The University Record, March 12, 1996
Eight candidates vie for four SACUA seats
By Mary Jo Frank
Eight members of Senate Assembly are running for four seats on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA).
The election will be held at the Monday (March 18) Senate Assembly meeting. Three candidates will be elected to serve three-year terms beginning May 1, succeeding George J. Brewer, Thomas E. Moore and Robert L. Smith. One person also will be elected to finish the third year of the term of Alfredo Montalvo, who is retiring from the University.
Candidates provided the following statements and biographical information.
Bunyan I. Bryant Jr.
"Election to SACUA will provide me an opportunity to serve my colleagues in the University community. I am deeply concerned about fairness at all levels and about building a cohesive community of scholars. During the times we are involved in the great paper chase or chasing dollars for our research projects, we often fail to build community; it is this commu nity that is the lifeblood of the University.
"Over the years, I have felt that the faculty has lost considerable influence; I would like to help faculty regain that influence and be more active in making decisions that affect the University. As faculty we are important; we have the res ponsibility of transmitting accumulated and newly created knowledge to students, and we have the responsibility to be role models. We are closest to the students and therefore can speak with most authority regarding issues that will affect teaching and l earning, both directly and indirectly, here at the University. "
Bryant, associate professor of natural resources, has taught in the Resource Policy and Behavior Concentration at the School of Natural Resources and Environment for more than 20 years. He also holds an adjunct appointment with the Center for Afr oamerican and African Studies.
His research interests include developing case studies on corporate, agency and community responses to hazardous waste sites. He also is studying the proximity of hazardous waste facilities to schools and their impact upon academic achievement. He edited Environmental Justice Issues: Issues, Policies and Solutions and was co-principal investigator of the "University of Michigan 1990 Detroit Area Study on Race and Toxic Waste."
Bryant helped organize the University's 1990 Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards and was a co-facilitator of the Martin Luther King Planning Committee. He served on the advisory committee of the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit and was a member and co-facilitator of the Symposium on Health Research Needs to Ensure Environmental Justice. He also has been a consultant and board member for a number of nonprofit environmental organizations acro ss the country.
Donald R. Deskins Jr.
"I strongly believe in the concept of shared governance and that SACUA should work toward that goal. It is in the best interest of the University community as a whole for the faculty to have more input on all issues that impact th eir well-being, and the academic, research and teaching environment in which they participate.
"SACUA must also strive to make the University a more productive and better place for teaching and research. Above all, SACUA must be the strongest advocate of academic freedom, tenure and faculty rights. It must also work for an academic environment that supports new research initiatives, ideas and learning, first-rate undergraduate and graduate programs, and all institutional efforts designed to make the University a multicultural place intellectually enriched by diversi ty."
During the 28 years he has served as a faculty member, Deskins, professor of urban geography and sociology, has participated in faculty governance on the departmental, college and University levels. This service includes member ship on numerous committees, including the LS&A Executive Committee, and two terms each as a member of the Senate Assembly and the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Deskins also has served on the Budget Priorities Committee and now chairs the Committee for a Multicultural University. He received the Distinguished Faculty Governance Award in 1989 and the Faculty Recognition Award in 1995.
His current research interests include race and ethnicity, inequality, poverty an d conflict in cities, world urbanization, and access to academic labor markets.
William D. Ensminger
"I find it refreshing to observe how the rise of the corporate model within the University has invigorated faculty governance. For some time, it appeared as if the top University officers were the only ones who could generate goal s and policies, which were distributed subsequently downstream as mandates. Despite the intrinsic and potential worth of these directives, the lack of substantive input from the faculty and the fact that the faculty was not involved in the development of thes e directives diminished their impact. Even today we are coming under a value-centered management (VCM) mode of financing without clear evidence that faculty will be involved in setting the V (value). Administrative goals may not be faculty goals. For e xample, it has been implied that research may be too costly to pursue in the fu ture.
"Fortunately, the strength and quality of faculty governance have improved. It will be important to have a new president and provost who adapt a collegial style. Faculty will be empowered when the administration adopts faculty initiatives w ith the same fervor as its own. Faculty feel rewarded for their input and gain satisfaction in representing their faculty peers when the administration uses University resources to carry out faculty directives. Knowledge gives power, and when knowledge is not shared or is only selectively shared with the faculty, there is an imbalance of power. Clearly, this heightened imbalance of power in the pursuit of the corporate model is reflected in the much more rapid growth in compensation within the upper le vels of the administration as compared to the faculty.
