The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - January 14, 2002 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782
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The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Al Schwarzkopf, Chair.

PRESENT: Abraham, Baldwin, Beach, Bemben, Bozorgi, Clark, Cline, Cox, Davis, Dewers, Gensler, Gottesman, Greene, Hanson, Harrison, Hart, Hartel, Henderson, Kenderdine, Lee, Magid, Maiden, Milton, Morrissey, Nelson, Newman, Pender, Ransom, Rupp-Serrano, Scherman, Schwarzkopf, Taylor, Vale, Wieder, Willinger, Wyckoff

PSA representatives: Hubbard, Smith

ABSENT: Blank, Civan, Cuccia, Foster, Frech, Gollahalli, Hawthorne, Knapp, McInerney, Robertson, Roegiers, Russell, Zagzebski




Status of issues for 2001-02
Clarification of "at-will employer" in faculty contract letters

Senate Chair's Report:

Revisions in intellectual property policy
Faculty OTRS deductions with People Soft system

Faculty retention issues

Deadline for notifying tenure candidates

Split appointments





The Senate Journal for the regular session of December 3, 2001 was approved.



The status of issues brought to the Faculty Senate for 2001-02 is attached. Prof. Schwarzkopf called attention to some of the changes. The Faculty Compensation Committee has made some recommendations concerning internal senior hires that are under review by the Senate Executive Committee. The Senate will discuss at this meeting the Faculty Compensations Committee's recommendations concerning compensation strategies. An ad hoc committee has submitted a report on how to treat non-tenured and non-tenure-track faculty that should be presented to the Senate in about a month. The North Central accreditation board visited our campus in October and gave the University full accreditation. Prof. Schwarzkopf thanked those who met with the board members and contributed to the re-accreditation. The OU Regents approved two changes in the intellectual property policy in December. One change created a review committee, and the other change would allow an inventor who wanted to start and own a company to give back his fraction of the University revenues. Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that his opinion was neither change was particularly detrimental, but the Senate Executive Committee did not have a chance to review the revisions beforehand. He said he would have a discussion with the administration about the way the changes were done. The Senate Executive Committee is looking at adding a step in the grievance procedures so that Legal Counsel could express an opinion before a hearing as to whether the remedy or sanction sought is illegal. The Senate Executive Committee has been discussing the issue of faculty governance for the OU-Tulsa Graduate College. It appears likely that Tulsa will designate a non-voting liaison to the Norman Senate, and someone from the Norman Executive Committee will work with the Tulsa administration. The faculty in Tulsa is also appointed in Norman campus departments. The question of the deadline for notifying tenure candidates is on the agenda for this meeting.

Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that contract letters sent to faculty said the University is an at-will employer, which means faculty could be fired. Legal Counsel was asked to clarify the statement. General Counsel Joseph Harroz, Jr. responded that "tenured members of the faculty are certainly not "at will" employees. The fact that OU is an "at will" employer with respect to many of its employees in no way impacts those that have tenure. Further, members of the faculty that have specified notice periods for non-renewal are not similarly situated with typical staff appointments. I look forward to working with you on clarifying language for future correspondence."


SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Al Schwarzkopf

Prof. Schwarzkopf said his impression was that the relationship the Faculty Senate has with the president and provost was good. There are times, however, that they proceed with actions without including the Senate, as in the case of the intellectual property revisions. Prof. Schwarzkopf sent an e-mail to President David Boren and Vice President Nick Hathaway asking for an explanation as to why they did not consult the Senate. The Faculty Senate or at least the Senate Executive Committee could have acted quickly. Prof. Schwarzkopf said he would continue to press for faculty participation in academic decision making.

In October, the Senate discussed how to deduct benefits costs with the PeopleSoft system and decided to take the deductions out of the eight full month paychecks but not the two half months. The administration is proposing that we also do the same with the teachers' retirement (OTRS) deduction and defined contribution (DCP) reduction. Ms. Terri Turkington (Financial Support Services) explained that the way the University has chosen to level the cap for OTRS for pre-1995 employees and the $9000 reduction for DCP could not be easily accommodated in the new PeopleSoft system without significant modification. The proposal would have no impact on faculty paid over 12 months. This would affect only 9-month faculty paid over 10 months. The OTRS portion of this proposal does not apply to faculty hired after 1995. The motion to accept the proposal was approved on a voice vote. Prof. Schwarzkopf thanked Ms. Turkington for asking the Senate's advice.



Prof. Michael Buckley (Management), Chair of the Faculty Compensation Committee (FCC), explained that since the committee had started its discussions, the budget had gotten considerably worse. What came out of its discussions was a resolution concerning five faculty retention issues.

