Resolution of the

University of Oklahoma Faculty Senate


A resolution requesting an expanded commitment to wellness



Whereas:         The University of Oklahoma has committed to improving the wellness of its employees as demonstrated through the creation of a Wellness Coordinator position and reduced cost membership to the Huston Huffman center for employees, and;


Whereas:         Healthcare costs are consuming an increasing portion of the University’s budget as well as reducing the amount of employee take-home pay, and;


Whereas:         Incentives that encourage employees to pursue healthy behaviors are demonstrated to increase the practice of healthy behaviors, and;


Whereas:         The practice of healthy behaviors leads to an increase in employee wellness, which reduces healthcare costs for both the employee and the employer, reduces healthcare premiums, and improves employee productivity, and;


Whereas:         Research findings support exercise as the key to increasing personal strength, endurance, and flexibility, as well as improving energy, attitude, and mood, and;


Whereas:         The University community is more likely to make healthy eating and behavioral choices when they are available, affordable, and accessible;


NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate of The University of Oklahoma hereby requests that The University of Oklahoma intensify its commitment to wellness by expanding wellness programs, annually evaluating the state of campus wellness in an annual Employee Wellness Report that follows the format of the Certified Healthy Business Program or other similar scoring metrics, implementing a tobacco-free/smoke-free policy on all campuses, offering incentives, including financial, that encourage healthy behavior, and increasing the range and availability of healthy eating options.




In recent years, the University of Oklahoma has begun to engage in several activities designed to improve the health and wellbeing of members of the University Community such as:  reduced cost membership to the Huston Huffman facility for faculty and staff, smoking cessation programs, Weight Watchers at Work, consultation on bicycle paths, and moving toward a more bicycle-friendly campus, semi-annual health screenings, smoke-free campuses at the Health Sciences Center and the Tulsa Schusterman Center, and the creation of a Wellness Coordinator position to promote wellness activities that to date include monthly newsletters, classes, screenings, and promotions that provide information about health issues.


The University of Oklahoma should expand its commitment to employee wellness.  Identified below are four areas for improvement recommended by the Faculty Welfare Committee and endorsed by the Faculty Senate.


Area 1: University Employee Wellness Report Card


The University should make it a priority to support employees’ efforts to enhance their wellness.  Other public universities encourage this, as confirmed by the Oklahoma State University Certified Healthy Departments initiative (  In fact, the OSU Institute of Technology has received the “Healthy Business” award from the Oklahoma Certified Healthy Business Program ( for the past two years.  The score sheet for this program is available at the following website:


It is recommended that a University Employee Wellness Report Card be developed collaboratively in the 2011-2012 academic year with representation from faculty, students, staff, and administrators.  Possible areas of specific relevance to the University to consider including in the Employee Wellness Report Card are:


Facilities and Environment for Wellness

·     Tobacco-free campus

·     Goddard Health Center

·     Huston Huffman Fitness Center

·     Group fitness classes

·     Murray Case Sells Swim Complex

·     Bicycle paths and walking paths

·     Faculty workout facility

·     Campus food dining centers and offerings

·     Campus catering


Programs for Wellness

·     Free health risk assessments

·     Group fitness classes

·     Weight Watchers @ Work

·     Tobacco cessation programs

·     Educational seminars

·     Events (e.g., fun run/walk, cycling)

·     Information sharing (e.g., monthly newsletters)

·     Advice and counseling (e.g., exercise, nutrition, weight)

·     Goddard Outreach Programming

·     Employee Assistance Program


Incentives for Wellness

·     Reduced cost membership at Huston Huffman Center

·     Preventative care coverage

·     Tangible incentives for wellness 

·     Reimbursement for tobacco cessation products


Area 2:  Tobacco-free / Smoke-free Campus


Over 380 U.S. colleges and universities are completely smoke free, which in Oklahoma include The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, The University of Oklahoma Tulsa Campus, Oklahoma State University Stillwater Campus, Oklahoma State University Tulsa Campus, University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Tulsa.  Numerous factors motivate the decision to become smoke free:  (1) secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmokers, who have chosen to not smoke, (2) secondhand smoke causes heart disease in adults, with recent studies finding that smoke-free laws reduce the rate of heart attacks by an average of 17% in just the first year after adoption, with the largest reduction occurring in non-smokers, (3) the National Cancer Institute has concluded that “there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke,” (4) eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke on the Norman campus will have a direct and significant positive effect on the cost of employee benefits over time, and (5) the highest rating for an Oklahoma Certified Healthy Business is only possible for entities whose entire property is tobacco-free, both indoor and outdoor.


Area 3: Incentives for Healthy Behavior

In both the private and public sectors, organizations have been adding incentives to their wellness programs to encourage healthy behavior.  The University should analyze these incentives and develop an incentive program that will encourage healthy behavior by employees. Properly designed incentives will reduce health care expenses over time. The federal government’s HIPAA nondiscrimination provisions define the requirements that a wellness program must meet when structuring incentives.

Area 4: Healthy Eating Options


Like other public and private universities around the country, the University should promote healthy eating options in the regular meal programming options as well as for event programming.  At Princeton, daily menus provide options for a healthy diet based on the principles of moderation and variety, and nutritional information is provided for the daily menus.  Students at Louisville are encouraged to buy a season's worth of local produce up front, which is delivered in the form of a basket once a week during the Community Supported Agriculture Fair.  Oregon State University promotes healthier options by simply making them more affordable, accessible and easy for the customer to choose.