The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session –
October 13, 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, Brady, Brown, Burns, Caldwell, Cintrón, Davis, Ferreira, Fincke, Forman, Hayes-Thumann, Henderson, Houser, Kauffman, C. Knapp, R. Knapp, Liu, Marcus-Mendoza, McInerney, Megginson, Mendoza, Milton, Newman, Pender, Penrose, Rai, Ransom, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Scherman, Schramm, Sievers, Striz, Watts, Wheeler, Wyckoff, Yuan

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
UOSA representatives:  Price


ABSENT:         Bradford, Caldwell, Catlin, Devenport, Dewers, Dohrmann, Frech, Grier, Hart, Hartel, Havlicek, Huseman, Morrissey, Whitely






Regents’ policy manual

Renewable term faculty

Peer institutions

State of the University address

Senate Chair's Report:

George Henderson’s election to Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Health benefits

Recognition for faculty length of service


International student tests

Classroom maintenance


Faculty development award guidelines

Election, councils/committees/boards

Exercise facility

Computer service






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of September 8, 2003 was approved.





A committee has been established to make recommendations about the proposed revisions in the regents’ policy manual (see 9/03 Senate Journal).  David Levy (History) will chair the committee.  Other members are Hugh Benson (Philosophy), Sheena Murphy (Physics & Astronomy), Mike Scaperlanda (Law), and Frans Currier (HSC-Dentistry).  The manual will be a compilation of the various university policies, which will give the regents a kind of one-stop shopping.  The committee will meet later this month and then will bring a report to the Faculty Senate. 


A committee will review the issue of renewable term faculty, particularly the form of representation on the senate (see 9/03 Senate Journal).  The faculty members who have agreed to serve on the committee are Steve Bradford (History), Marielle Hoefnagels (Zoology), Roy Knapp (Petroleum & Geological Engineering), Steve Livesey (History of Science), Susan Marcus-Mendoza (Human Relations), Valerie Watts (Music), and Kathy Onley (HSC-Nutrition Sciences/Allied Health).  Prof. Susan Marcus-Mendoza agreed to chair the committee.  Prof. McInerney pointed out that faculty members in similar positions at the HSC have voting privileges. 


Provost Mergler asked the senate to identify peer institutions for assessing where we are now and where we want to be (see 9/03 Senate Journal).  A committee has been formed, composed of the following faculty:  Mike Buckley (Management), Jim Davis (Journalism & Mass Communication), Gene Enrico (Music), David Gross (English), Penny Hopkins (Zoology), Peter Krug (Law), Simin Pulat (Industrial Engineering), and David Tan (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies).  In addition, UOSA will appoint two students.    





President David Boren distributed some handouts (available from the senate office) to bring the group up to date on some of the statistical information.  He said this was the first opportunity he had to express his appreciation to faculty members for the spirit in which they had gone through the tough times.  He said he hated to have his string broken on improvement in compensation each year.  At least state revenue collections have been coming in slightly above the projections.  He is acutely aware of the sacrifices that have been made, not only because of the lack of compensation improvements, but also because of increases in health insurance.  As a result of the huge losses we were experiencing trying to self insure, we had to join the state insurance fund.  Even with that, we still are facing an increase of about $4 million.  One way of looking at that is the $4 million is roughly equal to a three percent across-the-board compensation increase.  Health insurance remains a problem, not just for the university or Oklahoma; it is a national problem.  It has meant a decrease in take-home pay, especially for people with dependents.  To have kept the forward momentum of the university is a tremendous credit to the faculty and staff.  He very much appreciates the sacrifice that everyone has made.  Even in these difficult times, we had the lowest turnover of faculty this year than we have had in the past 20 years.  The same kind of low turnover occurred with staff this year.  That shows the unbelievable commitment to the institution by our faculty and staff.  Public higher education across the country has been decimated over the last two or three years.  It is a matter of tremendous concern since public institutions bear the heaviest load of training our future leadership.  Nothing could be worse for our country than disinvesting in public higher education. 


