The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session –
February 9, 2004 - 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 Mike McInerney, Chair.


PRESENT:       Abraham, Baldwin, Barker, Bozorgi, Bradford, Brady, Brown, Burns, Caldwell, Catlin, Cintrón, Davis, Devenport, Dewers, Dohrmann, Driver, Forman, Frech, Hartel, Havlicek, Hayes-Thumann, Henderson, Houser, Huseman, Kauffman, C. Knapp, R. Knapp, Marcus-Mendoza, McInerney, Megginson, Mendoza, Milton, Newman, Pender, Penrose, Raadschelders, Rai, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Scherman, Schramm, Sharp, Sievers, Striz, Watts, Wheeler, Wyckoff, Yuan

Provost's office representative:  Mergler

ABSENT:         Biggerstaff, Halterman, Liu, Ransom






Password sharing policy; Research Council charge

2003-04 Campus Departmental Review Panel

The Big Event

Senate Chair's Report:

Out-of-state tuition waivers for graduate assistants

Reception for Athletic Department

Regents’ policy manual

UOSA initiatives

Legislative issues

OTRS/retirement plan

Faculty development fund

Health benefit survey

Senate apportionment

Salary program

Committee nominations

Renewable term faculty

Library filters






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of January 12, 2004 was approved.





President Boren approved the password sharing policy and the revisions in the Research Council charge that the Faculty Senate passed at its December 8, 2003 meeting (see 12/03 Senate Journal).


The following faculty will serve on the 2003-04 Campus Departmental Review Panel:  Jim Kudrna (Architecture), Lance Lobban (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science), Paul Minnis (Anthropology), Laurette Taylor (Health & Sport Sciences), and Mike Wiggins (Petroleum & Geological Engineering).  The panel will also include Associate Dean Gary Emery (Business), Associate Dean Mary Jo Watson (Fine Arts), and Dr. Guoqiang Shen (Architecture and Graduate College representative).  The units to be reviewed are Botany & Microbiology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, Zoology, Geography, Geology & Geophysics, and Meteorology.





Mr. Mark Moravits, chair of the Big Event, explained that the event is the official day of community service at OU.  This year is the fifth year of the event, and he would like to get faculty and staff involved along with the student volunteers.  Last year, about 3500 students participated; this year, he anticipates 5500.  The event, which will be held Saturday, March 27, is a way of saying thank you to Norman and Oklahoma City for the support they show our campus.  Volunteers work at about 200 job sites, doing everything from visiting senior citizens to minor construction.  Mr. Moravits said he thought the event would be a good team building activity for a department or college or a way to spend the day with students off campus.  He distributed flyers and applications and said volunteers could also apply on the web at  The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5.  Prof. Watts asked whether the volunteers provide the ideas for the community service projects.  Mr. Moravits replied that individuals are assigned to a job site but he could try to match someone’s work preference.  When asked about sending the information to faculty by e-mail, Mr. Moravits said the details could be downloaded from the web site.  He clarified that people could volunteer as a group or individually. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Mike McInerney


“The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate sent a letter to Dean Williams expressing concerns about the proposed reduction in out-of-state tuition waivers for graduate students on assistantships from nine to six hours.  Dean Williams recently informed us that the University will retain the waiver program at the current level (nine hours of out-of-state tuition waiver) for next year.  We thank Dean Williams’ efforts in this regard.  We would also like to thank Provost Mergler for championing the waiver program in a year when she has had to make some tough budget decisions.


“I had lunch with Dean Sul Lee and Prof. Pat Weaver-Meyers of the University Libraries about hosting a reception to thank the Athletic Department for their assistance.  A number of coaches donate money to the library endowment.  In addition, part of the proceeds from the sale of OU merchandise goes to the library endowment.  I thought that this was a very good idea and volunteered the Senate to help sponsor this event.  The event will occur sometime in late March or early April, and faculty will be invited.


“Sections 2 and 3 of the OU Regents’ policy manual were approved at the January meeting of the Regents.  Ms. Fallgatter, senate coordinator, checked the copy of the policy manual as it appeared on the agenda to make sure that the concerns that our Senate committee suggested had been addressed (see 1/04 senate journal).  There were several items that I still had questions about, which I raised with Provost Mergler.  Most of these relate to changes in wording as the final draft was composed.  Legal Counsel did insert a section on Institutional Academic Freedom that our committee had not reviewed.  She informed me that the Regents understand that corrections to the policy manual will be needed and that we will have time to make further recommendations.  I sent the list of my questions to Prof. David Levy to get his committee’s comments and suggestions.  We will then discuss these suggestions with Provost Mergler. 


