JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE
The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - December 11, 2000 - 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 Ruth Okediji, Chair.
PRESENT: Bemben, Bozorgi, Brown, Cline, Cox, Crawford, Damphousse, DeBacker, Deming, Dewers, Foster, Gollahalli, Gottesman, Greene, Gross, Guzman, Hawthorne, Henderson Hofford, Horrell, Hutchison, Kenderdine, Kunesh, Magid, Maiden, Mau, McInerney, Murphy, Nelson, Okediji, Ransom, Robson, Roegiers, Russell, Schwarzkopf, Trafalis, Van Gundy, Vernon, Watts, Willinger
Provost's office representative: Mergler
PSA representatives: Smith
UOSA representatives: Ellis, Roberts
ABSENT: Abraham, Blank, Gilliland, Harrison, Hart, Houser, Lee, Newman, Osisanya, Robertson, Scherman, Taylor, Vale
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Spring 2001 schedule of Faculty Senate meetings
New senate member
Remarks by Information Technology Vice President
Remarks by Benefits Manager
Senate Chair's Report: administrative searches
Pre-finals week proposal
Intellectual property: online class notes and test files
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Senate Journal for the regular session of November 13, 2000, was approved with the following amendment. In President Boren's State of the University address, fifth paragraph from the bottom, insert as the fourth sentence: "He said he intended to visit the Field House site to inspect the facilities."
The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for spring 2001 will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Jacobson 102 on the following Mondays: January 22, February 12, March 12, April 16, and May 7.
A copy of the 1999-2000 Assessment Report is available in the Faculty Senate office.
Prof. S. Lakshmivarahan (Computer Science) was elected by the College of Engineering to replace Prof. Samuel Osisanya (Petroleum & Geological Engineering) on the Faculty Senate for the spring 2001 semester.
REMARKS BY DR. DENNIS AEBERSOLD, VICE PRESIDENT FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
Prof. Okediji commented that several faculty members had contacted the Senate Executive Committee with concerns about the restructuring of the Instructional Technology Services office. She reminded the Senate that Tanya Stewart, Instructional Technology Services manager, had given a presentation in September about the services that office provides to faculty. Dr. Dennis Aebersold was asked to address the concerns about the restructuring. Dr. Aebersold joined the University in May as the Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology. Prof. Okediji noted that last year the Senate Executive Committee had looked at providing e-mail service to retired faculty members. The Executive Committee talked with Dr. Mergler, and she mentioned it to Dr. Aebersold, who found a way to provide e-mail for retirees. Prof. Okediji thanked Dr. Aebersold for responding to this faculty concern. Prof. Okediji also introduced Prof. Bob Swisher, chair of Information Technology Council (ITC). The ITC has been involved in discussions of the changes to Instructional Technology Services.
After talking with faculty and students, Dr. Aebersold said he had decided that the campus needed a central point for the faculty to deal with technology. The Department of Computing and Telecommunications Services is being replaced with a new organization called Information Technology (IT), with two departments: Information Services, headed by Mark McClellan, which will handle all services provided to faculty and students, and Information Systems, headed by Joe Grissom. Instructional Technology Services, the Help Desk, and the Computer Store will be folded into Information Technology. The new organization should provide better communication and be more reliable. While some jobs and departments will go away, people will not necessarily go away. The restructure was necessary in order to be able to adapt quickly to changes in technology. Dr. Aebersold distributed a statement on some of the IT initiatives (available from the Senate office) and explained that the initiatives would probably take six months to put in place.
Prof. Murphy said she was told that the people in IT were writing up resumes and handing them into the organization. Dr. Aebersold said he had encouraged everyone to prepare a resume because a large number of the employees had never done a resume before, and their skill sets were in their heads. Prof. Murphy said she thought that could make people feel threatened about their jobs. Dr. Aebersold said he had used that approach to build in flexibility and a new understanding that jobs as they have been defined in the past would not work in the future. Jobs in technology will change every three to five years. Employees will not have a static job description with a particular skill set forever. IT will emphasize a service component, that IT is here to support the educational mission of the University.
Prof. Van Gundy, following up on Prof. Murphy's question, asked whether the employees were told that they still had a job or that they might or might not have a job. Dr. Aebersold responded that it was the latter but that some of the employees had already been hired to be on the two teams. The other employees are being assessed to see where their profiles fit compared with the profiles IT is looking for. Training will be provided to those who are close to a profile. Some folks will not make it. He will work with them to help them find a place on campus. He said his intention was not to cut jobs or downsize. Prof. Van Gundy asked whether many employees had viewed this as a surprise. Dr. Aebersold said he had held many meetings, so it should not have been a surprise. Prof. Murphy said her concern was that the language being used was applicable to industry, where people are paid reasonable salaries and are expected to get new training. Dr. Aebersold said it was not meant to sound that way. He said he will work on salary adjustments in order to compete with industry. He will provide training if necessary, but the training must match the skills needed in the organization.
