OU Regents Approve New Degree Offerings, More

Mike Seals - January 28, 2021 10:13 pm

Also Policy Changes for Faculty Appointments and Evaluations


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents met today to consider new degree offerings, changes to the policy for faculty appointments and evaluations, and other items.

During the meeting, held on the OU Health Sciences Center campus, the Regents approved a new online Master of Arts in Art and Technology, as well as the expansion of the existing Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program to also offer the degree at the OU-Tulsa campus. The board also approved new certificates in applied statistics and in data analytics, which will be offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and can be pursued in person or online. The proposed degree offerings will now go before the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for final approval.

“These new and expanded degree offerings build upon on existing areas of academic strength at OU, and they are specifically intended to serve the evolving needs of the workforce and the broader economy,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “By expanding our strategic areas of expertise to provide our students with relevant, practical knowledge, the people of our state and communities far beyond will ultimately reap the benefits.”

The board also approved changes to the policy concerning faculty appointments for the Norman campus and establishing a path to promotion of non-regular faculty.

In his remarks, Harroz explained the purpose of the policy changes is to provide the best framework for defining, developing and retaining an outstanding and diverse faculty as part of OU’s strategic goal of becoming a world-class public research university.

“Universities require a variety of faculty types to meet their institutional teaching, research and service missions,” Harroz said. “Like our aspirational peers, OU has a variety of instructional and research faculty positions that fill different needs and perform different functions within our institution. It is essential that we provide all of our faculty – tenure track, research and instructional – with a working environment that encourages individual and professional goals.”

For faculty appointments, the Regents granted approval to raise the current cap on ranked renewable term faculty from 10% to 20% of all regular faculty (tenure track and ranked renewable term faculty). The Norman campus has reached the cap of the allowable number of ranked renewable term faculty that can be hired under the current policy.

The Regents also approved a mechanism to provide a path to promotion for renewable term lecturers and instructors based on length of service and performance criteria. It was noted that the university’s lack of such a policy has made it difficult to recruit and retain quality instructional faculty.

Harroz elaborated that because the “Lead On, University” strategic plan emphasizes the need to enhance the university’s research impact, it is anticipated that the role and importance of ranked renewable term faculty will increase.

“Establishing a process that allows OU to compete for and maintain top-tier teaching and research talent is a key factor in our pursuit of becoming one of the nation’s leading public research universities,” Harroz said.

Also during the meeting, Harroz spoke about the university’s planning efforts for the spring semester, which began on Monday, Jan. 25, for Norman campus programs. Harroz noted that administration of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun for OU health care workers, first responders, and faculty, staff and students over age 65, and planning is underway for distribution to other OU populations.

The board will next meet in March.


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