“The Executive Committee met with UOSA President Mary Millben to discuss the new initiatives that UOSA is undertaking this semester.  Very soon, they will form the Honor Council, which will be a student body that will inform students of their responsibilities regarding academic work.  I think that this is a very important initiative and hope that, with both faculty and students working together, we will be able to reduce the incidence of academic misconduct on campus.  The council will be charged with developing plans that will inform students, particularly new students coming in, about what they should or should not be doing related to academic assignments.  UOSA will be involved in Higher Education Day.  They will invite student representatives from other universities to discuss concerns and formulate approaches to communicate the needs of higher education to our state legislators.  Prof. Al Schwarzkopf, who is the Faculty Senate’s coordinator for legislative affairs, will coordinate activities with Ms. Millben.  The students will also try to arrange for the Sooner Sense card to be used at off-campus businesses.  They are making a big attempt to communicate with different groups on campus.


“We discussed the budget with President Boren and various initiatives in the state legislature that affect OU.  The Equalization Board meets tomorrow, which will update the state’s revenue projection for next year.  The President is working to get funding for the increase in OHLAP, which provides scholarships to high school students that complete a prescribed set of college preparatory coursework.  Also, the President is working on funding for a new cancer center to be built at the Health Science Center.  Prof. Schwarzkopf will take several faculty up to the legislature over the next couple of weeks to visit representatives and senators, thank them for their support, and answer any questions/concerns that they may have about OU.


“Prof. Frech brought to our attention House Bill 2226 that proposes an alternative retirement plan for higher education.  I contacted Human Resources Director Julius Hilburn to get more information about this bill and how it affects OU employees.  A committee was set up in 2002 to review the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System (OTRS), and it recommended that OU try to get out of OTRS, mainly because of an equity issue.  OU and OSU employees who do not reach the cap in OTRS do not get the same retirement benefits as employees at other higher education institutions.  The bill would allow current employees to stay in OTRS or opt out.  In place of OTRS, the university would set up a defined contribution plan with similar kinds of benefits.  I will ask Mr. Hilburn to come to the senate and explain what is going on.  I will have the Employment Benefits Committee and the Faculty Welfare Committee review this matter as well.


“We received five proposals for the Faculty Development Fund.  Prof. Jim Davis’s committee will review these proposals and make funding recommendations soon.


“The Faculty Welfare Committee is now reviewing the data from the survey on Health Choice.  We received 175 responses from retirees (out of 575 mailings) and 143 responses from faculty and staff.  The committee will make a report to the Senate on their findings in April.  We will also have Mr. Hilburn and Benefits Manager Nick Kelly come to the April meeting to update us on the RFP for health care and the University’s recommendation for a health coverage provider.


“We have the data on faculty FTEs that our Senate committee needs to recommend reapportionment of the Senate.  Prof. Gary Copeland’s committee should be able to make recommendations by our next meeting.


“The Faculty Senate Faculty Compensation Committee recommended that the salary program address cost-of-living, particularly since the faculty has had increased health insurance costs; merit; and equity (compression and inversion) issues.  The executive committee discussed this recommendation with Provost Mergler and President Boren.  If this is agreeable to the Senate, we will send a letter to President Boren requesting that these issues be addressed in the salary program this year.”  There were no comments or objections from the floor.


“Prof. Watts, who is the chair of our Committee on Committees, wants to remind everyone that nominations for committees are due March 10.  Please discuss this with your colleagues and encourage individuals to volunteer.”





Last month, the Faculty Senate considered a proposal drafted by a committee chaired by Prof. Susan Marcus Mendoza to consider renewable term faculty as regular faculty and allow them participation in University governance (see 1/04 senate journal). 

The committee on renewable term faculty recommends that the definition of regular faculty be changed in the faculty handbook as stated in section 3.5 of the proposed revisions in the regents handbook, “Regular faculty appointment(s) to an academic position must be a) a tenure-track appointment (beginning and terminating at a specified date), b) a tenured appointment (beginning with and following the granting of tenure) or c) a ranked renewable term/consecutive term appointment (renewable annually for a fixed term); and must be at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or professor.”

This change in definition will affect all other sections that refer to the regular faculty and in turn will modify the faculty handbook.

The committee on renewable term faculty recommends that a limit on the proportion of renewable term faculty be enacted, as stated in section 3.5.3 of the proposed revisions in the regents handbook, “At no time may the number of the ranked renewable term faculty exceed ten percent of the number of tenure-track and tenured faculty on the Norman campus.”

The committee on renewable term faculty also recommends the addition of the sentence, “Renewable term/consecutive term faculty contract renewals will follow the process of the appointing college.”


Prof. McInerney said, “The Executive Committee discussed this proposal last Monday and thought that having a cap on the number of renewable term faculty in a given unit would be wise and recommended that this be set at 25 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in the unit.”  

