The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)

Regular session - February 8, 1999 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102

office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782

e-mail: web site:

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Alexander Holmes, Chair.

PRESENT: Abraham, Agrawal, Badhwar, Beasley, Benson, Bert, Blank, Brown, Butler, Cline, Deming, Durica, Edwards, Eliason, Engel, Ferreira, Fleener, Gilliland, Greene, Gross, Holmes, Houser, Joyce, Karriker, Knapp, Kunesh, Kutner, Mau, Murphy, Newman, Norwood, Okediji, Osisanya, Pailes, Patterson, Ratliff, Rosenthal, Russell, Schwarzkopf, Sutton, Watts, White

Provost's office representative: Mergler

GSS representatives: Caldwell

UOSA representatives: Perkins, Shankle

ABSENT: Emery, Kudrna, Lancaster, Leigh, Scherman, St. John, Weston



Senate Chair's report: budget 1

Patent policy 2

Research professor position 2





The Senate Journal for the regular session of January 11, 1999 was approved.


SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Alexander Holmes

Prof. Holmes reported on the budget condition of the University. He said the newspaper articles suggested that the proposed budget of the governor is beneficial to the University. The governor's proposed budget is $60 million in new money for the higher education system. Of that $60 million, $23 million will be paid to the federal government to settle a lawsuit. A number of years ago, the legislature appropriated $23 million from the state insurance fund reserve and placed the money in the higher education budget. The federal government said those funds were federal dollars and demanded the money back. Another $20 million is contingent on the tuition increase. Of the remaining money, all is earmarked for items such as endowed chairs and graduate fellowships. That leaves us with no new money from the state. Prof. Holmes said this may be the worst budget year we have seen in the last five years, and it underscores the need for a tuition increase. If a tuition increase does pass, OU would get $3-4 million of that money.

Prof. Kunesh asked whether Prof. Holmes was implying that the tuition increase would go to the general higher education fund rather than to the institution. Prof. Holmes said the tuition would go the institution where the student attends. He merely used a rule of thumb to figure how much of the projected $20 million system-wide would come to OU. Prof. Norwood asked about the figures for the other state sectors like highways, common education, and vo-tech. Prof. Holmes replied that this year, higher education is better off than other sectors. Under the governor's proposal, the other state agencies are receiving budget cuts.



Prof. Holmes explained that the proposed revisions in the Patent Policy were presented to the Faculty Senate last spring (see 4/98 Senate Journal, page 4, and 2/99 Senate Agenda). The document has been on hold pending the outcome of two state questions. Those questions, which were approved last fall, changed the state constitution to allow equity ownership and the blending of private and public dollars for research activities. The patent task force reviewed the policies of OSU and other universities. Prof. Schwarzkopf moved to table the proposal. His motion was approved on a voice vote.

Prof. Weaver-Meyers (University Libraries), chair of the task force, noted that the other members of the committee, Professors Kelvin Droegemeier (Meteorology), Roger Frech (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Jeff Harwell (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science), and Bruce Roe (Chemistry and Biochemistry), were present. Prof. Weaver-Meyers pointed out that the Office of Technology Management should be replaced by Vice President for Technology Development in the document. She said some concern had been expressed about issues of good faith on the part of the University. The concerns about equity were addressed in section 2.1 so that the value of the patent is based also on equity, not just cash. The recent change in the constitution allows us to implement the policy.

Prof. Holmes asked Dr. Skip Porter, Vice President for Technology Development, to comment on the policy. Vice President Porter said he would do so after he has had the opportunity to read the document. The Senate will discuss the proposal again next month.



Prof. Holmes reported that a task force was formed to review the possibility of creating a position called research professor. The task force included individuals such as Peter Lamb (Meteorology) and Bruce Roe (Chemistry and Biochemistry), who thought such a position would aid them with their research functions, former Faculty Senate Chairs David Levy (History) and Rick Tepker (Law), and Barbara Greene (Educational Psychology) as chair. At the last meeting, the task force presented a document (see 1/99 Senate Journal, page 3). A drafting committee was formed to clarify the language, and its changes were incorporated in the document. Prof. Holmes proposed two additional changes:

(1) Revise the wording under Salary to read, "...the individual may apply, with the approval of his or her research unit, for bridge funding only after five years of service..." and "...the university will provide no more than 12 months of salary for five years of service..." This change would clarify that bridge funding would only be available to those who had worked for five years but that bridge funding could not last for five years.

(2) Replace the last sentence under Recruitment with "Contracts will state clearly that these appointments will not become tenure track. Should a tenure track position come available in the department, an individual in a Research Professor position would be eligible to apply. Standard national search procedures for tenure track vacancies are to be rigorously followed. Research Professor appointments may be renewed beyond the seven-year period following procedures described in section 3.5.3 (b) of the Faculty Handbook." This change would reconcile this document with other aspects of the Faculty Handbook.

