JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE

The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - September 9, 2002 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206†† phone: 325-6789†† FAX: 325-6782
e-mail: facsen@ou.edu†† web site: http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/

 

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Ed Cline, Chair.

 

PRESENT:†††††† Abraham, Baldwin, Beach, Bozorgi, Bradford, Brady, Carnevale, Cline, Cuccia, Davis, Devenport, Dhall, Ferreira, Fincke, Frech, Gensler, Gottesman, Hanson, Hart, Hartel, Havlicek, Henderson, Kauffman, Knapp, Lee, London, Madland, Magid, Maiden, McInerney, Milton, Morrissey, Newman, Pender, Ransom, Robertson, Rodriguez, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Scherman, Sievers, Striz, Tarhule, Taylor, Thulasiraman, Vale, Wheeler, Whitely, Wieder, Willinger, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:Mergler
ISA representatives:Lauterbach, Neal

ABSENT:†††††††† Zagzebski

_____________________________________________________________________

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Announcements:

Senate members for 2002-03
Schedule of Senate meetings
Faculty Senate and General Faculty parliamentarian
2001-02 annual council reports
Faculty appointments to committees
Disposition by administration of Senate actions for 2001-02
Resources in Faculty Senate office
Search committee, Honors College dean
Committee to study retirement plan options
University health care summary plan description
American Heart Walk

State of the University address by President David Boren

Nepotism policy

Senate Chair's Report and issues for 2002-03

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

APPROVAL OF JOURNAL

 

The Senate Journal for the regular session of May 6, 2002 was approved.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

A list of the Faculty Senate members is attached.The new senators were introduced at the meeting.

 

The regular meetings of the Faculty Senate for 2002-03 will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the following Mondays in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102: September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9, January 13, February 10, March 10, April 14, and May 5.

 

The Senate Executive Committee elected Prof. Lindsay Robertson (Law) as parliamentarian of the Faculty Senate and General Faculty.

 

The compilation of the 2001-02 annual reports of University councils was e-mailed August 6 to the Faculty Senate members and to chairs/directors and deans to make available to the general faculty.Copies are available from the Senate office.

 

The 2002-03 list of faculty appointments to committees is available on the Faculty Senate web site at http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/roster02.htm.

 

The summary record of the disposition by the administration of Faculty Senate actions for September 2001 to August 2002 is below.

 

Date of Senate meeting

Item*

Origin

Disposition by administration; Date

1

09-10-01

Faculty appointments to councils/committees

Faculty Senate

Appointed; 09-13-01

 

2

10-8-01

Terrorism statement

Faculty Senate

Supported; 10-24-01

3

11-12-01

Late registration period

Faculty Senate

Approved; 03-5-02

4

01-14-02

Deadline for notifying tenure candidates

Faculty Senate

Approved; 01-22-02

5

03-11-02

Health benefits for FY03

Administrative Affairs

Supported; 03-28-02

6

05-06-02

Faculty appointments to councils/committees

Faculty Senate

Appointed; 08-02-02

*Full text of recommendation can be found in Faculty Senate Journal for date indicated at left

 

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe and the University budget are available in the Senate office.

 

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee nominated Professors Steve Bradford (History) and Gordon Uno (Botany & Microbiology) for the faculty-at-large position on the search committee for the dean of the Honors College.[Note:President Boren selected Prof. Uno to serve.]

 

A committee has been formed by Administrative Affairs to study retirement plan options.The faculty members appointed to this committee by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee are David Carnevale (Human Relations), Al Schwarzkopf (Management Information Systems), and Pat Weaver-Meyers (University Libraries).

 

The health care plan description for 2002-03 is available at http://www.ou.edu/ohr/benefits/bhealth.html.

 

The Cleveland County American Heart Walk will be Saturday, November 16, 8:30-10:30 a.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Baseball Park.Funds raised support cardiovascular research and educational programs.If you would like to join the OU Walk Team, contact Meredith Miers at meredith.miers@heart.org or 948-2137.

