The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – October 10, 2005 – 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206   phone: 325-6789
e-mail:   web site:


The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Roy Knapp, Chair.


PRESENT:       Albert, Apanasov, Badhwar, Benson, Biggerstaff, Blank, Bradford, Brown, Burns, Catlin, Cintrón, Civan, Croft, Dewers, Draheim, Fast, Fincke, Forman, Franklin, Frech, Gade, Geletzke, Gutierrez, Hawamdeh, Hobbs, Houser, C. Knapp, R. Knapp, Kolar, Lai, Lewis, Liu, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, Megginson, Pace, Ransom, Roche, Rugeley, Prof. Scamehorn, Schwarzkopf, Sharp, Skeeters, Tabb, Trytten, Wei, Wood, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Hough
UOSA representatives:  Bottoms


ABSENT:         Cramer, Dohrmann, Elisens, Raadschelders, Warnken





2005-06 Campus Departmental Review Panel

Faculty development award

Senate Chair's Report:

Search committee, College of Business dean

Benefits enrollment

Faculty deaths

Election, councils/committees/boards

Network policy

Resolution, undergraduate chemistry classes






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of September 12, 2005 was approved.





The following faculty will serve on the 2005-06 Campus Departmental Review Panel:  Fran Ayres (Accounting), Gail Hall (Music), Mary John O’Hair (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies), Richard Marshment (Regional & City Planning), and Deborah Trytten (Computer Science).  The panel will also include Associate Dean Debbie Rogers (Education), Associate Dean May Yuan (Geosciences), and Graduate College representative Bret Wallach (Geography).  The units to be reviewed are Classics, Communication, Economics, English, History, History of Science, Philosophy, and Modern Languages.


The Faculty Senate sent out the call for proposals for the Faculty Development Award on September 27.  Proposals are due to the Faculty Senate office on October 31.  Up to $2500 is awarded.  Further information is available at 





The Senate Executive Committee nominated two faculty members for the at-large position on the College of Business dean search committee.  [Note:  From these nominations, the administration selected Prof. Sandra Ragan (Communication) to serve.]


The office of Human Resources has announced that annual benefits enrollment will be October 24 through November 11.  This is the time to change plans, add or drop dependents or purchase other optional or supplemental coverage.  If you cover dependents, please review the rates in the Benefits Guide, even if you are not making any changes.  You will be able to buy additional life insurance up to a higher limit without medical qualifying.  You have an additional two months to spend your Health Care reimbursement account.  A list of enrollment assistance sessions and other information is available at


The following faculty members have died since the May Senate meeting.  Prof. Knapp said it was important to acknowledge their passing because we have inherited their heritage.  He noted that the Iversons were important to international students, and Prof. Menzie taught here 46 years. 

Donald Woolf, Public Administration, 6/28

Lloyd Iverson, Mathematics, 6/29

Don Menzie, Petroleum & Geological Engineering, 8/09

Norman Crockett, History, 8/15

Dennis O’Brien, Energy Economics & Policy, 9/20

James Abbott, Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, 9/21





The Senate approved the following Committee on Committees’ nominations to fill vacancies on university and campus councils, committees and boards.

Campus Disciplinary Council -- To complete Christa Ward’s 2004-06 term:  Susan Caldwell (Art)

Campus Tenure Committee -- To complete Gene Enrico’s 2003-06 term:  Paul Gilje (History)

Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee -- 2005-07 term:  Connie Van Fleet (Library & Info. Studies)

Faculty Appeals Board -- 3 positions, 2005-09 terms: 

Alan Roche (Mathematics)

Jay Shorten (Univ. Libraries)

Ann West (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

Student Code Revision Committee -- To complete Jay Shorten’s 2005-07 term:  Jeffrey Wilhite (Univ. Libraries)





Last month, a network policy proposed by Information Technology Council was presented to the senate (5/05 draft attached).  The ITC had proposed a revised version (10/05 revision attached) but then asked that it be withdrawn from consideration.  Prof. Knapp said he presumed the ITC would bring another network policy to the senate at a future meeting.





At the September meeting, Prof. Scamehorn moved that the Faculty Senate approve the following resolution concerning undergraduate chemistry classes.

