The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Pat L. Weaver-Meyers, Chair.
PRESENT: Badiru, Baker, Benson, Bremer, Burnett, Carnevale, DeBrunner, Dillon, Egle, Elisens, Fiedler, Gana, Genova, Gilje, Greene, Gupta, Gutierrez, Harris, Havener, Hertzke, Hillyer, Holmes, Horrell, Hutchison, Konopak, Laird, F. Lee, Lucey, R.Miller, Mouser, Ogilvie, Palmer, Patterson, Scaperlanda, Shaughnessy, Sipes, Stock, Stoltenberg, Tepker, Thulasiraman, VanGundy, Wallach, WeaverMeyers, Wenk
Provost's office representative: Mergler
PSA representatives: Iselin, Spencer
UOSA representatives: Barron, Scott
ABSENT: Dillard, Durica, Fung, Murphy, Nelson, Ragep, Weinel, Williams
Announcement: faculty awards ceremony 2
Faculty Development Task Force report 2
Senate Chair's Report:
Communications with faculty 2
Senate accomplishments 2
Remarks by President David Boren 3
Campus campaign 4
Addition to Faculty Handbook concerning student conduct 4
Faculty Compensation Committee recommendations concerning salary program 5
Student Congress dead week resolution 6
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Senate Journal for the regular session of February 12, 1996, was approved. The minutes of the General Faculty meetings of November 17, 1994 and May 4, 1995 were approved.
The faculty awards ceremony currently is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, at 3:00p.m. in Holmberg Hall, with a buffet reception following in the Art Museum. Invitations will be sent to the faculty in late March. The traditional luncheon could not be held because the Union ballroom is being renovated.
Report by Professor Harry F. Tepker, Jr., Chair of the Faculty Development Task Force
Prof. Weaver-Meyers explained that the Faculty Development Task Force was formed by the Senate Executive Committee last fall to address recommendations that the governor's commission might make with regard to tenure and workload.
Prof. Tepker said in the middle of its preparation, the task force received the news that the governor's commission was not pursuing a recommendation to abolish or modify tenure. The task force decided not to respond to a dead issue, but to go ahead and collect data that might be pertinent to a future legislative battle. The president and provost have some good papers to defend the practice of tenure. The task force will watch to see if these issues arise next year. The issue of whether faculty work hard enough remains a constant source of discussion. The Faculty Advisory Committee to the State Regents is also gathering information on this question. The task force will work with the provost's office to develop an appropriate policy. An enormous amount of effort has already been done to evaluate units. It would be appropriate to make this information available in a central accessible database.
SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Pat Weaver-Meyers
Prof. Weaver-Meyers said she was concerned that the Faculty Senate was not perceived to be an effective governance body. She said it will be difficult to measure whether the Faculty Senate has succeeded in accomplishing anything, but she would describe what has happened in the last year. She has been writing regular articles in Campus Connections to keep faculty better informed. A Senate web page should be ready by May so that minutes of the meetings will be available electronically.
The Campus Planning Council charge was revised. An Information Technology Council was formed and has already had two or three meetings. Faculty who are interested in serving on one of the ITC standing committees should contact Prof. Bruce Mason (Physics and Astronomy). The Faculty Welfare Committee will be sending out a survey about health benefits. The program duplication committee produced some guidelines for programs that might be considered for elimination. The Senate has worked and will continue to work on the conflict of interest policy. The Senate received sponsorship for the Ethics Commission to consider the Senate's proposal to change a rule concerning faculty representing colleagues in internal grievances. The Executive Committee has been working to keep athletic funding in balance.
Prof. Weaver-Meyers thanked the provost for providing the funding to upgrade some computing equipment in the Senate office and for considering proposals for additional equipment and support. Many faculty have helped in legislative lobbying efforts. The Executive Committee has met with the OU regents a number of times. One of the regents attended a Faculty Senate meeting this year, which shows we should have a more positive working relationship with the regents.
