Nick Hazelrigg • @nickhazelrigg
OU’s 14th President James Gallogly has listed a variety of lofty goals, but most have yet to be fulfilled. The Daily took a look at the circumstances surrounding them.
t’s been nearly three months since James Gallogly took office as OU’s 14th president and though his work has just begun, he has used his pulpit to set the agenda.
The once secluded and publicly-silent president-designate has done a multitude of public events since taking office and has presented himself to his constituency for one reason: to make promises.
With a variety of promises and established goals for the Gallogly administration, and with some goals being as lofty as they are, it’s a lot to keep track of. The Daily has identified five main objectives said multiple times in public addresses by Gallogly as his focus: tuition, faculty/staff, research/graduate expansion, budget and Northeast Oklahoma.
These promises and goals have been analyzed and put into context to help members of the OU community keep up with what Gallogly wants to accomplish and the challenges he may face along the way.
“What we will not do this year is increase tuition. We want to always ensure a high quality, high value Sooner education. We will be dependent on the continued generosity of so many loyal and dedicated alumni and friends.” – James Gallogly inaugural address, Aug. 16
It’s true the University of Oklahoma has steadily increased tuition rates for the last five years. According to data from Oklahoma Watch, OU has had the highest tuition increase from fiscal year 2006-07 to now, with an increase of 68.9 percent.
“In the last years, we’ve increased tuition year after year after year about 5 percent plus per year. This year we didn’t. We’re going to make sure we run our university in an efficient way and try to increase those large increases from year to year.” – “Inside Sooner Magic” video, Aug. 22
It’s also true the June 19 Board of Regents meeting, in which Gallogly made recommendations to the regents, was the first time in at least four years OU hadn’t raised tuition for students during the summer regents meeting.
“What is more important than the affordability of this school for the average student who comes here wanting to graduate? If you go up in tuition by 5 ½ percent, 5 ½percent, 5 ½ percent, and you do that enough years that turns into real money pretty quickly. Over five years we’re talking, with five and half compounded increases, we’re talking about.” – Q&A with student body, Sept. 4
While holding the tuition rate is likely Gallogly’s most popular goal among undergraduate students at OU, it is unclear how long it will be sustainable. After nearly every tuition increase, former OU President David Boren justified the hike by citing a lack of funding from the state government.
“First and foremost we’re about students. And one of the things we’ve been doing is pricing ourselves out of the reach of the average person in our great state. That (tuition has) been going up about 30 percent over the last five years. If you were a student starting now and start to end you say, my bill went up 30 percent. Because we let this structure that we have and the inefficiencies get in the way of getting the job done. We gotta do something about that. So we held tuition flat.” – Q&A with OU staff, Sept. 20
However, Gallogly claims he can keep tuition flat simply by cutting out what he calls “inefficiencies” around the university — something he said began on July 2 after taking office when he announced a massive executive restructuring plan. Gallogly also wants to stop what he calls “a building campaign” on OU’s campus, which he says will save the university money.
Gallogly, like Boren before him, also said the university will continue seek out private donors to fill gaps in the university’s budget that may otherwise have been filled by increased tuition.
“Our investments will now move from investments in brick and mortar to investments in faculty and staff. We must properly pay those who help create the sooner magic in our classrooms. And we will. Many have waited far too long for a raise.” – James Gallogly inaugural address, Aug 16
According to the OU Factbook, the average faculty salary for all ranked instructional faculty has gone up roughly $10,000 in the last nine years. However, Gallogly has acknowledged compensation for faculty has been going up, but says there haven’t been raises for faculty members who have stayed with the university for long periods of time.
“It’s time not to just invest in bricks and mortar but to invest in human capital — in those researchers, in paying faculty. We’ve asked our faculty to teach more and more and more classes and that means they have less and less time to be in the library doing their research.” – Q&A with student body, Sept. 4
In 2009, the average ranked instructional faculty member at OU was making $85,138. In 2018, a faculty member would make $96,514, according to the OU Factbook.
“We’ve talked about this beautiful campus we’ve built in Norman and this considerable brick and mortar expansion we’ve done over the last decade or so. Going forward, we’ll spend considerable money on human capital. Part of that will be to pay our faculty better. – Report to OU Board of Regents, Sept. 13.
Gallogly says part of the reason compensation has gone up is because OU has had to pay a “competitive wage” for new faculty members. According to a report by the American Association of University Professors, the average salary for a full professor at a public university is $130,376 for fiscal year 2017-2018.
“The other thing that we think is so important is to give our faculty raises. For some of our faculty members it’s been an excess of five years [without] a raise. That’s simply unacceptable, and we have to do a better job.” – “Inside Sooner Magic” video, Aug. 22
OU paid full professors a little below average at $123,043 in 2018, according to the OU Factbook. Despite this, it’s difficult to examine Gallogly’s claim that long time faculty members are not seeing compensation increases. It’s likely true that at least some faculty have yet to see raises in the last five years.