To maintain the University of Oklahoma as a campus that allows all OU undergraduate students to walk to their classes,

To not increase the amount of non-renewable fuels for transporting OU undergraduate students to chemistry classes,

To allow the large number of OU undergraduate students taking chemistry classes from many different departments to be able to walk to or from their chemistry classes and other classes within the current 10 minute interval,

To maintain OU as a superior university for the highest caliber students seeking science and engineering education,

The OU Faculty Senate is in favor of all future OU undergraduate chemistry classes continuing to be taught on OU’s main campus, and none of them being taught on the south campus near the intersection of Jenkins Street and Highway 9 in the contemplated new chemistry building.


Prof. Knapp explained that Faculty Senate meetings are open.  However, according to the senate by-laws, guests may speak only by invitation or permission of the senate.  Requests to speak have to be addressed in writing to the chair.  The Executive Committee granted permission to speak to Prof. Roger Harrison (Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering), Ms. Susan Kerr (Chemical Engineering student), Prof. Glenn Dryhurst (Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair), Prof. George Richter-Addo (Chemistry and Biochemistry), and Prof. Phil Klebba (Chemistry and Biochemistry).  A transcript of the presentations by the guest speakers is available from the senate office.  The following documents were distributed to the senators and are available from the senate office:  notes from a 4/20/05 meeting with Vice President Hathaway and parties impacted by the proposed chemistry building, a 6/14/05 letter to President Boren from 17 OU professors, a letter by two chemical engineering professors in the 9/30/05 school newspaper, and a 10/5/05 memo from the School of Meteorology concerning its upcoming move to south campus.


Prof. Scamehorn explained that there are plans to build a new chemistry building near Highway 9, approximately two miles south of the main campus.  The purpose of the resolution was to encourage undergraduate lecture and laboratory courses to remain on the main campus within convenient walking distance from other classes.  To move the courses to the south campus would significantly reduce the quality of education for over 5000 students.  The chemistry department deserves a new building; however, the teaching functions should remain on the main campus. 


Prof. Harrison said the central question was whether the Faculty Senate should go on record as supporting a walking campus.  A move to the south campus would affect more than 5000 students from many different departments who need to take chemistry.  The proposed plan is to move research and undergraduate teaching labs.  When more funds are available, it appears likely that lecture halls would be added.  The building will occupy 250,000 square feet.  The resolution’s authors strongly support the renovation or rebuilding of chemistry labs so that the department can continue to be productive and successful.  The main reason for the resolution is the impact the move would have on getting undergraduates to and from the south campus.  The administration expects students to use the bus system.  Many students interested in science and engineering would choose another university where they can get to their classes easily.  The current ten minutes between classes would have to be changed, and that would affect all students.  Students would be discouraged from taking chemistry electives because of the travel problems.  Space for a new building could be found on the main campus.  The argument that green space would be lost is not as important as the extra travel time, effort and frustration that students would have to endure for years to come.  A new building would not sacrifice the beauty of the campus if the architecture was attractive and innovative.  If a parking area was lost to a new building, we could build two-story parking ramps, which would take up less real estate.  It has been argued that building a 250,000 square foot building on the main campus would give no room for incremental growth.  That requirement could be met by using the real estate on the main campus more efficiently, making parking less land intensive, and moving administrative offices elsewhere.  Prof. Harrison said, “The cost to undergraduates in terms of time, effort, and added frustration is too high to move chemistry instruction to the south campus, and there is the risk that this will bring declining enrollments in science and engineering at OU.”  He urged the senate to pass the resolution and keep our campus a “walking campus.”


Prof. Fincke said she understood that other science departments were making plans to move south eventually.  Building or expanding chemistry locally would not solve the ongoing problem.  Prof. Harrison said he was told that there were no plans to move the zoology department.  A lot of service lots and dilapidated buildings could be demolished to make way for academic buildings.  Prof. Forman asked whether any of the affected departments had taken a stand.  Prof. Harrison said a letter signed by 17 faculty from 5 departments and 3 colleges was sent to President Boren.  Prof. Apanasov asked about the chemistry professors’ view on teaching classes on main campus.  Prof. Knapp pointed out that members of the chemistry department would address that issue in a few minutes.  Prof. Scamehorn said there was a tendency for the bigger campuses to build research parks at some distance from the main campus so undergraduate education was not impacted.  The resolution’s authors want to keep undergraduate classes on the main campus.  The administration did not ask the opinion of any department other than chemistry.  


