The University Record, March 11, 1998

Seven vie for three seats on SACUA

Richard L. Christiansen

"To build upon a foundation of excellence we should seek, stimulate, challenge, discover, generate new knowledge, learn the truth, report the truth, preserve the knowledge and impart the information of the ages to others. If we understand and believe our common mission, the winds of politics and economics will not throw us off course.

"There are frequently many failures in academia before we experience a major success. We need to foster ideas and ideals with shared responsibilities and credits. How do we measure excellence, achievement, advancement and progress? Success should likely be measured in the lasting ideas and discoveries given to others. We as faculty tend to focus primarily on our own individual and special activities rather than departmental or University issues. A struggle exists between the protection of the rights of the entire academic field, the autonomy of separate disciplines and the autonomy of the individual faculty member. Faculty communication was easy when the size was small. A challenge of every faculty senate is how to effectively communicate with all faculty and crystallize the ideas and develop consensus for optimal change. As "Professor" Will Rogers said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." We cannot merely condemn the changes around us, but rather we need to recognize the changes upon us and learn what resources we have available to move positively in those new directions.

"As we continue to build this international research university team of excellence, we might consider the following questions:

"1. How can we best foster ways for the staff to bring their ideas to the table to improve the environment of partnership?

"2. Can we create new efforts to improve conditions for emeritus faculty to allow and promote his/her continued academic growth and thereby enrich the intellectual base for everyone?

"3. Are we making our best effort with the student body to build the spirit of team membership and unifying human themes into the envisioned institution for the 21st century?

"4. Does the physical environment, such as the perceived increase of preferentially restricted parking spaces, reflect the optimal approach for team building?"

Christiansen, who has been a faculty member for 16 years, is professor of dentistry (orthodontics), with interests in developmental biology, biomechanics and equilibrium of the dentition. He was dean of the School of Dentistry in 1982-87 and guided the school through a reduction of class size from 150 to 100 students and the necessary budget adjustments. He initiated the first endowed chairs in the school, promoted comprehensive care into the curriculum and led the school through full academic accreditation. He founded the International Union of Schools of Oral Health, and currently serves on Senate Assembly and on the governing board of the International Institute.

Donald R. Deskins Jr.

"I strongly believe in the concept of shared governance and that SACUA's role is to work toward that goal. It is in the best interest of the entire University community for the faculty to have meaningful input on all issues that impact their well-being, and the academic research and teaching environment in which they participate. The Senate Assembly and SACUA in cooperation with the new administration must 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 place that continues to be enriched by intellectual and cultural diversity.

"Through the years, I have been an active participant in faculty governance on the departmental, college and University levels. This service includes membership on numerous committees, including the LS&A Executive Committee, two terms each as a member of Senate Assembly and the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics, and two years on SACUA. I have also served on the Budget Priorities Committee and been a member of the Committee for a Multicultural University, which I also chaired. I am concerned about the University's future and the critical challenges it faces in the coming decade." Deskins, who has been a faculty member for the past 30 years, is a professor of sociology. In 1989 he received the Distinguished Governance Award for his active participation in faculty affairs. His current research interests include race and ethnicity, inequality, poverty and conflict in cities, world urbanization, and access to academic labor markets. He has been a Fulbright scholar and received the Faculty Recognition Award in 1980 and 1995.

Sherrie Kossoudji

"This University stands poised between the opportunities of our vision and the constraints of our social and economic realities. Our future depends on the ability of the faculty, administration and students to work together to promote our best opportunities and to minimize the impact of our worst constraints. I believe that, even though the incentives are such to minimize faculty participation in the governance of the University, we must not acquiesce to apathy.

"A significant opportunity is represented by our ability to understand and make positive the impact of rapidly shifting and ever increasing communications and information technologies. We need to prepare not only for the impact on teaching but for the ways in which every aspect of the University will change. We will soon compete globally for students, for example, but may have less need for a body of physically present faculty members. SACUA, as the ears and voice of the faculty, must begin to play a role in constructing this future in a way that is compatible with our faculty's interests and needs. "Our constraints threaten to make our goals less accessible. Our approach to diversity in the university community is under perilous attack. The faculty must be able to galvanize its energies to defend our commitment to the entire community. An obvious, but little used, engine for promoting our faculty's values and vision is SACUA. I commit to moving this agenda forward."

Kossoudji, who has been a member of the faculty for 11 years, is presently an associate professor in the School of Social Work. Her principal research area is in the field of immigration, where she has written numerous articles on the role of legal status for immigrant workers in the United States, and on the incentives to cross the border illegally. She also has written on welfare reform issues. She was a member of the team that evaluated the impact of Michigan's termination of General Assistance, a cash public assistance program. She teaches in both the School of Social Work and in the Department of Economics, and next year will be team-teaching one of the new Rackham Interdisciplinary graduate seminars.

Jacqueline Lawson

"The need for a strong faculty voice in the University decision-making process is a concern shared by faculty on all three U-M campuses. Budget priorities, guidelines for promotion and tenure, the preservation of academic freedom, implementation of the "Principles of Faculty Involvement in Institutional and Academic Unit Governance," effective communication between faculty and administrators, and the enhancement of the educational environment for all members of the University community are issues that are not confined to constituents on a single Michigan campus.

