The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – March 12, 2012 – 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206   phone: 325-6789
e-mail:   website:


The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Georgia Kosmopoulou, Chair.


PRESENT:       Apanasov, Ayres, Baer, Bemben, Bergey, Bisel, Buckley, Chang, Devegowda, Ellis, Fagg, Grady, Hahn, Keresztesi, Kosmopoulou, Laubach, Leseney, Loon, Marsh-Matthews, McPherson, Minter, Morrissey, Morvant, Moses, Moxley, Natale, Nelson, A. Palmer, G. Palmer, Ransom, Soreghan, Stock, Stoltenberg, Tabb, Taylor, Vehik, Verma, Williams, Wydra, Zhang

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
Graduate College liaison:  Taylor

ABSENT:         Adams, Burns, Cox-Fuenzalida, Gramoll, Jean-Marie, Kimball, Klein, Park, Zhu





Remarks by Chancellor of Oklahoma State System of Higher Education


Faculty Tribute

Committee nominations

Ed Cline faculty development award recipients

The Big Event

Faculty retiree deaths

Faculty Senate 70th anniversary

Health Sciences Center Distinguished Speaker Lecture

Bicycle Friendly University

Senate Chair's Report:

Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System proposed rule changes

Teaching workload policy

Benefits:  retiree medical

State of the UOSA Address

Early progress reports






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of February 13, 2012 was approved.



Remarks by Dr. Glen D. Johnson Jr., Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education


Chancellor Johnson noted that he received a bachelor’s degree and law degree from OU and enjoyed the opportunity to be on campus. 


One of his focuses as the spokesperson for the state system of higher education is funding.  One month into the legislative session, he has been playing defense.  A bill was proposed that would have moved the tuition-setting authority from the regents back to the legislature.  Until 2003, the legislature set the tuition.  Because of his 14 years in the legislature, Chancellor Johnson believes the current process is far preferable to the legislature setting tuition.  The legislature never considered tuition in an election year.  It was not an objective process or data driven process.  The current process provides input from students, faculty, and the administration to the state regents.  He was able to make the case in the house committee for keeping the current process, and he was able to stop the bill.  Another bill, which was a carryover from last year, would put all of the information technology and related functions in higher education and state government under a chief information officer (CIO).  That would not work well for higher education because the required authorization would cause slower turnaround time, particularly for research grants.  Input on the process for setting student technology fees would go away.  It would also cause serious problems for the Weather Center and the Cancer Center, which are connected to the national LambdaRail and Internet2.  This last year the system had over $40 million in educational discounts for information technology.  Mr. Johnson made the case to the governor that if the goal was to save money, the system would save more money by not being under the CIO.  The bill has been re-introduced again this year, but at this point it is stopped in the house.  Another issue that has come up again for the fifth year in a row would allow concealed weapons on college campuses.  The Chancellor believes it would create a dangerous environment for students and faculty.  The legislation is stopped so far.  A bill introduced by Rep. Holland that would have eliminated tenure in higher education has been stopped.  Chancellor Johnson said that would have been poor public policy.  Those are some of the matters he has been wrestling with, when he would rather be working on budget issues, endowed chairs, and ways higher education can help the state’s economy.


He said there seems to be a growing effort to be critical of the mission and goals of higher education, not just in Oklahoma but nationally.  He put together some information that he presented to the house and senate committees last October in response to the assertions.  President Boren has been in the forefront with Chancellor Johnson and others in making the case that the assertions are not correct.  The main organization providing the criticism is the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs (OCPA).  The council questions the value of a college degree and the link between a college degree and the strength of the state’s economy.  OCPA also is trying to make the case that the salaries in higher education are too high, there is little or no transparency or accountability, and higher education is trying to get exemptions.  Chancellor Johnson presented data to refute each of those assertions.


OCPA complained about the number of employees in higher education who were making over $100,000 a year.  As a percentage of the entire system of higher education, those who make over $100,000 represent only 6.3 percent of the employees in higher education.  Many positions are coaches or physicians paid out of non-state appropriated funds.  In the area of transparency, to respond to the assertion that higher education is not responsive to questions raised by the legislature, the Chancellor listed everything his office provided to the legislature in terms of the key indicators of accountability, including budget, graduation rates, enrollment rates, and cost savings.  In the area of exemptions, the only exemption the system sought was to exempt higher education from going under the CIO.  The legislature was given a report that documented the $40 million saved on information technology related expenses. 