Ms. Susan Kerr, a senior, said students were excited about the new chemistry building.  The main concern is where the undergraduate classes will be taught.  Students in chemical engineering and other disciplines take several chemistry courses.  Those students are concerned that they will have to go to Highway 9 to take courses and labs.  It would take at least 15 minutes just to be transported by bus, and that would increase the potential for students to be tardy to class.  She and several student association leaders met with administrators last semester.  They presented the concern that the student body had not been consulted or even told about the move, the difficulty of transporting 5000 students back and forth, the likelihood that the class schedule would have to be adjusted, and the problem of moving professors away from students.  At that time, the students were assured that undergraduate classes would not be moved.  However, a recent letter showed that in the phased plans, undergraduate classes eventually would be taught at the new site.  Ms. Kerr encouraged the faculty to say undergraduate classes would not be taught on the south campus.  Transportation officials told her that Lindsey Street would never be expanded, which will make it difficult to transport students by buses through that area.  She said she would appreciate faculty support on the proposal. 


Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether student government had taken any official action.  Ms. Kerr said several organizations—Pre-med Club, American Chemistry Society, zoology students, engineering undergraduate advisory board—are in support of keeping undergraduate classes on the main campus.  Student Congress is planning to present a bill on the issue at an upcoming meeting.  Prof. Biggerstaff asked whether Ms. Kerr had talked to other students who are going to be moved to the south campus.  Ms. Kerr said the meteorology students were excited about the weather center but thought it would be harder to interact with faculty.  Not as many students take meteorology as chemistry, so its move will not be as big an impact as a move by chemistry. 


Prof. Dryhurst reported that the Chemistry Department has 200-240 people.  The department ran out of research space three or four years ago.  One consequence was the Stephenson Research and Technology Center, where the genome center is located.  For a number of years, the department has been busing 200 students to Oklahoma City for laboratory courses.  The current facilities and infrastructure are outdated.  About five years ago, the entire department met with senior administrators to develop a ten-year plan.  Architects and engineers were hired to help in the design.  The department considered renovating the existing space, adding on to existing space, building new space, and so on.  Renovating would be inadequate, incredibly expensive and leave less space because of the air handling requirements.  To address the research and teaching needs and to offer a state-of-the-art facility would require a new building of about 250,000 square feet.  Such a huge building would take up the entire north oval and leave no room for expansion.  Phase I will house research activities—faculty research labs, faculty offices, other infrastructure, instruments, stockrooms, etc.  Phase II will be instructional labs only.  There has been no discussion about moving lecture courses.  Faculty will be the ones moving from the south campus to the main campus to teach lecture courses.  As far as the impact on students, the general chemistry labs are once a week for three hours at the beginning or end of the academic day.  About 5000 students take general chemistry courses, but only 3600 are enrolled in labs.  Only 200 students would need to be transported to the south campus at any one time.  The administration plans to build bicycle paths along Jenkins Avenue and to have the necessary transit service.  Furthermore, there is a huge parking lot by the Lloyd Noble Center, and a new lot with 300 spaces will be put in when phase II is constructed.  He closed by emphasizing that the chemistry department needs the ability to expand. 


Answering a question from the floor, Prof. Dryhurst said he was against the resolution, and the chemistry faculty had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new building.  Prof. Albert asked whether it would it be fair to mention only lecture classes in the resolution.  Prof. Apanasov inquired about the faculty’s opinion of teaching on the main campus while having offices on the south campus.  Prof. Dryhurst said some faculty members already do that.  Prof. Apanasov said professors in his department often teach in other buildings, but the distance is not as great.  Prof. Schwarzkopf wondered whether there would be office space on the main campus as well as the south campus.  Prof. Dryhurst said the offices would be on the south campus when the whole project is finished.  Prof. Benson asked his view of changing the resolution to read, “The OU Faculty Senate is in favor of all OU undergraduate lecture chemistry classes being taught on the main campus.”  Prof. Dryhurst said his personal opinion was he would support such language.  Prof. Burns asked whether it would be much of a logistical problem to schedule the three-hour labs 15 minutes earlier or later.  Prof. Dryhurst said that would not be a problem.


