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OU Board of Regents to Meet in Norman

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents will consider a renovation project for Bizzell Memorial Library and name changes for the Department of Family Medicine and School of Art and Art History when it meets on Monday and Tuesday, June 20 and 21, on OU’s Norman campus. Agenda items for Cameron University, Rogers State University and OU will be considered beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, in the Dick Bell Courtroom of Andrew M. Coats Hall, 300 Timberdell Road, home of the OU College of Law. Monday will be the board’s annual planning retreat, also at Coats Hall.

The OU board will discuss a recommendation to approve the project design and authorize preparation of construction documents for renovation and modernization of space on Lower Level 2 of the 1983 Neustadt Wing addition to the Bizzell Memorial Library. The renovation will create common areas and work areas to be made available to members of the faculty and graduate students. Significant mechanical and electrical system upgrades also will be required for implementation of the project and will augment future Bizzell renovations.

The OU Regents also will consider a proposal to rename the Department of Family Medicine to more clearly reflect its mission. In July 2008, the OU College of Medicine created a separate four-year educational track called the School of Community Medicine track. This track was developed to educate physicians who would use their medical skills to address Oklahoma’s alarmingly negative community health statistics. The track adds to the core College of Medicine education in the science and practice of medicine, the attitude and skills needed to apply these skills to address also the social and public health determinants of health. 

Community health has been essential to the mission of the Department of Family Medicine since it was established as the Department of Family Medicine in 1974. If approved, changing the name to the Department of Family and Community Medicine will confirm the Department’s original mission in an era when the relationships between the clinical, social, environmental and demographic factors that affect health are critical. Renaming the Department of Family Medicine to include community medicine will emphasize the importance of community for health students and residents, for faculty research and scholarship, for the School of Community Medicine and for the communities served. This is consistent with both the name change of the School of Community Medicine and the call for greater integration of public health and primary care nationally. Many medical schools around the country have renamed their Departments of Family Medicine to make more apparent the work faculty and staff within these departments are doing to provide local and regional care for communities. The Department of Family and Community Medicine at the School of Community Medicine will play a leading role in a full continuum of educational programs offered at OU-Tulsa. 

The OU Board also will discuss a proposal to change the name of to the School of Art and Art History to the School of Visual Arts to more fully represent the academic focus of the School, which encompasses areas of design, art history, visual communication, and several studio art disciplines. This name better reflects the School’s degree offerings and faculty research emphasis and will assist the School in its efforts to recruit quality students and faculty to its programs.

The next meeting of the OU Board of Regents is scheduled for Sept. 14 and 15 in Tulsa/Claremore.