Prof. Kenderdine remarked that this language and approach have not been in place here. People may not understand the implication of such things as outsourcing. Dr. Aebersold said he needed to keep communicating. He has put groups together to answer questions. Prof. Kunesh said he thought some of the comments that faculty were hearing were coming from staff in the trenches who were running scared. He asked whether Dr. Aebersold was communicating to those staff members that he was offering training to bring them up to par. Dr. Aebersold answered that about 15 positions had been offered so far, and he was working with the others to identify their skills.
Prof. Schwarzkopf asked Dr. Abersold to comment on the plans for the diffusion of Information Technology, the leasing contract for personal computers, concrete plans for outsourcing services, and the future of Merrick Computing Center. Dr. Aebersold said the diffusion of support is part of the Support for Teaching and Research (STAR) program, where each IT employee will be responsible for supporting approximately 100 faculty members. They will have to have an advanced degree in a field, preferably a Ph.D. These specialists will be curriculum supporters, not repair people, will replace the Help Desk, and will provide a single point of accountability. Prof. Hart said he assumed specialists would not be assigned to individual departments. Dr. Aebersold said he was trying to put the departments together so that each specialist would support around 100 faculty. The leasing program is intended to make desktop management as simple as possible and provide state-of-the-art equipment. Equipment will be refurbished every summer and replaced every few years. By doing that at a university level, the price is substantially better. Faculty members are welcome to comment on the RFP before it goes out. Companies will be asked to bid on a common set of software and to guarantee 24-hour turnaround service. He has not hired any outsourcers, but he will outsource things that he cannot hire people to do or things IT should not be doing. For example, configuring telephone hookups is running about eight weeks behind. Companies could be hired to pull wires.
Prof. Van Gundy said he understood the cost savings from leasing but wondered whether there would be any input in terms of how the systems are configured for departments. He also asked about support for Macintosh users. Dr. Aebersold said the departments would have input on the software configuration and hardware to a degree. Macintosh will be supported. Intel processors will be put out for bid first because of the bigger volume. Prof. Crawford asked whether IT had made progress in eliminating points of failures. Dr. Aebersold said he was trying to achieve reliability but was still experiencing some technical difficulties. If the network is built correctly, then IT can diagnose problems before they happen. We need more than one connection off campus. A lot of systems could be more reliable. Merrick, in the sense of mainframes and Cobol, will go away eventually. He cut a contract with PeopleSoft for a Human Resources system that is scheduled to start soon.
Prof. Murphy asked about dedicated teleconferencing facilities. Dr. Aebersold said IT needed to address that. Another support issue has to do with setting up dedicated facilities around campus where faculty could have access to equipment used infrequently, such as slide scanners and color printers. Prof. Van Gundy asked whether downloadable software would be an option someday. Dr. Aebersold said that was the reason for loading common images for departments. Prof. Henderson asked what Dr. Aebersold planned to do for employees who would not make it. Dr. Aebersold said this should be looked at as a job change that is positive for the employee. He said he would work with the new Human Resources director to get support and identify jobs on campus or, if that is not possible, off campus. He will give extended notices and extended times.
Prof. Okediji welcomed Dr. Aebersold to OU and encouraged senators to contact Dr. Aebersold or Prof. Swisher by e-mail if they had any additional questions.
REMARKS BY MR. NICK KELLY, BENEFITS MANAGER
Prof. Okediji said she had asked Mr. Nick Kelly, the benefits manager, to talk about some potential benefits changes. She introduced Mr. Jerry Jensen, who is back on campus as Interim Director of Human Resources. She explained that there would be a search for a person to fill that position permanently.
Mr. Kelly said he had talked with the Senate Executive Committee about the benefits survey done by the Faculty Senate in May. One of the things that came up in the survey was participation in OTRS. At this point, we are bound by the state legislature to participate in OTRS. For long-term employees, OTRS is a very good program. The chances of getting out of the system are slim. The benefits office will continue to inform people about changes that might come about in OTRS and to urge people to let new hires know they have to participate in OTRS. Another common thread in the survey had to do with customer service issues, mostly with companies with whom the University does business. Mr. Kelly pledged to try to take care of the problems that come up. He said he had learned about some real horror stories with some companies. When he meets with those companies soon, he will ask them to include performance standards in the contracts.
