OF THE FACULTY SENATE
of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – September 12, 2005 – 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site:
The Faculty Senate was called
to order by Professor Roy Knapp, Chair.
Apanasov, Badhwar, Benson, Biggerstaff, Blank, Bradford, Brown, Burns, Catlin,
Civan, Cramer, Croft, Dewers, Dohrmann, Draheim, Elisens, Fast, Fincke, Forman,
Franklin, Frech, Gade, Geletzke, Gutierrez, Hawamdeh, Hobbs, Houser, C. Knapp,
R. Knapp, Kolar, Lai, Lewis, Liu, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, Megginson, Pace, Raadschelders,
Ransom, Roche, Rugeley, Scamehorn, Schwarzkopf, Sharp, Skeeters, Tabb, Trytten,
Warnken, Wei, Wood, Wyckoff
Provost's office representative: Mergler
ISA representatives: Hough
UOSA representatives: Bottoms
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Senate members for 2005-06 and schedule of meetings
Faculty Senate and Regular Faculty parliamentarian
2004-05 annual council reports
Faculty appointments to committees
Disposition by administration of senate actions for
Search committee, College of Earth
and Energy dean
Resources in Faculty Senate office
State of OU-Norman
campus address by Senior Vice President and Provost Nancy Mergler
Benefits: health insurance
Senate Chair's Report:
Task force on student records
Task force on reducing environmental emissions and
Election, councils, committees, boards
Issues for 2005-06
Resolution, undergraduate Chemistry classes
APPROVAL OF JOURNAL
The Faculty Senate Journal
for the regular session of May 9, 2005 was approved.
A list of the Faculty Senate
members is attached. The new members were introduced at the
meeting. Prof. Knapp noted that Senator
Hawamdeh was the first member of the senate from the Tulsa campus.
The regular meetings of the
Faculty Senate for 2005-06 will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the following Mondays
in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102: September 12, October 10, November 14, December
12, January 23, February 13, March 20, April 10, and May 8.
The Senate Executive
Committee elected Prof. Hugh Benson (Philosophy) as parliamentarian of the
Faculty Senate and Regular Faculty.
The compilation of the
2004-05 annual reports of University councils was e-mailed June 29 to the
Faculty Senate members and to chairs, directors and deans to make available to
the general faculty. The reports are available
online at http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/cnclrep.htm.
The 2005-06 list of faculty
appointments to committees is available on the Faculty Senate web site at http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/roster05.htm.
The summary record of the disposition by
the administration of Faculty Senate actions for September 2004 to August 2005
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee
nominated two faculty members for the faculty-at-large position on the search
committee for the dean of the new College
of Earth and Energy. From these nominations, the administration
selected Prof. Musharraf Zaman (Civil Engineering & Environmental Science)
to serve. The OU regents will vote on
the membership of the search committee September 13.
The Renaissance Project is a new effort to
engage students, faculty, administrators and staff in campus-wide discussion of
the important issues and ideas of our time.
The theme for 2005-06 is Religion and Democracy. For further information, see http://www.ou.edu/renaissanceproject. Fliers were available at the meeting.
The Chronicle of Higher
Education, Academe and the Norman
campus budget are available in the Senate office. Prof. Knapp pointed out that the Almanac
issue of the Chronicle has comparative
information about higher education institutions.
STATE OF OU-NORMAN CAMPUS ADDRESS BY SENIOR
VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST NANCY MERGLER
Prof. Knapp announced that President
Boren was recuperating from back surgery and would not be able to give his annual
state of the University address at this meeting. However, a more than able substitute, Senior
Vice President and Provost Nancy Mergler, agreed to talk on the state of the
OU-Norman campus. Provost Mergler said,
“President Boren sends his greetings to all of you. … I assure you that he would have wanted to
say to you first of all that he is privileged to be a part of this University and
to work with all of you and looks forward to a tremendous, busy year working
with our students.”
First, Provost Mergler
discussed the general University budget and state allocations. Higher education as a percentage of the total
state budget has hovered around 15 percent the past ten years. Common education, prisons, roads, and other
important initiatives for the state comprise the other part of the state
budget. The state appropriation as a
percentage of the overall operating budget has been declining and is at about
20 percent this year. In the late 1980s,
the state appropriation was a third, the students paid a third, and the rest
was made up in other kinds of budget.
