The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – April 12, 2010 – 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 Aimee Franklin, Chair.


PRESENT:       Ahmed, Apanasov, Asojo, Atiquzzaman, Baer, Bass, Blank, Bradshaw, Conlon, Cox-Fuenzalida, Deacon, Franklin, Gan, Grasse, Hahn, Jean-Marie, Kent, Kershen, Kimball, Lauer-Flores, Lifschitz, McDonald, Milton, Mitra, Morrissey, Moses, Moxley, Muraleetharan, O’Neill, Palmer, Reeder, Rogers, Russell, J. Schmidt, R. Schmidt, Stock, Strauss, Tabb, Trafalis, Vehik, Verma, Weaver, Williams, Wyckoff, Yi

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Cook

ABSENT:         Dial, Eodice, Sadler, Taylor, Wallach






Ed Cline faculty development award recipients

Retirement presentation and panel discussion

Senate Chair's Report:

President’s response to Faculty Senate actions

Academic integrity

Faculty Senate charter revisions and reapportionment for 2010-13

Faculty award recipients

Athletics tutoring/

Research External Review Committee report

ASPIRE 2020 town hall meetings

OZONE transition issues

Meeting with OSU and HSC

AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession

Legislative relations


Research Council charge

Recreational facilities

Preliminary nominations for councils/committees/boards

Guiding principles for budgetary actions

MLLL resolution on University policy during budgetary shortfalls







The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of March 8, 2010 was approved.




The Faculty Senate is pleased to announce the recipients of the Ed Cline faculty development awards for 2009-10:  Monica Alzate (Social Work), Loretta Bass (Sociology), Lisa Byers (Social Work), Janet Croft (University Libraries), Kristin Dowell (Anthropology), Barbara Fast (Music), William Frick (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies), Paul Goode (Political Science), Konstantinos Karathanasis (Music), Amy Kroska (Sociology), Tamera McCuen (Construction Science), and Juanita Vargas (Educational Leadership & Policy Studies). 


The College of Business sponsored a presentation and panel discussion of retirement choices and prospects on Friday, April 9, in Adams Hall 255.  A particular focus was on the issues confronting University of Oklahoma faculty and staff.  The featured speaker and panelists were national and state experts on retirement planning, factors that affect the decision to retire, and satisfaction in retirement.  A copy of the handouts is available from the Faculty Senate office. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Aimee Franklin


1. Presidential Actions:  President Boren responded on March 12 as follows with regard to the actions the Faculty Senate took last month (see 3/10 Faculty Senate Journal):

  • Tobacco-free campus: “A policy will be considered with the other organizations as recommended.”  He will work with the Staff Senate and students to craft a final policy regarding smoking on campus.
  • 2013-14 academic calendar: “The Senate’s advice and counsel on this issue is accepted with appreciation.”
  • Firearms on campus: “I strongly concur with the Senate’s position.”


2. Academic Integrity: An organization called Koofers is now offering its test-file and study-group service to students at the University of Oklahoma at  Associate Provost Greg Heiser is interacting with them to assure they are in compliance with the academic integrity guidelines in the student code.  Koofers is offering the service for free now but may ask student government to pay a fee as the service becomes more fully developed.


3. Faculty Senate Reapportionment: The regular faculty received a ballot concerning the change to the senate charter and approval of the reapportionment for 2010-13 (see 3/10 Faculty Senate Journal).  The deadline to vote is April 16.  Those who have not already voted may do so at this website:


4. Faculty Award Recipients:  Senators who were honored at the Faculty Tribute on April 1:

Good teaching award: Loretta Bass, Sociology

Patents: Rong Gan, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Patents: Pramode Verma, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Presidential Professorship: Paula Conlon, Music

Presidential Professorship: Ralf Schmidt, Math

49-year Anniversary: Don Wyckoff, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Anthropology