Remarks by President David Boren about the funding picture: "A Progress Report on Our Work Together"
President Boren said he has been very fortunate in terms of the leadership in the faculty and the Faculty Senate. He meets with the Senate Executive Committee at least once a month. Those meetings have been helpful to him in determining the direction we should go. He said one of the reasons he is teaching a course is to keep him in touch with faculty responsibilities. He thanked the faculty for their help in the legislature. It was gratifying to him that State Question 669 was defeated. It sent a strong pro-education message. Had the question passed, local schools would have lost $70 million in support.
We are getting a lot of support from our alumni. OU just gained 27 new associates from Colorado. In 1994, the University put out 44 major gift requests for $4.6 million. In the first half of 1995, we put out 186 requests for $55 million. We are now at $68 million in the $200 million Reach for Excellence campaign. Last year, 15,000 alumni were giving to the University every year; this year, 20,000 are participating. Our goal is to have 30,000. A year ago, we had 1390 associates; now we have 2025.
One of the goals for the next five years is to increase the faculty by at least 50. The library acquisitions budget was increased by $400,000, and 25 retired faculty were hired to teach, due to a $2 million savings in administrative costs. The faculty broke the $100 million mark in external funding last year. So far this year, we are over 15% above last year in external funding. That has been across the board in terms of participation by faculty and staff. These funds allow us to provide programs like the competitive research and creative activity pool.
The Honors program will be used to lift the whole University because the funds given to that program will be used to increase faculty size. Faculty will have dual appointments in the Honors College and departments. President Boren would like to offer more interdisciplinary courses and internationalize our curriculum. He is working on ways to reward departments that participate in interdisciplinary programs. Honors College money could also be used to endow scholarship programs so we can reduce the amount of tuition waivers. Some national merit and national achievement scholarships will be funded from the recent Phillips Petroleum endowment rather than from tuition waivers.
In terms of where we might be with the legislature, we are looking at the possibility of $60-80 million in new money for higher education for FY97; the Norman campus share would be $58 million. The University is trying to get the museum and weather center funded directly from the legislature. Fixed costs will require $2-3 million. The president wants to keep the research fund and extra library acquisitions funds in place. The cost of serials makes it difficult just to stay even.
A lot of discussions have taken place with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee about salaries. It is time to address this concern. Faculty salaries have fallen behind inflation since 1993. It will take a minimum of 4% to bring purchasing power back up. Faculty salaries lag well below those in the Big 12. Over a five-year period, it will require raises in excess of 5% every year to bring faculty salaries up to the average or median of the Big 12, assuming that the Big 12 average continues to grow at 3% to 4% annually. The provost's office calculated that we move from 10th to 9th out of the 11 public universities if fringe benefits are figured in, and 8th factoring in cost of living. It will be difficult to get those kinds of increases out of the legislature. Even if we did that, we will not be able to achieve salary increases without more cost efficiencies. We need to operate as efficiently as we can. President Boren said he would appreciate faculty input on whether salary increases should be across the board and on how much, if any, should be for merit.
There has been some discussion about the athletic financial problems. The Faculty Senate has helped to educate the regents on the issues. The Athletics Council subcommittee on gender equity has been expanded and has been asked to look also at the athletic budget. The Athletic Department owes the University $5 million, which has been building up over 15 years.
The Information Technology Council has been established. Faculty participation on this is very important. The Norman campus provost search has begun. The HSC provost search is nearing completion. He noted that the regents changed the administrative search committee policy (in March 1995) to remove the provision that faculty must constitute a majority on search committees. President Boren believes it is important that the internal community be in the majority, and he has prevailed on that issue. The College of Law dean search is almost completed. The provost process will be slightly ahead of the College of Arts and Sciences dean search to allow the provost to be involved in the dean decision.
Prof. Stock asked about the status of the Teachers' Retirement issue. President Boren said we have one more year of grace under the two-year cap. The other state colleges did not see the cap as a favor to them because many do not have a dual retirement system. A bill pending in the legislature would allow institutions without TIAA-CREF to remove the cap, but OU and OSU would be allowed to maintain a cap permanently.
Prof. Weaver-Meyers asked the faculty to consider making a contribution to the campus campaign. She said these contributions make a difference to the corporations that are asked for donations.