Mr. Kelly has been talking with Dr. Aebersold about providing benefits enrollment on the web. Currently, enrollment is done through the interactive voice response telephone line, but the technology is outdated. With web enrollment, the employee will access a drop-down menu and can then point and click to enroll. If it does not happen this year, it will next year.
On Friday, the regents approved some contracts for benefits next year, which resulted in cost reductions of about 20 percent for life, accidental death and dismemberment, and long-term disability insurance. For employees who make above $80,000, a third option was added for disability so they can receive a maximum of $15,000/month. The previous maximum was $4000. Mr. Kelly said he will make every effort to improve customer service, and he told the group to contact him with any concerns.
Prof. Okediji said she had heard that some changes were being planned in terms of the structure of the office as well as benefits. Mr. Jensen noted that he previously had been the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action officer. The current officer is resigning as of December 15. For awhile, there was a plan that he temporarily would fill both the EOAA officer and Human Resources director positions. There was never any intention to combine the two jobs. Now, the regents are discussing the situation. Mr. Jensen commented that there has been some concern that various positions have been filled without following our selection procedures. He said he believes strongly in filling jobs by following procedures. If we form a pool of candidates and bring in the best people we can find, then we owe no apologies to anyone. He discussed some of the position he had filled in the Human Resources area, noting he had gone through a selection process. Mr. Jensen said he had some concerns about the Information Technology approach. He cautioned that a reduction in force should be implemented as a last resort, and the procedures should be followed to the letter.
Prof. Wedel said there had been some talk that there would be major changes with health care packages. Mr. Jensen replied that the University would still have options. OU self funds the traditional health care plan and pays Blue Cross to administer the program. The Prudential plan was put up for bid. The new plan should be very much like the Prudential program. About 94% of the current doctors will be in the new plan as well as 60 to 70 additional doctors. Mr. Kelly clarified that Prudential was bought by Aetna. The administration of a plan similar to the Prudential plan was put out for bid. On December 8, the regents awarded a contract to Schaller Anderson to administer what used to be the Prudential plan and a contract to Blue Cross and Blue Shield to continue the traditional plan. Schaller Anderson does a lot of work at the Health Sciences Center in the Medicaid area. There will not be any drastic changes in health care plans. Other changes are possible. The cost of the health plan has to be funded either by premiums or by paying a little more for some services. We will incur some savings by self-funding the plan that used to be Prudential. On the other hand, the nationwide cost of health care continues to go up. Mr. Jensen said the office was doing surveys to see how our plans compare to other employers of our size. At this point, we are providing better service at a lower cost than other employers. The goal is to provide the best possible coverage for the lowest premium.
Prof. Gross said he was concerned about the dental insurance coverage. Mr. Kelly said that was an issue raised in the Faculty Senate survey and Human Resources survey. In some ways, the dental plan does not provide a lot of benefits; however, it does not cost much. The only other option is a Dental Maintenance Organization. He plans to take another look at dental insurance next year to see what is in the market. Mr. Jensen pointed out that the federal program does not offer dental coverage. There is not much available. Prof. Hart asked for more information about the Schaller Anderson contract. Mr. Kelly explained that the company was based out of Phoenix, Arizona, and was not an insurance carrier. Schaller Anderson will administer our plan. The intent is to have a plan that has minimal changes from Prudential. There might be some minor differences in the drug formulary.
Prof. Murphy observed that OU seems to compare well with other universities in surveys; still, the insurance through the public schools appears to be better. Mr. Kelly said the Norman Public schools are under the state plan. One of the options has a lower premium, but it is an HMO with restricted access to care. The option comparable to our Blue Cross costs more for the family coverage. Mr. Jensen said the University is trying to offer some options and not let the rates get too high. Prof. Magid asked whether the benefits office tracked expenses by subgroups of the campus population. He pointed out that staff outnumber faculty by about three to one. Mr. Kelly said expenses were tracked by employee family and employee spouse, for example, but not by faculty versus staff. He said he would assume expenses would be about the same.
Prof. Schwarzkopf asked whether the Employment Benefits Committee (EBC) and Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Welfare had participated in the decision process. Mr. Kelly replied that the EBC had approved the recommendations concerning life, AD&D, and LTD insurance. The EBC definitely had a role throughout the RFP process and will continue to have a role. Mr. Jensen noted that some of the changes were a direct result of EBC input. Mr. Kelly said the EBC has been involved in the important issues of plan design and rates. Who administers the contract is viewed as an administrative matter.
