The University Record, July 10, 1995

Assembly members discuss role in policy-making; Sen. Schwarz addresses Town Meeting

By Rebecca A. Doyle

"Is the Michigan Mandate an appropriate policy to achieve diversity at the University? Is the Agenda for Women defining the University's goals appropriately?" George Brewer asked members of the Senate Assembly at their June meeting.

Brewer, who chairs the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA), asked for a show of hands on the issues and response from Assembly members on whether the University's policies in these two areas are meeting the needs of the University community as part of his report on a retreat the group held with President James J. Duderstadt earlier that month.

"There is a need for full participation by all faculty in the decision-making process," he told faculty members. Faculty members must participate in the reconsideration and change of values and reward systems, he said, speaking about policies regarding tenure and promotion.

Brewer also noted that the U-M has made progress in the hiring and promotion of minority faculty members, and that there was more mentoring of junior faculty.

"The retreat was a good use of time, valuable for all of us," he said, but also noted that the practice of both the Michigan Mandate and the Agenda for Women was not "making it into the units," and that there is a need to foster activity in this area in individual units.

Brewer also reported to Assembly members on a luncheon that SACUA members attended with five members of the Board of Regents. Important points of that meeting, he said, were that Regents were concerned about the negative comments raised in the May Faculty Town Meeting with state legislators and the effect such comments might have on appropriations for the University.

The Regents also discussed improving the grievance procedures for faculty and streamlining procedures for discontinuation of programs.

Brewer says he plans to continue the Faculty Town Meeting series and has a tentative list of high-profile speakers for the fall series that includes CBS newsman Mike Wallace; Harold Shapiro, former U-M president; Mary Good, assistant secretary of commerce; and Frank Popoff, chief executive officer for Dow Chemical Co.

Following the Senate Assembly meeting, members heard John J.H. Schwarz, R-Battle Creek, who is a member of the State Senate Appropriations Committee, speak on the budget process and the history of appropriations to the state's higher education institutions.

According to Schwarz, the political process is not a pretty sight.

"There are two things you don't want to see made," Schwarz told faculty members. "Sausage and law."

The U-M faces a tough challenge in Lansing because competition from other state-supported public institutions is stiff, and the lobbying efforts have become intense in recent years.

"It went from croquet to all-out war in one year," he said.

Schwarz suggested the University "make itself a presence in Lansing. Presidents of universities must start lobbying as representatives of their universities."

Conclusions the U-M can draw from recent battles for state funding are that the University must become proactive in lobbying efforts, that provosts and deans should communicate with legislators from other parts of the state who have similar interests and that faculty should testify before legislative committees and subcommittees.

"If you are invited to come to testify," he said, "you will be appreciated, listened to and your message will get out." The U-M has a reputation for excellence that is valued by legislators and "there is nothing wrong with your image," Schwarz attested.

Following a two-month break in July and August, Senate Assembly will begin regular meetings again in the fall.