Overall: We would like to suggest that salary is only one of the many factors that influences motivation, recruitment, and retention. This necessitates the consideration of alternative, creative ways to address faculty retention issues.

  1. Respondents to the faculty survey on compensation reported that they were in favor of an across the board increase in salary if the salary raise pool is less than or equal to 3%. If the pool is higher than 3%, the respondents suggested a combination of merit, across the board and compression components.
  2. The issue of compression and salary inversion is an important one. Perhaps if there is only a small pool available for raises, a large share of the money should go toward rectifying the compression issue.
  3. There are some real concerns with the spiraling costs of health care benefits. The survey revealed that, in a number of the departments across campus, the raise program last year was not enough for individuals to keep up with the rising costs of this essential benefit. Perhaps instead of a small salary increase, money can be put toward reducing the health care costs of individuals. There is a movement in the state to pay more of the healthcare costs for K-12 teachers.
  4. The University may want to consider some forms of indirect compensation as a faculty retention strategy. One example that has been discussed in the Faculty Senate is a tuition for dependents program. Although the Provost did not favor this idea, we would ask her to consider this and other attempts to retain faculty. This appears to be an indirect benefit that costs much less than one would think. Studies are available that demonstrate the cost to the University of Oklahoma or the OU Foundation for this benefit would be approximately $100K/year.
  5. There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction with OTRS. We might suggest that the caps on this deduction be revisited. One way to get more salary to faculty may be to revise our relationship with OTRS. This would have to be done individually due to the fact that those who are closer to retirement do not share sentiment with those farther away from retirement.

Prof. Buckley explained that the message from last year's survey was clear that any raise three percent or less should be implemented across the board. Second, if there is not much money, a large component should go toward remedying compression. Third, a number of people responded that the raise was not enough to take care of their increase in health care costs. The fourth issue concerns the dependent tuition issue. The FCC thinks it is important for retention. It would be a relatively inexpensive way for the University to help a considerable number of faculty. Last, some investigation should be done to consider whether the OTRS caps could be revisited in a way that would be advantageous for us.

Prof. Greene asked whether the Faculty Senate would be asked to weigh in on these recommendations. Prof. Buckley said the Senate would vote on the resolution, which would then go to the administration. Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that we would not know the funding or salary situation for a few months. At some stage, the president will ask the Senate Executive Committee for a recommendation on what to do with whatever money is available to distribute. The proposal is a starting document for discussion. Prof. Schwarzkopf's suggestion would be to table the resolution and discuss it at a later meeting. Given past history, the administration will want a quick opinion. If the Senate has discussed these issues, the Executive Committee can give a better-informed opinion. Prof. Hart said the problem is the timing, so the Executive Committee would like to get some direction from the Senate. For example, if one or two percent is available, would we want to use it for an across-the-board raise, health care costs, or compression? Prof. Magid said he thought this was an excellent framework, once some details about language were worked out. Since the Budget Council is talking about the same issues (he is currently the Budget Council Chair), he said he would like to treat this resolution as a public document. Prof. Schwarzkopf noted that the resolution had been presented to the Faculty Senate, and that the meetings were public meetings.

Prof. Magid wondered if salaries had to be reduced, whether faculty would believe reductions of three percent or less should be across the board and anything beyond that would be based on substantive criteria. Prof. Buckley said that was not part of the survey and he would hate to speak for faculty, but he thought most people would agree with that. Prof. Bemben asked about the percentage of faculty who responded and how many were senior faculty or junior faculty. Prof. Buckley said he did not have the data with him but could e-mail the information. He said he thought the response rate was about 30 percent and all ranks were represented. [Note: The Senate office sent an e-mail to senators on January 16 referring them to the April 2001 Senate minutes, which contained a summary of the survey results). Prof. Schwarzkopf said he doubted that anyone who responded to the survey was thinking in terms of decreases. He said he would not want to survey faculty about that question because it would suggest that it was a rational response to the current environment. He pointed out that we had been through tougher times than this and had never had a permanent salary decrease. Prof. Taylor commented that she was uncomfortable making recommendations about salaries and how resources would be used when 70 percent of the faculty did not respond to the survey. Prof. Buckley said he thought the response rate was pretty good and fairly representative. Noting that the survey was sent out last spring, Prof. Greene suggested that in the current climate, more people might respond if the survey were sent out again.

