OSUOklahoma State University



Oklahoma State University0.2 (OSU) welcomed this opportunity to assess its progress in carrying out its mission and achieving its many goals in preparation for this self-study report for OSU's Accreditation Review by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Continued accreditation is necessary for OSU to maintain the eligibility of its students for federal grants and loans and for the university to continue to be recognized by employers, governmental agencies, professional licensing boards, and other institutions of higher learning as an outstanding university that provides excellent educational opportunities. We believe this report demonstrates that OSU meets and surpasses the Higher Learning Commission's criteria for accreditation,0.3 and we are pleased to share our findings with the OSU community, its constituents, and supporters.

In evaluating OSU's effectiveness and performance, we established the following goals for our self-study report:

The report contains in-depth descriptions, analyses, and assessments of OSU's effectiveness in meeting its stated goals and the Higher Learning Commission's requirements for accreditation. The report demonstrates that despite difficult economic conditions and the variety of challenges any university faces in a changing world, OSU is more than meeting its commitments and is making strides toward its goal of being recognized nationally as a premier research and academic institution.

Higher Education in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education0.4 (OSRHE) is the central policy and coordinating board for Oklahoma's system of higher education. The board prescribes academic standards of higher education, determines functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, grants degrees, recommends to the state legislature budget allocations for each college and university, and recommends proposed fees within limits set by the legislature. OSRHE also manages 23 scholarship and special programs. In cooperation with the Office of State Finance, the board operates OneNet,0.5 the state's information and telecommunications network for education and government. OSRHE also oversees the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program,0.6 which guarantees loans made to students by the private sector. While the OSRHE is the coordinating board of control for all institutions in the State System of Higher Education, governing boards of regents and boards of trustees are responsible for the operation and management of each state-system institution or higher education program

Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges

The Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges0.7 (OSU/A&M) is the governing board directly responsible for the operation of OSU and its constituent budget agencies — the OSU Center for Health Sciences, OSU-Okmulgee, OSU-Oklahoma City, OSU-Tulsa, the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station, and the OSU Cooperative Extension Service. The OSU/A&M Regents also govern Connors State College of Agriculture and Applied Science in Warner; Langston University, Langston; Northeastern Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, Miami; and Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell.

The board consists of nine members,0.8 one of whom is the president of the State Board of Agriculture. The remaining eight members are appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the state senate. Except for the president of the State Board of Agriculture, board members are appointed for eight-year terms to numbered positions representing congressional districts, with two at-large appointments.0.9

The OSU/A&M Board's powers to govern are constitutional and include, but are not limited to, those enumerated in Title 70, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 3412, and other laws and judicial decisions of the State of Oklahoma. Its functions are legislative in the establishment of all general policies affecting the institutions it governs and their relationship to one another and in the prescribing of rules and regulations needed to bring these policies into effect. Its judicial functions are limited to acting as a court of final settlement for matters that cannot be satisfactorily adjudicated by the presidents of the colleges. Its executive power is delegated in most instances to the presidents of the institutions and their authorized administrators.

Internal Audits

The OSU/A&M Regents' Department of Internal Audits0.10 is solely responsible to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents in the manner the board prescribes. Internal auditing headquarters are located on the OSU-Stillwater campus. The programs and scope of work conducted by internal auditors are prescribed and approved by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. All internal audit reports are submitted at the same time to the board and to the president of the institution involved. Institutional administrators provide written responses to all internal audit reports.

Overview of the University

The story of Oklahoma State University officially began on Christmas Eve, 1890, in the McKennon Opera House in Oklahoma's territorial capital of Guthrie when Territorial Governor George W. Steele signed legislation establishing an Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (OAMC) as a land-grant college in Payne County. 0.11

After much argument, Stillwater was finally selected as the location. The first students assembled for classes on December 14, 1891 even though there were no buildings, books, or curricula. Students attended classes in the Stillwater Congregational Church. The original campus consisted of 200 acres donated by four local homesteaders. After the college received title to the property, volunteers burned off the tall grass and used teams of mules and horses to plow the virgin land. Temporary buildings were soon constructed, but it became increasingly clear that OAMC needed a permanent facility.

Through the efforts of the town of Stillwater and many local and state residents, Stillwater was able to issue $10,000 in bonds for the construction of OAMC's first building. These funds paid for construction of the Central Building, now called Old Central,0.12 which was built at a cost of $14,998 and completed in 1896. The territorial legislature made up the difference in funds. In 1896, OAMC held its first commencement, with six male graduates. By 1918, OAMC had 16 brick buildings.

Though often referred to as the “agricultural” college, OAMC always focused on developing a well-rounded curriculum. In the beginning, the college offered a major only in agriculture, but specializations in engineering and other areas soon developed. By the 1910s, graduates were no longer limiting their careers to farming and business but were seeking professions as attorneys and medical doctors. Several organized schools of study existed, including engineering, commerce and marketing, education, science and literature, agriculture, home economics, and veterinary medicine. There was no graduate college, but students could continue their college careers by taking courses at the master's level.

