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Updated 11:00 AM March 22, 2004



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Faculty governance
New SACUA members hail from CoE, Medical School

The Senate Assembly March 15 elected two faculty members from the College of Engineering (CoE) and a third from the Medical School to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA).

Michael Combi, research professor and distinguished research scientist, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, CoE; Bruno Giordani, associate professor, Medical School; and Semyon Meerkov, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, CoE, were elected to three-year terms beginning May 1.

SACUA now boasts a roster of nine members hailingfrom three campus units (four members are from LSA) and U-M-Flint. The outgoing members represented the Medical School, School of Nursing and U-M-Dearborn.

Seven of the nine faculty members who were running for the open SACUA positions made one-minute statements to the Assembly prior to the election. All three new members currently serve on the Assembly.

In his written remarks, Combi said the University needs reasoned input into the actions of the administration, and communication back to faculty regarding issues and trade-offs surrounding difficult decisions.

"The University remains in an ever-deepening financial crisis, when a continuing string of difficult policy decisions will need to be made," Combi said. "The most effective course of action will be one in which all major players have a voice."

Giordani, director of the Neuropsychology Division in the Department of Psychiatry, said being a researcher has made him aware of increasing administrative and budget restrictions many faculty members face, as well as the stress of balancing research and publishing with family priorities.

"Faculty should play a strong and decisive role in University governance, and they also must have effective input into budgets, staff negotiations and questions addressing diversity and admissions," Giordani said. "We must ensure that the University remains an environment where respect and open, reasonable communication exist among all faculty, administrative staff and students."

Meerkov said he is concerned that the balance of power at U-M has shifted from faculty to the administration during the past 10 years. On March 15, he introduced to the University Senate a resolution calling for routine evaluations of U-M administrators, including the president, provost, deans and department chairs. The resolution passed.

"I think this shift is detrimental for the University," Meerkov said. "I believe that my membership in SACUA will be helpful to have this proposal approved and, most importantly, implemented."

Following the Assembly meeting, the University Senate re-elected John Lehman, professor of biology, secretary of the Senate, Assembly and SACUA.

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