Prof. Cline asked whether the survey revealed any plans that were clearly better than ours. Mr. Jensen responded that a lot of plans are better, but they have a much higher premium. We are trying to get a plan that is affordable to our employees and provides the best benefits. Mr. Kelly commented that there were no plans among the Big 12 universities that were better. Our benefits plan, with the coverage we offer and the premiums, is competitive with the Big 12 universities and with employers in the southwest region.
SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Ruth Okediji
Prof. Okediji reported that several faculty members had contacted the Senate Executive Committee about administrative appointments that had been made without searches and without following Affirmative Action procedures. The policy in the Faculty Handbook that deals with high level administrative searches has not been followed. The Senate Executive Committee raised this concern with President Boren. Recently, the Norman Transcript reported on some raises approved by the regents last week. Before the meeting of the regents, Prof. Okediji met with President Boren to discuss both issues. President Boren made a commitment to make sure the process is followed. He said he does not anticipate any more hires of that nature, and he clarified the salary adjustments for several administrators. Some raises were commitments that were negotiated at the time of hire. Prof. Okediji said the Executive Committee is in close communication with the president's office and is responding to concerns.
She said she hoped the Faculty Senate had a better sense of what is going on in Information Technology area. One of the important issues is to make sure the folks in the trenches have the information they need in order to know what is going on.
The Senate approved the following nominations of the Senate Committee on Committees to fill vacancies on Faculty Senate, university, and campus councils, committees, and boards.
Academic Programs Council
To replace Deborah Trytten, 1999-01: Fred Beard (Journalism & Mass Comm.)
Academic Regulations Committee
To replace Deborah Trytten, 1999-02: Mac Reynolds (Law)
Campus Disciplinary Council
To replace Frank McQuarrie, 1999-01: Kathryn Haring (Educ. Psych.)
Information Technology Council
To replace June Lester, 1998-01: Kathleen Welch (English)
Shared Leave Committee - (new) three, 3-year staggered terms
Hugh Benson (Philosophy) - one year term
Paula Conlon (Music) - two-year term
Mike Bemben (Health & Sport Sciences) - three-year term
To replace Neera Badhwar, 2000-03: Frank Durso (Psychology)
Faculty Welfare Committee
To replace Lynda Kaid, 2000-03: Georgia Kosmopoulou (Economics)
Faculty Compensation Committee
To replace Don Maletz, 1999-02: Eric Anderson (Art)
PRE-FINALS WEEK PROPOSAL
Prof. Okediji pointed out that the leaders of the student organization were present for a discussion of a pre-finals week. This item is for information and brief discussion at this meeting and will be on the January agenda for action. About two years ago, the student leaders came to the Executive Committee with a dead week proposal. In discussion with the students last year, the Executive Committee explained faculty concerns about a true dead week. The Executive Committee said it was willing to consider some policy that would aid students to study well going into finals. The Executive Committee looked at the student proposal, OSU's policy, and the current OU policy (available from the Senate office) and came up with a proposal that addressed some of the concerns of faculty (attached). Prof. Murphy explained that the Executive Committee thought this was a good faith effort to address the needs of the students but not impose on faculty too much. The proposed policy would be two days for students but would actually impact most faculty only one day if they have a Tuesday/Thursday schedule or a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. Flexibility is built into the proposal because not all courses have lecture and quiz formats. Any special deviations would have to be clearly stated in the course syllabus and be approved by the chair of the department through which the course is offered. The policy would exclude make-up examinations and tests, lab exams, and classes meeting once a week. Violations of the policy could be brought to the attention of the chair of the department and could be grounds for a grade appeal. Prof. Okediji pointed out that a five-year moratorium was added, assuming the policy goes into effect next year.
Prof. Cox said he found it confusing as to whether this was a pre-finals week or a two-days-before-finals week. Prof. Murphy said it was written to account for any variation in the finals schedule. Prof. Okediji noted that the policy addressed more than just the last two days. Prof. Schwarzkopf explained that nothing worth more than 10 percent could be due the last week of class. In the current policy, those assignments could be due the last week. Prof. Magid asked whether compulsory attendance was a separate category. Prof. Okediji said it was a separate category, and students would need to attend. Mr. Chris Kannady, UOSA president, commented that according to current policy, something worth 90 percent of the grade could be due the week before finals as long as it was announced 30 days ahead of time. His aim was to give students more time to study for finals. Prof. Hofford asked how a capstone course would be treated. Prof. Murphy said those kinds of courses would be addressed by section 4.10.1.c, special cases. Prof. Okediji asked the senators to get feedback and reactions from their colleagues. This issue will be discussed again at the January meeting.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: ONLINE CLASS NOTES AND TEST FILES
Prof. Okediji commented that several faculty members had expressed some concerns last year about the intellectual property implications of students taking notes and selling them to commercial bodies, who would then post them on the Internet. After the initial scare, the Executive Committee did not hear many complaints. This year, the issue was raised again, with suggestions for a policy prohibiting students from selling class notes to companies who would then post them online. This issue was placed on the agenda to see if the Faculty Senate wanted to consider any concerns and perhaps approach the administration.