By the mid-1950s, the OAMC community wanted to move to the “next level.” The college was ready for university status. In 1957, the institution was renamed the Oklahoma State University for Agriculture and Applied Science. During the next three decades, OSU would build academic programs0.13 to match its new status. Enrollment more than doubled from 10,385 in 1957 to more than 23,000 in the 1980s. OSU also would become a statewide university system as it added technical branches in Okmulgee in 1946 and Oklahoma City in 1961. A legislative act that took effect on July 1, 1980 officially changed the name to Oklahoma State University. The Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine, now called the OSU Center for Health Sciences, became part of the OSU system in 1988. In addition, OSU has a presence in all Oklahoma counties because of its Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service programs.

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State of Oklahoma Map showing location of 16 agricultural experiment stations and Cooperative Extension Offices that are located in every county in the state

Oklahoma State University is represented across the state with sixteen agricultural experiment stations and in every county through the Cooperative Extension Service.

In November 1998, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association approved OSU-Stillwater's request for an additional instructional site in Tulsa to provide upper-division and graduate coursework. Since 1999, OSU-Tulsa0.14 has experienced significant growth in enrollment (2,600 in Fall 2004), degree programs (more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs), and full-time resident faculty (48 in Fall 2004). Courses and degree programs are shared by OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa. Tulsa-based faculty members are appointed and tenured through their academic departments in Stillwater, and research initiatives are closely coordinated between the campuses. The institution, Oklahoma State University, comprises OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa. The OSU System0.15 includes OSU-Okmulgee, OSU-OKC, and OSU-CHS in addition to OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa.

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Bar Charts displaying the number of Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled at OSU from 2002 to 2004

Today, OSU is one of two comprehensive, research, and doctoral-granting universities in Oklahoma. Doctoral degrees are granted through the Graduate College,0.16 the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences,0.17 and the Center for Health Sciences. Enrollment at OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa currently averages about 23,000, with approximately 4,500 faculty and staff. System-wide enrollment is about 32,600. The OSU System had a record graduating class in 2004, with 5,000 degree candidates. The previous record for OSU was set in 1978-79, with 4,429 graduates. The Institutional Snapshot0.18 contains further institutional details.

Significant Achievements at OSU, 1995-2005

OSU has made significant gains in a number of areas during the past ten years. These include a successful fundraising campaign; partnerships with community colleges; increased graduation and retention rates; national recognition as a high-quality, but affordable, university; national rankings for several academic and research programs; development of a nationally recognized scholars program; improved evaluation processes; and the development of the university's first system-wide strategic plan.


The OSU Foundation0.19 began preliminary planning for a major capital campaign in early 1994. As part of the planning process, the various constituencies on the campus were consulted concerning their most pressing needs that could logically be funded through private funds. The major budget units of the university were then each assigned specific financial target amounts that they were expected to raise as a part of this campaign. After reviewing all of this input, it was decided to launch a campaign to raise $125 million.

By October 24, 1997, the initial campaign goal of $125 million had been exceeded and was increased to $206 million. The “Bringing Dreams to Life Campaign” officially closed on June 30, 2000 with commitments of $260,483,538, which represented over 200% of the original goal of $125 million. Campaign gifts had provided for 15 new endowed chairs, 12 new endowed professorships, 16 new endowed lectureships, 19 new Distinguished Presidential Scholarships, and five new Distinguished Graduate Fellowships.

Thirty-nine commitments involving pledges of $1 million or more were received during the campaign. More than 52,000 donors participated in the campaign with 23,835 of them being first-time contributors.

Partnerships with Community Colleges

During the past five years, OSU-Tulsa and OSU-Stillwater developed strong partnerships with Tulsa Community College (TCC) and Northern Oklahoma College (NOC). In spring 2002, TCC began offering courses on the OSU-Tulsa campus. OSU and TCC faculty developed numerous “2+2” agreements to allow seamless articulation between the two institutions.0.20 In fall 2003, NOC opened a facility adjacent to the OSU-Stillwater campus. NOC faculty offer developmental courses in mathematics, English composition, reading, and science for OSU students requiring remediation in these areas. Financial aid consortium agreements are offered for students who enroll at TCC, NOC, and OSU.

Students who are not admissible to OSU may enroll at community colleges, including TCC and NOC. In 2003, OSU and NOC signed an agreement for the Gateway Program, which allows NOC students to live in OSU housing and to participate with OSU students in a wide range of programs, services, and activities on the OSU campus. According to OSRHE policy, courses taken at NOC, TCC, and other community colleges transfer to OSU, and students who complete at least 24 hours of college credit and earn a 2.25 grade point average at community colleges may transfer to OSU. Regular meetings are held between OSU, TCC, and NOC administrators and faculty to coordinate activities.

