Regular session –
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ed Cline faculty development award recipients
Retirement presentation and panel discussion
Senate Chair's Report:
President’s response to Faculty Senate actions
Faculty Senate charter revisions and reapportionment for 2010-13
Faculty award recipients
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
Research Council charge
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
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).
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):
2. Academic Integrity: An organization called Koofers is now offering its
test-file and study-group service to students at the
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: https://casapps.ou.edu/esurvey/faculty_senate.
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
Anniversary: William “
5. Athletics Tutoring/Turnitin.com: Prof. Franklin has been interacting with the
athletics tutoring office,
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: http://researchcabinet.ou.edu/.
7. Aspire 2020: A video from the Town Hall meeting held April 6 is available at the Aspire 2020 website: https://aspire2020.ou.edu/main.html. 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
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: http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/Z/ecstatreport09-10/. 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
Amy Bradshaw, Faculty Secretary