Our goal has been to control the growth of the freshman class through increased standards and a wait list system.  This is the first year we have succeeded in holding steady the size of our freshman class and in fact, had a slight decrease.  By controlling the overall enrollment, we can maintain a quality experience.  The percentage of our freshman class coming from Texas has tripled in ten years.  Our average ACT and SAT scores for freshmen are virtually the same as those for the University of Texas-Austin.  The quality of our university is improving, yet we are maintaining a reasonable size.  The only growth we want is in retention and improved graduation rates.  Those are the only two statistics that hold us back from achieving higher rankings.  The quality of our students continues to go up.  Our freshman class this year had a 25.8 average ACT.  In 1993, we had only 2200 first-time freshmen, which led to questions about how sustainable our university would be.  On the other hand, it is difficult to maintain the kind of institution we have when we get above the 3800 mark.  The provost brings him the concerns of the faculty when we have too many students.


OU has the highest graduation rate of student-athletes in the Big 12.  That speaks to our priority to treat our student-athletes as students and not just as athletes to be exploited.


The good news in compensation is in spite of what we have been through in the last three years, we have not lost our position in total faculty compensation (salaries and benefits, adjusted for cost of living).  We have climbed into fourth place.  Our goal is to remain firmly in the top three in the Big 12 so that faculty compensation will not be a serious factor when we are trying to recruit and retain faculty.  Other institutions have announced plans to raise tuition and fees annually so they can increase faculty compensation.  Our faculty continues to do an incredible job of bringing in additional dollars.  We lead the Big 12 in federally-funded research.  We are at the bottom of the Big 12 in tuition and fees for in-state students.  Because the most important thing for the quality of education of our students is the quality of our faculty, we should get on a plan in which we have modest increases in tuition and fees on an annual basis, with slightly higher increases for new students.  He will work with student leaders on an orderly tuition and fee schedule that keeps us on an even keel each year.  We will not have substantially more funds coming from private endowment, and the state is unlikely to increase appropriations. 


President Boren’s first ten goals are a salary program.  It is absolutely essential to continue to retain and recruit quality faculty and staff.  The regents agree.  Nothing is more critical.  Otherwise, it is hard to keep up morale.  Some of the other states are having some economic recovery, and they will put the priority on compensation programs.  Through a reasonable adjustment on an annual basis in tuition and fees and some increases in appropriations from the state, we ought to be able to have a salary program.  We provided financial assistance to 2500 more students than we did last year.  The Sooner Heritage Scholarships were started last year to provide scholarships for middle income students impacted by the increase in tuition and fees.  The average award was $400-$500 per student.  About half of the money was raised privately, and the rest came out of the university budget.  President Boren said several forums were held with students, and he sent out about 60,000 letters and e-mails to continuing students and to parents explaining why we had to increase tuition and fees.  He received fewer than 20 negative responses.  A tremendous number told him how much they value the quality of education at OU.  As a result of state revenues running ahead, the university received about $1 million back from the state.  He has been in discussions about what to do with those funds.  One option is a one-time small bonus.  Another possibility is to try to weave it into a permanent salary program that would start next year.  At any rate, those funds will go into faculty and staff compensation.  He said he welcomed input on the issue.  He hopes to decide how to handle the funds by the next regents’ meeting. 


The number of endowed chairs and professorships has grown tremendously.  However, in recent months only three or four have been donated.  The reason is we have over $40 million on the waiting list for the state to match.  Some have waited three years.  The wait has become a disincentive.  In order to catch up this backlog, the state regents have been looking at the possibility of a bond issue as a revenue source.  One of our goals for the legislature this next year is to find a way to wipe out that backlog.  It is a tremendous boost to the morale of the donor to get acquainted with the faculty member who holds the chair or professorship that s/he made possible and find out how the funds have been used.  Another important goal in the legislature is to get OHLAP (Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program) funded by the state as a separate entity.  The program provides college scholarships to students who have entered into a contract, taken certain courses, and maintained a B average.  It is a wonderful program, but it has never been funded by the legislature, and the number continues to grow.  The funding comes off the top of the state regents’ allocation.  The president said he was hopeful that revenues from a lottery or cigarette tax could pay for OHLAP.  If OHLAP had been funded out of the state budget, it probably would have meant about $3 million more for OU this year, roughly the equivalent of a 2.5 percent increase in compensation. 