Before the Gateway Program was initiated, some OSU faculty, particularly members of the Faculty Council, raised concerns about the extent to which courses offered at NOC would be of equivalent quality to similar courses at OSU and the measures that might be taken to ensure common standards for Gateway and general education students. Members of the administration and representatives from Faculty Council developed an acceptable agreement. Equivalency measures are indicated in the “Memorandum of Understanding.”0.21 Some faculty, however, have voiced concerns that some provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding between OSU and NOC regarding general education classes are not being implemented as the faculty understood them.

Scholar Development and Recognition

When OSU's first merit-based scholarship office was established in 1988, one of the many responsibilities involved the recruitment and mentoring of students who could compete for national and international scholarships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman. In 1999 OSU established a separate Office of Scholar Development and Recognition0.22 (OSDR). The philosophy of the office consists of two major tenets:

In the year 2000, OSU was recognized by the Harry S. Truman Foundation as a Truman Honor Institution for its efforts to cultivate academic and leadership skills among its top undergraduates. Over the past 11 years, OSU students won nine Truman Scholarships, ranking among the nation's elite in this competition (13 overall since 1978). OSU had two Goldwater Scholars in 2004, giving the university 12 Goldwater Scholars. Other recent successes include having two students named to the USA Today All-American first team in the last two years and having a student win the prestigious Pickering Scholarship in Foreign Affairs.0.23 Also, the OSDR director is a founding officer for the National Association of Fellowships Advisors and served two terms as president of the new organization. OSDR offerings include the following:

Honors College

The College of Arts and Sciences0.24 (CAS) inaugurated its honors program in the mid-1960s, and the first bachelor's degrees with honors were awarded in 1969. The University Honors Program was initiated in 1989 to provide enhanced educational opportunities to outstanding students from all of the six undergraduate colleges.

The University Honors Program became The Honors College0.25 in 2000 when final approval was given by the OSRHE.

The goal of The Honors College is to provide an enhanced and supportive learning environment for outstanding undergraduate students enrolled in OSU's undergraduate colleges. The Honors College relies on active involvement by faculty who are noted for their excellence in undergraduate teaching. They teach small honors sections of regular catalog courses, interdisciplinary honors courses, and special honors seminars and often offer opportunities for undergraduate research. Special honors advising is provided by faculty and professional staff who themselves have earned honors program or honors college degrees. OSU seeks to meet or exceed the criteria of the National Collegiate Honors Council0.26 (NCHC) for a fully developed honors program.

The number of active participants in The Honors College has increased significantly over the last decade. In the 2004 fall semester, the 869 active participants in The Honors College represented 162 Oklahoma communities, 23 other states, and 10 foreign nations.

OSU is recognized as a leader in the National Collegiate Honors Council, an organization with approximately 800 institutional members. The OSU Honors director served as 1998-99 NCHC president. Four OSU honors students and the assistant director have served on the executive committee in the past 10 years.

Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence

In January 2005, OSU combined Educational Television Services, the Audio Visual Center, and the Faculty Support Center to form a new Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence.0.27 An advisory board also was formed. It is envisioned that this new institute will offer workshops, seminars, a help desk, and one-on-one assistance from instructional designers for OSU faculty. Training and mentoring for new faculty as part of a teaching academy and professional development for continuing faculty who wish to improve their teaching skills are both functions of the new institute. It will provide software, equipment, and incentives designed to inspire and enable faculty to add technology to traditional classroom courses, add an online component to a course, and convert traditional courses to a format that can be delivered electronically. The institute will provide equipment, software, and training to prepare faculty to teach using team-based learning techniques that will enable students to work in groups to accomplish results that may not be realized by individuals. The institute will conduct research into faculty uses of distributed computing and new uses for Internet Two.

Other Highlights

The following achievements and recognition that have occurred since 2000 are just a few examples of the high level of academic achievement at OSU and the efficient and cost-effective services it provides to its constituents.

Top Value in America: Consumers Digest magazine named OSU as one of America's top 20 values in public higher education. The magazine reviewed 3,500 colleges and universities to rank 75 schools as the top values in the United States. The rankings, published in the June 2004 issue, are based on several attributes that validate or define the institution's academic prowess balanced against the annual cost of tuition and room and board.

Top Western School: The Princeton Review selected OSU as one of its Best Western Colleges for two consecutive years. The listing showcases the top colleges and universities in 15 western states.

Top 10 Program: U.S. News & World Report ranked the College of Education's Vocational and Technical Education program in the top 10 nationally. The top programs are selected by deans of education throughout the nation.

Math Department Recognition: OSU's Math Department has been recognized by the American Mathematics Association as one of four innovative programs in the nation. The department has produced five Sloan Fellows, comparable to the number from MIT.

Engineering Success: OSU's School of Industrial Engineering was the first such program west of the Mississippi and is home to two members of the National Academy of Engineers.