20-year Anniversary: William “Murray” Tabb, Law


5. Athletics Tutoring/  Prof. Franklin has been interacting with the athletics tutoring office, Writing Center, and Provost’s office about student-athletes submitting their class draft papers to through the athletics tutoring office.  If a professor submits the final paper to, the result will show a high rate of duplication.  Professors can send a message to the original submitter, in this case athletics tutoring, and that office can send the original report to confirm that the paper is from the same student.  The athletics department, which has the tutor submit the paper, finds this system to be an effective tutoring tool.  The various offices are trying to work out a better arrangement.  Prof. Kent suggested that the students could put their names in front of the title as a way to easily identify who originated the paper. 


6. Research External Review Committee Report:  In November, Vice President for Research Kelvin Droegemeier spoke to the Faculty Senate.  Part of his Aspire 2020 plan, his strategic plan for research and creative activity, was to work on the comments made by the research external review committee that visited campus in the summer.  The final report of the committee is posted on the Research Cabinet webpage at: 


7. Aspire 2020: A video from the Town Hall meeting held April 6 is available at the Aspire 2020 website:  A 52-slide PowerPoint file is also available to download.


8. On March 22 a meeting was held of the large executive committee, which includes the chairs of Academic Programs, Athletics, Budget, Continuing Education, Faculty Awards & Honors, Information Technology and Research councils as well as the Tulsa campus faculty representative.  The council chairs report on their activities and bring any concerns to the Faculty Senate.  One concern that was raised was the oZONE transition issues.  The Information Technology Chair took the comments to the oZONE administrators and got a response.  They will continue to work on items of transition.  In particular, faculty members are concerned about posting their course grades at the end of the semester.  Year end annual reports for all of the councils will be available over the summer.


9. On March 24 the Executive Committee met with the OSU and HSC faculty council/senate executive committees.  General topics were budgets (proposed cuts and tuition increases/waivers), benefits (health insurance premiums, wellness programs and retirement benefits), and legislative issues (tuition authority, concealed carry, tobacco statute).  Academic issues were academic integrity, responsible conduct of research and federal training requirements, comparison of current and proposed policies regarding research faculty incentives/SRI, and evidence for tenure.  In general, the concerns were very similar across the three campuses.   


10. The 2009–10 AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession was released today:  An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the overall average salary for a full-time faculty member increased 1.2 percent over last year, the lowest year-to-year change recorded in the fifty-year history of the survey.  Moreover, when adjusted for inflation, salaries for continuing faculty members showed the first actual decrease since the 1970s.  About 14 percent of reporting institutions reduced contributions to faculty retirement programs this year, and a few eliminated retirement contributions entirely.  These changes provide limited savings for the institutions but can create long-term problems for affected faculty members.  The report offers a primer on the various components of the revenue stream for higher education.


11. The ad hoc Legislative Relations Committee will go to the state capitol on April 13 to talk with key legislators.  Faculty who are interested in joining them in upcoming visits may contact Al Schwarzkopf or Valerie Watts.  The legislature acted on the endowed chairs funding bill, and the bill is waiting to be signed by the Governor.  The bill will refinance existing debt, which will make more funding available for endowed chair positions. 


12. Budget Update: At the faculty awards ceremony last week, President Boren suggested that there would be no faculty or staff furloughs but that the University was considering furloughs for executive officers.  In addition, he seemed to indicate that changes in our benefit plan were not imminent.  The Executive Committee asked him about his statements at its monthly meeting.  President Boren is guardedly optimistic that the education funding will again be protected in the 2010-2011 budget.  The revenue picture continues to look better.  While nothing is certain until the Governor signs the budget bill, it is safe to say that the University will make every effort to avoid reductions that would impact faculty or staff.  Many faculty members have forwarded comments to Prof. Franklin or the Budget Council regarding the cuts that are being discussed.  In response, the Executive Committee, along with the Chairs of the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Budget Council, had a special meeting to discuss an appropriate response from the Faculty Senate.  The concerns have also been discussed with the President.  Given the high level of interest and uncertainty for future years, the Executive Committee drafted a statement of Guiding Principles as a starting point for Senate discussion.  It is not intended to be a final document, merely a way to organize thoughts (see below).