We have been making gains in our faculty/student ratio over the last eight years.  This last year, we had only slight growth in faculty FTE because we did not have the funds.  At least the university did not have the cuts that many institutions had.  We avoided cuts in the library during the lean years.  We managed to provide a million dollar net increase to the library for six years and to move up to second place in the Big 12 in terms of total volumes.  A few years ago, our target in the rankings was Kansas.  We have now moved ahead of them.


We continue to try to pare our administrative costs.  Among state institutions, the OU Norman campus has the lowest administrative cost overhead based on the state regents’ calculation.


In federally-financed research and development expenditures, we lead the Big 12 in annual percentage growth from 1990 to 2000.  We will undoubtedly crack the $200 million mark in externally-funded research and training grants this year, which means we more than doubled during the decade.  The overhead cost from these grants is shared to some degree with the rest of the university.  The governor, chancellor, and business leaders are leading an effort called EDGE to create economic growth in the state.  There has been some talk about limiting the state match for endowed chairs and professors to areas that are related to economic growth.  President Boren thinks that would be a terrible mistake.  The university is the greatest engine for future economic growth of the state, but even more importantly, we are producing the next generation of leaders.  Our top priority is educating broad-gauged men and women.  Our main purpose is not to be some kind of adjunct resource to the economic growth of the state, but to teach in all areas that give quality to human life.


Contributions to the university continue to grow.  We have almost $88 million in cash and in-kind gifts.  As we exhaust the donors who can give large gifts, the contributions will drop back some.  A reasonable goal is to hold ourselves at $60 million, which is still three times what it used to be in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  It is important to broaden the base of donors.  To be a great public university, we will have to rely more on sources of income other than the state.  We are going to have to stay at a reasonable level of tuition, grow in research, and broaden the private donor base.  Faculty and staff giving means a lot to the president and is a huge vote of confidence.  Total private fundraising—gifts and pledges—has increased from $41 million for FY95 to about $770 million for FY03.  Endowment funds are at almost $600 million, triple what it was in 1994.  We are in the top 25 of public universities in private endowment, which is an extraordinary achievement in a state that ranks something like 47th in per capita income.  One thing that builds allegiance to the university is our alumni activity.  In the past three years, the number of alumni clubs grew from 44 to 103, and club activity grew from 1303 events to 5076.  In the ten-year period before 2000, we had $28 million in planned gifts; in just the last two years, we have had $25 million in bequests. 


Prof. Burns commented that some things like tuition waivers for family members would help morale.  President Boren said he had urged employees to have their children apply for the Sooner Heritage scholarships.  Every faculty and staff child who applied received a scholarship.  We have never been able to afford to fully fund dependent tuition waivers, but we provided some help this year.  The Athletic Department gave $2 million to our academic budget, through the $2 fee added to each football ticket and the payment on the past debt.  The Athletic Department has been escalating the payments toward the debt.  Our coaches set up a trust fund for the library and have given a couple hundred thousand dollars or more to that fund.  By next fall, there will be a small exercise facility for men and women employees in the next phase of the stadium improvements.  We have not been able to reduce ticket prices because we want to make sure we can make our bond payments on the athletic facilities. 


Prof. Ransom asked whether there was any way to reduce the cost of parking.  President Boren said he thought the answer was to get the compensation of faculty up.  We will continue to add surface parking, and we are getting better utilization from students of the parking at the Lloyd Noble Center.  The frequency of our transit system has doubled.  We will not have the big growth in student numbers again.  OU is one of only two in the Big 12 that does not charge employees for health insurance.  Increases in the cost of dependent insurance and in parking burn more when you have not had increases in compensation.  His strategy is to put all the effort he can into a compensation package.  He will try to hold the costs down.  Making the Lloyd Noble shuttle service effective will reduce the pressure. 


