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Koopmann re-elected SACUA chair

Citing the solid job he has done in the first year as chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) and the relationships forged with the University administration, the committee Feb. 10 re-elected Charles Koopmann Jr. to serve the same role in 2003-04.
(Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

Koopmann, associate chair of the Otorhinolaryngology Department and professor of medicine in pediatrics and communicable diseases, will begin his third and final year as a SACUA member May 1. John Riebesell, also a third-year member of the committee and associate professor of biology at U-M-Dearborn, was elected vice-chair.

"I consider it a great honor, but this really is a group effort of an outstanding committee," Koopmann said. "One of the things I have tried to do is get each member involved in areas they are interested in so that everyone feels they are an active part of the committee. It has been a busy year, but fun. It has really been enjoyable getting in on the ground floor with a new administration."

Koopmann said the committee has been successful in areas such as challenging parts of the new University prescription drug benefit program and the use of Social Security numbers on benefit identification cards. Those results, he said, have been bolstered by increased communications and cooperation on campus.

"We have had great cooperation with many of the staff and administration as we look at issues on benefits and budgets," said Koopmann, who also cited more meaningful dialogue with the advisory board for athletics. "It has been a marked improvement this year."

Koopmann said communication will be key to solving current budget issues and making sure faculty concerns are heard in potential budget cuts. Koopmann said other issues he would like to explore include formalizing an ombuds program to help faculty find alternatives to grievances, and the continuation of childcare discussions.
"This really is a group effort of an outstanding committee."
—Charles Koopman

Riebesell said he is honored to be elected by his SACUA colleagues. He echoed Koopmann's desire to have faculty involved in the budget process. In addition, Riebesell said he would like to see greater faculty involvement in the development of admissions procedures.

"We have won some and we have lost some," Riebesell said of his two years on the committee. "Even in cases where the final outcome was not what we desired, I think we have called attention to important issues and set the stage for small, evolutionary changes that followed."

Riebesell, member of the U-M-Dearborn Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty and former chair of the U-M-D Faculty Senate, said he would like to see central administration develop a vision of the University that includes U-M-Dearborn and U-M-Flint.

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