The University Record, February 25, 1998

Assembly Roundup

By Kerry Colligan

The Senate Assembly held its monthly meeting on Feb. 16. Included in the discussions were the General Counsel's Advisory Committee, post-tenure faculty review, Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) nominations and several committee reports.


At the December Regents' meeting, President Lee C. Bollinger recommended the reassignment of the general counsel position to the vice presidential level. In conjunction with that reassignment and according to Regental Bylaw, Senate Assembly must convene an advisory committee to the new vice president.

A motion to convene the committee was tabled following discussion and a vote without quorum. Senate Assembly Chair Louis D'Alecy said that it would be "inappropriate" to let the composition of the committee remain undecided beyond the end of the current academic term. While he said he does not have a sense of what the composition of or the specific charge to the committee ultimately will be, D'Alecy said that those issues can be revisited once the position is filled.


In January, SACUA raised the issue of post-tenure review with President Lee C. Bollinger and Provost Nancy Cantor. A summary of their comments were presented to the Assembly (see box).

Nominations for election to SACUA are being accepted. Six nominees have agreed to serve if elected. They are: Donald R. Deskins, professor of urban geography and sociology; Sherrie A. Kossoudji, associate professor of social work; Jacqueline E. Lawson, associate professor of English language and literature and communications, U-M-Dearborn; Bernard P. Maloy, associate professor of kinesiology; Anastassios N. Perakis, associate professor of naval architecture and marine engineering; and Peter A. Ward, the Godfrey D. Stobbe Professor of Pathology. Information on the candidates views' on University issues will appear in the March 11 issue of the Record.

Several committees presented reports to the Assembly regarding their recent activities.

The Tenure Committee is identifying common policies and procedures in the tenure review processes of many units on campus. The committee may make recommendations in the following areas: evaluation criteria, faculty involvement in tenure decisions, lines of authority, communication and feedback, timing, record keeping and appeals.

The Student Relations Committee is discussing residency guidelines, substance abuse and student housing and related issues.

The Research Policies Committee has been working with the Provost's Office on the reorganization of the Office of the Vice President for Research. In the coming months, it will discuss the impact on research of the budget system, and issues related to technology transfer and occupational safety and health.

President's, provost's views on post-tenure review

Editor's Note: Excerpted from the approved SACUA minutes of Feb. 12, 1998.

"Discussion with Provost Cantor:

"Chair D'Alecy invited the Provost to articulate her position on post-tenure review of faculty. Provost Cantor said that no school or college at Michigan to her knowledge has any review that puts tenure on the table. She said that every unit has performance reviews that come in the form of salary, promotion, and program reviews. (William D.) Ensminger, (professor of pharmacology and internal medicine), commented that it would be better to talk about performance reviews only and to drop the other term. Cantor replied that she has never used the term "post-tenure review" and that no dean has brought it up with her. She said that if anyone hears it raised, they should let her know. She said there was no official communication using the term of which she was aware."

"Discussion with President Bollinger:

"President Bollinger stated that he was against post-tenure review of faculty. He said that his view is that we have tenure and that he believes in it strongly. He said that in the tenure system there is a built-in rigorous review at annual and other intervals. He said that any existence of post tenure review implies there is not already rigorous review. He said that he believes there is rigorous review within the tenure system, and that tenure is critical to the education system as we know it."