Prof. Yuan suggested that median rather than average salary and benefits would be a better indication of the economic status of the faculty.  President Boren said he thought we would be in the same place if we used median.  College by college, there is a tremendous disparity in the numbers.  To recruit a faculty member in one area may cost more than in another area.  Also, we are facing enrollment bulges in some places and compression problems.  The president said he would like to increase the compensation for promotions and as soon as we can afford it, add some additional dollars retroactively.  Some areas of the university are doing relatively well, whereas other areas are not doing as well.  That is another reason to encourage donors across the board.  President Boren pointed out that he meets with the senate executive committee every month and discusses how to divide compensation dollars and how much should go to compression, under-funded areas, merit, and across the board.  He encouraged the senate members to tell the executive committee any thoughts they had about compensation.


He said he did not like to ask students and their parents to increase their financial commitment to the university and did not like to be able to express in a tangible way the respect he has for faculty and staff.  Our standards have not stopped going up.  He is guardedly optimistic about what we can do this year. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Mike McInerney


“I would like to congratulate Dr. George Henderson for his recent induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame.  Dr. Henderson has made numerous contributions to our university and the State of Oklahoma, and this recent recognition is well deserved.


“Human Resources Director Julius Hilburn and Benefits Manager Nick Kelly gave the senate executive committee an update on the request for proposal (RFP) for health insurance.  The employment benefits committee was asked to rank six components for judging proposals, and the committee thought cost/premium and access were the top two priorities.  Additional considerations are care management, health management, satisfaction, and program management.  Julius and Nick have and will continue to work with the employment benefits committee and the faculty welfare committee and will keep the senate and the senate executive committee informed of the progress. 


“Nick Kelly asked me to remind you that tomorrow is the last day to change the benefits package.  The new basic plan may be good for some people.  Nick mentioned, though, that individuals should seriously consider their financial situation since this plan has more risk associated with it.  In a catastrophe, the out-of-pocket expense for a family could be $11,000.  Also, there is a flexible spending plan where you can take pretax dollars to pay for health costs that are not covered by the insurance plan.  The IRS now allows over-the-counter items and day care costs to be paid by this plan.  Remember that if the funds are not spent, they are lost at the end of the year.  This is one way to offset some of the costs, and it does save the university money as well.


“Al Schwarzkopf (MIS) is our faculty representative to the Faculty Advisory Council to the State Regents.  He mentioned that the representatives from higher education have similar concerns about out-of-state access and rate structure for multiple children for health coverage.  The approach will be to try to get all of higher education (50,000 employees) to work on this.  Such a large body should be able to have a better bargaining position with Health Choice.  President Boren agreed and will draft a resolution about this for the Presidents’ Council.  Hopefully, if we cannot get a better plan, we can get HealthChoice to be more responsive to our particular needs. 


“The faculty compensation committee recommended that faculty receive recognition for long-term service, something like staff currently get, as a way to say thanks for being here a long time.  The committee will make suggestions concerning the type of awards to be given.


“The senate executive committee met with Theta Dempsey, Parking office, to discuss some of the issues brought to our attention.  The problem of spaces on the west side of campus is not one that can be solved soon.  We talked to her about issues raised by the Fine Arts College related to performances.  The decision to charge to park for performances was made in 1994 to help finance the facility.  Enforcement has been sporadic after the parking attendant and gates were removed, but current policy was developed with the Dean of Fine Arts last year.  The lot north of the Boyd House is available in the evening, even for students without permits, for parking for rehearsals or performances.  Regarding loading and unloading, there are loading zone passes that can be used.  The construction has caused some problems related to access during the day.  If there are continuing problems, Bill Forester, A&E Services, is project coordinator and can work with contractors on this.  The Parking office will work with the dean to address any issues related to performances, etc.  Regarding a question that was raised at last month’s meeting about donor permits, the yellow donor permits cannot be used to park in the Dale Hall lot.