Prof. Magid asked whether the fourth issue strictly concerned OU tuition. Prof. Buckley said it did. Prof. Bemben asked whether it was possible to vote on each point separately. Prof. Schwarzkopf responded that when the Senate voted on the resolution, the issues could be taken together or split up. Prof. Wieder said he would like to see the survey data so he would know how the answers resulted in the five recommendations. Prof. Buckley explained that not all of the issues came from the survey. Prof. Schwarzkopf told the senators that if they felt uncomfortable about expressing opinions without input from their colleagues, then they should get it. When the senate sends out a survey, the results will be used. He said he would not want to re-circulate the same survey so soon because it could lead to non-thinking responses.

When asked to clarify issue five, Prof. Buckley explained that salary caps for OTRS were still in place for faculty hired before 1995. The FCC would like some assurance that the caps will not be raised. Prof. Schwarzkopf added that the University pays approximately seven percent and the employee pays about the same on salary up to the cap. Since 1995, the caps have been rising and are scheduled to come off in July 2007. The OTRS system is not particularly attractive financially, nor is it good for young faculty members who do not expect to stay here 20 years, given the return on the investment. The FCC suggestion is to reduce the amount of money that goes into OTRS and put the University contribution into the defined contribution plan. Prof. Magid pointed out that in 1995, OTRS increased the eligibility requirements for retirement and the regents adopted a policy that said the University's total contribution to retirement could not exceed 15 percent of one's salary. Prof. Hart said that had created two classes of faculty. Prof. Willinger mentioned that the contribution was based not just on salary but also on benefits. Prof. Buckley said the FCC tried to find ways for the University to engage in some creative retention strategies.

Prof. Lee suggested that the least-paid faculty could benefit by receiving periodically a dollar amount salary increase across the board instead of a percentage increase. Prof. Greene agreed that percentage increases favor people with higher salaries. Prof. Taylor said she thought the people who responded to the survey that they favored across-the-board increases (issue one) were predominantly senior faculty who continue to get larger raises because of their salaries. She said productive junior faculty members complain that they cannot make any progress. She claimed it would be a mistake not to revisit this question. Prof. Buckley replied that he thought it was an empirical issue. Prof. Schwarzkopf said he hoped this proposal would generate discussion among colleagues. The motion to table was approved.



Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that when the North Central Accreditation team was here in October, they commented on the deadline in the Faculty Handbook for notifying tenure candidates that they are eligible for tenure consideration. They thought five weeks was too short, given the amount of documentation in a tenure dossier, and did not reflect actual practice. Prof. Schwarzkopf asked Provost Nancy Mergler what would be desirable practice, and she suggested May 15. The Senate Executive Committee recommended that "at least five weeks" be changed to "by May 15" in section in 3.7.5 (a).

(a) A faculty member who is eligible for tenure consideration should be notified by the chair of the academic unit at least five weeks by May 15 before the initial vote by the faculty member's colleagues.
(b) At the time of notification, the candidate for tenure shall be requested to submit material that will be helpful to an adequate consideration of the faculty member's performance or professional activities in relationship to the tenure criteria. The candidate should be advised to consult with the chair or any other senior colleagues concerning the materials to include. It should be made clear, however, that responsibility for the contents resides with the candidate.

Prof. Schwarzkopf said he viewed this as a housekeeping issue that could be voted on at this meeting. Prof. Cox asked whether May 15 was early enough. Prof. Schwarzkopf said the deadline should not be so early that we give tenure de facto simply because we forgot to notify someone on time. The recommendation was approved on a voice vote.



Prof. Morrissey said the Faculty Handbook was unclear concerning split appointments. Some individuals have half-time faculty positions with tenure and the other half in a research unit. He asked what that meant for them in terms of faculty rights versus staff rights. Prof. Schwarzkopf noted that a committee chaired by Prof. Ed Cline was considering issues such as part-time faculty representation. Prof. Cline commented on the tremendous variety of positions on campus that are "irregular." He said his committee was considering the issue of people who currently are not represented in governance. Prof. Morrissey pointed out that the Faculty Handbook does not address the issue of part-time faculty. Certain rights and privileges might go with one half and maybe not the other. The person has two bosses and in many cases, winds up with two full-time loads. Some are faculty positions that are split between two departments; others are split between faculty and staff positions. There is no continuity. He wondered whether there was a document that laid out the responsibilities of these positions. Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether Prof. Morrissey wanted the Senate to look into management issues for people on split appointments, to include but not be limited to representation. Prof. Morrissey said his concern was about the rights and requirements of a split position. Prof. Schwarzkopf said he would add that to the list of issues and try to come back with something.



The meeting adjourned at 4:28 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, February 11, 2002, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.

Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

James S. Hart, Jr., Secretary