The allocation from the state to the Health Science
Center has declined to
13.7 percent, which suggests that their campus really is partially state subsidized
rather than state supported. We do not
see any change in the trend. The continued
growth in the University’s endowment funds has helped buffer the Norman campus against bad
budget years. A substantial portion of
those funds goes into salaries and student support. The number of individuals contributing to
private giving has grown. It is the
donor base that best predicts the long-term health of private giving to the University. Research expenditures – the grants and
contracts obtained – have been growing steadily. We need to continue to provide the kinds of
research infrastructure that will allow further growth. The National
Stephenson Research and Technology
Center, and the proposed chemistry
building will address some of the space concerns. The growing research expenditures are the
faculty’s contribution to the budget, represent a tremendous amount of effort,
and are appreciated.
Total headcount enrollment of
our student body will be down slightly, which gives us the ability to adjust
faculty resources to students. The quality
of the direct-from-high school-freshman class has substantially increased. The average ACT composite, one indicator of
academic preparedness, is expected to be at 25.8 again this year. The headcount
will be down around 3250. We seek to
maintain about 20 percent diversity in the freshman class; this year, the
prediction is about 22 percent will claim a minority status. The projection is for declining numbers of
high school graduates throughout the Midwest. Currently, there are about the same number of
high school graduates as there were in 1998-99.
Typically, 6-7 percent of Oklahoma
graduates come to OU. It is important to
understand that all public universities in the Midwest
will get more aggressive in their recruitment of undergraduates. Our task force on retention and graduation
rates is aspiring to improve our freshman retention rate and our six-year
graduation rate. Six years is a national
index that institutional research offices use to compare universities across
the country. We want to get our graduation
rate up to 62 percent. We do not have
the numbers yet for students who came to OU in 1999, but the rate should be
above 57 percent. The six-year
graduation rate for women is 61.9%. Provost
Mergler said it was a consistent 10-point gender difference across all levels
of the ACT and across freshmen through the senior year. We need to find out what kind of support
services would improve the male graduation rate.
Because of the demographics,
we have an opportunity to make progress on our student/faculty ratio. The ratio was 18 to 1 about four years ago; now
it is about 21 to 1. We are at an all
time high in the number of instructional faculty, regular faculty, and teaching
assistants. We want to continue to grow
the regular faculty over the next five year, as we stabilize student
enrollment, in areas of strategic research initiatives, in areas of Arts and
Sciences with enrollment pressures, and areas of presidential initiatives, such
as International and Area Studies and Liberal Studies. In order to recruit and retain our faculty,
we must continue to pay attention to faculty compensation. We are tied with Missouri at seventh in the Big 12 in average
faculty salaries. In total compensation
(including benefits), we are tied with Kansas
at sixth. Adjusted for cost of living,
we are third. The average faculty raise for
2004-05 is estimated to be about 5.2 percent.
Even in dry years, the provost has tried to protect promotion raises. We have made some progress in faculty
salaries, but we still have a ways to go.
Salary compensation continues to be the number one priority for the next
fiscal year. Regular raises, addressing
areas of severe disciplinary compression, and reviewing benefits are all
components of the process to achieve faculty salaries that recruit and retain
our faculty resources.
One criterion for assessing
the quality of a research university is the quality of the library, both the holdings
and the service it provides. Library funding
has grown over the last ten years. Based
on the ranking system of the Association of Research Libraries, we are fourth
among the ten ARL members in the Big 12 in overall quality, second in volumes
held, and eighth in professional staff FTE.
We have focused on library acquisition; now we need to focus on the
number of library staff and faculty. As
libraries move into an era of more complicated electronic holdings, the library
staff numbers will need to grow.
planning for the next fiscal year, Provost Mergler said we will need to watch
utility costs and the impact from the Gulf Coast
hurricane on other costs. We will be
doing enrollment projections, including demographic trends, to stabilize the
undergraduate student body. The
enrollment bubble from a couple of years ago is causing pressure in our upper
division courses. We need to consider
the impact of tuition and fee revenue as the enrollment figures right
size. The new College of Earth
and Energy will be launched in the middle of the academic year. The colleges with interim deans will be
assisted during the transition period to make sure everything continues
smoothly. Long-term planning includes a
student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1, which would require the addition of 100
new regular faculty over the next five years.
