The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)

Regular session – October 12 1998 - 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 Alexander Holmes, Chair.

PRESENT: Abraham, Agrawal, Badhwar, Benson, Bert, Blank, Brown, Butler, Cline, Deming, Edwards, Eliason, Emery, Fleener, Greene, Gross, Hobbs, Holmes, Houser, Knapp, Kudrna, Kunesh, Kutner, Lancaster, Leigh, Mau, Murphy, Newman, Norwood, Okediji, Osisanya, Pailes, Patterson, Rosenthal, Schwarzkopf, St. John, Van Gundy, Watts, Weston

Provost's office representative: Mergler

PSA representatives: Iselin, Wakefield

UOSA representatives: Davis

ABSENT: Beasley, Durica, Engel, Gilliland, Joyce, Karriker, Patten, Ratliff, Russell, Scherman, Sutton, White




1998-99 campus departmental review panel 1

Research professor task force 2

Class start date 2

Health benefits 2

New senator 2

Remarks by President Boren 2

Election, councils/committees/boards 2

Departmental tenure vote 2

Faculty appeals procedures 4




The Senate Journal for the regular session of September 14, 1998, was approved.



The following faculty will serve on the 1998-99 Campus Departmental Review Panel: Daniel Cottom (English), June Lester (Library and Information Studies), and Jane Magrath (Music). The panel also will include three deans and Dr. Ed Sankowski (Philosophy), Provost Office coordinator. Five units will be reviewed this year: Law, Liberal Studies, Educational Psychology, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, and Instructional Leadership & Academic Curriculum.

A task force has been formed to consider the title of research professor, a non-tenured position, for individuals on research contracts (see 9/98 Journal, page 2). Professors Barbara Greene (Educational Psychology), Peter Lamb (Meteorology), David Levy (History), Bruce Roe (Chemistry & Biochemistry), and Rick Tepker (Law) have agreed to serve, as well as the following administrators: Eddie Smith (Graduate College Dean and Research Vice President) and Jeff Harwell (Associate Dean of Engineering, who replaces Skip Porter, Engineering Dean and Technology Development Vice President). Professor Greene will chair the task force.

The Academic Regulations Committee voted to start classes in accordance with the recommendations the Faculty Senate made last month. There was concern that some of our Norman faculty teach a significant number of students on the Tulsa campus and that a significant number of students in a couple of programs are on both campuses. The vote dealt strictly with the Norman campus schedule; however, the committee wants to investigate whether the schedules of the Norman and Tulsa campuses could be integrated.

This year, health benefits will be reviewed in depth. The University has hired a consulting firm to help them work through this year’s process. A copy of the Request for Proposal is in the Faculty Senate office. Responding to a question from Prof. Kunesh, Prof. Holmes said he would request a comparative study of the benefits at other institutions in the state.

Prof. Katharine Leigh (Interior Design) was elected to complete the 1996-99 term of Prof. Iver Wahl (Architecture) on the Faculty Senate from the College of Architecture.

President Boren was planning to be at this meeting; however, he had a conflict and would not have arrived until late in the meeting. He has been re-scheduled to make remarks at next month’s Faculty Senate meeting.



The Senate approved the nominations of Richard Pailes (Anthropology) to complete the 1997-00 term of Gordon Uno (Botany & Microbiology) on the Academic Regulations Committee and Jay Smith (Educational Psychology) to serve on the oversight board of the new student radio station.



Provost Nancy Mergler asked the Faculty Senate for an interpretation of the section in the Faculty Handbook that addresses the departmental tenure vote (Appendix Ia). There is some confusion about is meant by a secret ballot. The vote of individual faculty members shall be kept confidential, but should the candidate be given only the grant or deny result or the numerical vote of the faculty? The Faculty Senate Executive Committee proposed that sentences be added to sections 3.7.5(f) and 3.7.5(l) of the Faculty Handbook to clarify that the numerical result shall be provided to the candidate (Appendix Ib).