 

 

STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT DAVID BOREN

 

President Boren said we had some good news and some challenges.The quality of faculty recruited is extraordinary in terms of where they received their terminal degrees or the programs from which they came.We are retaining our best faculty and attracting tremendous new faculty.Student enrollment is up by an additional 1600 students.Our strategy has been to keep the numbers on the Norman campus at a realistic level and to hold the freshman class stable.Last year, we had 3740 freshmen.We hoped to have a little less, but we went up about 100 students.A new standard for out-of-state students allowed automatic admission with at least a 26 ACT and placement on a waiting list with an ACT between 24 and 26.Next year, the same sort of system will be in place for in-state students: 25 ACT for automatic admission and 24 ACT for waiting list.The largest net increase in students was in-state.This year's freshman class has a 25.4 average ACT, which is up almost a half a point from last year.We will be more cautious next year about how many people we take off the waiting list, knowing that our yield will be higher than it has been in past years.Graduate student enrollment is up about 300.The biggest increase in students, with 1100, was at the sophomore, junior, and senior level.Our graduation rate is 50-52 percent, and we hope to get to 65-70 percent.While it is a struggle to meet the increased enrollment, the good news is increased retention, quality, and yield rate.In addition, the over-realization of tuition will be handy if we face a mid-year budget cut.

 

Turning to private giving, President Boren said the Reach for Excellence campaign ended up with $514 million.The biggest portion was for endowed professorships and chairs, which increased our number from 100 to about 370.About 40 are waiting to be matched by the state.We just finished the $100 million athletic fundraising drive.It was harder to raise that money than it was for academics.The Gaylord family has given $17 million to athletics and over $33 million to academics.For eight straight years, we have broken the previous yearís fundraising record.This year, $91.2 million was raised.Our endowment was ranked in the best seven in Business Week.By staying balanced, our endowment has done pretty well.The entire budget of the development office is now paid by the OU Foundation.We were able to exempt the library from cuts through help from the OU Foundation.The Athletic Department increased its payment toward the deficit that had built up over several years, which has helped offset some of the budget cuts.We have absorbed some of the budget reductions by holding our employment level steady, although 4 staff positions were retrenched.The faculty continued to grow last year in FTE, but not as fast as we want it to.We will continue to be prepared in case of further cuts so we can avoid anything extreme.

 

President Boren said the Senate Executive Committee had asked whether the administration was looking at major changes in retirement.That is not the case.The University has hired some consultants to try to improve our retirement system.We also wanted to look at whether we could buy ourselves out of OTRS.However, the chances of that happening are very slim, particularly in this budgetary situation.There will be no negative changes, and nothing will be done without a lot of consultation.Probably nothing will happen this year.If we do anything, it would be to fine tune the plan.For example, some of the qualifying factors to get vested are difficult for some of our people.

 

The President noted that the regents had to put a compliance policy in place last year in order to maintain our federal funding eligibility.He said several members of the Senate had been working with the administration to see what needed to be changed.He said he appreciated the input and would advocate any changes the Faculty Senate wanted to make.The policy should be a product of faculty.When they adopted the policy, the regents understood that it was likely to be modified by the faculty.

 

The budget situation is a real challenge.No one knows what will happen with the state's economy.On the plus side, there has been a slight increase in the price of oil and gas, which means those state revenue collections will be higher than the estimates.Experts think July's 15 percent reduction in revenues is an aberration and that the shortfall is more like 4-5 percent.If the state budget office orders a cut before the next legislative session, all agencies will be cut the same percent across the board.Last year, the cut came when the legislature was in session to set budgetary priorities, and the legislature made a real effort to exempt education from any cut.President Boren said he did not think we would have major reductions in personnel or furloughs.We could perhaps use some one-time funds temporarily.Also, we have been combining administrative costs, reducing travel, and not starting any new faculty searches unless an exception is given by the president or provost.Open faculty searches are not being shut down, but a hiring freeze is in place for staff.This is the first time he has not been able to talk about how much faculty compensation went up, but at least it did not go down, and we have not cut the FTE size of the faculty.We still are maintaining our momentum, have creative programs coming along, and were able to spare the library.In the long run, we do not know how the economy will behave.It will be mid spring before the legislature will know what they will be able to appropriate for next year.If the appropriation is steady or lower, then what do we do?

