The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – March 9, 2009 – 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, Asojo, Atiquzzaman, Basic, Bass, D. Bemben, M. Bemben, Blank, Bradshaw, Brown, Brule, Buckley, Clark, Conlon, Forman, Franklin, Grasse, Greene, Hahn, Horn, Kent, Livesey, McDonald, Miller, Milton, Morrissey, Moses, Muraleetharan, Riggs, Rogers, Russell, Sadler, Schmidt, Strauss, Striz, Tan, Trafalis, Vehik, Verma, Vitt, Wyckoff, Yi

ISA representatives:  Bondy, Cook

ABSENT:         Eodice, Graham, Hawthorne, Kershen, Lifschitz, Rambo, Reeder, Weaver






Faculty Tribute

Ed Cline faculty development award recipients

Committee nominations

Campus recycling efforts

Library task force report

Web-based course evaluation system

Bicycle resolution

Final Exam Preparation Period/Pre-finals week

Senate Chair's Report:

Student Information System – OZone

Campus Campaign






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of February 9, 2009 was approved.





The Faculty Tribute will be held on Thursday, April 23, at 4:00 p.m. in the Sandy Bell Gallery of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.


The Faculty Senate is pleased to present the Ed Cline faculty development awards for 2008-09 to Mohammad Alhawary (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics/International & Area Studies), Hester Baer (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), Teresa Bell (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), Johanna Cox (Music), Marcia Haag (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), Chad Kerksick (Health & Exercise Science), Ryan Long (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), Namkee Park (Journalism & Mass Communication), Jonathan Ruck (Music), and Laurel Smith (Geography/Honors). 


The call for volunteers for councils, committees and boards was sent to faculty, chairs/directors and deans on February 9.  Nominations are due to the Faculty Senate office by March 11.  Prof. Brown asked the senators to consider serving on the Faculty Appeals Board. 





Mr. Bill Henwood, Physical Plant director, discussed the campus recycling efforts.  He introduced Sue-Anna Miller, assistant director of the Physical Plant, who oversees recycling, and Greg Brezinski, who manages refuse and recycling for the Norman campus.  Recycling began on the Norman campus in 1990.  In 1998, it was expanded by including the University housing area and by adding some other recyclable products.  For the 12 months ending February 2008, we took 8.6 million pounds of refuse to the landfall.  For the 12 months ending February 2009, we took 7.7 million pounds to the landfill, a reduction of 10 percent from last year to this year.  For the last 12 months, we recycled 1.6 tons of paper, plastic and aluminum, an increase of more than 28 percent over the previous year.  The products that are recyclable are aluminum, #1 and #2 plastic, white paper, mixed paper, cardboard, newspaper, toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, pallets, phone books and tires.  Phone books are recycled only once a year because of the avenues for recycling the books.  Fleet services recycles Freon and motor oil, and landscape debris is hauled to the city’s compost facility.


Recycling containers for paper, plastic and aluminum are located near the main entrances of academic buildings.  Desk-side containers are available in three different sizes and can be delivered.  For paper that is sensitive in nature, units can request lockable bins, and Recycling can send the documents through its new industrial-size paper shredder.  Recycling provides larger bins in high traffic areas and for oversized materials.  Information about the containers is at  Not only is sensitive paper shredded; any paper deposited to a recycle container is sorted and shredded before leaving campus.  The program is funded from the sale of recyclable materials.  For fiscal year 2008, recyclables sold for approximately $122,000, and landfill tipping fees were reduced by $27,000.  With the economic decline recently, we have held some recyclables until the prices go back up.  For more information, individuals may contact Mr. Brezinski at 325-8068, Ms. Miller at 325-6445, and Mr. Henwood at 325-6211.  Mr. Henwood reminded the group that RecycleMania was going on.  It is a national competition and OU’s first year to participate.  We are in the benchmarking division, not actually competing, but as of the first week of March, we were in the top 25 percent of all participants and top in the Big 12.   


Prof. Miller asked whether paper towels were recycled.  Mr. Henwood said paper towels are trash that goes into the landfill, but a large proportion of the towels and toilet tissue are made of recycled material.  Ms. Miller added that the fiber in a recycled towel is already broken down to such a point that it cannot be further recycled.  Mr. Brezinksi noted that no one will take it.  Mr. Henwood said we would buy 100 percent recycled towels except the custodial division does not have the budget to do that.  He said he would further investigate whether the towels could be recycled.  Prof. Strauss suggested that better information should be given out on when phone books could be recycled and where they should be taken.  He asked if there was a way to recycle old textbooks that publishers had provided to professors.  Mr. Henwood said he would see if Recycling could collect the used books.  He explained that the Refuse and Recyling office only had six people to handle everything.  Prof. Greene said it would be useful to put additional recycling bins in the larger classrooms.  Mr. Henwood said they should be able to do that.  Prof. Moses pointed out that bathroom towels could be replaced with electric dryers or alcohol wipes.  Mr. Henwood said the Physical Plant had recently installed new pull-down towel dispensers.  Dryers have a significant energy cost, so there is a trade off.  Pull-downs use no electricity or batteries and use less paper.  Prof. Moses said high speed hand dryers are supposed to use less energy than anything else and could be installed in new construction.  Mr. Henwood thanked the group for its input and promised to provide feedback to Prof. Brown.