Good Chemistry: OSU's Chemistry Department boasts eight Oklahoma Chemists of the Year, eight Oklahoma Scientists of the Year, and four Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Medal of Excellence Award winners.

Physics Fellows: OSU's Physics Department has six faculty recognized as Fellows of the American Physical Society and three faculty who are Fellows of the Noble Research Foundation.

OSU Chosen for Senior Success Seminar: OSU's top seniors were invited to participate in the first “President's Senior Success Seminar” to be offered in the U.S. The January 2005 seminar featured Louis Blair, executive director of the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C., and several former OSU scholars who advised the seniors about life and the educational world beyond OSU.

Tylenol Scholarships: OSU students Danielle Davies and Jacoby Dewald were two of only 10 college students from across the nation to receive the 2004 $10,000 Tylenol Scholarship for students in health-related fields.

Valedictorians: OSU is home to nearly 1,100 Oklahoma valedictorians.

A Repeat for All-USA College Academic Team: In 2005 for the third consecutive year, an OSU student was named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. OSU Student Government Association President Joe St. John, a senior business major, was selected. Cassie Mitchell was chosen in 2004 and Bryan McLaughlin in 2003.

Best Ag-Bio Engineering Student: The American Society of Agricultural Engineers honored OSU student Candice Johnson with its Student Engineer of the Year scholarship. This award is given to the outstanding agricultural/biological engineering undergraduate student in the United States or Canada.

The Highest Doctoral Honor: OSU zoology doctoral student Jerry Husak received a prestigious $10,000 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, the highest honor a doctoral student in science in the United States can receive.

International Engineering Prize: OSU School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students took first and second place in both the 2004 and the 2005 International Design, Build, Fly Contest. OSU is the only university to have back-to-back first and second place wins at the competition.

International Competitors: OSU's architecture students have won more national and international competitions than any other school in the nation except the University of Illinois.

Academic Achievement of Student-Athletes:

Best College Newspaper: Both the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Associated Collegiate Press recognize OSU's Daily O'Collegian as one of the top collegiate newspapers in the country.

Best Recreational Center: The newly renovated Colvin Center, which reopened in fall 2004, is one of the top recreational student facilities in the world.

Nationally Recognized Transit System: The OSU-Stillwater Community Transit System was the cover story in an issue of BusRide Magazine, a leading trade publication of the motor coach tour, charter, and transit bus industry.

Trading Floor Provides Rare Opportunity: OSU's Spears School of Business Trading Floor is one of only a few such facilities in the nation. The state-of-the-art trading floor gives students hands-on experience in managing information to assess financial risk.

New Student Housing: Since 2000, OSU has spent more than $150 million renovating and building new student housing that includes all modern amenities, high-speed internet connections, living rooms, kitchen areas, and private bedrooms and baths.

Championship Radio: KOSU, the campus affiliate of National Public Radio, has won more than 200 major broadcast journalism awards, including 11 national championships for broadcast journalism excellence. KOSU recently added a second broadcast facility to expand service to northeast Oklahoma.

Best Arena in the Nation: OSU's Historic Gallagher-Iba Arena was named the top collegiate basketball venue in the nation by CBS Sportsline.

Best Golf Facility: OSU's Karsten Creek Golf Course, designed by Tom Fazzio, is considered one of the best in the nation.

Championship Teams: OSU men's basketball won the Big 12 Championship and reached the Final Four in 2004. They won the Big 12 Championship again in 2005 and went to the Sweet Sixteen. The Oklahoma State Wrestling Team won the NCAA Championship in 2004 and 2005. Wrestling Coach John Smith was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, and Wrestler Steve Mocco was named NCAA Player of the Year. OSU's Golf Team is also top-ranked in the country.

Largest Individual Gift: OSU's largest gift from an individual was a $70 million commitment from OSU alumnus Boone Pickens. Part of the gift was to complete funding for phase one of the football stadium renovation project, and part of the gift also created a trust that will result in a $15 million general university academic scholarship fund.

Largest Corporate Gift: OSU's largest corporate gift to date is a $6 million commitment from ConocoPhillips for the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and other campus priorities. The Alumni Center is scheduled to open in the summer of 2005.

Substantial Gift for College of Business: The OSU College of Business Administration was renamed the William S. Spears School of Business in honor of the man who gave the university a substantial academic gift of an undisclosed amount. Spears' multi-million dollar gift, much of which will qualify for state matching funds, will provide faculty chairs, fellowships, and endowments that will enable the college to retain and attract additional outstanding faculty.

Old Landmark Made New: The Atherton Hotel at OSU completed a $5 million revitalization that converted it into one of the finest hotels in the state. The funds were arranged through a partnership between Student Affairs and the Student Union. The hotel serves as a hands-on classroom for OSU Hotel and Restaurant Administration students. OSU is one of only five U.S. universities to offer hospitality students a hotel laboratory on campus. The Atherton is one of two hotels in Oklahoma selected for membership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation of Historic Hotels of America.