Prof. Holmes noted that in the case of a protest, it is automatic that the vote count be revealed. Prof. Schwarzkopf noted that the tenure candidate could figure out the vote in a small unit from fairly small amounts of information. Prof. Holmes said the Executive Committee had discussed that issue and concluded that if enough people honestly reveal their vote, then the count is known. Prof. Fleener pointed out that an appeal occurs only if someone is denied tenure. Revealing dissenting votes contributes to dissension in a unit. She suggested that the numerical result be provided only when the vote is favorable. Prof. Abraham said we would then have to define what is favorable. An 11-10 vote to grant is not really favorable. Further, the Chair and Committee A make separate recommendations, and the dean also makes a recommendation. Prof. Holmes commented that a person could get a favorable vote and then be denied tenure at a later stage because it was a split vote. Prof. Kunesh said he did not see what is gained by revealing the numerical vote unless it is appealed. Prof. Holmes said the value was honesty. Prof. Kunesh commented that it is supposed to be a secret ballot, but in some units, it would not be hard to figure out what happened if the numerical results are provided. A unit can be honest by saying the vote was close, for instance. Provost Mergler responded that some departments defer the bad news of a "gray" vote by saying it is a positive vote and is now in the hands of the dean. Departments should tell candidates as accurately as possible where they stand in a multi-level process. A lot of appeals are a result of a lack of being fully informed on the nature of the vote. Prof. Benson said the Executive Committee favored openness unless there was some justification for keeping the numerical vote confidential. Prof. Van Gundy said we have to weigh that against possible dissension and impact on morale. Prof. Holmes said this would provide some uniformity instead of the variations that exist. The majority of departments report the actual numerical vote. There could be fewer appeals if the person knew what the vote was.

Prof. Eliason said when he chaired the Mathematics Department several years ago, the candidate was told the vote if s/he wanted to know. Some people simply did not want to know. Prof. Osisanya noted that keeping the vote secret would prevent candidates from feeling bad about the people who voted against them. Prof. Badhwar said there is no reason to keep a unanimous vote secret. Prof. Eliason said he believes it is important to let the candidate know the vote if s/he wants to know. Prof. Van Gundy commented that the policy could read that departments are required to provide the information if the candidate makes that request. Prof. St. John asked whether a lot of people have demanded to know the tenure vote. Provost Mergler responded that it is the impression of some candidates that they are not even allowed to ask for that information. Because it is handled a lot of different ways on campus, she would like to see it regularized.

Prof. Gross said he thought it was inappropriate for the tenured members who do the voting to know the number but the candidate does not. Confidentiality about the vote is so easily breached, that the vote might as well be accessible to the candidate in an open way. The vote should be available to the candidate if s/he wants it. Prof. Deming said he thought candidates who make a request should be told the vote so they will know whether there is a chance the decision could be reversed at a higher level. He said the process is unfair because the people who vote against tenure do not have to give any reasons. Prof. Holmes said the Executive Committee discussed whether individuals would take responsibility for the vote. Prof. Schwarzkopf moved to amend the added sentence in 3.7.5(f) to read: "The numerical result of the formal secret ballot polling shall be provided to the candidate at the candidate's request." Section 3.7.5(l) would then read: "The numerical result of the Campus Tenure Committee recommendation shall be provided to the candidate at the candidate’s request." Following a brief discussion, the amendment was approved on a voice vote. Final action will be taken next month.



Prof. Holmes explained that the proposed revisions in the faculty appeals process had been dangling for two years. The new appeals process has been in place long enough to discover some glitches. The Provost sent a memo asking the Senate to review a proposed revision (Appendix IIa). In consultation with legal counsel, some other changes were proposed to make the system work (Appendix IIb).

Prof. Okediji noted that the memo from the Provost’s office deals with circularity of deadlines. The proposed revision in section 3.9.1(h)(1) of the Faculty Handbook makes it consistent that the deadline is determined by a prospective event. The revisions in 3.9.1(g)(1) concern the selection of the hearing committee. Prof. Holmes said the revision in part (a) was proposed because of an actual case where a respondent refused to select members to be on the committee. If the process is stalled, it can continue through an alternative path. Prof. Okediji said the focus was to make the deadlines consistent and practical.

