The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – November 10, 2008 – 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 Cecelia Brown, Chair.


PRESENT:       Ahmed, Apanasov, Atiquzzaman, Bass, D. Bemben, M. Bemben, Blank, Bradshaw, Brown, Brule, Buckley, Clark, Conlon, Croft, Eodice, Forman, Franklin, Graham, Grasse, Hawthorne, Horn, Kent, Kershen, Lifschitz, Livesey, McDonald, Milton, Morrissey, Muraleetharan, Reeder, Riggs, Sadler, Schmidt, Strauss, Striz, Trafalis, Vehik, Verma, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Cook

ABSENT:         Asojo, Basic, Greene, Knapp, Miller, Moses, Rambo, Rogers, Russell, Tan, Vitt, Weaver





Resolution of appreciation, Ed Cline

Blood drive

Project to conserve energy

Search committee, Fine Arts dean

Employment Benefits Committee membership

Senate Chair's Report:


Huston Huffman fees

Legislative issues

Benefits – HMO plan






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of October 13, 2008 was approved.





Prof. Brown presented the resolution below from the OU Regents expressing appreciation to Prof. Ed Cline and naming the faculty development awards the Ed Cline Faculty Development Awards.  Prof. Cline said it was an honor for which he was very grateful.  He congratulated the recipients of the awards. 

WHEREAS, Ed Cline Jr.’s distinguished career with The University of Oklahoma began in 1989, when he joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty as a professor of Mathematics;

WHEREAS, he served the department as Director of Graduate Studies of Mathematics from 1997 to 1999;

WHEREAS, throughout his academic career he was a much sought-after lecturer and a prolific author of scholarly works;

WHEREAS, from 1988 to 1989, he served as editor of Communications in Algebra;

WHEREAS, from 1990 to 1993, he served on the Campus Planning Council, and was Chair of that council from 1992 to 1993;

WHEREAS, from 1991 to 1994, he served on the Athletics Council, and was Chair of that council from 1993 to 1994;

WHEREAS, from 1997 to 1999, he served on the Research Council;

WHEREAS, from 2004 to 2006, he served on the Recreational Services Advisory Committee;

WHEREAS, from 1998 to 2001, he was a member of the Faculty Senate, serving on its executive committee from 1999 to 2000, as Chair-elect from 2001 to 2002 and as Chair from 2002 to 2003;

WHEREAS, during his term as Chair of the Faculty Senate, he proposed the Faculty Development Awards, which provide support for all aspects of a faculty member’s mission;

WHEREAS, the awards, first presented in spring 2004, have funded some 57 proposals;

WHEREAS, he has shown remarkable dedication and service to The University of Oklahoma from the time he joined the faculty until his retirement in 2006;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The University of Oklahoma Regents express profound appreciation to Ed Cline Jr. for his loyalty, dedication, commitment and years of service to the advancement of The University of Oklahoma’s stature and academic mission by naming the faculty development awards the Ed Cline Faculty Development Awards.

UNANIMOUSLY approved by The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents on October 22, 2008.





Mr. Ben West, University of Oklahoma Student Association Director of External Campus Relations, reported on the Bedlam blood drive being held on November 21 and 24.  The blood drive is an annual competition between OU and OSU to see which campus can donate the most blood in a certain time period.  An awards ceremony will be held at halftime of the Bedlam football game, with T. Boone Pickens presenting the award to the winning school’s student government leaders.  Donation locations will be in the Red Cross bus on the east side of the Union from noon to 5:00 p.m. and in the Union from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Mr. West encouraged the faculty to donate blood and to let their students know about the drive.  He will send a reminder email to senators as the date approaches. 





Mr. Bill Henwood, director of the Physical Plant, discussed some initiatives to conserve energy on the Norman campus.  He introduced Don Carter, assistant director of the Physical Plant, and Mark McWhirter, who will be the project manager for the next two years.  A new performance contract was signed in September with Johnson Controls (JCI).  The contract is a $21 million effort, with Johnson Controls designing, building and implementing a number of energy conservation measures in about 70 E&G facilities.  The project will create operational and energy savings, and the savings will go to pay off the bonds over a 25-year period.  The initiatives also will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  President Boren was one of the charter signatories on the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.  This project will meet some of our obligations under the ACUPCC and is consistent with the efforts of the Environmental Concerns Committee, OUr Earth, and the newly-formed Sustainability Committee.  The contract, which will take two years, will advance energy and water conservation on the Norman campus and focus on academic facilities.  Initial coordination with the affected colleges is just beginning. 


Summarizing the improvement measures, Mr. Henwood said 1392 electrical exit signs will be replaced with photo luminescent signs wherever appropriate or with LED features.  Some 93,000 interior fluorescent light fixtures will be retrofit with new ballasts, and 32-watt bulbs will be replaced with 25-watt bulbs.  They also will install state-of-the-art lighting controls that determine whether lights should be on or off.  Exterior lights will be replaced with new bulbs and ballasts.  The savings from the lighting retrofits will remove 9500 tons of green house gas emissions from the air per year.  Water conservation measures will include replacing many of the plumbing flush valves and faucets, which will save 24 Olympic-size pools worth of water a year.  Vending misers will be installed that will sense when a vending machine should be lit.  Installing the misers on 203 machines across campus will save $250,000 a year.  The machines will sense when someone walks up to them and will light up. 