Prof. LeRoy Blank, chair of the library task force, said the task force was charged with looking at where the library was, where it is now, and where it ought to go in the future.  The task force worked on this assignment for over two years.  The original charge was to look at a time frame of approximately five years.  It turned out to be more convenient to look at a decade, specifically 1996-97 through 2006-07 because of the ARL (Association of Research Libraries) statistics that were available.  The report is available at 


The library was viewed 10 years ago as a location that housed fundamental sources of knowledge.  Many of the people who now utilize the library do not even visit; they do everything online.  Over the last decade, there was strong growth in library holdings and in materials expenditures.  We have moved up substantially in the ARL ranking.  Progress was achieved because of the commitment of Provost Mergler and President Boren.  The President made a $1 million a year commitment for ten years.  As a result, our ranking is up considerably compared to the other 10 reporting institutions in the Big 12.  We originally wanted to meet or exceed the ranking of Kansas, which was second at the time.  In the number of volumes, we moved from 5th out of the 10 reporting Big 12 institutions to 2nd, from 57th to 27th in the ARL, and we have almost doubled the number of volumes from 1996-97 to 2006-07.  ARL is a nationwide group of about 110 research university libraries.  In materials expenditures, we went from $4.67 million to $12.97 million over the 10-year period.  However, everyone else also is experiencing a large increase in materials expenditures as a fraction of their budgets.  Our ARL ranking went from 75th to 31st, while Kansas moved from 48th to 68th.  In terms of salaries, OU has not done as well, both in the number of positions and in salary values.  Salary expenditures were $3.7 million in 1996-97 and $6.3 million in 2006-07, and our ARL ranking changed from 106th to 99th.  In the Big 12, only Missouri is lower.  In professional salaries, we ranked 107th for 2007-08.  We have made progress in some areas but not in salaries. 


The task force recommended the following for the next decade (2009-19):  1) Continue President Boren’s program of supplementing the libraries budget $1 million per year above costs.  While the current economic conditions may preclude the full supplement in the next year or two, the task force expects a lot of progress in the next decade.  2) Pursue endowment and one-time funds for a variety of projects.  3) Move some books and monographs that are not heavily used to off-site locations and utilize the vacated space for learning centers.  4) Establish approximately 25 new library positions in the next decade.  5) Pursue digitization projects.  The Western History, Bass, and History of Science collections are spectacular and need to be shared online.  6) Engage users in initiatives.  Faculty could help solve some of the library problems, for example, the increasing cost of materials.  Faculty members seem to be willing to pay any price for the materials they need for research.  Professors should accept a minimal amount of money for editorships, stay away from publishing companies who are trying to make a profit off of them, try to publish online in journals that are inexpensive, and respect those journals when making personnel decisions.  Prof. Blank thanked the committee members for their efforts and input.  He said it is important for everyone to make a major commitment to help the libraries maintain or increase their status. 


Prof. Vitt noted that faculty members often are after impact factors when choosing journals.  He suggested that faculty members who publish in commercially-owned journals should add a statement to the copyright form to say they reserve the right to make the graphics available at no cost.  Prof. Milton commented that some journals are open access but the authors have to pay a substantial amount to make that happen.  There are lots of different models.  The faculty has to be aware of the impact factors.  Some prestigious journals are run by publishers who may not behave at the highest ethical levels.  Prof. Livesey asked whether national competitive salary levels are considered when someone is hired in the library.  Prof. Blank said the libraries had not lost much ground over the decade; the salary level is still low.  The $1 million annual commitment was not fully funded every year, and all of the increase went into materials expenditures.  Prof. Milton asked about the total number of library personnel and the percentage increase the recommendation represented.  Prof. Blank said the library had approximately 100 people, so the recommendation would be about a 25 percent increase.  Prof. Miller asked for more information about the shift to learning centers.  Prof. Blank answered that there would be some open and some closed spaces with electronic equipment where students could do group research activities.  The rooms would have computer stations or computer access and access to library materials.  Prof. Blank said faculty members were welcome to write to him if they had any other questions.





