JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE
The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - November 12, 2001 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/
The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Al Schwarzkopf, Chair.
PRESENT: Abraham, Bemben, Blank, Civan, Cline, Cox, Crawford, Cuccia, Davis, Foster, Frech, Gollahalli, Gottesman, Hanson, Harrison, Hart, Hartel, Hawthorne, Henderson, Knapp, Magid, Maiden, McInerney, Milton, Morrissey, Nelson, Palmer, Ransom, Robertson, Roegiers, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Scherman, Schwarzkopf, Taylor, Wieder, Willinger, Wyckoff, Zagzebski
Provost's office representative: Mergler
PSA representatives: Hubbard
UOSA representatives: Magann, Miham, Roberts
ABSENT: Baldwin, Beach, Bozorgi, Clark, DeBacker, Dewers, Gensler, Greene, Kenderdine, Lee, Newman, Pender, Vale
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Status of issues for 2001-02
State of the University address by President David Boren
Deadline for late registration
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Senate Journal for the regular session of October 8, 2001 was approved.
The status of issues brought to the Faculty Senate for 2001-02 is attached. Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that the objective of the legislative relations program was to develop a personal relationship with as many legislators as possible so that when they vote on higher education issues, they do not think of OU as a university in someone else's district. The first visit by legislators on November 13 will include Thad Balkman, David Braddock, Carolyn Coleman, Abe Duetschendorf, Doug Miller, and Jonathan Nichols. Senator Cal Hobson, Representative Bill Nations, and Senator Jonathan Nichols have been strong supporters of the University and are guiding us in what we do. It is not our objective to have a particular agenda but rather establish a relationship. Prof. Rick Tepker (Law) will work with Legal Counsel to address some substantive issues concerning the discrimination/harassment grievance policy. The issue is at what point should Legal Counsel make an opinion as to whether a grievance should go forward. A new issue added was the suggestion by the accreditation team to revise the deadline in the Faculty Handbook for notifying faculty members who are eligible for tenure consideration.
President Boren's response to the Senate's statement concerning terrorism (see 10/01 Senate Journal) was, "I certainly support this statement."
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT DAVID BOREN
Prof. Schwarzkopf noted that during the time he had been on the Senate Executive Committee, he had met almost monthly with the President. The meetings have been pleasant, and he has been impressed with how hard the President has worked to have a good relationship with the Senate.
President Boren expressed his appreciation to the faculty for their leadership through these troubled times. Referring to handouts he distributed at the meeting (available from the Senate office), he said we had the highest enrollment we have ever had on the Norman campus. All sorts of stresses come with the enrollment growth, including additional class sections, facility shortages, and parking problems. He said he has had excellent on-going meetings with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and has worked with the committee to meet the challenges that we face.
We have made some very good progress in faculty salaries. This year's faculty salary increase averaged 4.5 percent. Faculty compensation remains the number one priority with the regents. We are continuing to make gains in the number of endowed chairs. We have about 340 endowed positions. Faculty size is growing in critical areas. Research expenditures are continuing to grow. OU is at the top of the Big 12 in research growth. We are at $163 million in terms of research expenditures and should be at about $174 million next year. The research overhead has made it possible to improve research facilities. President Boren said he thought it was appropriate to use a little portion of the overhead to fund additional facilities because the biggest problem we have in terms of continued research growth is physical space constraints.
First-time freshman enrollment for this fall increased again. We had hoped to level off freshman enrollment at 3200-3300 and grow enrollment through improved retention in the upper division classes. The good news is the quality has gone up. The median ACT score for entering freshmen is almost 25. We have raised the admission requirements three times in the last two years. Out-of-state requirements were raised March 1 to 26 ACT and top 25 percent of the graduating class. If the requirements had been in effect the whole year, about 300 students would not have been admitted. Still, we are about where we were last year in terms of acceptances. It may be necessary to go to a two-tiered system with a discretionary admission for in-state students with an ACT between, for example, 24 and 26. OU did not use all of the 8 percent set-aside for discretionary admits. Over 300 slots for students with an ACT lower than 24 were available, and about 90 were admitted to OU. Oklahoma State University used the full 8 percent in order to keep their numbers up. There is a real divergence between OU and the other state institutions in the caliber of the freshman class.
President Boren said that when he arrived at OU, the library rankings were falling year by year. The regents adopted a ten-year plan of allocating a minimum increase of $1 million per year to the library. The first benchmark goal was to reach the University of Kansas. We have surpassed Kansas in total collections and are now second in the Big 12. We still need to make progress in expenditures per student, library size, and library staff.
Our priorities continue to be faculty compensation, faculty recruitment and retention, additional public support for faculty, more endowed positions for faculty, library, and laboratory and research facilities. With regard to the last item, several physical projects are under way. The Weather Center project is moving forward. We sought $25 million in federal funding and $29 million in state funding, for a $54 million total project. It appears we will get $19 for the federal share but could seek more next year. The state governor and party leaders have said they are committed to giving us one-time capital money for the project. We have received $7 million already from the state and expect at least another $20 million, so we will be able to start the project. A private gift, coupled with bonds funded by our research reimbursement, will fund the $19 million multi-purpose research facility. The next phase of physics is part of the plan to increase research facilities. Some of the research grants from NIH and others have been conditional on additional space. The Reynolds Foundations gave us $14.5 million for the renovation of Holmberg Hall and another $1.1 million for works of art in the hall and surrounding areas. The renovations will include a backstage addition, new facilities for the School of Dance, and remodeled practice facilities. We hope to break ground this spring on the art museum wing. The $18 million Business School fund-raising drive is under way. Gaylord Hall, the new Journalism building, is funded and will be built after the new parking garage next to the stadium is completed. The garage will have almost 900 spaces and will house the bookstore on the ground floor. All of these projects will free up areas in existing buildings for research and classroom space.