"Thus, the next several years are crucial to faculty governance. The gains of the past few years must be consolidated and become firmly evident in the policies pursued. Senate Assembly and Senate Assembly committees, including SACUA, must re present faculty and academic interests. This process includes drawing out and understanding the rationale and need for new policies and programs generated by the administration. Carried out in a collegial manner, the dialogue involved will improve the qu ality of policies pursued and the support for their implementation throughout the University."
Ensminger, professor of medicine and pharmacology, joined the faculty in 1978. He is director of the Upjohn Center for Clinical Pharmacology and associate director of the General Clinical Research Center. His research interests focus on improvin g therapy for cancer through innovative preclinical and clinical investigations.
His University service includes membership on Senate Assembly, the Research Policies Committee and the Intellectual Properties/Technology Management Advisory Committee.
Daniel G. Green
"After nearly 30 years on the faculty at the University of Michigan, I still find myself feeling a sense of awe and wonder at the level of personal commitment and involvement each faculty member has for his/her own particular enter prises within the University.
"Yet somehow this concern for 'my classes, my students, my patients, and my research' does not detract from strong and deep commitment to the needs of the University as a whole. I am firmly convinced that the strong democratic traditions tha t exist within the academy are what make it possible for each of us to be so involved with our own tasks without compromising our enthusiasm for working for the general good.
"As we face the difficult tasks ahead of us in allocating ever-decreasing external and internal resources, it seems to me very important that we not lose sight of the importance of faculty governance, academic freedom and tenure. I do not be lieve that the system we seem to be drifting toward where executive officers establish and dictate directions and goals will serve the University's needs or that a faculty that is informed rather than consulted will continue to feel that they are the owne rs of this enterprise.
"I look forward to being in a position to help strengthen and, yes, rebuild a system of faculty governance where the important issues are brought before the faculty so that through open discussion and debate they can reach consensus and have a feeling of shared responsibility for the directions and decisions the University takes."
Green, who has been a faculty member since 1966, is a professor of physiological optics in the Medical School and holds joint appointments in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and in the Department of Psychology.
He served as a Medical School representative to Senate Assembly from 1989 to 1992 and has been a member of the Civil Liberties Board since 1992, serving as the chair in 1994 and 1995 and as acting chair this year.
Green has served on the Advisory Committee on Recreational Sports and has been a trustee and vice president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Samuel R. Gross
"The next few years will be a period of transition. We are at the beginning of a search for a new president for the University who will take over some time next year, after a 6- or 12-month administration by an interim president. In this context, I believe that the main goal of the Senate Assembly and SACUA should be to work with the new administrations to help preserve and build the institution.
"SACUA and the Senate Assembly have a special position in the University. These are the bodies that are best able to build ties across schools and disciplines, to bring some common sense of purpose to our large and extremely heterogeneous fa culty, to limit the tendency of the University to become (who first said this?) a collection of separate departments bound together by common parking grievances.
"Unfortunately, SACUA is handicapped. Many faculty members, for one reason or another, are alienated from SACUA, if not actually hostile. For that to change, the essential task for SACUA is internal to the faculty: To develop a position of leadership by learning the interests and the needs of the faculty as a whole, and by attempting to serve them."
Gross, professor of law, has served for two years on the University Relations Committee and for three years as a member of Senate Assembly, including a term as a member of the SACUA nominations committee. He is currently a member of the SACUA Te nure Committee and chair of the Police Grievance Committee.
Carol J. Loveland-Cherry
"In light of the changing nature of the University and relevant social and political environments, it is essential that faculty maintain an active voice in the debate of issues and direction of efforts in support of the mission of the University. A strong faculty governance structure is one way to ensure such a voice. Specific issues of importance are: 1) effective integration of technology for teaching, operations and research; 2) implementation and evaluation of VCM; and 3) ch anges in leadership in the University.
"Technology plays an increasing role in the daily operation and function of the Universityfor students, faculty and staff. Decentralization of computer and other technology services requires a strong infrastructure to effectively maintain ba sic functions. Input from all involved groups, including faculty, is critical.