Prof. Richter-Addo, coordinator of the new building project for the chemistry department, commented that the chemistry department had grown from the 1916 building to the annex in 1951 and to part of the physical sciences center in 1971.  In fall 2000 the department began looking at safety and expansion issues.  The university hired external consultants to make a recommendation.  During the master planning project, the department sought input from researchers, staff, graduate students, those in charge of teaching the labs, the physical plant, and the Chem/Math library.  The recommendation was for a new free-standing building that would house all of the functions of the department—research, labs, and administration.  The department does not want to be scattered like some departments are.  Additionally, the department wants to expose undergraduate students in laboratories to research ongoing in research labs.  The recommendation was for a $77 million, 250,000 square foot building with modern labs, where students could work on experiments in the same way they would in industry.  Classroom space is outside the scope of the project and is controlled by the Provost office.  Undergraduate lecture classes were never part of the master plan.  Chemistry would like first-rate labs to improve the quality of education.  Departmental representatives looked at a number of other locations on the main campus.  Because of volatiles, the building is restricted to three or four floors.  For any floor above that, the quantities of volatiles and flammables have to be reduced by 10-15 percent per floor.  Currently, the plan is for four floors, with the fourth floor for the mechanical infrastructure.  There is no space to accommodate such a large building on the main campus.  The south campus would allow space for future expansion. 


Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether any large lecture halls were planned in any stage of the master plan.  Prof. Richter-Addo answered no, just a small seminar room.


Prof. Klebba said he was opposed to the resolution.  While some of the points are worthwhile goals, they are secondary to maintaining OU “as a superior university for the highest caliber students seeking science and engineering education.” If chemistry does not move to south campus, this goal will not be met.  The department cannot maintain the current level of quality in lectures and labs, attract the highest caliber students in the sciences, or remain competitive in government-supported research without relocating.  The impracticality and cost of renovating the existing facility leaves only the alternative of building a new facility on the main campus or south campus.  It is counterproductive to conduct research on the south campus while maintaining teaching labs on the main campus.  If teaching labs are not in close proximity to research labs, it will reduce graduate student (teaching assistant) accessibility to teaching and research endeavors, eliminate the opportunity for shared instrumentation, reduce the ability to conduct laboratory demonstrations in lectures and labs, and decrease faculty supervision of teaching labs, which has serious ramifications with regard to lab safety.  Such a large facility cannot be accommodated on the main campus.  We are fortunate to have a serene campus with large green spaces.  Large technologically advanced buildings and high rise parking facilities contradict our existing architecture.  The current main campus, designed over a century ago, is encircled on three sides by residential and commercial development.  The only direction of future development is to the south.  Significant new construction on the main campus would severely disrupt the existing environment and possibly eliminate many historical building.  Other universities have experienced growth similar to what is planned for chemistry and have seen dramatic returns in terms of increased indirect costs to the university from research.  OU is fortunate to have a space that will allow growth without sacrificing history and tradition.  The south campus already is the location for other facilities.  The College of Engineering could play a significant role in the success of the process by designing systems to facilitate transportation.  In conclusion, Dr. Klebba said, “Let’s seek a solution to this problem that is efficient and looks to the future, rather than one that locks us in the past.”


Prof. Knapp opened the floor to discussion of resolution.  Prof. Sharp said she was confused about the potential of lecture classes eventually moving to south campus.  At the meeting last April, that was raised as a possibility.  Prof. Knapp said it was difficult to foresee what might happen a decade from now.  The intention of the current chemistry chair is that large lecture classes would remain on the main campus.  A senator pointed out that the location of undergraduate classes was the prerogative of the provost.  Prof. Dryhurst said the department never had any discussion about moving the large lectures to south campus.  Provost Mergler said that was accurate.  It is difficult to change the location of general education classes without causing major disarray.


Prof. Albert commented that Prof. Klebba had raised the issue of having lab demonstrations in lecture classes.  He inquired about the issue of equipment.  Prof. Klebba said his point was about sharing instruments between labs.  Prof. Dryhurst added that undergraduates could take advantage of multi-million dollar instruments.  Prof. Burns said the issue could be handled by Prof. Benson’s suggestion that teaching would be done on the main campus to the extent possible.  Labs on south campus would require some scheduling and additional time.  A football field size building that is three stories high, regardless of the architect, is not going to be a great building.  We, as a community, need to figure out a way to deal with south campus and make it doable.  Prof. Richter-Addo replied that chemistry planned to work with classroom scheduling to tackle that problem and make sure there is enough time for students to go from one class to another. 