Portal Technology: OSU's Information Technology Division received a $1,087,000 grant from CampusEAI, in conjunction with the Oracle Corporation, to underwrite costs for a one-stop internet portal that gives students a single web access point to check grades, pay bursar bills, see class schedules, enroll in classes, drop classes, send and receive e-mail, see a calendar of campus events, sign up for services such as parking and All-Sports tickets, and even take online courses.

1995 Evaluation Report Concerns

The 1995 evaluation team focused the attention of the university community on six areas of concern, listed below:

  1. While OSU has taken a number of significant steps during the past year of transition, it has not yet fully developed a visible central core of clear institutional values, directions, and plans — with critical self-assessment — all linked to but transcending collegiate programs and goals.
  2. Faculty salaries continue to be very low, and although some ameliorative steps have recently been taken, the problem of salary compression remains.
  3. There is not as yet full understanding of, buy-into, and implementation of assessment as a means of program improvement.
  4. The library has a serious space problem, noted even in the NCA report of 1985-86, which has not yet been solved, though a temporary resolution is under way.
  5. The large unfunded liability in the state retirement system, and the projected move away from TIAA-CREF, are of serious concern to faculty and staff and may cause significant recruiting problems in the future.
  6. There is a pronounced under-representation of women and persons of color in middle and upper administrative positions and in upper faculty ranks, though a recent matching fund for minority faculty positions is a step in the right direction. The institution could be doing more to build pools of women and minority candidates internally for key positions.

Progress on Responses to 1995 Concerns

Values, Directions, Plans

In regard to the HLC's concern about the lack of a visible central core of clear institutional values, directions, and plans, it should be noted that during the last decade, all OSU entities developed mission and vision statements, goals, values, and/or strategic plans.0.28 Following the arrival of OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly0.29 in the spring of 2003, a system-wide strategic planning process was begun.0.30 A steering committee, composed of faculty, staff, and administrators from all of the OSU campuses, was appointed to oversee the process.0.31 The first step was a retreat with the OSU/A&M Board of Regents and all senior administrators in the OSU system in order to develop a first draft of the system mission and vision statements, core values, and strategic goals. The subsequent process included the entire OSU system, with plans for the system, the five campuses,0.32 all vice presidential areas and their component units, and all college and academic departments.0.33 A common set of core values was adopted for use by each unit, and each constructed its own mission and vision statements and strategic goals. Furthermore, each plan (278 in total) developed objectives and critical success factors.

The planning process occupied approximately 15 months before the documentation was submitted to the president for presentation to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. During that time, plans went through an iterative review process in which members of the steering committee and various task forces, composed of faculty, staff, and students, reviewed the plans and provided feedback to the various units. In addition, there was a series of town hall meetings in which the president presented the plan to all OSU employees and the public. Meetings were held for employees on each campus, and public meetings were held in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Stillwater. The Stillwater meeting also was broadcast to numerous sites around the state. Each town hall meeting included an extensive question and answer period. The plan also was posted on the OSU Homepage, and the public had an opportunity to provide feedback.

The final strategic plan was presented to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents for its acceptance during the September 2004 meeting. It also was announced at that time that a University Planning Council0.34 would be established in order to sustain planning as an ongoing process and to ensure that the university and each of its component units would be accountable to the plans as developed and revised.

Faculty Salaries

In an ongoing effort to address salary issues, OSU has continued to implement faculty raise programs ranging from three to six percent annually when possible, including special equity pools for faculty. Reductions in state appropriations totaling more than twelve percent in FY2003 and FY2004 made faculty raises impossible. In FY2004, however, the administration used a pool of $400,000 to give special awards to (1) bring all tenured and tenure-track faculty salaries up to a minimum of $40,000 and (2) to reward outstanding faculty. Additionally, a one-time supplement of $500 was given to all continuously employed faculty and staff in FY2004.

OSU continues to focus on raising salaries to the Big 12 average. The administration contracted with an outside consultant to compare each academic college with a selected peer group. Based on the results of this study,0.35 the administration identified the funds needed to fill faculty positions that were left vacant throughout years when OSU experienced cut-backs in appropriations, as well as to reward the current faculty, and to increase faculty numbers.

The “Restore, Reward, and Grow”0.36 initiative is a program developed under the leadership of President Schmidly. It began in FY2005 and will continue through FY2015. This program came about as a result of the OSU Strategic Plan and is necessary in order to accomplish the goals set by the plan. The intent of the program is to strengthen the faculty in terms of both quality and quantity.