We will seek to stabilize the size of the undergraduate student body,
sustaining its quality and diversity.
President Boren is working on a $5 million endowment campaign to assist with
recruitment. We want to improve the
undergraduate six-year graduation rate to 62 percent. We want to continue and build strategic
research initiatives. We want to provide
competitive graduate assistant stipends to recruit outstanding graduate
students who can assist with our research initiatives. We want to continue to move faculty salaries
forward aggressively to keep us competitive.
Finally, we want to stabilize the presidential programs that contribute
to the intellectual community, including expository writing, religious studies,
dream courses, retired faculty, and adopt-a-professor. Besides the $50 million for scholarships, the
President will try to raise $250 million during the next five years for scholarships,
professorships, and programmatic support, which includes expanding presidential
professors by 30 slots and increasing the number of students who study
abroad. Provost Mergler concluded by
saying, “I feel confident that with your collective help and assistance, we can
reach these goals.”
Prof. Raadschelders asked
whether it would be possible to make the slides available to the senate. Provost Mergler said she would give them to
Ms. Fallgatter. Prof. Knapp said the
senate office would put them on the web (see http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/prov9-12-05FSpres.pdf).
Prof. Forman commented that
given the declining number of high school students, another way to obtain the
desired student/faculty ratio would be to take fewer students but keep the
quality at the same level. Provost
Mergler said it was important politically to continue serving 6-7 percent of Oklahoma high school
graduates. The President wants to stabilize
the size of the student body and keep the entire OU enrollment at
Prof. Schwarzkopf asked
whether some of our mission would move toward adult education. Provost Mergler said the state regents have
several initiatives to convert adults to college graduates in Oklahoma because our state is behind in the
percentage of college graduates. However,
the President still wants to go after the 6-7 percent direct-from-high school freshmen. We have not seen the trend of increasing age
in our student body that has been seen across the country.
Prof. Hobbs asked whether the
University had any funds to bring top faculty affected by the Gulf Coast
hurricane here for special courses.
Provost Mergler said the initial focus was on students enrolled in
institutions in the impacted region. We
have 30 enrolled on the Norman campus. The
second concern was with current OU students with permanent addresses in the
region. About 25 have been identified. They have been contacted to see if they need
any resources, financial aid adjustment, a place to stay over holidays, or
counseling services. The third concern
was the 40 students who were called up for National Guard or Reserve service. Inquiries from faculty who are seeking to
visit are being left to the discretion of the departments. We have differing abilities to accommodate
them. The HSC has several projects under
way to work with refugee families and assist with planning in the region. We are trying to be helpful without hampering
our ability to do business for our students.
Prof. Raadschelders asked how
many foreign students were here. Provost
Mergler answered that we have three international students who were at campuses
affected by the hurricane. Prof. Raadschelders
asked whether foreign students were included in the demographics of the student
population. Provost Mergler said the
headcount includes everyone who is enrolled.
Prof. Dauffenbach asked about the percentage of students who come from Texas. Provost Mergler replied that it was our
largest group of out-of-state students. South
Texas high schools will buck the trend of declining high school graduates, but
we do not get a lot of students from southern Texas.
There will be an increase in the number of Latino and Hispanic high
school graduates in Tulsa
in about five years. Our recruitment
literature has been translated into Spanish.
Human Resources Director
Julius Hilburn said he wanted to discuss the health insurance renewal process
and the status of our retirement plans.