Proposed revisions in Research Council charge


Prof. Franklin explained that the substantive change in the Research Council charge was in the paragraph starting with “Individuals”:  “Any unit that has its own tenure line is eligible to nominate someone whose discipline matches the call for a disciplinary area listed as having vacancies.”  The addition is intended to be more inclusive of faculty who have non-traditional appointments (see last month’s discussion).  The proposed changes in the Research Council charge (attached) were approved on a voice vote.



Resolution, free use of recreational facilities for faculty/staff


Prof. Franklin said the proposed resolution for free use of recreational facilities for faculty/staff (attached) was put forward by the Faculty Welfare Committee and was being introduced by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  Prof. Strauss asked what a resolution from the Faculty Senate meant.  Prof. Franklin responded that action taken on the resolution would be reported to the President.  President Boren seems more interested in the idea than he has been.  Prof. Kershen asked whether the golf course was included in recreational facilities.  Prof. Franklin said it was not.  Prof. Bass asked whether such a resolution was also being considered by the Staff Senate.  Prof. Franklin said she was not aware of one.  She asked the senators to gather feedback from their colleagues and bring their comments to the May meeting, when the vote will be taken.



Preliminary nominations for committees


The Faculty Senate Committee on Committees’ preliminary nominations for the end-of-year vacancies on university and campus councils, committees, and boards were distributed at the meeting and will be voted on at the May meeting.  A few vacancies still need to be filled. 



Guiding Principles FOR budgetary ACTIONS


The document, “Guiding Principles for Budgetary Actions,” primarily developed by the Faculty Compensation Committee, with input from the Faculty Welfare Committee, the Budget Council, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, was distributed at the meeting (attached).  Prof. Franklin pointed out that the introductory paragraph reiterated the importance of an active participation process with all stakeholders, not only for long-term financial planning, but also for short-term budgetary actions.  Principle 1 is “active participation of the Budget Council in all institutional budgetary processes.”  Principle 2 is “separate consideration processes for long-term and short-term budgetary issues.”  Principle 3 is “certain values should take precedence in situations where reductions are inevitable.”


The drafting bodies wanted to focus on something that would guide the institution in good times as well as economic distress times and to respond to potential cuts to the defined contribution plan or to furloughs.  They wanted to address issues that the University is likely to face continuously.  The goal is to make sure the institution remains strong and competitive and is able to recruit and retain quality employees.  The intent is to avoid being specific to any one idea or practice but to think instead about what should be done as a general practice.  The committees are concerned, particularly, about the conflation of long-term and short-term problems.  Over the long-term, we have issues related to unfunded obligations caused primarily by health insurance guarantees and retirement programs.  We received a negative outlook on our bond rating because of these long-term obligations.  OU is not unusual in that regard.  It is due in part because of a change required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.  For all public organizations, the unfunded liabilities tend to be an excessively large number.  It does not make sense to talk about changes to the defined contribution plan as a response to a short-term budget crisis.  Likewise, it does not make sense to have a short-term solution to a long-term problem.  In Principle 2, we recognize the institution has long-term issues, such as the OTRS unfunded liability.  In Principle 3, the emphasis is that our best resource is the people.  We should respect those people and should not sacrifice the educational mission in the face of short-term budget cuts.  We should have strategies that provide flexibility so that colleges or units can craft appropriate responses. 