Infrastructure improvements will be made to select academic buildings, such as installing automation systems and temperature controls, replacing HVAC systems, installing weather stripping, caulking, glazing, and replacing various steam traps to better control the steam used for heating.  The roof on Copeland Hall will be replaced.  All of the improvements will be done so they do not impact the work of faculty.  They will be done at night after hours, during breaks, and in the summer.  With these improvements we expect to have more comfortable environments, fewer trouble calls, and annual reductions equivalent to the energy produced from burning 28,000 trees, having 1800 fewer cars on the road, or the energy consumed by 415 single family homes.  Work is expected to begin on the northeast side of campus in the Sarkeys and Carson centers and proceed south and west.  The projects will be done incrementally and will be closely coordinated with the deans’ offices.  JCI employees and subcontractors will be identified by badges and vests.  Flyers will be posted in buildings to describe the work that is going on.  OU is one of the leaders with respect to the ACUPCC.  This is an important step in the pursuit of sustainability and climate neutrality as is the wind power agreement initiated with OG&E.


Prof. Livesey brought up the problem of water damage in the Physical Sciences Center after rainstorms.  He asked whether the Physical Plant planned to address the leaks in the windows.  Mr. Henwood said he would research that.  If the building is not scheduled for exterior work, the Physical Plant could tackle the problem individually.  Prof. Livesey asked whether the stadium lights and lights illuminating buildings were part of the program.  Mr. Henwood answered that the Athletics Department is in charge of stadium lighting.  Exterior, architectural lighting generally is low wattage and not part of the current project, but he can look into it.  Mr. Henwood said he is a member of the Sustainability Committee and chair of the building subcommittee.  He said he looked forward to addressing some of those issues. 


Prof. Brown asked how the Physical Plant planned to deal with the old buildings, such as the library, that have beautiful windows and steam heat.  Mr. Carter replied that the first phase does not cover the original 1929 library.  Right now, the focus is on the lighting.  Mr. Henwood added that there is the possibility of further phases like the contract with JCI.  He said, “We are your Physical Plant.  If you have issues … we are not going to wait for a project if we can help that.  We are going to get out there and resolve those issues now.”  He invited email or phone calls if anyone had questions or issues in general or with regard to a facility.  Prof. Buckley asked if there was a policy with respect to hanging flyers on the outside of buildings.  Mr. Henwood said that was not a responsibility of the Physical Plant.  It is a part of the informal communication that goes on across the university.  Mr. Henwood’s slides are available from the Faculty Senate office.





The Senate approved the Senate Executive Committee’s nominations for the faculty-at-large position on the Fine Arts dean search committee:

Abi Asojo, Associate Professor and Director of Interior Design

Richard Marshment, Professor of Regional and City Planning

From these nominations, the administration will select one to serve.  Prof. Brown noted that it would be an internal search chaired by the provost.  She announced the other members of the committee.





The Employment Benefits Committee proposed the following change in its charge concerning the Tulsa faculty membership:

Current:  1 College of Medicine-Tulsa faculty member, President appoints after recommendations from HSC Faculty Senate, 4-year term.

Proposed:  1 Tulsa Campus faculty member, President appoints after recommendations from HSC Faculty Senate and Norman Faculty Senate, 4-year term.

Prof. Brown explained that the EBC would like to broaden the Tulsa faculty representation to include the non-medical as well as the medical faculty and have the senates that represent the Norman and HSC campuses recommend names.  She introduced Darryl McCullough, chair of EBC.  Prof. Kershen asked why the Norman Senate was getting involved in recommending somebody from Tulsa.  Prof. Brown pointed out that the academic home for the non-medical faculty is Norman.  There is no Faculty Senate in Tulsa, so the non-medical are represented by the Norman Senate and the medical by the HSC Senate.  Prof. Milton asked about the number of people involved.  Prof. Brown said there were around 45 non-medical, and they need a voice.  Prof. Muraleetharan asked about the other committees.  Prof. Brown said the proposal came from the EBC.  It would be up to other committees to make a similar proposal.  Prof. Graham (from the Tulsa campus) said the Tulsa faculty often do not feel a part of the campus, so it is important that they have representation.  Prof. Brown noted that the Tulsa faculty has had representation on the Faculty Senate for about four years.  The Senate will vote on the proposal at the next meeting.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Cecelia Brown


I contacted Theta Dempsey, director of Parking, about parking concerns and questions.  Some faculty members drive both a motorcycle or scooter and a car but would like the option of purchasing only one parking pass, rather than one for each vehicle.  This is possible as long as both are not on campus at the same time.  The problem is attaching the pass to the scooter.  Ms. Dempsey said that some people have figured out how to do this, so you can contact her office and she can help you.  Another parking question was about reduced parking fees for reduced usage.  Currently there is a week-long pass for $6.50 plus the option of parking at Lloyd Noble for free and taking the shuttle but no sort of punch card system.  I thought it might be helpful to understand how the parking revenue is spent and learned from Ms. Dempsey that after half a million is reallocated to the Educational and General budget, the rest stays in the parking and transportation budget.  The fees pay for all maintenance, staffing and debt service for parking facilities.  The largest single expense annually is debt service on bonds, which paid for the construction of the two parking garages as well as some surface parking lots.