Mr. Hilburn explained that effective January 2005, we went from the
state’s HealthChoice plan to Aetna. The Human Resources (HR) office is evaluating
Aetna’s proposal for health insurance for
has proposed increases in premium costs for 2006: an increase in OU cost of almost seven percent
and in employee cost of about 13.3 percent (see http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/HR9-12-05FSpres.pdf). Thus, University costs will increase around
$2.3 million, and employee costs will increase about $1.4 million. There will be no significant changes in the benefit
design for 2006. The same options will
be available. A minor change was made to
add smoking cessation benefits. Rates
are driven by the experience or utilization of the people enrolled in the
plan. The first five months of actual OU
experience with the Aetna plan established
what the rates would be. That gave us a
better result than using last year’s experience. Mr. Hilburn explained that the University
employs an actuary to make sure the numbers are consistent with our agreement
with Aetna and are actuarially sound. Costs have increased every year. National increases in health plan rates are
expected to be 10 to 13 percent, with HMOs experiencing a higher trend than
offers a better overall value to our employees.
For 2006, it will be about $1.8 million less expensive than it would
have been had we stayed in the state plan.
HR frequently compares our plan with the rest of the Big 12 and shares
that information with the Employment Benefits Committee and Faculty Welfare
Committee. Our plan is in line with what
the other Big 12 institutions offer in terms of plan design and overall costs. Where we are different is our contribution
strategy. OU has a history of paying 100
percent of the premium for the employee only.
In the Big 12, only OU and OSU have that contribution strategy. Almost all of the other universities require
some contribution from employees, and they provide some contribution for dependent
coverage. Most of our employees are in a
PPO option, which is very similar in plan design to the state’s. Aetna’s advantages are lower maximum out-of-pocket
costs, lower family deductible, and a national network that is responsive to
employees who live or travel outside Oklahoma.
Comparing the current Aetna
rates with those proposed for 2006 and with the state’s rates, the premiums for
the PPO will increase 6.1 percent for employee only coverage (paid by the University)
and will actually be more expensive than the state’s rate. Increases in other categories range from 8.1
percent to 12.3 percent. However, in all
those categories, the Aetna plan will be
marginally less than the state’s. The
state chose to keep rates even for 2006 by using some reserves to buy down the
rates. The state changed benefits in
several of its HMO options and expanded the number of options. When we compare our HMO low and high options
to the state’s, our benefits are better, and our costs are generally lower. Aetna was
added as one of the state’s HMO providers.
As Aetna gets more business in central Oklahoma, the company will be able to negotiate
better deals with local health care providers.
About 2400 or one-third of OU employees are enrolled in the low option
rates are 11 to 44 percent lower than a similar program offered by the
state. For the HMO high option, where we
have 375 participants, the state’s premium is lower, but the plan has reduced
benefits and some higher out-of-pocket costs.
Prof. Megginson asked why the
premiums for children were increasing so much.
Mr. Hilburn answered that the rates were based on our utilization for
the first 5 months. Aetna’s
rates required a bigger adjustment for children than for adults, in part
because there are more adults (employee-only people) in the program. After reviewing Aetna’s renewal proposal and
discussing it with the Employment Benefits Committee, the administration is
recommending to the regents that Aetna be
renewed. The proposal is consistent with
our contract agreement and is actuarially sound. There are always complaints about particular insurance
programs. The Human Resources staff listens
to employees and tries to make sure we get what we contracted for. HR plans to start negotiating our rate proposal
for 2007. Part of the negotiation will
be to make sure Aetna manages the plan in a
way that is competitive with and actuarially equivalent to the state’s plan. Mr. Hilburn said he wanted the senate to be
aware of our experience with Aetna and the
level of service we get. In the first 6
months, Aetna handled 7500 customer service
calls and processed 20,000 claims; 80 percent of the claims were handled within
five days. Aetna
is meeting the criteria we established for processing speed, accuracy, and customer
service responsiveness. Mr. Hilburn said
he wished he could say costs were going down and benefits were going up, but
the reality of health care was quite the contrary. Mr. Nick Kelly, Assistant Director,
responsible for employee benefits, was present to answer questions.
Prof. Burns said he and a lot
of other people thought the service from Aetna
was nonexistent and led to a lot of wasted time. He said he wondered how many of the calls got
a response from a person who was knowledgeable and helpful. The step therapy requirement puts the onus on
the patient to prove certain medications did not work before s/he could be
prescribed the desired drug. The
situation could be obviated if certain drugs were placed on the preferred list
of medications. Mr. Hilburn replied that
most of the complaints were about pre-certification and step therapy for
certain prescription drugs, particularly when we first changed to Aetna. The reason
for step therapy is that the provider is trying to manage the drug program in a
way that gets the most value while still meeting the members’ needs. Patients have to go through a process of
working up to the most expensive therapies.