The end of the third paragraph would read (proposed new language in bold): 

“At no time may the number of the ranked renewable term faculty exceed ten percent of the number of tenure-track and tenured faculty on the Norman campus.  For any individual academic unit, the limit should be no greater than twenty-five percent."


“However, Prof. Marcus-Mendoza, who chaired the committee on renewable term faculty, raised some important points.  Such a cap would be very difficult for small departments and could impair departments and colleges from meeting their academic missions.  It especially hits units that add a diverse cultural perspective to the curriculum.  Another possibility would be to establish some percentage in a unit that would trigger a review done by the provost and a Faculty Senate committee.”


Prof. Burns said he thought it would be a better idea to recommend the 25 percent cap as a guideline.  Many units could be at the cutoff or over.  A requirement like this would not offer any long-range solution.  Prof. Raadschelders asked how many units had more than 25 percent.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said certain programs like Religious Studies, Women’s Studies, Film & Video Studies, and African-American Studies would already violate the cap.  A unit cap would decrease the autonomy of units and colleges.  She suggested leaving the cap at 10 percent campus-wide and letting the colleges administer it. 

Prof. Sharp asked whether renewable term faculty who were not ranked would be included.  Prof. McInerney said only faculty at the rank of assistant professor and above would be included.  Ranked renewable term faculty generally have commitment to contracts and are here a long period of time, similar to the tenured/tenure-track faculty positions.


Prof. Sievers pointed out that the proposal was not universally accepted by all units.  His unit—Music—was worried about condoning such a practice and was afraid of the ramifications.  He advocated some sort of guarantee that there was a cap that fit a particular unit.  Prof. McInerney said he would hate to dictate to a particular unit the number that they could hire.  Renewable term faculty members are already present on campus.  This proposal addresses whether they will have certain university privileges.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said she thought the 10 percent cap university-wide was a good idea, but a unit cap would cause all kinds of problems.  What was important was whether renewable term faculty members were given these rights, privileges, and responsibilities.  Prof. Kauffman suggested rewording the proposal to recommend a reasonable percentage of faculty within each academic unit.  Prof. Striz questioned why the percentage of renewable term faculty was so high in certain programs and why tenured/tenure-track faculty members were not in those positions.  Prof. Raadschelders asked why it was important to identify three categories of regular faculty and whether it had to do with governance.  Prof. McInerney said the proposal would allow renewable term faculty to have governance and run for the Faculty Senate.  When Prof. Raadschelders asked about the notion of a cap, Prof. Knapp said the cap was to make sure the University had some limits so that it would not become a faculty of renewable term.  Prof. Megginson asked about the rights of renewable term faculty and whether they could vote on tenure.  Prof. McInerney responded that it was up to the department to decide who votes on tenure.  Some committees, such as the Campus Tenure Committee, require the members to be tenured.  Prof. Megginson remarked that it was not obvious that these types of contracts would weaken tenure.  He said it was specialization of labor and added flexibility.  College of Arts & Sciences Dean Paul Bell said his college was in favor of a 10 percent cap because it was a reasonable way to control the number of renewable term faculty.  A 25 percent cap per unit would be an administrative hurdle.  Some units have more than 25 percent because they are small units, mostly interdisciplinary programs, and hire a lot of temporary faculty.  Arts & Sciences has 380 tenured/tenure-track faculty and 250 temporary faculty.  Renewable term appointments allow Arts & Sciences to recruit higher quality people.  A cap per unit does not add anything except bureaucratic problems.  The number of renewable term faculty is up to the unit.  Units who want none will have zero.


Prof. McInerney suggested that the senate vote first on the proposed amendment and then on the proposal.  The senate voted to strike the amendment (the sentence in bold) on a show of hands.  Prof. Watts asked whether the senate wanted to consider the idea of establishing some percentage by unit that would trigger a review.  Prof. McInerney said he thought that could create a lot of review at the dean’s level.  When asked about the number of renewable term faculty, Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said there were about 35 ranked renewable term faculty, appointed in every college.  Prof. McInerney noted that the number was still well below the 10 percent cap.  Dean Bell pointed out that Arts & Sciences had 21 ranked renewable term and 380 tenured/tenure-track faculty.  The senate approved the original proposal, minus the amendment, on a show of hands.





Prof. Rupp-Serrano announced that House Bill 222, which is in committee, would require all libraries in the state to install filters.  She said she hoped it would die in committee but that she wanted the faculty to be aware of it.  She said filters were unnecessary in school and public libraries because they are subject to CIPA and therefore have to have filters in place.  It flies in the face of academic freedom for a university and would seriously impact students’ ability to use the Internet to conduct research.





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, March 8, 2004, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Karen Rupp-Serrano, Secretary