"Having the broadest possible representation on SACUA is thus an important means of ensuring that the concerns of faculty throughout the University system are equitably represented and heard. My experiences in faculty governance on both the Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses convince me that having a diversity of voices at the SACUA table will strengthen faculty governance systemwide. Challenges to prerogatives on any campus are challenges to faculty prerogatives on all three campuses. I believe that a strong faculty governing body reflecting a range of experiences yet united by common principles and shared concerns will have increased influence in meeting these challenges." Lawson, associate professor of English and communications, joined the U-M-Dearborn faculty in 1985. She has twice served on Senate Assembly and has been a member of the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee since 1995. In 1994-96 she served as chair and vice chair of Dearborn's Faculty Senate, and has held numerous elected faculty governance positions on the Dearborn campus. She is a recipient of Dearborn's Distinguished Teaching Award and received the Michigan Association of Governing Boards Distinguished Faculty Award in 1989.

Bernard P. (Pat) Maloy

"I have seen a lot of change in SACUA and the Senate Assembly over the last five years. When I first sat in the Assembly, there was a lot of rancor between the faculty itself as well as the faculty and the administration. I don't perceive the same animosity today. I think SACUA has been more effective in eliminating an adversarial relationship with the administration. Additionally, SACUA has done a good job of keeping faculty informed as part of the decision-making process.

"I believe faculty still want to exercise governance at the school or unit level. That is the heritage of governance at the University of Michigan. I think that SACUA has responded to that faculty desire by emphasizing the role of committees, by changing the nature and focus of Senate meetings and by maintaining a strong level of communication.

"Faculty roles are changing. Whether it is dealing with increased levels of productivity and new technologies, or increased student involvement, faculty are facing change. My experience over the last five years is that SACUS has been fairly innovative in reacting and responding to those changes. I am confident in the ability of SACUA to preserve unit governance while sharing and solving common problems."

Maloy, an attorney, has been at the U-M since 1986. He is an associate professor in the Division of Kinesiology. He received a State of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award in 1991 and in 1995 was named an Academic Leadership Fellow to the CIC. He has served as omsbud for the Division of Kinesiology, as a member of the Division's executive committee, as a member of the Seminar on Teaching group sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and on many other University committees. His current research focuses on legal issues in the design and operation of stadiums and arenas, as well as the legal competencies for coaches and athletic administrators. He also is examining stress disabilities and their relation to management functions and workers' compensation.

A.N. (Tassos) Perakis

"During my three years in Senate Assembly, the University has had three presidents (including one interim), while in its entire 175-year-plus history it had fewer than 15. An effective SACUA could help by providing continuity and advice. Moreover, there is currently no engineering SACUA member, while engineering is a major part of the University community (over 6,400 students, over 300 faculty).

"Since 1982, when I joined the U-M faculty, the University's budget tripled, sponsored research is first or second nationwide. Over, the University is in very good shape. However, the role of faculty in governance is limited. We need more and better communication from the faculty to Senate Assembly and between SACUA/Senate Assembly and the administration, and an increase in our influence, as elected representatives of the faculty, on University policies. Senate Assembly meetings could be used more efficiently by increasing their pace and including short (five- to 10-minute) subcommittee presentations and discussions, after a suggestion by Prof. Nick Steneck, which I strongly seconded at the time.

"The effects of VCM implementation should be closely monitored. While on the University Relations Committee, I was exposed to VCM since its inception. SACUA could study data on its success and its impact on the University. The recent below-inflation proposed increase in these appropriations, at a time when the Michigan economy is in excellent shape, needs to be addressed.

"Flexible benefits, the economic status of the faculty, the recent challenges to the University's affirmative action and admissions policies, tobacco divestment, technology and the rather slow move to the paperless university, and the encouragement of interdisciplinary teaching and research are among other issues of concern."

Perakis, an associate professor of naval architecture and marine engineering, joined the U-M in 1982. His research interests include the stochastic modeling, optimization, reliability and safety of marine systems and maritime economics and management. His is the author of more than 100 publications and has directed several sponsored research programs. He has received a number of awards, including the College of Engineering Class of 1938E Distinguished Service Award, recognizing "outstanding teaching, understanding counseling of students and contributions to research and the growth of the Engineering College and the profession."

He has had extensive Universitywide service experience, including three years on Senate Assembly and a three-year term on the University Government Relations and University Relations committees. He also has provided government service to the Corps of Engineers, Institute of Water Resources and the NAS/NRC'' Loads Working Group of the Ship Structure Committee.

Peter A. Ward

The health care environment is rapidly changing in all academic medical centers. There is a great need to respond to these changes in a constructive manner. It will be very important to understand how these changes will affect the academic environment. As importantly, in the midst of these changes there will be opportunities to enhance teaching and research activities across the University. For instance, the emergence of bioinformatics as well as research into health care outcomes are two important areas of opportunity. The full measure of success will require the Medical School (and Health System) to reach out to other University units that have intellectual resources which can play important roles in these areas. A closed integration between the Medical School and the rest of the University will afford new and exciting opportunities for such pursuits. Thus, the currently changing environment provides us with an opportunity to strengthen linkages between the Medical School and the rest of the University. I believe participation in SACUA will provide an opportunity to enhance such developments."

Ward, the Godfrey D. Stobbe Professor of Pathology and chair of the Department of Pathology, has been on the U-M faculty since 1980. He served as interim dean of the Medical School in 1982-85. He has been heavily involved in Medical School committees (Executive Committee, Dean's Council, Hughes Advisory Committee, Conflict of Interest Committee, Cancer Center Advisory Board) and has taken part in interdisciplinary activities involving the Medical School and other University units, including LS&A. He received the University's Distinguished Biomedical Scientist Award in 1989. He also has served as president of the major pathology societies of North America and has a distinguished research career in the area of inflammation.