Prof. Laurie Vitt said the primary point of his presentation was to start faculty thinking about advantages of online evaluations.  He reported that the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Executive Committee had discussed online evaluations about six months ago.  Last summer, the college used web-based evaluations for summer courses.  Prof. Vitt said a lot of credit should go to CAS dean Paul Bell, CAS associate dean Kelly Damphousse and to Provost Mergler.  He thanked Prof. Damphousse for putting together a great deal of background information.  We are required to evaluate teaching.  Three basic issues are what do evaluations give us, how are evaluations used within the University, and how are evaluations done.  The first two issues are highly complex.  The issue he wanted to focus on at this meeting was the third issue – how evaluations are done, paper versus web based.  He suggested that the goals of an evaluation system are to provide meaningful information about the quality of teaching, to provide valid information, to maintain anonymity and confidentiality of students, use staff or faculty time efficiently, and to make efficient use of class time.  He described the time and costs spent on conducting paper evaluations in CAS prior to fall 2008.  The process involved printing 100,000 forms twice per year, storing them, staff time in CAS and departments, faculty time, and the initial cost of the forms.  Because of the way forms were scanned, the resolution was low, making it difficult to read many handwritten statements by students.  In addition, because forms were sorted by faculty first name and returned to CAS as a single large PDF file after commercial scanning, additional time was involved sorting and redistributing forms.  Moreover, because forms contain handwriting samples of students, there was no guarantee of anonymity.  In addition, approximately 35 percent of the forms were not used.


Web-based evaluations solve nearly all of those problems.  An online process reduces turn-around time and costs at a time when budgets are tight, contributes to the greening of the university, and students can give more frank evaluations if they are certain of anonymity.  One of the challenges is that the Information Technology office must be involved in developing a good web-based system.  This has already been done by CAS.  The system, called eValuate, is simple to use and will be used throughout CAS this semester.  Another challenge is that the response rates usually are lower initially; however, they go up in time.  When computers are available in the classroom, the response rates can be 85 percent or better.  If a student takes two or three courses in CAS, all the courses come up together and all of their evaluations can be completed in one sitting.  Instructors can add their own questions.  Nothing would prohibit faculty from doing paper evaluations in class.  Prof. Vitt said it seemed to him that switching to web based is the way we should be going.  The administration is interested, it is being done already in CAS, and a system is in place.  University-wide application would require interest within other colleges and a considerable amount of IT time, although eValuate is a nice model for getting started. 


Prof. Schmidt said he has trouble getting the students in a large class to fill out evaluations even when they have class time to do it.  He was skeptical that they would fill them out at a computer outside of class.  He asked about the response rate so far in CAS.  Prof. Vitt replied that the response rate was 35 percent.  He had asked colleagues at other universities whether they had web- or paper-based evaluations, and the overriding comment was it was wise to go web based, given how web savvy the students are.  However, they were concerned about return rates, as we should be as well.  Prof. Miller asked whether the students were restricted to certain access times, such as business hours, and whether the duration was timed to prevent students from filling them out quickly and not actually evaluating.  Prof. Vitt said the one issue could be solved if the classroom had computers and students could use class time.  Prof. Damphousse pointed out that students who take online courses typically submit papers after midnight.  CAS has not restricted the access time except that evaluations have to be done in the last 10 days before the last day of class. 


Prof. Milton said he taught at Washington University, where they had online evaluations, and the response rate was close to 80 percent for a small class.  He said he liked the system because it did not take up class time, and he got very good responses.  Prof. Vehik pointed out that even if evaluations are given in class, only 60-70 percent of the class shows up.  She asked whether the students who are unhappy tend to be the ones who respond.  Prof. Vitt asked Prof. Damphousse whether evaluations are worse when they are done online.  Prof. Damphousse answered that studies have shown that in-person evaluations are slightly lower than online versions, but the differences are not significant.  Prof. Bemben said he would be concerned about the validity of the last classes in the list if they all pop up together.  Prof. Damphousse said the courses were randomized.  Prof. Muraleetharan asked about increasing the return rate by giving incentives for students who complete evaluations.  Prof. Vitt said that had been discussed, and several suggestions had been made, such as giving students their grades earlier.  In his opinion, incentives might be a good idea if they do not involve giving students something free.  Prof. Ahmed said he used an online system at the University of Tulsa, and the return rate would vary anywhere from 0 to 65 percent.  The form showed the grade range of the students who completed the evaluations.  He said he thought that was a good approach.  Prof. Vitt commented that then faculty would know the GPAs of the students who responded and could interpret the results pretty well.  Prof. Damphousse said it used to be common to have students self report the grade they expected, but different colleges did away with that.  Technically we could do that, but do we want to?  Because of confidentiality, we do not want students to think we are matching grades with evaluations.  Asking students about their expected grade tends to be common at other universities. 


