The University Record, March 8, 1993

9 candidates vie for 4 SACUA posts in March 15 election

Nine candidates are running for four seats on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA).

The election will be held at the March 15 Senate Assembly meeting. The top three vote-getters will succeed Ejner J. Jensen, Cynthia L. Marcelo and Roy Penchansky. The fourth-place winner will fill a one-year term resulting from the resignation of Donald J. Bord, U-M-Dearborn professor of physics.

The candidates and their “campaign statements” are:

Stanley Berent, professor of psychology, Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology and in LS&A

Through its involvement in recruitment, promotions, decisions regarding tenure, and organized self-governance, the faculty of this institution retains the ability to determine the future of the University. The actuality of this power may be underappreciated by many on the faculty. In other instances, differences in opinion or need might fuel an apathetic stance as preferable to intellectual confrontation between colleagues.

SACUA, on behalf of the Senate Assembly and the faculty at large, should intervene by adapting an objective and reasoned, proactive stance with regard to the many recognizable changes that are taking place in our academic community. This is a time to make use of our faculty governance to influence policy decisions that are needed in smaller as well as greater matters.

George J. Brewer, professor of human genetics and of internal medicine

Although I run the risk of sounding Clintonian, I’m for change. I’m for change in the lack of consultation and communication with the faculty by the administration when it abruptly makes policy and other changes affecting both the faculty and overall University operations.

Recent examples are the dismemberment of the Intellectual Properties Office in spite of an 80 percent approval rating, the placing of a faculty salary program at the bottom of the financial priorities during the last fiscal year, and the de facto discontinuance of the Department of Population Planning and International Health, all without benefit of significant faculty input and appropriate processes.

I’m also for change in a faculty governance system, which often seems to be more interested in the agenda of the administration than it is in determining the issues that are important to the faculty, and acting upon them in a responsible manner.

I’m for change in a faculty governance system which operates to keep Senate Assembly out of the loop of effective issue-raising, debate and decision-making.

When I joined Senate Assembly in 1992 for the second time, I went to work for change in these areas by focusing on certain issues. One project was the development of a faculty newsletter such that the faculty could be widely informed on upcoming issues, their views acquired and shared among each other, and conveyed to administration. The newsletter trial is now launched.

The second project was development of a bona fide mechanism to evaluate how administrators are doing from the faculty perspective. This mechanism is now under way with the passage of the D’Alecy resolution, which I and a group of other Senate Assembly members helped develop.

The third project was to help the Assembly take back its agenda, truly become involved in faculty governance, initiating and debating important issues. This, I believe, is beginning to happen. Thus I have tried to be instrumental in helping initiate useful changes during the past year, and I plan to continue that effort.

Ronald F. Inglehart, professor of political science and research scientist, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research

SACUA must attempt to make the advisory system more effective in bringing about policies which reflect the interests and values of the Senate membership. In the current context, ensuring that the University accords a high priority to faculty salaries is crucial. When salaries fail to keep pace with inflation, it is equivalent to a salary cut, and the University has just experienced a year with zero increases for most faculty members. University policy should aim at redressing these losses in coming years.

SACUA should play a more proactive role in helping set University policies more generally, particularly in connection with The Campaign for Michigan.

I am also concerned that athletic scheduling should be subordinate to the needs of the academic schedule, and not the other way around. The current proposal to move the academic schedule up one week and have classes start before Labor Day, so that the football schedule can begin a week earlier, seems to reflect a misplaced sense of priorities.

Shake Ketefian, professor of nursing

As resources have become scarcer, pressure has increased on administrators and faculty alike about appropriate priorities and allocation. It is critical that the faculty, individually and as a body, never lose sight of intellectual values and champion them as the core of what the Univer-sity is about.

The faculty are challenged to have a meaningful role in the governance of the institution. The Senate Assembly and SACUA are our best opportunities for doing so. This Universitywide mechanism is also one through which we can cultivate a sense of community within the institution as a whole, over and above that which individual units can accomplish. In the context of the emerging national climate of communitarianism, this is a goal worth pursuing.

Ronald J. Lomax, professor of electrical engineering and computer science

As the highest level representation of the faculty as a whole, SACUA must serve to ensure that the University administration is fully apprised of faculty sentiment on the key issues with which the University is involved, and participate in the decisions.

Current pressures have acted to reduce the real influence of faculty on governance of the University at all levels, which is manifested by the frequently low attendance at departmental and college faculty meetings as much as by increasing autonomy of the central administration.

Tightening budgets at both the state and federal level will make it increasingly harder to address issues that have become central to this and other major universities. These include the quality of the undergraduate programs, the environment for women and minorities, maintaining high quality research programs and facilities, and expanding opportunities for non-traditional students.

While SACUA cannot solve all these problems, it is important for it to be actively involved in dealing with them, and to create channels for faculty participation where they do not already exist.