OCPA also said state appropriations to higher education had increased by $188 million over an eight-year period, 2004-11, during a time when enrollment was flat.  In actuality enrollment had increased by over 15,000 students during that period.  It is the largest historic enrollment increase in the history of the state system.  With that many more students, campuses experienced increased costs due to the addition of course sections, addition of faculty, and fixed costs.  Of the $188 million increase asserted, $150 million was directly related to health care and retirement.  Another assertion was that tuition in Oklahoma has skyrocketed.  The fact is we have made an extraordinary effort to keep tuition affordable.  Among four-year institutions, Oklahoma ranks as the 13th most affordable state in the U.S. in terms of tuition and mandatory fees.  Our two-year colleges are in the top third in the nation in affordability.  Tuition is never increased unless the student governments, faculty senates and other groups have an opportunity to weigh in, and the administration, presidents and governing boards make recommendations.  The state regents held two days of hearings to provide for additional input.  Three years ago, we were one of only two states in the nation to have no increase in tuition and fees.  In 2010 the increase was five percent, and in 2011, 5.8 percent.  The system has tried to be sensitive to the needs of students and parents.  A pertinent factor is the percentage of the higher education budget paid by state appropriations has decreased from 75 percent in 1988 to 41 percent today.  When that occurs, there are only so many options, with tuition and fees being one option.  The primary reasons for the drop off are the increase in health care costs and Medicare during that time and the dramatic increase in the cost of Corrections.  Chancellor Johnson said he thought it made more sense to place state resources on the front end in educating students than putting them in the back end in Corrections.  The third assertion that OCPA made is that colleges and universities really have not had their budgets cut.  Chancellor Johnson has been making the case that cuts should not be across the board and that higher education should be a priority.  He has had some success but still, higher education was cut 1.05 percent in FY09-10, 6.29 percent in FY10-11, and 5.8 percent in FY11-12.  What some institutions have done is to supplement their budgets by using private endowment dollars, dollars generated by enrollment increases, money from auxiliary enterprises (vending and housing, for example) and reserve funds, which are not state appropriated dollars.  Another statement made by OCPA is only 40.5 percent of the total budget is spent on instruction.  The accurate numbers show that for all three tiers, over 62 percent of the budget goes directly to the academic enterprise.  The other 38 percent goes to scholarships for students, physical plant, administrative costs, and grants related to research.


In December, the state Chamber of Commerce asked for a report that was prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The report rated our system in Oklahoma as 8th in the nation in efficiency, 8th in affordability, and 16th in job growth related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines.  


Governor Fallin announced in September a major college completion initiative called Complete College America.  It is being supported by five national foundations.  Oklahoma is one of 29 states accepted to participate.  Over the last few decades our nation has slipped from first to fourteenth in the world in college completion.  Last year our state produced over 30,500 degrees and certificates, and the percentage of college degrees earned over the last decade increased by 27.4 percent.  The initiative will focus on giving students the tools to be college-ready by high school graduation.  The state received its third national GEAR UP grant, over $80 million total, which focuses on preparing high school students for success in college.  To give adults the opportunity to go back and get their degree, each institution put together programs with face-to-face and online instruction.  We have over 70,000 individuals in the state with 72 hours or more towards their degree but do not have their degree.  Institutions will have the opportunity to receive additional funds if they increase their retention rates and ultimately their graduation rates.  The goal is 1700 additional degrees and certificates each year for the next 12 years.  That would represent a 67 percent increase and take us from 30,500 to 50,900 degrees produced.  The Chancellor made it clear to the governor and legislature that higher education is up to the task but would need the resources to do it. 


One of the areas that OCPA raised was that common education and higher education have little or no collaboration or partnering.  Chancellor Johnson noted that higher education partners with common education in a variety of way, including GEAR UP, teacher education, summer academies, and concurrent enrollment.  The office of the state regents has been publishing information on its web site that provides average salary information for various fields in order to show the value of a college degree.  Over a one-year period, an individual with a bachelor’s degree will earn on average $28,000 more than someone with a high school diploma.  During periods of unemployment, the person with a college degree will be less likely to experience unemployment and will be more likely to have health insurance.  Over a career, a person with a bachelor’s degree will earn on average $1 million more than a high school graduate.  Chancellor Johnson said he would submit that the income is not even the most important reason to get a degree.  In answer to the assertion that academic programs remain on the books and are never deleted, he pointed out that an average of 24 programs are deleted a year.  Data from the Employment Security Commission this past September show that one year after graduation 89 percent of our graduates remained in the state and had jobs.  Those data refute the allegation that graduates have to leave the state to find employment.  Higher education is intimately involved with the STEM initiative through EPSCoR, endowed chairs, research initiatives, summer science and math academies, and other areas.