One of our strong concerns is our graduation rate. Our students do not seem to really understand why it is important to complete their degrees. Our graduation rate is about 50 percent. Over the next three years, we will try to raise that to 60 percent. The state regents held $2 million out of the education funding this year to reward institutions that meet certain targets in graduation rates. President Boren noted that the Faculty Senate had a committee looking at what the institution could do to improve retention and graduation rates. Schools with high graduation rates provide more intervention.
Turning to the state budget outlook, the President said he had sent a memo to budget unit heads asking them to be prudent about filling positions. Because some very crucial academic searches are going on, faculty searches have not been halted, but we have to be really careful in this budgetary climate. The multi-year tuition plan will be helpful. The seven percent tuition increase brings us about $3.6 million. Just the continuing costs for next year will take about $5.5 million. Those items include the remaining portion of this year's salary increase ($1.2 million), additional health care costs, and the increased size of the faculty because of enrollment growth. Currently, state revenues are running 3.5 percent below the estimate. About 95 percent of the estimated state revenues can be appropriated. If the shortfall is more than five percent, the amount of money that could be appropriated is cut. The good news is that so far, Oklahoma's economy has slowed down less than the rest of the country. Twenty-four states have already had to cut this year's operating budget. In February, the state board of equalization will give its next to final estimate as to what the legislature can appropriate. President Boren said he had found ways to continue funding the capital projects and wants to continue the increases in faculty compensation and library, but we are not totally masters of our own fate. We could face a situation where a three-year plan may end up to be a five-year plan simply because of the national economy. He said he did not want to lose the forward momentum in faculty retention and recruitment. It is very encouraging to see that the caliber of faculty and students is increasing. It is a challenge to keep moving ahead with these economic challenges. The momentum on private fund-raising remains good. Last year, we finished with higher cash gifts than we did in the five years of the Reach for Excellence campaign.
Prof. Nelson asked whether there was any clustering by gender, race, or program with respect to student attrition. President Boren said there was some clustering in regard to programs. We need to do a better job of counseling students into programs where they can succeed. Provost Mergler added that women retain better than men. That is due in part because in some areas, particularly computer science and electrical engineering, men are the majority and are being hired before they complete their degrees. Minority students do not retain as well as majority, but OU's minority students do better than minority students on other campuses. Part of the solution may be to ease the transition from University College and get better and more timely data so we can identify students who decide not to enroll the next semester. President Boren said our advisor-to-student ratio is extremely high, so we need to make more advising resources available. Prof. Nelson asked whether students were surveyed after they had been here a couple of years to see if their expectation was what was given. President Boren said the student satisfaction was extremely high. More intervention is needed to identify potential dropouts--students who are having academic difficulty or economic, social, or family problems. This state is far below the national average in the number of college degrees per capita, so our students may get less push from their parents to finish their degrees. The University is working on a computerized graduation program that will show a student exactly what is needed to graduate. President Boren said he values input from the Faculty Senate. It is in the junior year when we begin to lose students. Our graduation rate holds us back in our national rankings. If we went up to a 60 percent graduation rate, given the other indicators, we would be at the top of Tier II and close to Tier I in U.S. News. We may bring in some outside experts to help since all of Oklahoma higher education has horrible graduation rates.
Prof. McInerney asked about the outcome of the accreditation. President Boren said the team had a very positive report. We will get a ten-year re-accreditation without any monitoring requirements. The comments were extremely positive. Their top three criticisms were graduation rates, information technology infrastructure, and graduate program. The student connectivity fee will bring in an additional $1.5 million a year for technology. We can bond some of the fee, which will allow us to make some major breakthroughs. We are allocating additional funding to attract outstanding graduate students. Provost Mergler said the team was impressed with the quality of the library, faculty and student body. Prof. McInerney asked whether our goal still was to get in the AAU. President Boren said that remained our goal. We are also making progress on reaching the Carnegie I level.
When asked whether the handouts included the HSC, President Boren said only the number of endowed positions and growth in research expenditures were for both campuses. Over the last three years, research growth has been slightly higher on the Norman campus than the HSC. He said he was convinced that investing some of the overhead would continue the forward momentum. Prof. Milton asked where we ranked in total research expenditures. President Boren said we were about fourth or fifth in the Big 12 but would be ranked higher on a per capita basis. Partnerships with private companies are beneficial to the University but must be in line with our academic priorities. For example, the Williams alliance in Meteorology and the Noble project in genetics build on our academic mission. These projects create other opportunities and help us gain political support too.
President Boren said he appreciated working together with the faculty. Many of his ideas come from the faculty. He said, "We will continue to pool our best judgment together on things like retention, and I will keep you posted on what is happening on the budget picture." He noted that Oklahoma tended to be counter-cyclical. Overall, the feeling in the broader community toward OU has never been better. There is a growing appreciation of the role of the University. He said he appreciated the fact that the faculty is causing that to happen.
DEADLINE FOR LATE REGISTRATION
For background information, see 10/01 Journal. Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that there had been a slight change in wording in the first paragraph since the last meeting. He said the students would have a chance to provide input on this recommendation. The motion to approve the following recommendation was approved on a voice vote.
Be it resolved that because of the pace at which most classes are delivered, students will be permitted to register or add a class during the first week of class instruction in a regular semester. After week one, entrance to a course can only be granted by permission from the instructor of record.
Suggested implementation of the policy change is fall 2002.
No change is recommended for summer sessions because the time frame is adequate as it is now.
Intersession is administered through the College of Continuing Education and therefore not in our jurisdiction.
The meeting adjourned at 4:47 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, December 3, 2001, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
James S. Hart, Jr., Secretary