The proposed addition to Faculty Handbook concerning student conduct was deferred.
Faculty Compensation Committee recommendations concerning salary program for FY97
Prof. Weaver-Meyers said the Faculty Compensation Committee (FCC) proposed some recommendations (in priority order) in response to President Boren's request for input about salary increases.
1. Salary adjustments for all faculty with satisfactory performance to bring the effect of negative raises in FY 95 and FY 96 up to zero: for each faculty employee as of May 93, this requires a 5.36% increase.
2. The Committee strongly endorses President Boren's goal of moving OU faculty salaries up to Big 12 medians and recommends a three-year merit-based program, with one-third of the progress to be made with FY 97 salaries.
3. The Committee also strongly endorses the continuing goal of making salaries a number one budget priority. To insure that, in departure from past practice, the priority goal is achieved, the Committee recommends that:
A. The salary adjustments to neutralize the effect of C.P.I. increases are to be treated in the "fixed cost to continue" category of the budget process; and
B. The first year of the merit program is to be treated in the "prior commitment" category of the budget process.
Prof. Andy Magid (Mathematics), Chair of the FCC, reminded the Senate of the computation presented last month on what it would take to restore lost purchasing power. He said the figure had been refined from 5.99% to 5.36%. It would take a 5.36% increase to bring everyone who was working as of May 1993 up to zero. Beyond that, the FCC recommends a three-year merit-based program to bring faculty salaries up to the Big 12 medians. The President mentioned a five-year plan, but has no problem with this three-year plan. What it really means to make salaries a number one priority is to treat salaries as a fixed cost.
Prof. Patterson said the Senate had discussed merit and across-the-board at the last meeting, but these recommendations only focused on merit. Prof. Magid explained that the 5.36% raise would be across the board, and then any additional salary increases would be based on merit. Prof. Hertzke pointed out that even under the most optimistic scenario, it is hard for the University to get much more than 6%, so we would end up with de facto across-the-board raises and nothing for merit, compression, or inversion. Prof. Magid said the FCC assumed if people deserved their salaries in 1993, they deserve them now. The president said OU might receive $8 million in new money. A 6% raise for faculty and staff would take $6 million, so there would be room for across-the-board plus merit and other categories. Prof. Van Gundy said the greater number of people will be affected by inflation than by compression. Prof. Magid said someone who was compressed in 1993 would be compressed now. This is a chance to level the playing field. Prof. Fiedler said he thought budget units should have the flexibility to address the most pressing issues. Prof. Hertzke agreed that the problems vary by unit.
Prof. Patterson said she supports across-the-board salary increases with some additional money for merit. Prof. Carnevale said new people are being brought in with significantly higher salaries. Focusing on cost of living understates the range and seriousness of compensation issues in each unit. Prof. Gilje said the proposal is to go to ground zero in one year and the median of the Big 12 in three years. If we get $8 million in new money and $5.36 million goes into raises, the remaining $2.64 million will be eaten up elsewhere. A possibility is to go to ground zero over several years and allocate certain percentages for merit and compression. Prof. Carnevale commented that salary comparisons should not be based on the athletic conference. Prof. Weaver-Meyers explained that several years ago the administration decided on certain peer institutions. The regents' reference point is the Big 12. Prof. Tepker noted that the Big 12 includes Texas schools, which have a better history than Oklahoma and will add pressure to increase salaries. Prof. Benson asked what the disadvantage was to letting the academic units make the decisions. Prof. Patterson said it was a lack of objectivity. Prof. Hillyer said if every department uses a different basis for allocating these funds, then next year we will have even more inequities in these categories. Prof. Holmes moved to table the recommendations and have the Executive Committee work with the FCC to include a provision for individual unit discretion. Prof. Hertzke claimed that flexibility by individual units will help them deal with the serious problems they have. The motion to table was unanimously approved.
Prof. Weaver-Meyers explained that a student had distributed copies at this meeting of a Student Congress bill requesting the creation of a dead week. The Faculty Senate will discuss this bill at the next meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30p.m. on Monday, April 8, 1996, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter Connie Dillon
Administrative Coordinator Secretary