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Volume 32

Number 2

September 23, 2004

Regular Meeting Minutes of the Faculty Senate

Approved: November 18, 2004


Mark Allee

A.F. Al-Assaf

Stacy Anderson

Steve Blevins

Gay Bryant

Elena Cuaderes

Nancy Chu

Andy Goldbeck

Kevin Haney

Holly Hoffman

Sharukh Khajotia

Amir Khaliq

Satish Kumar

Betty Kupperschmidt

Linda Machado

Phillip McHale

C. Lynn Montgomery

Milton Olsen

Toni Ripley

Nathan Shankar

Leonard Slater

E. Michael Smith

Robert Wild


Jo Azzarello

Frank Boutsen

Greg Brooks

Doug Carroll

Vicki Coury

Sarah Christman

David Garrison

Susan Gilmore

Mike McShan

Jeanne Panza

Su Phipps

Madeline Robertson

William Yarborough


Kathy Walker, Francene Weatherby


The meeting was called to order by Chair, Dr. A.F. Al-Assaf, at 5:07 p.m.


Nick Kelly from the Human Resources Benefits Office presented a benefits update.  On September 14, 2004, the Board of Regents’ approved a new healthcare plan, with Aetna.  Aetna will be the new medical and dental provider for 2005 and 2006.  Aetna’s rate increase over the current plan is approximately 5%; the State’s increase was approximately 10%.  Aetna gave a rate guarantee for the second year that the rates would be the same as the State’s rates, and could be better depending on health experience.  Some highlights of the benefits include a national network for those who travel, the deductibles and out of pocket maximums for families are lower and the pharmacy co-pays are straight co-pays and not a percentage.  Aetna also offers some wellness benefits that the State did not.  Aetna’s design is similar to the State’s, there is a consumer driven plan and two HMOs, so employees will have the same options available.  The University will fund the full cost of the Aetna High-Option plan for employees.

The Aetna dental rate is up just pennies from this year’s premiums.  The deductible will not apply to preventive services such as cleanings.  Aetna’s dental network is small for the higher benefits, but Aetna has agreed to reimburse at the 90th percentile for out of network.

Human Resources will have a series of meetings on campus for employees with Aetna representatives. There will also be a benefits fair.  Enrollment will be from October 18 to November 5 and all employees must enroll.  Aetna is also going to set up some toll free numbers that employees can call with questions.  More information will be on the Human Resources website.

Mr. Kelly also discussed the new Optional Retirement Plan.  House Bill 2226 was passed in this past legislative session.  The bill allowed OU and OSU to have an optional retirement plan so that employees would not be required to join Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System.  Employees hired after July 1, 2004 have the option to join OTRS or the Optional Retirement Plan.  The election must be made within 90 days of being hired or the default election is OTRS.  The Optional Retirement Plan is a straight 9% of salary.  Existing employees will be able to make the decision between OTRS or the Optional Retirement Plan in about a year, after approval from the IRS.  House Bill 2226 also incorporated an “equity fix” that will affect the employees who were subject to salary caps under the previous plan.  These employees will now get the same level of benefits as everyone else.  Mr. Kelly also noted that the choice of a retirement plan is irrevocable and that the age 28 requirement was removed.


The August 2004 Minutes were approved as circulated.


Dr. Al-Assaf stated that the Executive Committee met with Dr. Ferretti and discussed the recommendations from the Deans’ Retreat.  First, the University is going to be going to a tobacco-free institution.  A formal announcement will be made on November 18, 2004.  The actual policy will be implemented on July 1, 2005.  The logistics are still being discussed, so the policy will be voluntary from November to the first of July, when it will become mandatory.  Dr. Ferretti asked the Faculty Senate to discuss the issue more and provide support through a resolution.  The hospitals have already adopted this policy, and will go tobacco-free on November 18, 2004.  Second, the University wants to establish an interdisciplinary seminar.  The proposal is a core-based seminar that will be open to any enrolled student and will start in the spring of 2005.  Students will examine a case from the perspectives of different disciplines.  The third recommendation was a Library Endowment; funds raised would be used for renovations, maintenance, etc. at the library.  The fourth recommendation concerned the maintenance and upgrades of facilities at the Health Sciences Center.  This would include painting, carpeting, update the restrooms, etc.  Fifth was the academic integrity initiative.  There has been an increase in violations of academic integrity and misconduct.  The proposal is to develop a campus-wide policy.  The final recommendation was a Research Strategic Plan that would identify the strengths of the Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Al-Assaf also discussed some issues that were identified at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education meeting.  First was the perceived inequity of funding between the Health Sciences Center, Norman and OSU.  Second was the formula for determining funding. The current formula would be updated to consider research productivity, student representation, etc.  Raises and faculty shortages were also issues; one goal is to recruit 100 new faculty members.  Finally, publicity for the Health Sciences Center is increasing.

The Executive Committee brought up some issues that may be considered by the Senate.  One issue is the tenure process and criteria.  In the current criteria, publications and grants are considered, but what about creativity and productivity.  Peer review journals are considered, but what about online journals and publications.  Another issue was intellectual property and new technology.  Dr. Al-Assaf suggested that these issues be further discussed with the Campus Tenure Committee.


Committee on Committees

Nancy Chu presented the Committee on Committees report.  It was passed as presented

Academic Programs Council

Francene Weatherby presented the Academic Programs Council report.  A handout included data from the annual report for 2003/2004. The information can be found on the website for Admissions and Records.  The Academic Programs Council recommended that the Faculty Senate appoint an Ad-Hoc Committee to study the impact of technology on teaching/learning for the health professions with attention to such factors a learning outcomes, faculty workload, student satisfaction, etc.  The committee should also develop suggested guidelines for adoption consideration by the colleges with regard to those factors.

It was brought up that such a committee already exists with several sub-committees.  A Faculty Senate representative is on the committee and will report back to the Senate with more information.


The issue with the harassment policy that was discussed in last month’s meeting has been dropped. 


Dr. Kumar brought up an issue concerning Faculty who are part time employees of the VA are only getting part-time benefits from the University.  Dr. Al-Assaf recommended that Dr. Kumar get all the facts, such as the number of faculty affected and if the benefits will change with the new plans.  The Senate will examine the issue again after the facts are known.


Dr. Al-Assaf announced that the Fall General Faculty meeting would be on Monday, October 25.  He also announced that due dates for faculty awards are in October and that the Senate should check with their dean or Department Chair for exact dates.  Dr. Al-Assaf noted that there are not many nominations from the Health Sciences Center and that the nominations are not as high in quality as they could be.  He stated that nominations should provide documentation and full backing.  Last year there were six Presidential Professorships and only eight nominees.  Dr. Al-Assaf stated that there are many faculty members who are deserving of these awards and he encouraged the Senate to go to their Chair or Dean and get faculty nominated.

Dr. Al-Assaf announced that the October Faculty Senate meeting would be canceled due to the close proximity to the Fall General Faculty meeting unless there was pressing business to be discussed.  He also announced that the Information Technology Advisory Council would be putting out a survey and was requesting feedback from faculty, staff and students. 


The Chair asked for a motion to adjourn.  The motion was approved.  The meeting adjourned at 5:53 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,


Toni Ripley



September 2004 Agenda

September 2004 Committee on Committees Report

September 2004 Academic Programs Council Report

August 2004 Meeting Minutes