Prof. Schwarzkopf noted that many other disciplines would need to expand over time, and these issues would apply equally well to them.  The appropriate thing would be to expand the scope of the resolution.  What is of interest to faculty is the cultural expectation of this campus--what do we want this campus to be and how do we want to try to keep it that way.  We should not try to solve the problem piecemeal.  We need to be a part of a long-term campus plan and have that discussion now before we have five buildings on south campus.  Prof. Hawamdeh said he thought the building was not the issue.  It is going to be built anyhow.  He brought up the point of classes that do not require a student to travel.  Prof. Hobbs mentioned online courses.  Prof. Cintron said she thought the decision should be the prerogative of the chemistry faculty.  When she was a faculty-in-residence in the Kraettli apartment area, she realized that there is a big division between what happens on main campus and what happens at the south side.  Putting an academic building in that area would create one community.


Prof. Frech remarked that all units would grow in the future.  In the notes provided from meteorology, Prof. Biggerstaff said his school was grappling with its upcoming move.  The last sentence says, “We encourage the faculty senate to pass a resolution that calls on the administration to partner with faculty and students to develop a comprehensive strategy to accommodate current and future growth.”  To Prof Frech, that is the larger issue that the senate and others ought to deal with.  If Prof. Scamehorn and the seconder would agree, an ad hoc committee could try to draft a resolution that would take a much broader view of a critical problem that we have to solve.  Prof. Hobbs said she liked that idea.  She said the decision about the chemistry building seemed to come from a democratic process.  However, it seems there is a bigger issue, and a wider constituency should be involved in the longer range planning.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza agreed that there are larger issues.  She thought the senate should vote down the proposed resolution because it treads on self governance and academic freedom.  It is beyond the scope of the senate to get involved in the day-to-day management of a department.  Many of the issues raised could be handled creatively.  A resolution brought from one department to prevent another department from scheduling classes is not something the Faculty Senate should entertain and is not the best way to solve conflicts.


Prof. Biggerstaff noted that chemistry has a tremendous impact on the logistics of the campus.  Meteorology will start teaching classes on south campus next fall, so the school has gone through a multi-year process of planning how to do that and how to accommodate its neighbors.  The meteorology chair is working with the provost to arrange the course scheduling.  Provost Mergler noted that the general education introduction to meteorology course would remain on the main campus.  Prof. Biggerstaff remarked that the faculty office hours for those courses would be on the main campus.  The students are excited about working more closely with the research community.  Seventy-five percent of the students are employed in research businesses, so this will be a tremendously positive impact on their education.  Students are concerned about the logistics, though.  As more departments expand, there is a need to visit the larger issue of transportation and perhaps scheduling.  Texas A&M, which has 46,000 students, extended the length of time between classes and managed to make it work.


Prof. Schwarzkopf said he would like to ask the senate chair to appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate the further ramifications and work with both the departments and administration to draft a more comprehensive re-statement that would consider the larger issues.  Prof. Benson said the Campus Planning Council would normally do that, but it has been inactive. 


Prof. Scamehorn said he, too, was confused about the plans for future lecture halls in the new chemistry building.  Prof. Dryhurst has not heard of such plans.  Vice President for Research Williams envisions research and teaching ultimately being combined in a single facility.  As more money is raised, could the lecture classes be moved off the main campus?  Prof. Fincke said she thought the resolution was misleading, in that apparently only lab classes would be moved.  Prof. Blank pointed out that the higher level lecture classes had an intimate relationship with labs and needed to be where the instrumentation was.  Prof. Fincke’s call for the question was approved on a voice vote.  The resolution was defeated on a voice vote.


Prof. Schwarzkopf moved to refer the issue of on-campus instruction in departments that are not housed here to a committee who will come forth with a senate resolution.  Summarizing the motion, Prof. Knapp said the committee would study what classes ought to be held in the center of campus.  Prof. Burns said it should include timing.  Prof. Biggerstaff suggested that the charge include accommodating future growth.  The motion was approved on a voice vote.  Prof. Knapp asked Professors Scamehorn, Biggerstaff, and Hobbs to serve on committee.  Professors Apanasov and Blank also volunteered. 





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 14, 2005, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


A. Steve Bradford, Secretary