The University Record, March 11, 2002

SACUA candidates state views; election one week away

Editor’s note: Five faculty members are in the running for three open positions on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA), in an election to take place at 3:15 p.m. March 18. Each candidate shares his or her platform in the article below.

Fred Askari

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) serves as a liaison between the faculty and executive officers of the University such as the interim-president, provost and chief financial officer. The University achieves its greatest potential when the faculty are actively involved supporting and shaping campuswide initiatives.

I have been a member of the University community since 1987. Over the past several years, I have served on the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty and more recently the Senate Assembly. When asked to run for SACUA, I agreed due to my interest in community service and involvement. Michigan will continue to be one of the best schools of its kind in the country, but it can only be its very best when the faculty are involved and active in the community.

As the University faculty and administrators develop exciting new research, teaching and service initiatives, we must be vigilant to avoid quagmires that might cripple the faculty and thereby the University. Future troubles can be averted proactively through faculty involvement. One example is that together we can take steps now to shore up the long range future of retiree health care rather than leaving it vulnerable as part of the annual operating budget of the University. These kinds of initiatives can best be achieved when the faculty and administration work together.

Robert Bartlett

The U-M (and probably the University of California–Berkeley) is arguably the best of the public universities in the United States. James Neel was arguably the best scientist, the wisest, and the most dedicated of the U-M faculty in the last 50 years. Jim always said that if the Ivy League schools, Stanford, Cal-Tech and MIT are A, then Michigan is always B+. The best and brightest of our faculty and students always will be recruited away to the A schools. Review of the last 50 years supports this observation. Why is this? What would take Michigan from B+ to A category? Should it be done? Could it be done? Jim thought that both the cause and the solution is the governing body of the University. Ask Harold Shapiro, Jim Duderstadt or Lee Bollinger. In the A schools, the governing body is made up of the most prominent citizens and the most prominent alumni who are appointed, invited, honored and passionately committed to facilitate programs of the president, whose responsibility is to attract and maintain the best and brightest faculty and students. There is unanimity in the pursuit of excellence.

At the U-M (and most public schools) the governing body is a group of individuals with good intentions but variable qualifications who are elected on the basis of politics by an uninformed electorate. The job of the regents is to watch over the president’s activities from a variety of political and personal agendas. There is [fill in the blank]. (What is the opposite of unanimity?) SACUA should lead the discussion and analysis of this issue, decide if changing the governing body of the University is in the best interest of the University and the faculty, and if so, take the lead on changing the system. Other topics like work hours, unionized employees, tenure, diversity, political correctness, athletics, rules and regulations, are not very important to me as SACUA issues.

Robert Bartlett graduated from Albion College in 1960 and the U-M Medical School in 1963. After residency in general and thoracic surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston, 1963–70, he was on the faculty at the University of California-Irvine, 1970–80 and the U-M Medical School, 1980–present. He maintains an active clinical practice in general surgery and critical care. His research is in cardiopulmonary physiology and artificial organs for acute life support. He is currently professor of surgery and director of Surgical Critical Care. Bartlett has been NIH funded continuously for 30 years. His academic awards include the Sheen Award for scientific accomplishment of the American College of Surgeons, the Ravdin Lecturer on Basic Sciences in Surgery of the American College of Surgeons, the Barney Clark Award of the American Society of Artificial Internal Organs, and charter membership in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. His teaching awards in the Medical School include the Galen Silver Shovel Award in 1992 and the Kaiser Award for Outstanding Clinical Teacher in 1993.

Stanley Berent

I am very honored to have been nominated for membership on SACUA. My background of experience has sensitized me to the concerns of both faculty and administration, and has placed me in an excellent position to address what I see as emerging and difficult issues. Changes in world demographics will continue to have implications for how we formulate and interpret our institution’s policies. Current issues such as tenure, academic freedom, research funding, pay structure, diversity and faculty workload will continue to need to be addressed. Also, new issues will interface with these and others to present novel challenges for the University and its faculty. Without going into detail, some of these issues include privacy in electronic communication, ownership of intellectual properties, issues of aging and the new emphasis on needs for the security of person and property. While hopefully time limited, we also are in the midst of a change in administration, and how this is accomplished is likely to have profound implications for our University.

We also will need to enhance our prospective efforts to plan for the future. Change characterizes the present milieu. Whether one views it as good or as bad, government regulations and oversight are increasing, and HIPPAA and other new standards will have potentially enormous impact on how we conduct our business, as an institution and as individuals. Not only will issues of confidentiality become more complex, but other challenges will continue to surface as well, e.g., ownership and copyright vis--vis intellectual properties and the Internet.

The faculty needs to be able to provide and receive information at all levels of decision making and should be effectively represented in meeting these challenges. SACUA should strive to ensure that these challenges are met in a manner that contributes to an environment that is optimally conducive to the teaching and scholarly missions of the University.

Berent received his doctoral degree from Rutgers University in 1972 and completed his clinical internship training in clinical psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health—Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. Berent came to U-M in 1979, following seven years on the faculty at the University of Virginia where he was a tenured associate professor of psychology. Currently, he is professor of psychology, with academic appointments in the departments of psychiatry, neurology, occupational medicine and psychology.

Since coming to the U-M, Berent has been a member or chair of numerous boards and committees. Some of these activities include the University’s Tenure Committee, the Department of Psychiatry Appointments and Promotions Committee, the Medical School Financial Aid Committee, the University Task Force on Legal Resources for Faculty, the IRBMED, Government Relations Committee, General Counsel Advisory Committee and the University Senate.

Bill Ensminger

There are forces at work tending to diminish the role of faculty governance. One of these is the increasing emphasis on administrators as being faculty who, ergo, need less input from the elected faculty governance system. A second force is the use of task forces set up by the administration to take over a role already defined for one or more Senate Assembly Committees. Finally, on occasion there has been the suggestion that Senate Assembly, SACUA and the various committees represent only a small segment of faculty opinion.

Having served on SACUA and having been chair of SACUA previously, I know that it is possible to work with the central administration for the overall good. I believe faculty must retain focus on issues and not drop them in frustration when disagreements arise. I believe SACUA must do its best to define and communicate the issues to the faculty at large. Input needs to be more effectively solicited from faculty, perhaps through focused surveys and broader use of e-mail. Senate Assembly can be used more effectively to elucidate issues of concern. Open debate and reporting in the University Record of the elements debated can be utilized to engage a larger portion of the faculty in issues of importance to their function and welfare. I believe my experience would prove valuable in sustaining and improving faculty input into the University’s operation and mission.

Silvia Pedraza

Silvia Pedraza is professor of sociology at the U-M. She was born and raised in Cuba, from which she immigrated with her family at the age of 12. Long a wolverine, she was an undergraduate at the U-M. Her Ph.D. in sociology is from the University of Chicago.

Her research interests are in the areas of the sociology of immigration, race and ethnicity in America, as well as the sociology of Cuba’s revolution and exodus. She places particular stress on comparative studies, both historical and contemporary. She says that the leitmotif of all her work lies in seeking to understand the causes and consequences of the differential historical incorporation of immigrant and ethnic groups in America, as well as other nations.

In the American Sociological Association she has been an elected member of its council. She also was elected chair of the section on Latinos in the United States and the chair of the section on racial and ethnic minorities. She also was director of the Association’s Minority Opportunity Summer Training Program (MOST) that was conducted at the U-M for two summers.

At the University, she has been an elected member of the Curriculum Committee of LS&A, as well as Senate Assembly. In the past few years, twice she has won an Excellence in Education Award from the LS&A.