JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE

The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session February 11, 2008 3:30 p.m. Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789
e-mail: facsen@ou.edu web site: http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/

 

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Steve Bradford, Chair.

 

PRESENT: Apanasov, Basic, D. Bemben, M. Bemben, Benson, Bradford, Brown, Brule, Callard, Clark, Conlon, Croft, Edy, Eodice, Franklin, Ge, Grasse, Greene, Horn, Kershen, Livesey, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, C. Miller, Milton, Miranda, Moses, Riggs, Roche, Rogers, Russell, Schmidt, Skeeters, Striz, Tan, Trafalis, Trytten, Veil, Verma, Warnken, Weaver

ISA representative: Cook

ABSENT: Albert, Bass, Clark, Forman, Halterman, Knapp, McDonald, Morrissey, Radhakrishnan, Rambo, Reeder, Sadler, Vitt

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Announcements:

New senators

Faculty development proposals

Committee nominations

Retirement policies

Big Event

Senate Chair's Report:

Endowed positions

Budget

Scholarship drive

Retiree medical benefit, health insurance plans

Security

Bicycle lanes

Textbook reserve, library, student system, parking

Recreational Services Advisory Committee charge

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APPROVAL OF JOURNAL

 

The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of January 14, 2008 was approved.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

The following faculty members were elected to the Faculty Senate as of February 2008:

Claude Miller (Communication), completing the 2005-08 term of Tom James (Political Science), representing the College of Arts & Sciences

Kim Milton (Physics & Astronomy), completing the 2007-10 term of Donna Nelson (Chemistry & Biochemistry), representing the College of Arts & Sciences

Shari Veil, completing the 2007-10 term of Michael Kent, representing the College of Journalism & Mass Communication

 

The call for the faculty development proposals is available at http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/facdev.htm. Proposals are due March 4.

 

The call for volunteers for councils, committees and boards was sent to faculty, chairs/directors and deans on February 1. Nominations are due to the Faculty Senate office by March 6.

 

President Boren responded to the resolution approved by the Faculty Senate at its January 14 meeting that he will encourage the Healthcare Task Force to review the retirement issues as suggested.

 

 

THE BIG EVENT

 

Mr. Michael Purcell, chair of the Big Event, explained that on April 5 about 4000 students, faculty and administrators will do community service projects around the metro. He asked senators to help him find volunteers to sign up for this years event. Registration forms will be emailed to the senators. Individuals or groups may sign up to volunteer. Most projects last 2-3 hours. Numerous organizations benefit from the services provided.

 

 

SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Steve Bradford

 

Prof. Bradford reviewed the senate executive committee procedures. The week before the senate meeting the executive committee meets and discusses the issues raised by senators and other individuals, the committee formulates an agenda for the senate and in the week before the senate meeting, meets with the President to discuss the issues. Prof. Bradford also meets before the executive meeting with the Provost and discusses issues of concern to the faculty.

 

At the meeting with President Boren on February 7, the President reported that we are now $88 million behind on matching endowed positions. We are expecting more and substantial gifts for endowed positions in the future, which will add to the backlog. The President is trying various avenues. He is hopeful for a bond, which might perhaps take care of as much as $60 million. It is possible sometime in the future that the legislature will revisit its commitment to match endowment donations dollar for dollar.

 

The budget, to quote President Boren, is just horrible. Our fixed costs and a three percent raise costs about $22 million. The Governor proposed a $13 million increase for all of higher education in his budget. That would mean $8 million would be divided among all the colleges and universities. The Norman campus share would be $1-3 million. The President is committed to some sort of faculty salary increase, but even an increase as low as two percent would require a substantial tuition and fee increase. There is some good news. The scholarship drive is up to $110 million, which allows us to give more Sooner Heritage scholarships and larger amounts. The endowed portion is slightly over $90 million; the President hopes to get it to $100 million.

 

The executive committee talked with Nick Kelly and Julius Hilburn (Human Resources) about retiree medical coverage. They have just started to consider different options, but they reaffirmed that the changes would not affect those too close to retirement to make other plans. President Boren reiterated that we have a moral commitment to stand by those near retirement. Nick and Julius will come to a future senate meeting to discuss the retiree medical issue and the health plan for 2009. With the change in insurance premiums for families, we have stopped losing dependent coverage to outside carriers, and there has been about a seven percent rise in dependent coverage.

 


The executive committee brought up some concerns with the President about security at night in the parking garages. President Boren said he would ask the OU Police Department to increase night patrols in the parking garages. The committee also brought up the subject of bicycle lanes and learned that Nick Hathaway is working with the city to increase the number of designated bike lanes, particularly to the south campus.

 

A taskforce on the textbook reserve initiative is being established and will try to reach some conclusions by March. The senate will be discussing a report on the university library in the near future. The executive committee is continuing to discuss features of the new student system. Prof. Bradford will be visiting with the Parking director in the near future.

 

Prof. Bemben said he did not think there were any bike lanes on campus besides the ones on the south oval. He said this institution should have appropriate bike lanes and a fitness program for its staff and faculty. Prof. Bradford said everyone agrees. A wellness committee has been formed to consider bike lanes, fitness programs, smoking cessation programs, etc. The committee is trying to put everything together as one package to present to the President for action. President Boren said faculty could email him if they needed more bike racks.

 

Prof. Miller commented that employees can get better dependent health insurance from outside carriers. He asked why it was a good thing that we are losing fewer dependents to outside health insurers. Prof. Bradford responded that Human Resources had not broken the figures down. They only know generally that there has been a seven percent increase in employees covering their families. It is a good thing because they can be dropped from an outside company if they develop any health conditions. Also, outside companies will not cover pre-existing conditions. There will be another change on January 1. Mr. Hilburn is hopeful that our numbers will be such that we will get a better deal. Any savings will go toward reducing what employees pay.

 

Prof. Edy asked about the significance of the backlog in the endowed chair match. Prof. Bradford said the positions cannot be filled until the money is matched. Also, donors see that when they make contributions toward endowed positions, it could be years before the position is filled. In one case, a donor refused to contribute unless the position started immediately. Prof. Kershen asked whether the $88 million was statewide or just for OU. [Note: The $88 million backlog is for the state system.]

 

 

RECREATIONAL SERVICES ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHARGE

 

Prof. Bradford explained that the purpose of the proposed revision in the charge of the University Recreational Services Advisory Committee (attached) was to bring it up to date. As discussed at the last meeting, the description had some obsolete provisions. The revised charge is essentially what the committee does. Nothing else has changed. The senate approved the revision on a voice vote.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m. The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 10, 2008, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.

 

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Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

 

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Roberta Magnusson, Secretary