 

Referring to handouts he distributed (available from the Senate office), President Boren commented that we need to start thinking about how to be a national flagship university and about tuition and fees.The article from the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses how to build and keep a flagship university.Texas and Texas A&M have fallen to last place in Tier I in U.S. News and World Report.They do not have a regents system and have to compete for funding from the legislature.Also, their endowment and appropriated dollars are being spread among all the branches that were built.California-Berkley is a strong flagship because their state regents decided to designate them as the state flagship and provide additional funding.Michigan went to their board and asked to be deregulated, which allowed them to set tuition fees somewhat higher.They put some of the tuition money into scholarships to help students who could not afford to pay.People recognize that Michigan's students are paying more for their University experience, but the quality is high.

 

The table on 2002-03 tuition and fees shows OU and OSU are still the cheapest in the Big 12.When faced with flat budgets or budget cuts, other states gave their universities some room on tuition and fees.OU is in the top 4 in the Big 12 in total faculty compensation, adjusted for cost of living, but we are at the bottom in tuition and fees.We have to get from the legislature some form of deregulation if we cannot get a state appropriation per student as large as or larger than our competitors.Even though our private giving and research are growing faster than any other Big 12 school, there is no way we can have less money appropriated by the state and the lowest amount paid by our students and still keep ourselves at the top in terms of salaries.Setting higher admissions standards at OU has meant great dividends for the state.We need to apply the Michigan model to ourselves in a way that is as fair as possible to our students.We have incredible students that we must challenge, while keeping education as affordable as we can.We have never been in a better position in terms of our reputation, and we cannot let ourselves slip back.We are trying to think creatively.

 

President Boren has had good conversations with all of the candidates for governor.Senator Hobson from Norman and Senator Morgan from Stillwater chair the appropriations committee, so we have higher education in very strong positions in the Senate.In the House, we have people like Representative Bill Nations (who was present at this meeting), who have been very effective for us in obtaining funding for endowed chairs, the weather center, and research.President Boren will talk to student leaders about how to minimize the impact on existing students.He hopes to make a strong case with the next governor with regard to the appropriation and to determining our cost in the higher education marketplace.We have been afraid to price our product anywhere near what it is worth.We should not be afraid to differentiate ourselves and at least move to the average in terms of cost over time.The President said he was proud of the quality of students and faculty who are with us.

 

Prof. Magid commented that we would need $7.5 million to get back to where we were before the five percent reduction.President Boren said the 7 percent increase in tuition brought us about $5 million.The average tuition increase in the Big 12 was 14 percent.Some schools have added particular kinds of fees, such as matriculation fees for freshmen and housing fees.The OU Foundation might be able to help us another $1 million, and we will have about $1 million in tuition over-realization.Since we cannot see into the future, the level of risk is much higher in using one-time money to pay faculty.Prof. Magid said it looked like we would need a 25 percent tuition increase over time.President Boren replied that we can raise tuition 7 percent for in-state and 9 percent for out-of-state students automatically for at least two more years.A matriculation fee could have a positive impact on retention as well because parents would not want their child to drop out and then have to pay that fee again some day.The dorms, which are debt fee, could be re-financed.If we were deregulated in tuition, we would need some agreement that we would not be penalized by the state in funding per student.He said he would appreciate suggestions from the faculty.

 

Prof. Scherman asked about the number of undergraduates from out of state and how we compared with the Big 12.Provost Mergler said we have about 25 percent out of state; Texas and Colorado are higher.President Boren added that the projected enrollment for college-age students will be relatively flat over the next 20 years except in Texas.In the last ten years, the percentage of our freshman class from Texas, particularly from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has tripled.About 8-9 percent of the freshman class is from Texas.We have 30,000 alumni in Dallas-Fort Worth.One area of our student population that is a concern is that we have a slightly less diverse freshman class.Our diversity is a tremendous strength, and we do not want to slip back in that area.

 

Prof. Watts asked about the diversity of incoming faculty.Provost Mergler said 25 percent were non-white, and 41 percent were female.President Boren said the faculty is getting more diverse.We are at the top of the Big 12 in terms of student diversity versus the diversity of the population of the state.He thanked the faculty for its help, encouragement, and suggestions and said he appreciated the way everyone has met the challenge of the budget situation.We want to continue to keep our sights set high.Prof. Cline said he appreciated President Borenís candor.