Prof. Van Gundy asked whether 10 days would be sufficient time. Ms. Sonya Fallgatter, Faculty Senate administrative coordinator, said that should allow enough time. Prof. Schwarzkopf asked why the Faculty Senate Chair was being asked to select the members by lot. Prof. Holmes said the intent was to have someone independent draw names out of the hat so no one could claim there was a faction. Ms. Fallgatter added that the drawing by lot was done by the Senate Chair in the previous procedure. Prof. Okediji said the purpose was to find someone who was neutral. The language says the FAB Chair may request, which leaves a little flexibility. She asked whether the Senate wanted the center of the process to be the FAB Chair or divided between the FAB Chair and the Faculty Senate Chair.

Prof. Kunesh asked about the definition of a classroom day and the scheduling of a pre-hearing. He asked whether appeals that occur late in the academic year would go over into the summer. Ms. Fallgatter pointed out that if an appeal is filed in late spring, the complainant is advised that the hearing probably cannot be held until the fall unless enough faculty are available in the summer. In recent years, only one or two hearings have been held per year. Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether a classroom day would include final exam week. Prof. Holmes offered to have someone provide a definition at the next meeting. Final action will be taken next month.



The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 1998, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Ruth Okediji, Secretary


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Appendix Ib

Proposed Revisions in the Tenure Vote, 10/98

(additions underlined)


3.7.5(f) Formal consideration for tenure shall originate with the polling by secret ballot of all tenured members of the candidate's academic unit including, when practical, those who are on leave of absence. If it is proposed to consider a tenure recommendation prior to the candidate's sixth probationary year, the tenured members of the unit shall hold a preliminary vote on whether or not to do so, and consideration of early tenure will proceed only if a majority of tenured faculty members favor such consideration. Subsequently, in any formal poll of tenured faculty taken prior to the candidate's sixth probationary year, no tenure recommendation will be forwarded unless a majority of those polled favor granting tenure. Whatever the result of the faculty poll taken during the sixth probationary year, it will be forwarded. In all cases, the result of the vote must accompany the recommendation. The numerical result of the formal secret ballot polling shall be provided to the candidate.



3.7.5 (l) The Campus Tenure Committee will attach its recommendations to the tenure materials and forward all materials to the Senior Vice President and Provost with supporting reasons and will notify the candidate, the chair of the unit, and the college dean of its recommendations. The numerical result of the Campus Tenure Committee recommendation shall be provided to the candidate.



Previous Campus Tenure Committee members contacted noted that openness in the process is welcome, but that the committee serves only an advisory role. The role is analogous to Dean’s advisory committees used by some colleges (not explicitly covered by the handbook).


Appendix IIb

Proposed Revisions in Faculty Appeals Process, 10/98

(deletions crossed through; additions underlined)


3.9.1(g)(1) Selection of Hearing Committee

The Chair of the Faculty Appeals Board immediately will notify the respondent(s) of the grievance and will provide the parties with a current roster of the FAB members schedule a meeting of the parties within 5 classroom days to select the Hearing Committee. The Hearing Committee, which shall serve at the pre-hearing and at the formal hearing, if convened, will be selected as follows:

a. Within 10 classroom days of receipt of the roster, the complainant and respondent alternately each shall select three names from the Appeals Board pool.* If there are multiple respondents who cannot agree or if a party fails to respond, the FAB Chair may request the Faculty Senate Chair to select the remaining Hearing Committee members by lot. Following selection of the six names, the FAB Chair is responsible for ensuring that those selected choose within 5 10 classroom days a seventh name from the Appeals Board pool to serve as chair.

*No members of the Faculty Appeals Board may be eligible for selection for a hearing committee if they currently are serving on another ongoing hearing.


3.9.1(h)(1) Formal Hearing Process

At least 20 classroom days before the hearing Within 10 classroom days following receipt of the Hearing Committee’s pre-hearing conference determination as provided for in Section 3.9.1(g)(2)b, the complainant shall present to the respondent and the Chair of the Hearing Committee: