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OU Board of Regents to meet, discuss new administrative appointments, medical plan carrier, other agenda items

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Members Joseph Harroz and Frank Keating of the OU Board of Regents on March 5.

The OU Board of Regents will hold its first meeting of the academic year on Monday and Tuesday to address agenda items on new administrative and dean appointments, medical plan carrier selection, research and clinic renovation projects and search committee formations. 

According to the meeting agenda, the board will discuss the approval of academic, administrative and professional personnel actions, including the appointment of Paul Mullasseril as dean of the OU College of Dentistry and Matthew D. Brockwell as OU senior vice president and chief financial officer. The regents could also propose an executive session to discuss the approval of academic, administrative and professional personnel. 

To find a permanent OU vice provost for faculty — a position held in the interim by Lori Snynder — the Board of Regents will consider appointing members to a search committee. Regents will look to approve OU senior vice president and provost André-Denis Wright as chair and OU associate provost for Academic Integrity Chris Walker as the Provost’s Office representative. OU director of the Division of Architecture Stephanie Pilat is being considered as faculty senate representative. 

Kelvin White, the OU associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor at the school of Library and Information Studies, and Jessica Ruyle, the OU associate professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will be considered as faculty representatives. Additionally, Cathy Yeaman from the department of Human Relations is considered as staff senate representative and Cricket Kaya, an international development senior, as SGA representative.

The Board of Regents will also approve the appointment of the following search committee members to relaunch the search for a dean of the Honors College. Rich Hamerla is currently occupying the position as interim dean of the Honors College. Dean of the David L. Boren College of International Studies Scott Fritzen as chair, and Daniel Mains, an associate professor of Anthropology and African Studies at the Honors College, as a member of the Honors College faculty. 

Alison Fields, associate director of the School of Visual Arts, and Melanie Wilderman, associate professor of Gaylord College, are being considered as faculty-at-large. Jeanette Davidson, professor at the Clara Luper department of African and African American Studies, was nominated as the faculty senate representative, Will O’Donnell, the coordinator of Student Programs at the Honors College, as the staff senate representative and Tavanah Farzaneh, Honors College student and SGA president, as the SGA student representative.

The Board of Regents will authorize the entrance into negotiations with Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company to serve as the university’s third-party administrator and network provider for self-funded medical programs. Active employees and pre-Medicare retirees at the three OU’s campuses would start their medical and prescription drug plan administration Jan. 1, 2022, with the option to renew for four additional one-year periods before Dec. 31, 2026.

The negotiations followed a spat between OU Health Physicians and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, which resulted in both entities failing  to reach an agreement in February. The two entered a 120-day transition period on March 1. 

OU Human Resources announced, June 2, a 13-month agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield. OU expected to work on an extended contract with BCBS over the course of the next year, yet the negotiations will not interrupt the health insurance coverage for patients requiring services from OU Health Physicians.  

The Board of Regents will also approve “the naming of a newly renovated facility in recognition of a generous gift to the University of Oklahoma Foundation.” 

According to the agenda, the Board of Regents will be ratifying the awards and modifications for March, April, May and June 2021, which are divided into various thematic areas of research. Expenditures  related to externally sponsored funding from the 2020 fiscal year at the OU Norman campus total  $321,274,049. 

As OU requires engineering and testing services, the Board of Regents will authorize a new selection of geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firms for a one-year period with the option to renew for four additional one-year periods. In May 2016, the board approved eight firms for an initial one-year period and were extended for four additional one-year periods. 

According to the agenda, the Board of Regents will discuss the approval of architectural firms to provide services for the Student Affairs Master Plan. Currently, Student Affairs occupies space in the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Henderson-Tolson Cultural Center, Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center, Copeland Hall and other spaces across the campus. However, the plan means to “optimize and consolidate” these spaces for OU students to “enhance their academic experiences” while they participate in diverse cultural experiences. 

The regents will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 in the auditorium of the OU Health Sciences Center’s Robert M. Bird library and at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 21 in the Provost’s Conference Room. The morning meeting will enter executive session with no action taken, according to an email from the OU marketing and communication department. According to the media advisory, attendees are expected to wear masks indoors.

Assistant News Editor

Marien López-Medina is an international student majoring in journalism and nonprofit organizational studies. She works as The Daily's assistant news editor and has served as a news managing editor and news reporter.

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