Prof. Milton commended the work of the Executive Committee.  He said he was pleased, as a former chair of the Budget Council, that the principles give the Budget Council a real role to play.  Prof. Grasse said the document implies there is no collaboration with the Budget Council and administration on budgetary issues.  He asked what the Budget Council’s role is.  Prof. Milton said the council invites people to meet with them to discuss university finances and writes an annual report.  Provost Mergler comes to the meetings.  It would be nice to have an active role.  Prof. Franklin said she had met with the Budget Council chair to discuss what a Budget Council might be expected to do.  The chair said it was interesting to hear from guest speakers but frustrating that the council seldom had a chance to provide meaningful input.  After reviewing several years of annual council reports, Prof. Franklin said it was clear that the role of the Budget Council had evolved over time.  In response, Prof. Franklin invited the Budget Council chair to come to the rest of the Executive Committee meetings, and she attended the Budget Council meeting in January.  The Budget Council seems like an appropriate way for fiscal issues to be addressed, and it seems like a good idea for that council to be more actively involved.  She encouraged the members to have work discussion where they study issues related to the budget and propose courses of action.  It is not meant to be an indictment of the administration that the council has been taken out of the budget discussions.  The council needs to take action to make it what we would like it to be. 


Prof. Strauss said he was glad to see the last point, “Remain sensitive to the employment expectations established when employees joined the organization.”  He said he wondered if the statement should be stronger.  Promises that are taken back hurt employee morale.  Prof. Franklin said the President had received correspondence to that effect.  She asked the senators to invite feedback and bring comments to the May meeting or send them to her. 


Prof. Baer handed out a resolution that the Modern Languages, Literatures & Linguistics (MLLL) faculty unanimously approved in response to potential budget cuts.  She asked that it be recorded in the minutes and suggested that it perhaps could provide a model to other departments.  The resolution was done independently of the guiding principles but corresponds with a lot of the statements in principle three. 


The faculty of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics would like to express our deep concern regarding impending budget cuts in the form of reductions to faculty benefits and/or faculty furloughs.


The essential mission of the university is to educate its students. The single most vital component in delivering this education to students is the faculty. Together, students and faculty form the vital core of the educational institution. To reduce support of faculty is to take aim at the very heart of the university. This is particularly true in the case of any reduction having long-term consequences, such as a reduction to faculty benefits.


We fully recognize the challenging nature of the current economic situation at our university, in the state of Oklahoma, and in universities and states across the nation. In this context, it is encouraging that our university has continued to institute and expand programs through hiring and that it has continued to enlarge its physical plant through building.  Such growth testifies to the ambition and foresight of the university's administration and to the solvency of its budget.  We trust that similar stewardship will be extended to the extant core of the university—its faculty and students.


In this spirit, we request that the university take every measure to preserve intact its support of faculty.


Resolved by unanimous vote of the MLLL faculty

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Prof. Lauer-Flores commented that MLLL is one of the largest departments at the university, and it reached a unanimous decision.  Prof. Muraleetharan asked about the overlap with the guiding principles.  Prof. Franklin said she would recommend forming a joint committee to draft a document that would reflect both resolutions.  Prof. Baer said her intention was to introduce the resolution from MLLL, not necessarily have the Faculty Senate vote on it at this meeting.  She expected that it might be modified to reflect the larger perspective of the Faculty Senate. 


Prof. Milton said the Physics & Astronomy faculty discussed the issue of furloughs versus cuts in retirement benefits and voted against the idea of using cuts in defined contribution plans (DCP) to address short-term budget shortfalls.  Furloughs would be preferred in that situation.  Prof. Franklin said she had received correspondence from three other departments that were opposed to DCP cuts. 


Prof. Apanasov said he thought the two proposals complemented each other and the senate should work out some united resolution.  By a show of hands, the senators expressed a preference for having a committee develop a combined resolution to be discussed at the May meeting.  Prof. Franklin said the combined resolution would be introduced as a friendly amendment.  She will send it to the senators early enough so they can vet it with their colleagues before the next meeting.  There is a great deal of overlap between the documents.  It is reasonable for the senators to discuss both documents with their colleagues.





The meeting adjourned at 4:18 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 10, 2010, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Amy Bradshaw, Faculty Secretary