Prof. Holmes noted that this document would be a new insertion in the Faculty Handbook at section 3.5.3 and would be codified in Faculty Handbook form by the Provost's office. Prof. Greene said this proposal addressed a very specific category of non-tenure track continuous term appointment. This position would be for units with large funded projects that could support such positions. Units could elect to have such positions. It is a conservative way of approaching a new category of temporary faculty. Many people think this kind of position is very critical to the external funding at OU. Currently, continuous term appointments are being made on the level of colleges. This is a way to put some structure on the position and have a uniform process. She invited Vice President for Research Eddie Smith to address concerns raised at the last meeting about bridge funding.

Vice President Smith said a certain portion of the indirect costs generated would be set aside for bridge funding. When the escrow account is drawn on, it would be replenished out of indirect costs. If we appoint the appropriate people to such positions, we will not need one year in funding. The case where one major project runs out and another project is scheduled to begin would be more like three or four months. Once a person exhausts bridge funding, s/he would no longer be an employee of the University. Prof. Engel pointed out that a major concern last time was the source of bridge funding. He suggested that the document include information about the escrow account so there is no confusion five years from now. Vice President Smith commented that there has never been any intent to use E&G or department or college funds. This program is meant to stand on its own footing.

Prof. Schwarzkopf asked how this position would square with the position of the American Association of University Professors on continued employment. Prof. Holmes answered that these types of positions exist at a large number of institutions across the country. The critical issue is faculty governance. The document says they cannot be involved in faculty governance. Prof. Schwarzkopf asked about the procedure for termination. Vice President Smith responded that when the money for people on soft money runs out, their appointment ends. Soft money appointments always include the statement, "subject to the availability of funds." Prof. Schwarzkopf asked who would decide whether bridge funding is provided if the grant runs out and the principal investigator (PI) does not want to hire that person again. Vice President Smith said that would be clearly spelled out in the letter of offer. We owe it to the individual to satisfy our contractual obligations.

Prof. Russell said when this was first presented to the Faculty Senate, the position was described as a way to recruit high-end research personnel to the University and offer them job security. Whether or not they get bridge funding is the decision of the department, the Chair, and the administration. He questioned whether the proposed language would be conducive to recruiting high-end people to the University. Prof. Peter Lamb (Meteorology) said most people would come to a project that lasts at least three years. During a hiatus of a few months, the PI can lose some key people, thus irreparably damaging the program. He noted that the CAPS (Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms) funding was for five years. That would imply to someone considering a position that they would be here five years, subject to satisfactory performance, and would become eligible for bridge funding. Prof. Bruce Roe (Chemistry and Biochemistry) said this would help in recruiting by attracting a PI at another University who would bring in two or three researchers. In addition, it would help us retain people. Prof. Beasley asked about the origin of five years with respect to bridge funding. Prof. Lamb said that this was a fairly standard period. Vice President Smith said he was seeing variation in starting dates. Prof. Beasley suggested that "five years" be changed to "three years" of service. He pointed out that the bridge funding did not have to be provided; it was merely an option. Prof. Greene said the five years took on a harder meaning than what was originally intended. Prof. Holmes accepted the change to three years as a friendly amendment.

Prof. Beasley proposed that the sentence under Salary beginning with "However" be removed since the next sentence would take care of a break in funding. Prof. Holmes agreed to strike that sentence. Prof. Engel proposed the following sentence at the end of that same paragraph to make it clear years from now what was established: "All bridge funds shall come from a percentage of indirect costs set aside in an escrow account." Vice President Smith said that change was acceptable to him.

Prof. Durica said the wording under Governance restricted the autonomy of departments. He said it was appropriate that the research professors should not have any say with regard to personnel issues, but their input might be useful in some departmental affairs such as equipment allocation. Prof. Holmes said they could serve on committees; they just cannot vote. Prof. Durica suggested that the sentence read, "Such faculty shall not be eligible to vote regarding departmental affairs, policies and procedures related to tenure,..." Prof. Holmes asked whether that meant such faculty could vote on graduation requirements and appropriate courses for the Ph.D. program. The motion died for lack of a second. Prof. Sutton remarked that these individuals would be involved with graduate programs and still would have to pass muster as graduate faculty, yet that is not addressed in the document. He said he thought it was better to leave the language as is so that those issues would be decided by tenure-track and tenured faculty. Prof. Lamb suggested that the language could be revised to state that such faculty are eligible to vote at the discretion of the department on a case-by-case basis. Prof. Roe said if research faculty wanted those kinds of privileges, then they should apply for regular faculty positions. He said the people he knew with research appointments did not want to be involved in committees. The document was approved on a voice vote as amended (Appendix I).



The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 8, 1999, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Ruth Okediji, Secretary


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator



Appendix I



(2-8-99 deletions crossed through; additions in bold)

The Research Professor position is non-tenure track, with continuous term appointments at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor. This track will be used to recruit top research scholars to support and enhance the major research programs and initiatives at the University of Oklahoma. Candidates for these positions must demonstrate significant capability or potential both to conduct high quality research and to obtain external funds. The primary responsibilities of these faculty will be research and research-related activities such as proposal writing, project management, and teaching and service specifically linked to their research programs (supervision of graduate students, service for professional organizations). The continued appointment of these professors will depend on their success, or the success of the research program with which they are connected, in obtaining external funding. These procedures shall be considered the only route to appointing people to non-tenure track Research Professorships.