“For all of those tuition increases, [the faculty] have not gotten raises, some of them for five, six, seven years. New faculty, yes because we have to pay them a competitive wage coming in. But for the people that have been here for so long, they’re very loyal very supportive, and they have not been complaining. So I said that the priorities of this university will be holding tuition flat and beginning to address the compensation issues at this university for faculty. Pretty simple right?” – Q&A with student body, Sept. 4
Repeating this goal has been a popular move for Gallogly among faculty members, with Faculty Senate Chair Megan Elwood Madden standing in support of Gallogly’s faculty strategy at a press conference on the day of his inauguration.
“We can’t keep not paying our faculty a fair wage. Some of you are saying he didn’t say staff, he said faculty and the reason I said faculty is because what goes on in that classroom is what makes us a great university.” – Q&A with OU staff members, Sept. 20
“We will be talking to the legislature about investing in OU again — helping us help the state grow its economy.” – James Gallogly inaugural address, Aug. 16
While Gallogly has said he is continuing to work on the budget, there has been little public information released regarding OU’s budgetary concerns other than Gallogly’s own statements.
“We’ve spent quite a bit of money on new buildings, new facilities. We’ve had a major capital investment program. In the next phase, we’re going to focus on human capital — investing more in our faculty, in our students, and in our faculty programs.” – “Inside Soner Magic” video, Aug. 22.
Via email, Vice President for OU Public Affairs Erin Yarbrough confirmed OU’s exact current debt level was $938 million.
“Because the budget has not been finalized, we do not have a percentage of debt payment to overall budget,” Yarbrough said. “The debt service payment each year is approximately $70 million.”
“We discussed our losses in prior years, we had a $24.7 million loss in 2016, that loss increased $31.2 million in 2017. In 2018, the preliminary numbers that we’ve shown look like its about a $65 million dollar positive number. In fact, most of that relates to gifts.” – Report to OU Board of Regents, Sept. 13
Representatives of the company Standard and Poor’s Financial Services told The Daily last summer Gallogly’s analysis of OU’s debt level was accurate, but it is not unusual for a university like OU.
Gallogly’s comments on research may be the most important topic to understand in his overall strategy because of how it affects the rest of his goals.
“We will also continue to expand OU Medicine, we want to be the medical provider of choice in Oklahoma. The people of Oklahoma deserve outstanding physicians, those who practice clinically through cutting edge research and instruct in the classroom. Our citizens should have access to the best of the best doctors.” – James Gallogly inaugural address, Aug. 16
Gallogly has stated increasing research at OU will lead to economic growth in Oklahoma, which will lead Oklahoma’s government to invest more in the university. Gallogly has said allowing faculty members to focus on research will both increase the university’s research output and show greater support for faculty members.
Seeking new federal research funding for the university would, in turn, allow the university to increase programs for graduate students, which Gallogly has repeated is one of his most important goals.
Easily the most lofty goal, Gallogly has suggested the university could double its research output in five years. Gallogly has said OU’s research levels are the only thing keeping the university from being an “AAU type institution” referring to the Association of American Universities.
“Another of our strategies is to make OU Medicine available to everyone in the state of Oklahoma. We’re concentrated in Tulsa and Oklahoma City at present. It would be nice for OU Medicine to be the provider of choice for everyone in the state of Oklahoma. If you’re someone coming to a hospital to seek medical care, wouldn’t you prefer to go to the best and brightest doctor who is not only in the clinic but also in the lab?” –“Inside Sooner Magic” video, Aug. 22.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, OU’s research expenditures per full-time equivalent student were $5,000 in 2016. The average for an AAU institution was around $23,000 per full-time equivalent student in the same year.
“We’ve indicated that we have a rich undergraduate program at OU, and we’d like to expand our graduate program and double our research that continues to be a very important goal.” – Report to OU Board of Regents, Sept. 13
Additionally, 16 percent of OU’s expenditures in 2016 went to research, while the average AAU institution spent around 25 percent on research in the same year.
Gallogly said he wants to do these things so more graduate students will choose to attend OU for their graduate work.
“Undergraduate is important, [but] great universities reputations are built off of their research and scholarly activity at the graduate level. We’re going to build that out. We have a great, beautiful, rich undergraduate program — honors college, national merit, residential colleges, study abroad, all of these things that give us 17,000 … people want to come for undergraduate — they don’t stay. Because we’re not giving the stipends for those students to stay, the best and brightest are going to somebody else’s university and doing research for somebody else’s state instead of ours. And we’re going to change that, and we’re going to rebuild that reputation. We’re going to double research in the next five years.” – Q&A with OU staff members, Sept. 20
US News and World Report has ranked OU’s various graduate programs, but they vary significantly in their rankings. For example, OU is ranked seventh in petroleum engineering schools, but in other fields, such as computer science, OU is ranked 111th.
“We are very, very good at giving scholarships to undergraduate students who want to come here, but when it gets time for grad programs, a lot of the stipends we have to keep the best and brightest that have come are just simply not competitive. We need to up those stipends to make sure those students stay here in Oklahoma or come from other universities to attend here.” – Q&A with student body, Sept. 4
In medical schools, OU is ranked 83rd for research. Additionally, Gallogly has said numerous times he wants to make OU Medicine the provider of choice for the state of Oklahoma. Integris Baptist Medical Center is ranked as the number one hospital in Oklahoma, while OU Medicine remains unranked.
Sooner Magic Video
Q&A with Staff
Board of Regents Sept. 13 Audio
Q&A with Students