Initially, we received a lot of responses to the Faculty Welfare
Committee survey that had to do with the step-therapy program. If a patient was already prescribed a drug,
going back and getting certification could be a nuisance. If step-therapy is done when the prescription
is initially written, the process works a lot smoother. Prof. Burns answered that people have no
recourse except to go back time after time to get stepped up, and that costs
time and money. People may have to go to
a physician 2-3 times, which may save money in column A, but costs more in
column B. The burden of proof is put on
the patient, and there is no appeal outside of Aetna. Mr. Hilburn explained that the majority of
the problems are resolved when the doctor provides the medical support to Aetna to explain why a certain drug is prescribed. The overriding issue is to manage the program
that helps control our costs. If we did
not have any medical review, the rates for next year would be even larger. Prof. Dauffenbach, chair of the Faculty
Welfare Committee, said it behooves us to look into these issues and continue with
the effort to have faculty send in complaints.
One option is to sample some physicians around town.
Prof. Schwarzkopf asked about
the role of the Human Resources office in discussing employee problems with Aetna. Mr. Hilburn
said HR had taken an active role. Mr. Kelly
added that the HR office had talked to Aetna about
many issues and would continue to do that.
We have a fully insured contract.
Insurance covers some things and not others, so there are instances
where the University may not be able to help.
There are other cases where there is room for interpretation. HR is doing its best to get the service
contracted for its members. To
summarize, Mr. Hilburn said if we have members who have problems, Human
Resources contacts Aetna on behalf of the
members. HR also gets input from the
Faculty Welfare Committee survey. If
trends emerge, HR tries to clarify the benefit more fully to employees or makes
sure Aetna understands our expectations. Prof. Knapp suggested that the discussion of retirement
benefits be deferred, in the interest of time.
SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Roy Knapp
Prof. Knapp reported that two
task forces were being formed, one having to do with the student information
system and one on reducing environmental emissions and conserving fuel. He asked the senators to send him names of
faculty who would be interested in serving on the latter task force.
ELECTION, COUNCILS, COMMITTEE, BOARDS
The Faculty Senate approved
the Committee on Committees’ nomination of Fran Ayres (Accounting) to complete
Pat Weaver-Meyers’ 2004-08 term on the Employment Benefits Committee and
2003-06 term on the Senate’s Faculty Welfare Committee.
Due to time constraints, the
discussion of the Network policy proposed by the Information Technology Council
deferred until the next meeting. Prof. Trytten
pointed out that there was some urgency in getting the policy in place.
ISSUES FOR 2005-06
Prof. Knapp said he would
delay the discussion of issues for 2005-06 (attached). The Executive Committee and new senators had
suggested some additional issues: tenure-track teaching specialists,
streamlined compliance procedures, and parking issues (on game days, availability
of handicap spaces, during Fine Arts performances). He urged senators to submit other issues.
RESOLUTION, UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY CLASSES
Prof. Scamehorn moved that
the Faculty Senate approve the following resolution concerning the proposed
chemistry building. The motion to table
the resolution was approved.
To maintain the University of Oklahoma as a campus that allows all OU
undergraduate students to walk to their classes,
To not increase the amount of
non-renewable fuels for transporting OU undergraduate students to chemistry
To allow the large number of
OU undergraduate students taking chemistry classes from many different
departments to be able to walk to or from their chemistry classes and other
classes within the current 10 minute interval,
To maintain OU as a superior university
for the highest caliber students seeking science and engineering education,
OU Faculty Senate is in favor of all future OU undergraduate chemistry classes
continuing to be taught on OU’s main campus, and none of them being taught on
the south campus near the intersection of Jenkins Street and Highway 9 in the
contemplated new chemistry building.
The meeting adjourned at 5:05
p.m. The next regular session of the
Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, October 10, 2005, in Jacobson
Faculty Hall 102.
Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator
A. Steve Bradford, Secretary