 

 

NEPOTISM POLICY

 

Prof. Cline suggested that the senators could either let him know by e-mail if they had any significant disagreement with the proposed alterations in the nepotism policy, or the Senate could vote at the next meeting.The Senate Executive Committee worked on this policy with Legal Counsel.He pointed out that there is a mechanism in the policy to allow a spouse to serve on Committee A.In an earlier proposal, there were severe penalties if a chair made an honest mistake.Prof. Hart commented that it is a fairly complicated policy and thought the Senate should discuss it at the next meeting.He moved to table the policy (see http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/neprev02.htm) until the next meeting.The motion was approved on a voice vote.

 

 

SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT AND ISSUES FOR 2002-03, by Prof. Ed Cline

 

In the interest of time, Prof. Cline sent his report by e-mail to the senators on October 1, rather than give it at the meeting.It is reproduced below.A list of issues and concerns identified by senators and their colleagues is attached.

 

This report will summarize very briefly the issues that arose during the summer and those that are ongoing.

 

Salaries and Benefits: In spite of the bleak economic environment, improvement of salaries and benefits continues to be a top priority item.President Boren's tuition deregulation proposal, if implemented, will help very much.

 

Currently, David Carnevale, Al Schwarzkopf, and Pat Weaver-Myers are serving on the Administrative Affairs task force to redesign retirement benefits. The task force is working with Mercer Human Resources Consulting. The first step has been to conduct a comprehensive review of the current system.

 

Last year, the issue of health care benefits for retired OU faculty arose. Current policy provides at least one plan that is free for the retired faculty member, though not for his/her family. My personal position on this is that OU should honor its commitment to retirees.Therefore, if changes are required, they should be grandfathered in.The university's costs are maximal for those who retire prior to age 65, and pharmacy costs are a major problem.

 

There is a problem with excessively long wait times for entry into the university's child care program.This problem was brought up in 1997.Essentially no progress has been made since.The solution may involve a new building.If so, it will be difficult.

 

Legal issues: There are three policy projects involving the faculty senate, the office of legal counsel and various other groups: nepotism, compliance and Internet security policies.In addition, Joe Harroz will be at the upcoming meeting to discuss the above policies.I would like to point out that Joe and his assistants Sally Garrison and Cori Loomis have been extremely cooperative with us.In particular, they are going to considerable lengths to give us the time necessary to properly consider these policies.

 

Nepotism: You should be familiar with the proposed nepotism policy by now.It will be discussed in the upcoming meeting.

 

Compliance: Mike McInerney heads up a task force to work with legal counsel on an implementation of the new compliance structure.At the time of the first faculty senate meeting, there were five main issues: training vs. violations, funding for compliance support, length of time between submission of proposals to the IRB and approval/disapproval of the proposal; hotline reporting--fear of spurious claims; billing procedures for medical claims.Since that time, several have been resolved, and progress is being made on the others.

 

Internet Security: representatives from the faculty senate, staff senate, ITC, IT and HSC worked on this policy over the summer.Parts of this policy may be placed in effect on an interim basis.It is my understanding that the policy will become final only after the faculty senate has had time to consider it and offer changes.

 

One hot button issue concerns email monitoring.Key distinctions are the differences between monitoring, reading headers and reading email.Monitoring mainly involves traffic patterns, e.g., large numbers of messages from a single site (spam?).If there is a problem, it may become necessary to read headers for more specific information, and in rare cases it may be necessary to read email.The policy on this issue was reviewed by the executive committee.Our position on this is that the higher the level of intrusiveness, the more essential it is to provide safeguards for the sender/receiver, e.g., an opinion from legal counsel before going forward.

 

Tulsa Strategic Plan: I reviewed an early copy of this plan with President Levit and Dean Ray.The executive committee will review it in more detail as it is finalized and report to the senate.

 

Fringe Benefit Increase: Mike McInerney and I met with Brian Maddy about the increase in fringe benefit charges to research grants.These charges are due to a deficit arising from the difference between required OTRS payments and federal fringe rates and to differences between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates.Dean Williams has a plan to eliminate this deficit, but it will require some time.It is especially a problem this year because the charges came with little notice and affect grants with fixed allocations for fringe benefits.

 

Revision of Regents Handbook:is currently ongoing at administrative levels.The faculty senate will form a task force to review the changes as soon as they are available.In particular, this will involve faculty definition issues, which the faculty definition task force studied last year.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, October 14, 2002, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.

 

____________________________________
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator

 

____________________________________
Valerie Watts Secretary