The first phase will restore the 100 faculty positions left vacant as a result of state appropriation reductions in recent years. This phase was initiated in FY2005 when the Provost and Senior Vice President authorized 25 new faculty positions for recruitment. An additional 25 positions have been authorized for recruitment in FY2006 and authorization will continue through FY2007 and FY2008 at the rate of 25 new faculty positions per year for a total of 100 positions. The rationale for this phase is that current faculty-to-student ratios are not competitive with peer institutions. This situation has come about in the last decade because enrollment has grown at a rate three times that of the faculty.

The second phase will increase the average faculty salary at OSU over a period of 10 years to the level of the peer average. A recent consultant study recommended a $10 million adjustment to faculty salaries based on the difference between OSU faculty salaries and those of our peers. Funding will be added over and above an annual raise program to close this gap over the 10-year period so that by 2015, OSU faculty salaries are intended to be at the peer average. This phase began in FY2005 with an average raise of 5%, 2% above the rate of inflation. The rationale for this phase is that salaries have traditionally been less than competitive at OSU for many departments and disciplines. While there are many quality faculty members at OSU, it has become increasingly difficult to retain faculty who are recruited by other institutions.

The third phase, also beginning in FY2006, will increase the faculty size by adding 10 new positions for each of the next 10 years to grow the faculty by 100 positions. These positions will be linked to key goals identified in the OSU Strategic Plan. The rationale for this phase is that it has been determined that the current faculty size is, for the most part, producing as much as can be reasonably expected in terms of scholarly effort. If faculty scholarly effort is to increase, it must be realized through an increase in the size of the faculty.

Compression of faculty salaries within units is a current salary concern. The average salary for full professors is about 50% more than the average salary for assistant professors and about 30% more than the average salary for associate professors. However, in six units across campus, the mean salary at a lower rank is higher than the mean salary at a higher rank. Additionally, each department-rank combination mean salary was considered as a percentage of the mean salary of the peer group within other Big 12 universities. Salaries of full professors were 84% of the peer average with a range of 68% in Management to 108% in Nutritional Sciences. Salaries of assistant professors average 93% of the peer average with a range of 82% in Political Science to 115% in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. In more than two-thirds of OSU departments, the percentage of department-rank combination mean salary as compared to the mean salary of the peer group within the Big 12 universities is highest for assistant professors. That is twice the number that would be expected if no salary compression existed.0.37


There are many examples of progress since 1995 toward increased understanding of, support for, and participation in assessment to improve programs and provide accountability. For example, in May 2000, the General Education Assessment Task Force was formed by the Assessment Council0.38 and the Office of University Assessment and Testing0.39 (OUAT) to develop and implement a new plan to assess the effectiveness of OSU's general education program.0.40 Although general education and “mid-level” assessment methods such as standardized tests and surveys had been conducted intermittently at OSU since 1993, no sustainable approach to evaluating the general education curriculum had been established. The task force represented the first group of OSU faculty members who were paid to work on this university-wide assessment project and marked a renewed commitment to general education assessment at OSU.

Following the assessment standard of articulating desired student outcomes first, the task force started in 2000 by revising OSU's Criteria and Goals for General Education Courses 0.41 document and identifying “assessable” outcomes for the general education program. After studying general education assessment practices at other institutions, the task group developed guidelines for effective and sustainable general education assessment for OSU and agreed to initiate two assessment methods that were consistent with these guidelines: institutional portfolios and a course-content database. Institutional portfolios directly assess student achievement of the expected learning outcomes for the general education program. The course database contains information to evaluate how each general education course contributes to student achievement of those articulated outcomes. These methods were implemented in 2001.

In 2003, the Assessment Council and General Education Advisory Council approved the task force's name change to the General Education Assessment Committee. The committee is charged with continuing to develop and implement general education assessment, and it reports to the Assessment Council and General Education Advisory Council. Membership in these committees is intentionally overlapped. Committee members (faculty) serve rotating three-year terms, are extensively involved in undergraduate teaching at OSU, represent a range of disciplines, and are paid summer stipends for their work on general education assessment.

Outcomes Assessment Improved

The Assessment Council completed its third year of reviewing the assessment plans 0.42 and reports0.43 for academic units in spring 2003 and has now completed at least one review of all OSU academic programs. These reviews have resulted in greater communication and understanding of what outcomes assessment is about and what academic units should be doing. Almost three-quarters of all academic units have revised their assessment plans or otherwise demonstrated greater commitment to outcomes assessment in their programs as a result of feedback received from the Assessment Council reviews. In 2004, the schedule for Assessment Council review of Program Outcomes Assessment was modified to support its integration into the Academic Program Review process.

The Academic Program Review0.44 is the method by which the OSRHE and institutions of higher education in Oklahoma evaluate existing programs, as mandated by the Oklahoma Legislature. Informed decisions related to program initiation, expansion, contraction, consolidation, and termination, as well as reallocation of resources, are among those decisions that may result from information developed through analysis and assessment.

