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Updated 10:00 AM November 20, 2006
 

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  SACUA annual report to regents
Faculty governance group seeks role in choosing president

Regents should seek input from faculty when it comes to appointing or reappointing a University president, and administrators should value faculty efforts to mitigate the effects of Proposal 2, the faculty governance board believes.

These were among key suggestions outlined by Charles Smith, chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA), in its annual report presented to the Board of Regents Nov. 17.

A need for faculty inclusion on decisions to appoint or reappoint the University president has been raised routinely at SACUA meetings in recent weeks. The Nov. 7 passage of Proposal 2—which bans both discrimination and preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender and national origin—also is drawing SACUA attention.

"Without the active support of the faculty, nothing is going to work to change our approach to diversity," Smith said Tuesday.

He suggested Nov. 14 that regents consider the success of faculty-led initiatives, such as the Program in Scholarly Research that boosted minority recruitment, including one that successfully recruited outstanding students from Detroit schools. "It was a remarkable success; they rank among the top students going to this University," Smith said.

In the annual report, SACUA lists improving communications between faculty involved in governance and regents as a top item, particularly faculty's ability to add input when appointing and reappointing the University president. SACUA members say that while they support the hiring and reappointment of current President Mary Sue Coleman, their input was not valued.

The annual report also urges uses of online administrator evaluations; consultation of faculty in major academic initiatives and major building programs; faculty involvement in the oversight of faculty and staff benefit programs, including the sale of M-CARE and the Blue Care Network administration of health benefits; steps to manage the unfunded health care liability for retirees; changes in the funding of retirement programs; and a proposal to create a faculty-staff administration benefits oversight committee.

Further, Smith said, SACUA is concerned about challenges to tenure and the implications for academic and intellectual freedom. SACUA also urges improved faculty grievance procedures.

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