Prof. Livesey pointed out that for paper-based evaluations, instructors know those students have been in class.  He asked if there was any way to know that the person at the computer actually came to class.  Prof. Strauss said the instructor could add a question that asks what percent of time the student came to class.  Prof. Bass said instructors probably should not remind students of the grade they expect to get because the purpose is to evaluate the class and instructor.  She was part of eValuate last summer.  In June she got back 4 out of 40 evaluations with no incentive; in July, with an incentive (giving 5 points out of 400) she got back 38 out of 40.  Since then, the provost has indicated that instructors are not to offer any kind of extra credit.  Prof. Strauss asked how professors find out who completed the forms.  Prof. Vitt said CAS can provide that information, but the names are not associated with the evaluations.  Prof. Blank said he was concerned that instructors do not know anything about the makeup of the pools that are forming the percentiles.  Prof. Damphousse said the college could provide that information.  Prof. Miller said a lot of the problems with validity have to do with self selection.  Professors do not want students who have complaints to be the only ones who respond.  To avoid the problem, the University could continue to send email reminders until the students comply.  Prof. Damphousse replied that the number one incentive is if students believe their instructors care about it, and instructors encourage their students to fill them out.  Prof. Strauss said he did not want the students who do not come to class to keep getting email reminders.  Prof. Brown said the faculty could send their concerns and ideas to Prof. Vitt.  Because the student evaluation report was for information only, no action was suggested.





Prof. Brown explained that the Senate Executive Committee had met with Prof. Kyran Mish about the draft bicycle plan for the campus and Norman (see 10/08 Senate Journal).  With the possibility of stimulus money being awarded to the campus, the Executive Committee wanted to make a strong statement about the infrastructure for bicycle traffic.  As a result the committee wrote a bicycle resolution (attached) for the Senate to consider.  Prof. Miller asked if it pertained only to the campus.  Prof. Mish said the city committee is coordinating with the campus committee through shared membership.  The University administration has been very supportive.  One of the issues is that Legacy Trail comes to Boyd Street and then dead ends.  Prof. Strauss said, as an avid bicyclist, he would add “wide shoulders” in any bike plan.  Prof. Mish commented that other folks, such as Gary Ridley at ODOT, are trying to widen roads.  Wide shoulders on roads actually save on long-term maintenance costs and are inexpensive to build.  Prof. Strauss noted that every time the city improves the streets, they take away the shoulders.  Prof. Miller said another thing to ask for is signage and to ticket people who violate the bike lanes.  Prof. Mish reported that “share the road” signs are going up all over Norman.  The police are starting to enforce the laws.  Prof. Brown said the amendments would be added to the resolution, and the Senate would vote at the next meeting.





Prof. Brown said the latest Pre-Finals Week proposal (attached) would reduce the amount due in the last week from 10 percent to 5 percent.  As a result of a friendly amendment at the last meeting, part b was added back to the procedures section to give a window of 30 days.  (For the current 2001 policy, see section 4.10 of the Faculty Handbook ( or  Prof. Brown asked if there was any discussion.  With no further discussion, the Senate voted against the proposal by a vote of 12 in favor, 19 against, and 3 abstentions.  Prof. Franklin moved to change the last sentence of the current policy to, “This policy shall remain in force until reviewed no sooner than 2006 2014.”  Her motion was approved on a voice vote.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Cecelia Brown


Brad Burnett, Director of Financial Aid Services, is overseeing the implementation of the new student system.  He gave the Senate Executive Committee an update on the project last week.  OZone is the portal to the new system, where students will be able to do all their transactions with the University online.  Financial Aid went online recently, and it went well.  This is the first time students have had the chance to interact with the system.  Very soon, with the 2009 intersession, faculty will be able to enter course grades online, which will save paper and time.  Mid-semester grades also will be done online.  It is not clear yet how that will work, whether it will be direct entry or uploaded from a spreadsheet or D2L.  The Executive Committee meets with Mr. Burnett quarterly, so Aimee Franklin, Senate chair-elect, will be keeping in touch with Mr. Burnett over the remaining parts of the project and will keep the Senate up to date on the progress of the system implementation.


“Amy Davenport of Recreational Services contacted me in her role as a member of the Campus Campaign committee.  The committee is seeking auction items for the online auction, which supports the Sooner Heritage Scholarship, a scholarship fund for children of faculty and staff members.  The auction (see will run from March 30 to April 4.  Ms. Davenport asked if the Faculty Senate would be interested in providing something for the auction.  Some of Ms. Davenport’s suggestions were dinner with deans, a car wash by some faculty, a tennis lesson with a professor, etc.  Ms. Davenport thought it would be fun to tap into faculty talent for this great project.  Ideas may be sent to me or the Senate office.”





The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2009, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Paula Conlon, Faculty Secretary