“Another issue is the cost of the use of the Huston Huffman Center.  Amy Davenport, director of Recreational Services, told me that faculty memberships generate at least $150,000 in revenue for the Huston Huffman Center.  She also said that Recreational Services has tried to create a low-cost option for faculty and staff at $20/month, which is, according to Ms. Davenport, about half that of other comparable facilities in town.  I have not done a thorough survey of the costs of other fitness centers in town, but the YMCA website lists a renewing individual membership fee to be $470 a year.  I understand several gyms have deals and promotions, though, that might equalize the costs.  If you are an occasional user of the facility, faculty and staff may purchase a punch pass to use the Huffman Center for $17.50 for five visits ($3.50/visit) and $30.00 for 10 visits ($3/visit) plus tax.


“Last week the Executive Committee met with Danny Hilliard, OU’s director of Government Relations, who shared with us a couple legislative issues that are likely to come up in the 2009 legislative session, are of interest to faculty members and he will be keeping an eye on:  concealed weapons on campus (some may even try for open carry) and a movement to remove tuition authority from the colleges and universities.  Tuition would then be set by the legislature.”


Prof. Brown reported that she had received a lot of calls and emails about our new health insurance plan for 2009.  The big problem seems to be that there are not enough physicians in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma HMO plan.  Human Resources Director Hilburn had hoped to come to today’s Senate meeting, but he had to be at the HSC.  Eight pediatricians were on the Aetna plan, and so far only one is on the BCBSOK HMO plan.  Mr. Hilburn is trying to contract with the other seven.  Prof. Buckley asked why the pediatricians and other physicians were not signing up.  He pointed out that the choice for many people is to pay an extra $100 per month with higher deductibles for the PPO plan or find a new physician who is in the HMO plan.  Brown read an email that Mr. Hilburn had sent right before the meeting:

BlueLincs Network, November 10, 2008.  Several OU employees who live in the Norman area have asked for an update on efforts to add physicians to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) BlueLincs HMO network. Recent negotiations between BCBSOK and local healthcare providers have resulted in the addition of Norman Regional Hospital, 35 Norman area primary care physicians, and 85 specialists to the BlueLincs network. BCBSOK continues to work to expand their network of primary care physicians, and is particularly focused on adding Norman area pediatricians to their list of primary care physicians.  BCBSOK is actively negotiating with the 8 Norman pediatricians that don’t currently participate in their HMO network.  We are monitoring the progress of these negotiations, and are encouraging the parties to reach an agreement that serves the interests of OU employees and their families.  Unfortunately, we do not know which physicians will join the HMO network as a result of the current negotiations, but we do expect the negotiations to be completed within the next couple of days.  An email update to employees will be provided and updated lists of participating physicians will be posted on the Human Resources website as changes occur.  BCBSOK was selected as the University’s health care provider for 2009 after a competitive bid process.  Even though we recognized that the number of HMO providers available to Norman area employees would be smaller than provided by the current insurance option, it was determined that BCBSOK provided the best overall value to plan participants and the University.  The decision to change to BCBSOK was a thoughtful one made by an Evaluation Committee which consisted of employees from all campuses. In the end it was determined that BCBSOK would bring the best overall value to the University and its employees.  Had the committee decided to go with another provider, the impact would have been realized in the form of significant, double-digit premium increases, or an even smaller network.  BCBSOK was clearly the best overall option available.  But we recognize that an adequate number of physicians and specialists should be available to participants, and we are working to ensure that these remaining network issues are addressed.


Prof. Buckley noted that for many employees, it will be a double-digit increase because they will have to go with the PPO.  Prof. Forman said his understanding was the doctors did not think the HMO capitation was enough money to run their offices.  Prof. Buckley said he would like more information.  It seems to be a kind of bait and switch tactic.  Prof. Brown said she would email the concerns to Mr. Hilburn, but she encouraged the senators to email him as well.  Prof. Muraleetharan said to the credit of Mr. Hilburn, HR is trying to work on this, and people should wait and see what they come up with.  Prof. Brown said Mr. Hilburn had been very responsive, but there was not much time left in the enrollment period.  [Note:  All eight Norman pediatricians agreed to contract with the BCBSOK BlueLincs HMO, and the enrollment deadline was extended three days.]





The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, December 8, 2008, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Paula Conlon, Faculty Secretary