Prof. Kenderdine said he also was concerned because the Student Information Network (SIN) had scanned tests and made them available on the Internet. In his opinion, an exam he created is his intellectual property. We have come to a point where things that were not considered an issue in the past and did not have value before have suddenly become easy to sell. Students are making several hundred dollars per course for selling notes to versity.com and other places. Students could misstate what a professor said, and that could then become part of that person's reputation. Prof. Kenderdine said he had added a footnote in his syllabus that the comments he makes in class are his intellectual property and that he gives students a restricted license to use but not sell his comments. Faculty members operate in a profession where their point of view is one of their most valuable assets. There needs to be some kind of policy to address the potential for harm. Prof. Vernon remarked that versity.com is willing to stake its reputation on the notes they buy. Prof. Kenderdine said the students who sell the notes are anonymous. A student who has an axe to grind could intentionally try to destroy a professor's reputation.
Prof. Okediji said she thought there were two issues: the professional reputation being in jeopardy and the intellectual property concern with regard to things like test files being available online. She said she did not think it was mandatory to give tests to SIN. Provost Mergler said a professor did not have to make tests available to the students. SIN points out that this just replaces the paper files they used to maintain. SIN believes it levels the playing field for students who do not have access to well-maintained test files in sororities and fraternities. Provost Mergler noted that many of the tests are inaccurate and have no coding as to the correct response. She said she would hope that faculty would provide useful study guides for students. Prof. Murphy agreed that the test files were very outdated and did not have correct answer keys. She said she had just received a solicitation from SIN asking her to submit her tests. She reported that to access the test files, one must enter a user name and password, so they are accessible only to the OU community. Prof. Nelson said a professor could post her tests on her own web site and could copyright them to maintain some control. Mr. Brandon Brooks, UOSA Vice President, said SIN views the test files as an academic learning tool. The paper versions have been open to students who show an I.D. Senators who are concerned about inaccurate information should work with the departments providing the tests. Provost Mergler commented that faculty could submit information on study guides available for students in lieu of submitting former tests. Prof. Gottesman said she wanted students to come to class and not rely on notes posted online since faculty members have no control over the quality of notes on the web. Prof. Hofford said he had found that his students come to class better prepared when he posts his presentations online. There was a brief discussion of the type of notes posted on these sites. Prof. Okediji asked whether the Senate should look into the issue. Prof. Gottesman moved to find out what could be done to eliminate or at least have approval on students who sell their own notes. Provost Mergler said legally, the notes students take in class are their own property. Prof. Okediji said it was a complicated legal issue. The fixer of the creative expression owns it unless he is fixing it from someone else's fixed creative expression. Prof. Hutchison remarked that three separate issues were being discussed. The test files are totally voluntary. Faculty who produce notes for a class could include a copyright statement. From what he has read, students have a right to take notes and post them if they wish. We have no legal grounds to impinge on those actions. Prof. Murphy said she would be less worried if the online notes did not identify the professor. Prof. Swisher pointed out that a faculty member at Purdue had compiled a bibliography of over 150 news items about online notes, ranging from the administration telling faculty to please be careful to state law prohibiting the notes (see http://www.ou.edu/itp/onlinenotes).
Prof. Hutchison said he was concerned about the freedom of speech issue. He said he thought an individual student had the right to publish what he wished on the web as long as it was not defamatory. Prof. Okediji replied that copyright is an instrument of censorship and is in tension with the First Amendment. Last year, the Executive Committee met with legal counsel to discuss whether students own the copyright in their notes. Unless a professor is lecturing verbatim from his notes, the student's notes belong to the student because they are interpreting the lecture. There are ways around this, but as a state institution, we need to be sensitive to the community. Following a brief discussion, the Senate approved Prof. Gottesman's motion on a voice vote.
The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, January 22, 2001, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
Valerie Watts, Secretary