The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – April 13, 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, Atiquzzaman, Basic, M. Bemben, Blank, Bradshaw, Brown, Buckley, Clark, Conlon, Eodice, Forman, Franklin, Grasse, Greene, Hahn, Hawthorne, Kent, Kershen, Lifschitz, Livesey, McDonald, Miller, Milton, Morrissey, Moses, Muraleetharan, Rambo, Reeder, Riggs, Rogers, Russell, Sadler, Schmidt, Tan, Trafalis, Vehik, Verma, Vitt, Weaver, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Bondy, Cook

ABSENT:         Apanasov, Asojo, Bass, D. Bemben, Brule, Graham, Horn, Strauss, Striz, Yi






Faculty Tribute

Bike to Work Day

Scholarly Publication Colloquium

Bicycle Resolution

Making up classes due to unscheduled closings

Remarks by University College Dean

Preliminary nominations for councils/committees/boards

Senate Chair's Report:

Campus campaign

Wellness program

Recycling efforts: hand dryers






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of March 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 Fifth Annual Bike to Work Day event for Central Oklahoma is on Friday, May 1, 2009.  Central Oklahoma Bike to Work Day 2009 is part of a national campaign to promote bicycling as a healthy and efficient transportation alternative.  The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the month of May as National Bike Month since 1956, and National Bike to Work Day annually offers metropolitan areas the opportunity to call attention to the benefits of bicycling and to increase safety awareness among bicyclists and motorists (see  The Healthy Community Coalition, sponsored by Norman Regional Health System, is encouraging all Norman residents to bike or hike the entire week of April 25-May 1.  On Saturday, April 25, Healthy Community will kick off the week with a Bike ’N Talk ride with the mayor that will begin with a short bicycle safety lesson.  CART will be available for those who do not want to bike the entire six-mile trip and would like to ride the bus back. 


A colloquium will be presented on Friday, April 24, in Wagner Hall 280 on the subject of scholarly publication.  Panel discussions will be held in the morning, and a presentation will be held in the afternoon to help scholars develop a research and writing plan.  Lunch will be provided.  Further information is available at or from Prof. Michele Eodice, Writing Center director (, 325-2937).  Prof. Brown said the initiative had come about because Chair-Elect Franklin had read about programs at other universities that help faculty get books published.  Prof. Eodice added that Professors Brown and Franklin would make opening remarks at 9:00 a.m.  Three panels in the morning will be led by people with experience developing manuscripts for publication.  The speaker after the luncheon will have a presentation on building a research agenda for this coming summer that will result in a product at the end. 





The proposed bicycle resolution (attached), suggested by the Senate Executive Committee, was discussed at the last meeting, and an amendment was made to add “wide paved shoulders.”  Prof. Vitt cautioned that thought should be given to planning because increased bicycle traffic can be a risk for pedestrians.  He cited some problems at the University of California-Davis in the 1980s.  Prof. Muraleetharan said the bicycle lanes at Davis were well marked.  When he was there, he thought the system functioned well.  Prof. Brown pointed out that Prof. Kyran Mish, who was at Davis, had written a draft bike plan (see  The resolution as amended was approved unanimously on a voice vote.





Prof. Brown said she had received a lot of emails when the university was closed because of the weather.  As a result, the Executive Committee decided to propose an addition to the Faculty Handbook to give instructors some guidance as to how they could make up material if their class was cancelled.  It does not talk about decisions to close.  Prof. Brown said the Executive Committee wanted to get the input of the Senate and hear whether the senators thought this was a worthwhile endeavor.  The proposed paragraph would be added to the end of section 4.20 (see also attached; proposed language is highlighted):

If the University has an unscheduled closing, all instructors are encouraged to offer additional face to face or virtual office hours to facilitate transmission and understanding of the materials missed. In addition, the instructor may hold class during the regularly scheduled meeting time in an alternate format that makes use of existing technology available to the majority of students. The instructor may also schedule make-up class(es) at a time convenient to the maximum number of students. The materials will be made available in paper and/or electronic form for those students who cannot attend the alternate format or make-up class meetings.


Prof. Milton said it seemed obvious that instructors could schedule outside of class; he questioned the need for the addition.  Prof. Brown replied that it was not obvious to everyone.  By having language in the handbook, faculty members would know what they are allowed to do, and students would know that they are responsible for the material.  The Senate will consider the proposal at the next meeting.





