need to do with the funding we get. 

“Greg Heiser in the Provost’s office has established a series of web pages to explain the new admonition option of the academic misconduct policy.  In reviewing the information on these sites, I believe that Greg has done an excellent job in providing a clear explanation of the policy and how to implement it for the faculty and the students.

“I talked to the new Compliance Officer, Debra Chionopoulos, this summer.  The Norman campus now has a second Internal Review Board, which will hopefully expedite proposal review.  Another issue was hotline reports, which is a federal mandate.  That seems to be a non-issue.  To date, there have not been any hotline reports. She will come to one of the Executive Committee meetings to make a report on this, as recommended last year.

“Al Schwarzkopf will head up a committee on legislative relations, which will work with the President’s office to better communicate our needs and accomplishments to the State Legislature.  We need to communicate what we are doing at OU, why we are doing it very effectively, and how we are spending taxpayers’ dollars. 

“Last year, it was brought to our attention that some faculty members are having a hard time placing their young children in the OU day care facility, given the demands that already exist on this facility.  Administrative Affairs Vice President Nick Hathaway has been in discussions with Middle Earth day care, which wants to build a new facility.  The lease of the land to build the new facility is on the regents’ agenda in September, and the university is working with Middle Earth to help expedite the process.  This should provide additional options for faculty with children in the future.

“For those of you with grants, Research Vice President Lee Williams said that although the new indirect cost rate was implemented at the start of July, the university will honor the indirect cost rates that were submitted with proposals before July 1.  They will take out dollars at the new rate, but it will max out at the originally funded amount.

“The faculty has been through difficult times last year with our change in health care and another year without raises.  President Boren greatly appreciates the efforts and sacrifices that were made last year.  This was outlined in his email to the faculty this summer. Faculty raises are the number one priority of President Boren this year.  The hope is for a substantive raise starting in the summer.  He will come to our next meeting to discuss the state of the university and his plans for the upcoming year.

“The Executive Committee and I will coordinate with the Employment Benefits Committee and the Faculty Welfare Committee and Julius Hilburn and Nick Kelly to obtain the best possible health care plan.  As we go through this request for proposal, we will make sure there is good communication between everybody so we get good faculty input and faculty knows what is going on.  We will also work with Provost Mergler and President Boren to try to provide some kind of raise for faculty for the next fiscal year.”





Prof. McInerney said he had prepared a list of issues that he thought were important for the faculty this year.  He said he had just received an e-mail about parking so he would add that to the list.


1. Health benefits: work with Nick Kelly to develop a request for proposal for health benefits.

2. Faculty development fund: initiate the granting process and work for increased support in the future.

3. Faculty compensation: priority on raises and other types of compensation.

4. Legislative relations: work with President Boren to increase state support for OU.

5. Task force on classroom renovations: Provost Mergler has set up a committee to study and correct deficiencies in classrooms (technology, access, general maintenance, innovative teaching methods).

6. Regents’ manual: set up a committee to provide faculty input.

7. Renewable term faculty: establish a committee to discuss and make recommendations about their status/representation.

8. Reapportionment of the senate.


Prof. Kauffman commented that one of the parking problems is that some donors give their hang tags to their children to use.  He asked whether faculty and staff could be given stickers for their cars so that they would have first priority during the daytime hours.  Prof. McInerney said the Executive Committee would discuss the suggestion and probably talk to the parking director.





The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, October 13, 2003, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Karen Rupp-Serrano, Secretary