JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE

The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session January 22, 2007 3:30 p.m. Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789
e-mail: facsen@ou.edu web site: http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/

 

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Roger Frech, Chair.

 

PRESENT: Badhwar, D. Bemben, M. Bemben, Benson, Biggerstaff, Blank, Bradford, Brown, Civan, Croft, Draheim, Elisens, Fincke, Forman, Franklin, Frech, Gade, Ge, Greene, Gutierrez, Houser, Keppel, Kolar, Kutner, Lai, Lester, Livesey, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, Miranda, Rambo, Roche, Scamehorn, Schwarzkopf, Strawn, Tan, Thulasiraman, Trytten, Vitt, Warnken, Weaver, Wyckoff

ISA representatives: Cook

ABSENT: Albert, Basic, Brule, Cramer, Hamerla, James, Knapp, Raadschelders, Riggs, Skeeters, Wei

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Senate Chair's Report:

Grade scale

Lecture by Ruth Okediji

Faculty retiree deaths

Statement on science (evolution)

Faculty Senate apportionment for 2007-10

E-mail

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APPROVAL OF JOURNAL

 

The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of December 11, 2006 was approved.

 

 

SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Roger Frech

 

Prof. Frech reminded the Senate that several issues would be considered at upcoming meetings: health benefits, library task force recommendations, and the grade scale. The grade scale task force is making final changes in its draft report and will most likely present the report at the February Senate meeting. The preliminary draft, which is 21 pages, contains background information, data, analysis of these data, recommendations, and rationale for the recommendations. When the final draft is ready, Prof. Frech will send it to senators and ask them to discuss the recommendations with their constituents. The Senate will consider the recommendations in February and potentially vote in March.

 

Prof. Frech encouraged the senators to attend a lecture, "Negotiating Success: Gender, Leadership and the Academic Culture," by Prof. Ruth Okediji on January 25. Prof. Okediji was Faculty Senate Chair in 2000-01 and is now a professor at the University of Minnesota.

 

[Although not reported at the meeting, Prof. Frech wishes to acknowledge the deaths of Ernest Larkin, Journalism & Mass Communication, on December 15; Constance Lindemann, Social Work, on December 16; Ramon Alonso, Management, on December 23; Ernest Trumble, Music, on December 24; and C. Joe Holland, Journalism & Mass Communication, on January 10.]

 

 

STATEMENT ON SCIENCE (EVOLUTION)

 

At the October 9, 2006 meeting, the Faculty Senate voted to support the Department of Zoology statement on evolution (http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/Zooevol2.htm) and tabled a statement proposed by the Senate Executive Committee (http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/refevol.htm), which was a modification of the Zoology Department statement (see 10/06 Senate Journal). Prof. Frech explained that the Senate Executive Committee statement had been revised (attached http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/fsecevol.htm), had modest changes from the Zoology Department statement, and focused on the definition of science and the scientific process.

 

Prof. Weaver commented that the Geology & Geophysics faculty thought it would be pertinent to include a reference in the statement to the age of the earth, which provides a time frame for evolution to occur. In their teaching, professors encounter questions related to the age of the earth. Prof. Frech said he was reluctant to add specific scientific issues. The revised draft talks some about evolution but focuses on the meaning of scientific theory and the scientific process and the idea of testable hypotheses that are falsifiable. Prof. Weaver said he thought the original Zoology statement included some reference to the age of the earth. Prof. Fincke said it mentioned the age of life. Prof. Frech said someone would need to suggest some language. Prof. Fincke said she thought the statement was supposed to be about science in general, not evolution. Prof. Vitt said his recommendation at the December meeting was that the Faculty Senate statement should be supportive of science and the scientific method, as opposed to alternative explanations as to how the world works. He envisioned an opening paragraph that would discuss the major discoveries in science, including evolution. The new statement is just a revision of the Zoology statement. Prof. Frech asked Prof. Schwarzkopf to work with Professors Vitt, Fincke, and Weaver to come up with an appropriate version. Prof. Vitt said the statement should address science in general, which includes evolution, rather than treat evolution as a separate issue. Prof. Schwarzkopf said it had not been clear how explicitly the Faculty Senate wanted to call out certain theories. The Senate had already supported the statement from Zoology that explicitly called out the non-evolutionary theories. Prof. Vitt said he thought the approach ought to be to define what science is, highlight major discoveries of science that are based on the scientific method, and point out that alternative explanations that do not use the scientific method are not consistent with what is done in science. The statement could mention evolution and discoveries in other fields but not explicitly address any single one. The idea is to bring them all together as part of science. That would be a more powerful tool to use with the legislature and to advance science in the state.

 

 

FACULTY SENATE APPORTIONMENT FOR 2007-10

 

Prof. Frech reported that reapportionment of the Senate was done on a periodic basis. The report of the ad hoc committee and recommended apportionment for 2007-10 is attached -- http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/fsapporrep07.htm and http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/fsappor07.htm. An error in the heading was corrected to read 931.15 instead of 927.15. Since the last regular apportionment in 2004, the College of Earth & Energy has been added. One unit each from the colleges of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences and Engineering was folded into Earth & Energy, and one seat from each was allocated to the new college. In 2004, the Honors College seat included the Energy Center; the Energy Center is now in the College of Earth & Energy. The recommendation for 2007 is to combine the four faculty in the president and provost units with Honors and assign them all one seat. Everything else is unchanged. The rationale prepared by the committee includes the particular allocation method that was used. The senators had no comments or questions. Prof. Frech said the Senate would vote on this item at the February meeting. [Note: the recommended apportionment is the same as the interim apportionment approved by the Senate in January 2006.]

 

 

E-MAIL

 

Prof. Finke commented that she could hardly use e-mail because of all the spam, even though she has a spam filter. Prof. Ge said the Information Technology (IT) office could add a line that would filter out most spam. Prof. Fincke said she was concerned about filtering out legitimate messages, such as those from editors. Prof. Ge responded that before she deletes junk mail, she scans the messages. Occasionally, a legitimate message may get sent to the junk mailbox. She said it is better than dealing with lots of spam. Prof. Badhwar said she was having problems receiving e-mail, and people are not receiving her messages. Prof. Ge said she recently had not received some messages that students had sent. She wondered if there was a problem between the server for students and the one for faculty. Prof. Frech said he had found that he needed to scan through spam because it included messages from editors on occasion. Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said the better way for professors to communicate with students was through Desire2Learn instead of regular e-mail. She pointed out that sometimes she will not receive any messages for several hours, and she fears that legitimate mail is lost during that interval. Prof. Frech said he would bring this up with IT. Prof. Fincke noted that some schools do something to filter out spam at a higher level. Prof. Vitt pointed out that the Eudora system could provide information on the time one spends on e-mail. Prof. Trytten explained that spam filters will occasionally catch legitimate messages and miss some spam. The spam filter in the Outlook system seems to work extremely well. Prof. Frech said he would talk with IT about publicizing the availability and accessibility of e-mail filters.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m. The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 2007, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.

 

____________________________________
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

 

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Cecelia Brown, Secretary