University College Dean Doug Gaffin said he was asked to tell the Senate about the new student academic services building, which is called Wagner Hall.  He distributed an article, available online, that described the thinking that went into the building.  The building came about as a result of some discussions concerning graduation and retention.  A subcommittee looked at other schools across the country that had similar student quality but were outperforming us in graduation and retention.  One of the findings was OU did not have a comprehensive, centralized facility for tutoring and learning assistance, nor did it have bridge programs.  The group worked with the development office to put a proposal together to attract donations for a new building.  Lissa and Cy Wagner from Midland, Texas gave the lead gift, and a bond issue filled in the gaps.  A wish list was developed of the services that should go into the building.  Some were already in existence, such as the Writing Center, Housing and Learning Center, Project Threshold, and Graduation office.  The size had to be reduced because of the amount of the funding available.  Administrators had to make logical calls on what things needed to go together, where they could double up on space, what services needed to go into quiet areas, and how many classrooms were needed.  Wagner Hall houses the University College academic advising center.  Ten advisers advise almost all of the freshman class – about 3500 students – plus carryover students, for a total of around 5500 students per year.  The building has five classrooms, three on the first floor, with expandable walls, movable furniture, distance education capabilities, and the latest technology, and two classrooms on the second floor.  The Center for Student Advancement on the first floor is for students who do not make the grade in their degree-granting colleges.  These “stopped-out” students can go to CSA to get re-tooled into other majors or other schools.  The Strategy for Success courses are for students who are new, on probation or on notice so they can find out what is getting in the way of their success.  The Freshman Programs office houses the Gateway to College Learning courses and freshman seminars.  Other programs in the building include the Writing Center, Assessment and Learning Center, Graduation office, and Project Threshold, a federally-supported program that serves mostly first-generation college students.  The student study rooms have been really popular.  The building has a beautiful atrium and wireless Internet.  The Assessment and Learning Center runs the Action Tutoring program, which provides tutoring for the hardest classes for students, especially freshmen.  Two modes of Action Tutoring are offered:  one-on-one and small group.  The Action Center model offers sessions by faculty and peer learning assistants in the evening.  Because of space limitations, tutoring also is held in other classrooms across campus.  In just this short time, almost 4000 students have been tutored.  Wagner Hall provides one-stop shopping for students. 


Provost Mergler mentioned the summer enrollment program.  Dean Gaffin said the program, which starts the week after classes end, enrolls next year’s class.  Fifty students are served every day for 52 days.  With the new building, parents can wait in the atrium while the students are being advised. 


Prof. Vitt asked how the success of the programs was measured.  Dean Gaffin said they could not really do an experiment, but they look at the at-risk factors and do interventions.  They consider the impact a program has had on first semester GPA, retention for the second semester and retention for the second year.  They put together a regression analysis that identifies at-risk students.  Some of the risk factors for incoming freshmen are finances, ACT scores, high school GPA, rank in class, gender, and distance from OU.  Women are outperforming men by quite a margin.  If a student’s family lives too close to OU, there is a bit of a risk factor.  About seven factors are pretty good at predicting risk.  University College did an outreach program called Exceeding Expectations to link mentors with 300 at-risk students.  Dean Gaffin estimated that the program added about .3 GPA to those students overall and likely saved a few careers.  He is trying to get feedback on the tutoring and would like to compare those who use the tutoring services with the rest of the students.


Prof. Miller asked if there was just one writing center or if another center was available for students who have English as a second language.  Prof. Eodice, Writing Center director, said the main writing center was in the library prior to its move to Wagner Hall, but they also have satellite centers in other buildings.  There are other services for international students, such as the Center for English as a Second Language.  As far as sitting down and working with international students on a paper or project, that is handled by the Writing Center.  Almost 25 percent of their visitors do not have English as their first language.  Dean Gaffin said the Writing Center is an active place.  He encouraged the group to take a look.  Prof. Brown asked if the students had found the building.  Dean Gaffin said the building had been open just since January, but the students had already found them.  Each of the study rooms has a blue screen so students can reserve them.  They also can reserve the classrooms at night.  Students find out about the services through the Gateway classes, seminars and advising.  Dean Gaffin said he plans to start advertising and keep the building open late right before finals to encourage students to come to Wagner Hall to study.  He wants the building to be high energy and a place for students to study.  A grand opening will be held in the fall.  Prof. Brown asked, “It’s not just for freshmen?”  Dean Gaffin said the building was for anyone.  The courses they target are heavily populated by freshmen, but services such as the Writing Center and the tutoring are not just for freshmen.  He hopes the faculty will consider using the building as well, particularly the distance education facilities.  As of fall, the classrooms will be centrally scheduled for daytime use and by University College for evening use. 





The Senate Committee on Committees’ preliminary nominations for the end-of-the-year vacancies on university and campus councils, committees, and boards were distributed at the meeting and will be voted on at the May meeting.  One tenured faculty member was still needed for the Faculty Appeals Board.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Cecelia Brown


“This year the Faculty Senate participated in the Campus Campaign to benefit the Sooner Heritage Scholarship.  Our prize was lunch for two with David Levy, former Senate chair in 1985-86, at the University Club plus a signed copy of his book, The University Of Oklahoma: A History, Volume 1, 1890-1917.  The winning bid was $70. 


“As part of the new Blue Cross Blue Shield health care plan, the office of Human Resources has hired a wellness director, Breion Rollins, who may be coming to speak to us next month about his activities.  On April 9 Human Resources sent everyone an email announcing the free health screenings that Blue Cross Blue Shield is providing to all faculty and staff in Norman April 20-24.  The list of locations is available at  Screenings include cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and body fat.  The first 300 employees to register and complete a health screening get a free Healthy Sooners T-shirt.  Everyone who participates is eligible for a grand prize drawing and a Healthy Sooners Walking Program starter kit.  Walk-ins are welcome, but to avoid long waits, they recommend pre-registering.


“Last month Bill Henwood, Physical Plant, gave a presentation to the Faculty Senate about recycling.  There was some discussion about the possibility of using hand dryers instead of paper towels, which cannot be recycled.  Physical Plant will be undertaking a pilot project to test the cost/benefit of air dryers instead of paper towel in some restrooms to see if it is a better thing to do.  He is not sure yet where they will be tested because they need to get electricity to them, but he will let the Senate know the results.”





The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2009, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Paula Conlon, Faculty Secretary