Alfredo Montalvo, associate professor of art

Until recently—essentially by default—we allowed a constant, rapid and often circuitous executive reshaping and/or reinvention of the University, from classic paradigms of academic emphasis to suspect alternatives, to go unchallenged. Concurrently, to our detriment, the faculty has but reacted to often unwanted administrative initiatives and techniques; reminisced about and lamented the passing of a once strong, clear, cohesive and persuasive faculty voice traditionally offered in confident response; and learned to live with, in my view, an inequitable participatory role in University affairs: a voice and a role change limited to an advisory capacity all too often ignored in a decision-making process of change otherwise supposedly founded on faculty governance.

To change any of this in a meaningful way—if, indeed, the current rhetoric regarding and objectives proposed for achieving a splendidly diverse and multicultural research university are to be realized and enjoyed, ever—then, in mutual respect and cooperation, the University’s administration and its faculty leaders, through the Senate Assembly and SACUA, must create, open and maintain channels of very sensitive and clear communication through which to listen to and share ideas with each other. We must work vigorously together! To this endeavor, I am fully committed.

Thomas E. Moore, professor of biology and director, Exhibit Museum

The role of faculty governance falls principally in the areas of advice and consent regarding policies, procedures, and equitability across the whole University. This includes assuring equal access for all faculty members and other members of the University community to a fair arena to address their concerns, and an opportunity to be heard. Because governance is not the full-time commitment of faculty members, the issues chosen for vigorous response must be carefully chosen and the perspectives unusually insightful, long-range and compelling. The complex issues faced also demand wisdom, patience and cooperation.

Functions of faculty governance include anticipation of needed policies and oversight of adequacy of policies enacted. The current review of policies regarding limits to speech is one example of important evaluation of adequacy of proposed or existing rules. The University’s policies on stopping the tenure clock associated with childbearing or dependent care, and the policies protecting records of faculty members and students are examples of issues anticipated by and policies pioneered by faculty members.

A current example of potential conflict among policies is exemplified by the recent urging of the formation of informal or formal, novel, inter- or multidisciplinary research and teaching arrangements by President James J. Duderstadt, and at the same time distribution of the opinion by University General Counsel Elsa Cole supporting a dean’s authority to assign departmental affiliations and make teaching assignments. Both of these actions are taken in the absence of specific formal University policy, and the second especially suggests significant potential impact on the long-standing policy of faculty members setting the curriculum within departments, schools and colleges.

Such issues that so strongly affect the opportunity for professional growth in teaching and research are exactly the important business of the faculty. Other important current issues include conflict of interest policies for college and central administration members, and evaluation of administrators. Finally, it is again a critical time for faculty to monitor and influence administrative efforts in re-shaping the University and reallocating resources.

Lawrence B. Radine, associate professor of sociology, U-M-Dearborn

My years of working in Senate Assembly and other committees have convinced me that faculty governance will only be effective to the extent that faculty/administration communication be open, continuous and based upon mutual trust. We as a faculty must make our legitimate concerns clear and compelling. Here are some issues I feel are important to take up as a faculty:

1. Sensitivity to undergraduate educational needs.

2. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary projects: how to foster their beginnings and what can reduce the difficulties they encounter once under way.

3. Faculty development: how can a university be helpful, especially to older faculty, in terms of supporting new initiatives in their scholarship and recognizing or drawing out other contributions.

4. The University has numerous faculty whose appointments fall outside the ordinary tenure ranks—clinical faculty, adjunct instructors, full-time lecturers and so on. These faculty members may feel they are in anomalous situations; what can we do to reduce the sense of being in-betwixt and in-between?

5. Regional campuses occasionally have issues that can benefit from Universitywide faculty discussion.

6. Broadening the concept of faculty governance, whereby faculty are consulted on issues that could affect their professional (in the sense of an individual worker) autonomy. The academic freedom and minimal bureaucratization that have characterized University teaching are under threat from numerous quarters.

Louise K. Stein, assistant professor of music

While the University functions through the cooperation of faculty, students and administrators, it is the achievement and initiative of the faculty that will earn the University continued distinction in coming years. In addition to the vital immediate intellectual activity communicated daily through teaching and research, the faculty’s voice should resonate beyond the confines of the classroom, the laboratory, or the recital hall to promote its high standards.

The faculty can only assert its values and affect the formulation of policy if the advisory powers of faculty governance are consistently exercised and the channels of communication between the faculty and the administration are actively open.

SACUA should continue to ensure the inclusiveness of faculty governance, and enhance the effectiveness of its advisory system, such that the advisory system can offer the administration the advice of its most excellent and specially qualified faculty peers. This faculty will need to tap its considerable creativity when challenged by controversial administrative initiatives in a time of reduced economic resources.