An issue was raised about some of the tests that international students have to take if they want to hold a teaching assistantship.  I talked to Janis Paul, Graduate Dean’s office, who oversees the examinations given to international student teaching assistants.  No new tests are being given.  The tests that are given are needed to meet state demands for instruction.  She is planning an informational session on this.  Individuals with concerns and suggestions are welcome to attend.


“The Provost and I discussed the possibility of establishing a Provost Advisory Committee (PAC) to oversee long-term, classroom maintenance.  The committee would carry forward the work being done this year by an ad hoc committee.  The PAC would involve faculty and individuals from information technology, physical plant, classroom scheduling, etc.  This will provide a comprehensive and coordinated plan to maintain and improve classrooms across campus.  The President is in agreement on this as well.


“In discussing the recent admonition case with the Provost, I think that it is important for every faculty member to become familiar with the information that is available on the Provost web site concerning admonition and academic misconduct.  Departments should discuss the new changes to the policy, especially how they plan to distinguish between admonition and misconduct.  Any suggestions or questions should be sent to the Provost office.  The academic integrity of our institution is the paramount concern.  The Provost will try to engage the students in the process to help change the culture on this.”





The faculty development award guidelines (attached; see 9/03 Senate Journal) were approved on a voice vote.





The senate approved the following nominations of the senate committee on committees to fill vacancies on university and campus councils, committees and boards. 


Campus Disciplinary Council
To replace Liesa Richter, 2002-04 term:  Joe Thai (Law)

Campus Tenure Committee
To replace David London, 2001-04 term:  Keith Gaddie (Political Science)

Continuing Education Council
To replace Kathleen Haynes, 2002-05 term:  Michael Pfau (Communication)

Faculty Appeals Board
To replace James Horrell, 2001-05 term:  Bob Reed (Economics)

Information Technology Council
To replace
K. B. Lee, 2001-04 term:  James Gardner (Educational Psychology)

Patent Advisory Committee
To replace Will Sutton, 2001-04 term:  Larry Regens (Science & Public Policy)

Research Council
To replace Louis Ederington, 2003-06 term:  Eleanor Weinel (Architecture) 





Prof. McInerney reported that he had asked Claren Kidd (University Libraries), Cecilia Brown (Library & Information Studies), Craig Hofford (Health Promotion Programs), Andy Magid (Mathematics), Debra Bemben (Health & Sport Sciences), and Mike Bemben (Health & Sport Sciences) to serve on an ad hoc committee to help plan the exercise facility for faculty and staff (see President Boren’s earlier remarks).  They will meet with Larry Naifeh (Athletic Department), who is overseeing the development, to discuss the kinds of equipment to include.  The architectural plans will go to the regents soon.  The committee would like this to be a free facility. 





Prof. Marcus-Mendoza explained that when faculty in her department had trouble with their computers, the information technology (IT) office charged her account without her authorization.  She said it was not clear what services the units were supposed to get from IT, and whether they are charged or not.  Prof. McInerney asked her to write up the specifics, and he would get them to the Information Technology Council.  He noted that Vice President for Information Technology Dennis Aebersold wanted to get everyone on a lease program so we could regularly update computers.  A plan has been developed to provide help to more individuals across campus.  Mr. Aebersold will come to the next meeting to answer questions.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza remarked that her college had moved to the lease program, but the departments had not received anything in writing in terms of what was part of the service and what IT charged.  Prof. McInerney said he was aware of service contracts in which a department could hire IT to fix anything wrong with a computer.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said when IT fixed the virus problem for her faculty, IT told them they would have to buy a service contract for $90 before they would be reconnected to the Internet.  This issue came up in the last Arts &Sciences chair and director meeting. 





The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 10, 2003, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Karen Rupp-Serrano, Secretary