The buzzword at the Capitol is how much have you saved.  The state system has saved over $347 million over the last four years.  The cost savings have been in energy conservation, early retirement options, and purchasing contracts.  Most of the cost savings are in the areas of personnel and utilities.  In the area of research and grantsmanship, Oklahoma’s college and universities received $612 million in competitive grants in 2010.  OU generated about 40 percent of the total.  The budget request for 2013 is for $34 million in new money, which represents a 3.7 percent increase.  The bulk is for fixed costs, including health care, retirement, utilities, supplies, information technology equipment, library periodicals, and scholarships.


Oklahoma ranks 50th in the nation in the number of physicians per capita.  To address that situation, higher education has made a separate request to provide additional funding for the OU and OSU medical schools and scholarships for pre-med academic disciplines throughout the state system.  In the endowed chairs program, 22 institutions and branch campuses have 749 accounts awaiting funding.  Two years ago, the legislature came up with $100 million to fund the program.  The Chancellor’s office has made a proposal to the legislature to address the remaining $279 million backlog with a bond issue over a five-year period.  In addition, requests were made for section 13 money for repair, renovation and maintenance on the campuses and for full funding of scholarships for the concurrent enrollment program for high school students. 


Chancellor Johnson said it was important for the Faculty Senate to know that its state system will be responding directly and accurately when information is brought to the governor, legislature, and media and will tell the story the right way.  As the legislature has limited resources, it is his job to make the case that higher education’s cut should be less than other areas of state government.  The pitch this year is higher education should be at the top of the list if there are increases in the budget.  It is the best investment the state can make and will define the future direction of our state.


Prof. Taylor asked for more information about the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs.  Chancellor Johnson said it is a non-profit, private group that provides information and takes positions on issues.  In this legislative session, it has been the lead advocate for the reduction in the state income tax.  It is funded privately and organized for the purpose of providing a particular viewpoint to public policy leaders and others.  Provost Mergler added that a national group works with some of these specific groups.  Chancellor Johnson said they receive funding from national think tanks that share the same philosophy. 


Prof. Bergey asked whether fees were included in the tuition numbers mentioned in his report.  Chancellor Johnson answered that all of the numbers include tuition and mandatory fees.  He said even though it has been hard in Oklahoma, there are only a few places nationally where it is more affordable.  Prof. Soreghan asked whether tuition and fees were waived for high school students concurrently enrolled in college.  Chancellor Johnson explained that the legislature appropriates money for scholarships for high school students who take courses for college credit.  Tuition is not waived.  The money comes from funds that the legislature provides to defray tuition costs.  The legislature did not provide scholarships for concurrent enrollment until about four years ago.  Since they have, the program has taken off.  This last year, over 56,000 credit hours were generated.  In closing Chancellor Johnson said that there are times when it is helpful to have the faculty weigh in on the issues raised at the Capitol.  He encouraged the faculty to coordinate with Vice President for Governmental Relations Danny Hilliard.  Faculty input is valuable.  He said he appreciates the great job the faculty does with the students. 





The Tribute to the Faculty will be Thursday, April 5, at 3:00 p.m. in the Sandy Bell Gallery of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.


Faculty nominations for councils, committees, and boards originally were due to the Faculty Senate office by March 9.  Prof. Kosmopoulou noted that the deadline for committee nominations had been extended until March 14.  Chair-Elect Michael Bemben pointed out that volunteers were needed for the Retirement Plans Management Committee (RPMC).  Faculty who serve on the RPMC should be knowledgeable in investing for retirement and/or financial planning, interested in monitoring and understanding performance of the markets in general and mutual funds in the OU plan in particular, and understand administrative and investment fees paid from plan assets, including those charged directly to participants, to make sure they are at the lowest reasonable levels.  Faculty members who have expertise in those areas should submit their names to Ms. Fallgatter.  Prof. Moses, who is on the committee, said the purpose of the committee is to make sure the retirement plan for OU is as good as it can be.  It is chaired by Chief Financial Officer Chris Kuwitzky.  Ms. Fallgatter added that three faculty members are on the committee, and one is rotating off this summer.  Prof. Hahn asked whether the faculty was notified about the committee vacancy.  Prof. Kosmopoulou replied that it was included in the general call for nominations for committees. 