Units would be eligible for a Research Professor position if they can document that they have a major research program that has brought in sufficient funds to pay all costs of the program plus this new position for at least 3 years without additional University funding. Since these positions are different from the current designations for either regular faculty or temporary employees, units will need to modify their personnel policies (or organizational plans) to reflect the unit's willingness to hire people with the new designation. Additionally, units should stipulate, in the modification to personnel policy, the different requirements for Research Professors appointed at the Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor rank.

Candidates for Research Professorship positions will be recruited and appointed through a process similar to that used for hiring regular faculty. The positions will be posted in appropriate national publications and applications will be reviewed by a search committee chaired by the director of the research program in question. Since the director of the research program is the faculty member with the greatest interest and stake in this appointment, having him/her chair the committee allows for appropriate control over the process. The search committee will also consist of tenure track or tenured faculty within the department and at least one tenure track or tenured faculty member from outside the department. Applicants for these positions will be considered eligible if they meet the required qualifications determined by the head of the research program and the search committee. The search committee will recommend a candidate to the department's Committee A and Department Chair. The Committee A and Department Chair can present the candidate, along with a recommendation for rank, to the department faculty for a vote.

Once the Department has made a recommendation, the credentials of the candidate will be reviewed by the Research Council whose recommendation will be forwarded to the Provost for review prior to presentation to the President and the Regents. All subsequent practices currently in place for regular faculty appointments would apply in these cases as well (see section 3.5.1 of the Faculty Handbook). Contracts will state clearly that these appointments are not convertible to tenure track even though they may be renewed beyond the seven-year period described as a maximum for temporary appointments in section 3.5.3 of the Faculty Handbook will not become tenure track. Should a tenure track position come available in the department, an individual in a Research Professor position would be eligible to apply. Standard national search procedures for tenure track vacancies are to be rigorously followed. Research Professor appointments may be renewed beyond the seven-year period following procedures described in section 3.5.3. (b) of the Faculty Handbook.


The salaries awarded those appointed to these positions will be paid from the grant(s)funding the research program. Initial salary and rank will be commensurate with experience and national standards. Continued appointment of these professors will depend on their success, or the success of the research program with which they are connected, in obtaining external funding. However, there may be occasions on which funding for a grant or contract may not arrive in a timely manner. In the event of a break in the continuity of funding during the period of a research professor's appointment, the individual may apply, with the approval of his or her research unit, for bridge funding only after three years of service, subject to two limitations: 1) the individual will be eligible for bridge funding in an amount equal to one-half the total indirect cost generated by the grants and contracts on which he or she has been appointed, up to a maximum of 12 months salary, and 2) the university will provide no more than 12 months of salary for five years of service, regardless of the amount of indirect cost generated. The University will establish budgetary procedures for bridge funding. Units will not be required to assume any obligations for funding of Research Professor salaries. All bridge funds shall come from a percentage of indirect costs set aside in an escrow account.

The budgetary considerations of these positions will follow the same path as do regular faculty appointments. That is, after a candidate is selected and departmental approval is attained, the financial offer and budget agreement are subject to the approval and control of the appropriate budget Dean and Provost. Since this policy covers a primary research position, with some related academic responsibility, it is expected that both the Vice President of Research and the Provost will have a determining role in the approval of personnel covered by this policy.

Evaluation and promotion procedures for Research Professors will be those described for regular faculty in section 3.11 of the Faculty Handbook, except that the nature of their non-tenure track, continuous term appointments means they will be evaluated and promoted primarily based on their research and funding productivity. Specific criteria for annual evaluation and for promotion will be determined by the department in conjunction with the director of the research program and Committee A and will be made clear to the holder of the position at his/her initial appointment.

Raises will be awarded in the same manner as they are for regular faculty.


Given that these temporary faculty will not have the same responsibilities and concerns as regular faculty, they will be excluded from participating in the governance roles within the University. Non-tenure track Research Professors are not governing faculty. Such faculty shall not be eligible to vote regarding departmental affairs, policies and procedures, tenure, promotions, administrative searches, Committee A, the Faculty Senate or other similar governance issues.


An initial cap on these non-tenure track, continuous term appointments will be set at 5% of the number of all faculty appointments on the Norman Campus, with an understanding that after a full evaluation of the program the percentage may increase up to 10%, but not beyond that point.


The impact of these non-tenure track, continuous term appointments will be reviewed at regular intervals. The first such review will occur after three years, then review will occur every five years. These periodic evaluations will be undertaken by the Senior Vice President and Provost, the Vice President for Research, the Vice President for Technology Transfer, and the Faculty Senate or their appointees.