Increase in University-Wide Assessment Activity

OSU participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2000, and again in 2002. In spring 2003, the Assessment Council and OUAT invested considerable effort in reviewing, communicating, and developing recommendations from OSU's 2002 NSSE results. An extensive website has been developed to describe OSU's NSSE findings and how OSU has acted on those results.0.45 Several academic units have used a modified version of the NSSE for program outcomes assessment in years when OSU did not participate as an institution.

Since 2001, the OUAT has conducted an annual university-wide survey of OSU alumni, administering the survey to alumni of graduate and undergraduate programs in alternating years. The survey includes 17 questions that are asked of all alumni, and each academic program is invited to provide up to 15 program-specific questions to be asked of its alumni. Participation by academic programs in these annual surveys has increased since the project's inception. Results from these surveys have become a cornerstone of the assessment efforts for many academic units and provide valuable information about the career patterns of recent graduates and perceptions about program quality.

Increased Funding for Assessment

Increased funding has been provided to programs for Outcomes Assessment, General Education Assessment, and Assessment of Student Satisfaction. In FY2005, $290,000 was provided to academic units for Program Outcomes Assessment, an increase of $123,000 from FY2001 ($167,000). In FY2004, $70,500 was budgeted for General Education Assessment, about twice the amount ($35,000) spent in FY2001. Each student pays one dollar per credit hour that is earmarked for assessment.

Library Issues

The 1986 and 1995 NCA reports expressed concerns about library storage and patron space. The review teams suggested that some of the collection be moved to a remote storage facility to free up space. In 1995, the university administration was urged to address the pressing need for additional library space. It responded by acquiring a former supermarket building. The 50,000 square foot facility is located one mile from campus.

Funds were allocated to renovate approximately two-fifths of the building. Renovation of this building, known as the Library Annex, was completed on July 1, 2002, and transfer of materials began. Approximately 15,000 square feet of the annex houses lesser-used materials, back issues of journals, material now available online, items too fragile to repair, and certain items from Special Collections of the main and branch libraries. Items moved to the annex are noted in the OSU Library catalog. Library patrons needing materials from the annex can complete a web-based request form. Materials are retrieved and delivered on request, in most cases electronically.

The OSU museum, a closed collection for which the library has been caretaker since the early 1990s, occupies around 1,000 square feet in the renovated facility. The library's Electronic Publishing Center, established in 2002, occupies the remaining 500 square feet of renovated space.

Plans for the remaining three-fifths of the building include a Special Collections remote storage facility. This phase of the project is dependent on outside funding. Renovation of the remaining space is a goal of the library's five-year fundraising plan.

Much has been accomplished in regard to addressing library storage and patron space. In the next 9-18 months, storage space will become available in Murray Hall and the basement of the library. This additional space will be adequate for at least three years. Discussion is underway regarding library expansion and additional study spaces on campus. The construction of a remote storage facility is a possible long-term solution during the next four to five years, and long-range plans call for basic library renovations.

Library Improvements

Many improvements to the main library have been made in the past few years. These include the addition of a wireless network to serve a floating computer lab, physical renovation in many areas, a coffee bar, new security gates, and refurbished group and silent study rooms.

Additional goals for future building improvements include the Library Plaza leading to the south entrance, the Reading Room, the Special Collections Facility, and the creation of the Student Success Center on the first floor.

Library Acquisitions

Acquisition of books and serials is a continuing problem in an era of rampant inflation in publishers' prices. Large shortfalls in materials budgets in the past few years have limited the library's ability to keep pace with all library user needs. User views on the sufficiency of the collection vary, depending on the discipline and degree of connectivity between the staff and faculty user. Overall, the consensus seems to be that the library is sufficient for undergraduate purposes, but needs improvement as a resource for graduate programs.

As projected in the 1995 report, it was necessary to cancel subscriptions to approximately 395 journals. But, by 2004, subscription access was reinstated to approximately 75% of these titles. A number of the remaining 25% have ceased publication, or have merged with other resources.

As of November 1, 2004, the library provides subscription access to 37,392 online journals, magazines, and newspapers. Although a single title may be available from more than one source, 23,709 of the total online titles are unique. OSU has benefited from participation in numerous consortia, enabling access to thousands of research journals at favorable costs per individual title. Access to electronic resources was expanded in fall 2003 when students began paying a fee that provides $1.5 million for electronic resources each year.

Monograph purchases continue to be of concern, although for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, the library has budgeted $1 million annually for monographs. The library now has 13 endowed collection funds, which have been established through private donations. These endowments generate approximately $125,000 annually. These funds are used for special purchases and to enrich specific areas of the collection.

The library's rank in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) index is expected to improve to 70 out of 113 libraries for 2003-2004, a significant change from the 1995 rank of 90.

Retirement Program

In 1995, OSU faculty and administrative/professional staff were required to participate in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS). OTRS required a member contribution that was scheduled to increase to 7.0% of pay and benefits, with OSU required to make an employer contribution that gradually increased to 7.05%. The transition to the above schedule for higher education, and especially the comprehensive universities within Oklahoma, was a difficult one. OTRS, a defined benefit system designed for common schools in Oklahoma, lacks the familiarity and portability desired among higher education faculty and staff. Recruitment of faculty was especially difficult with this primary component of OSU's retirement package.