"VCM raises a number of concerns regarding preservation of the integrity of educational offerings, articulation with external funding, and maintenance of collaborative, interdisciplinary educational and research programs. Through a strong gov ernance structure, faculty can participate in the formation of processes and structures to assure quality within a VCM environment. Major changes in the leadership of the University create opportunities for critical direction from faculty.
"As a candidate for SACUA, I believe it is important for faculty to not only monitor these issues, but also to provide input that is timely, relevant and heard."
Loveland-Cherry, associate professor of nursing and director of the School of Nursing's Division of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Programs, joined the faculty in 1984.
She has served as a member of the Senate Assembly, was a Committee on Institutional Cooperation administrative fellow, and is a member of the U-M Substance Abuse Research Center Executive Committee and the Financial Affairs Advisory Committee. Sh e is active in professional organizations and serves on committees related to family, adolescent and community health. Her research focuses on implementation and evaluation of family and school-based programs to prevent adolescent drug use.
Leon A. Pastalan
"The end of winter term 1996 will mark my 30th year at the University of Michigan. Over those years I have served on a number of college and university committees having to do with faculty governance and have witnessed a number of changes, some positive and some negative. Since the early 1980s, it seems many of those changes have been less than positive.
"It is my view and the view of many of my colleagues that the voice of the faculty is growing ever weaker. I have observed that the will of the faculty too often bends to the will of the administration. Prerogatives have been ever more narro wly defined until we are regarded as little more than hirelings.
"The faculty is asked to sacrifice salary increases while administrators count theirs in double digits. Every time one turns around, there seems to be yet another 'office,' complete with the obligatory hierarchy of highly paid functionaries. When was the last time we added a new academic unit?
"The faculty must regain its collective voice and become real partners in the important decision-making process of this university.
"The first step I would take is to establish direct access to the Regents where representatives of the Faculty Senate would report on the state of the faculty and its academic programs on a monthly basis. There is a great need to articulate our successes, difficulties and concerns in a continuous dialogue with the Regents so they will learn firsthand what the teaching units are all about. In this way there is an assurance that some of the 'brush strokes' of the big picture will more fundame ntally reflect who we are and the importance of what we do.
"Another crucial issue for the Faculty Senate is the new budget paradigm called VCM. It is my impression that VCM was largely an administration initiative. Basically my colleagues and I were told that it was going to be instituted and that was that. I don't recall a consensus from the faculty on this issue. This, despite the fact that it will undoubtedly have a profound impact on all academic units. To do this without adequate faculty dialogue gives us another reason to contemplate how w eak our position has become. Be that as it may, there are some very good features of VCM, and it should be given an opportunity to prove itself. However, I strongly recommend that the Faculty Senate establish an oversight committee to monitor the effect s that this new budgetary process will inevitably have on the academic climate at the University.
"Lastly, in light of the enormous changes that are impacting us on a daily basis, such as drastically reduced research funding, galloping technological innovations and the booming prospect of significant downsizing, what should the core activ ities of this research university be for the immediate and long-term future? I would strongly urge the Faculty Senate to form a task force to examine this crucial issue and to define what the core activities should be for this academic community. If we fail to address and define this issue, then it will surely be done for us."
Pastalan is a professor of architecture.
Melvin D. Williams
"My experiences as director of the Comprehensive Studies Program (LS&A and in the Provost Office), member of the LS&A Dean's Council and ombudsperson in LS&A, and member of the Senate Assembly have taught me some of th e major needs and objectives of administrators, faculty, staff and students at the University of Michigan. I have studied and written about some analogous relationships in An Academic Village: The Ethnography of a Anthropology De partment.
"I am sensitive to the external and internal pressures and demands on the University and to the transformations that approach our community tomorrow. Some of the criteria that we seek in our next president indicate that the community is sen sitive as well. In a recent LS&A faculty meeting, the issue was raised that all members of our community can no longer afford to be uninvolved. So it is with faculty governance.
"As a student of Race, Class and Gender: The Reproduction of Social Inequality, I am keenly aware of how the 'Academic Village' at the University must strive to be a thriving and contributing intellectual community. I hope to serve those ideas and ideals as your representative."
Williams is a professor of anthropology.