Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Senate Assembly pushes for faculty voice on search committees

The university's Senate Assembly unanimously approved a resolution Monday urging faculty representation on committees that are appointed to help search for executive officers.

President Mary Sue Coleman's contract expires July 31, 2014, and backers of the resolution said that makes it particularly important that non-administrative members of the Faculty Senate have a voice in any search for her successor.

According to the resolution, which will be sent to Coleman and the Board of Regents, executive officer search committees should include Faculty Senate members, chosen from a list of names submitted by the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and approved by the Senate Assembly.

While executive officers and deans are members of the Senate, the resolution's intent is to promote the appointment of non-administrative faculty to search committees.

"The idea is there would be a regular-track faculty member who didn't hold an administrative position who would be representing that voice," said Senate Assembly Chair Kimberlee Kearfott, professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, biomedical engineering and radiology.

The university president generally selects members of executive officer search committees, while the regents choose presidential search committees.

SACUA member Scott Masten, who proposed the resolution, said that along with the potential presidential search, another motivating factor was the recent search for vice president and general counsel. That committee contained no non-administrative Senate members.

"We thought this was a good time to encourage those who do make the decisions how to populate these committees to include representative faculty on these search committees," said Masten, professor of business economics and public policy.

The Faculty Senate consists of all members of the professorial staff, the executive officers of the university, the dean of each school or college, and some members of the research and library staff. It does not include visiting, adjunct or clinical professors.