OSU provided faculty and staff who had one year of service and had reached age 26 retirement contributions equal to 7% of the first $11,520 of pay each year and 11% of pay over $11,520. These OSU contributions were used to pay the mandated employee contribution to OTRS with the rest invested in an individual defined contribution account with TIAA-CREF. Faculty and staff were fully vested in the defined contribution account. In 2003, OSU contributions were increased to 11.0% of pay; and in 2004, contributions were increased to 11.5%.

After a decade of legislative attempts to remove the mandate for faculty and administrative/professional staff to participate in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, OSU was successful in 2004 with the passage of HB2226. Any employee hired July 1, 2004, or thereafter, is able to choose to participate in OTRS (with OSU paying the current employee and employer contribution fees) or to participate in an Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) and receive 11.5% of pay in an individual defined contribution account. Funds in the ARP will be 100% vested after two years of continuous regular service with OSU. HB2226 also includes a provision by which existing members of OTRS may withdraw from OTRS and join the ARP. This provision is currently awaiting IRS approval. Once granted, individuals will have a full year in which to make a decision.

In addition, HB2226 increased retirement benefits for employees who joined OTRS prior to July 1, 1995, so that the retirement benefits for the two comprehensive universities became very similar to those of the rest of OTRS. Other changes to OTRS in the past 10 years have included a change in vesting from 10 to 5 years, increased interest on withdrawals, and extension of certain credits to members who joined after 1992.

The Flexible Compensation Benefits Committee, which developed many of the changes affecting OSU retirement, also recommended that OSU continue to increase contributions for the ARP. Once the university contribution reaches 12.0%, a total of an additional 2% would be added and would be matched by employees. OSU also has added 457(b) tax-deferred investment opportunities to the 403(b) plans, which have been available for some time. TIAA-CREF has continued to expand investment opportunities that OSU has made available to employees.

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Bar Charts comparing the number of minorities and women in Upper Administration, Upper Faculty and Faculty positions at OSU in the Fall 1995 and Fall 2004

The changes in the past years have been exceedingly well received by employees. In addition, the university has agreed to expand investment opportunities for retirement contributions and allow loans and hardship withdrawals for employees, as well as in-service withdrawals for employees who meet OSU's retirement criteria. Such changes will continue to enhance OSU's retirement program to retain existing employees and attract top-notch faculty and staff.


The representation of women in middle and upper administration at OSU has increased significantly in the last decade, from 25.6% to 34%. Furthermore, the institution gained its first female chief academic officer when Marlene I. Strathe was named provost and senior vice president in July 2003. The gain in percentage of associate and full professors who are women is not as great as the gain in administration, but the number has increased from 15.2% to 19.7% and when assistant professors are included, women comprise 25.1% of faculty. Minority faculty representation in the ranks of associate and full professors has also increased, from 8.1% to 9.7% and when associate professors are included, the percentage is slightly higher at 9.74%. However, the percentage of minority personnel in middle and upper administration at OSU has declined in the last decade, from 12.1% to 9.5%. The institution is addressing this challenge.

In addition to the OSU Affirmative Action Plan and Policies,0.46 concrete evidence of OSU's commitment to the improvement of its diversity response is demonstrated in several ways. For example, a vice president of institutional diversity has recently joined the OSU central administration. Campus-wide diversity issues will be focused on and action plans implemented through this office. Respect for diversity has the opportunity to evolve into a reality of diversity for the university community under the leadership of this new vice president.

The Faculty Council Diversity Committee deals with many aspects of diversity. One of the goals of this committee is to address diversity in the curriculum and recommend changes that might be needed. The Office of Student Affairs provides 40-50 cultural and diversity programs per year for the broad university community. Other groups across campus have promoted diversity; for example, the Women's Faculty Council has been the impetus in re-invigorating the Women's Studies program. Information about diversity in such areas as policies, recruitment, and hiring is available on the affirmative action website.0.47

As needed, faculty search committees contact the Office of Affirmative Action regarding hiring procedures and affirmative action. The department head also is sent a letter from the Office of Affirmative Action further reminding him or her of procedures, providing statistics of availability for minorities and women, and encouraging the administrator to advertise in places that can ensure a diverse applicant pool. The department head and the search committee also are informed about the affirmative action website, which provides recruiting information.

Diversity Recruitment

OSU has outlined strategies for recruiting minority faculty and staff members, but there is room for improvement in this area. Because the hiring process is decentralized, success or failure is assessed by the numbers of minorities and women who are hired. The Office of Affirmative Action assists departments in advertising in publications that reach minority populations. The affirmative action website also provides useful information for hiring committees.



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