The Faculty Senate is pleased to announce the recipients of the Ed Cline faculty development awards for 2011-12:  Julia Abramson (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), Samuel Cheng (Electrical & Computer Engineering), Stephanie Malia Hom (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics), and Rita Keresztesi (English). 


The Big Event, a student-run community service effort, will be held on April 14.  Faculty members may volunteer as individuals or in groups.  For more information, see 


The Faculty Senate is sad to report the death of retired faculty members Dragan Milivojevic (Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics) on February 24 and Chip Stuart (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies) on March 1. 


March 30 is the 70th anniversary of the first meeting of the Faculty Senate. 


The faculty is invited to attend the Health Sciences Center Distinguished Speaker Lecture on April 11, 6:30-7:30 p.m.  David Pogue will speak on “Disruptive Technology in Healthcare and Higher Education” (see Pogue.pdf).  The presentation will be held in Allied Health Building 1117 at the OUHSC and also will be simulcast to the Perkins auditorium at OU-Tulsa and DEH 151 on the Norman campus.





The Faculty Senate’s Faculty Welfare Committee proposed a resolution requesting the University to develop a plan to attain recognition as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists (attached).  Prof. Palmer asked whether the bike league spells out what it means to be bicycle friendly.  Prof. Moses said the league has a lot of information on its web site:  It is more than having bike paths; it also is about making the campus a place where someone would feel welcome to bicycle.  The league looks at elements such as infrastructure, encouragement, and education for cyclists. 


Prof. Moses moved to amend the last sentence to move “within the next 5 years” after “recognition” to make it clear that the intent is to develop a plan to attain recognition with the next five year rather than develop a plan over the next five years.  Prof. Devegowda suggested adding language about coordinating with the city’s bicycle plans and accommodating bicycles on buses.  He noted that crossing certain streets is dangerous on a bike.  Prof. Bemben pointed out that the university and city groups have been meeting together.  Prof. Moses said the said University developed a draft bicycle plan and is trying to integrate it with the Norman bicycle plan.  He said he will try to add some language about coordinating with the city and being able to put a bike on a bus.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Georgia Kosmopoulou


“The first piece of information comes from HR and relates to OTRS. Pending approval from the legislature, OTRS is moving now to proportional service credit for employees who work less than full time or less than the entire contract year. If approved, this new policy will be in effect on or after July, 1, 2013.  Note that the fractional service credit for employees who work less than the contract year would not impact 9-month full-time faculty.


“As you know, due to pressure from legislators and in an effort to increase efficient use of existing resources at difficult budgetary times, the University introduced a recommendation for a revised teaching workload policy.  President Boren encouraged us to participate in the formulation and articulation of the policy and welcomed our input on the drafted guidelines.  Following recent meetings with the President and the Provost and discussions with faculty, the executive committee worked on a modified document that embraces the idea of providing clear, objective and reasonable metrics to govern teaching workloads and at the same time addresses important issues that were brought up by many of you.  Those modifications introduced are mainly there to recognize explicitly in the document that there are differences in the efficient operation of departments within and even more so across colleges.  The President had a very positive first response to the draft.  He was happy with the outcome of our effort and promised to get back with remarks after he gets a chance to have a closer look and receive feedback from the Provost and other administrators.


“At our meeting with the President we also discussed the new proposed plan for retiree medical benefits.  We proposed an amendment to the current plan that would reward employees for loyalty and encourage prudent consumption.  In particular, we suggested full coverage of premiums for employees with 25 years of service who begin participating at age 62. Being aware of the budgetary issues the University is facing, we proposed to phase in a deductible starting in 2014. The President promised to look into this request.”  Prof. Nelson asked whether the intent was it would apply to employees with at least 25 years of service.  Prof. Kosmopoulou said that was correct. 


“Finally, the President of UOSA Hannah Morris invited the Faculty Senate members to the State of the UOSA Address.  It will be held on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Hannah at”





Prof. Minter said his colleagues were concerned about the early mid-term progress reports, in particular, what the reason was for the reports and why instructors had to turn them in so early.  Prof. Kosmopoulou asked whether it was a matter of not having enough grades at that point.  Prof. Apanasov said he gives mid-term exams after Spring Break, but the reports are due before that.  Prof. Kosmopoulou said she would look into the history of the issue and report back.  Prof. Morvant said the timing might have to do with giving students the early progress reports before they have to make a decision about dropping a course at the tenth week. 





The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 9, 2012, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Fran Ayres, Faculty Secretary