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The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met on Monday to discuss the SACUA Nominating committee, e-voting and the qualifications for tenure.
SACUA started with approving the agenda for the day and plans for future meetings. Items on the future events included civic engagement and Sally Oey, professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan, discussing Ann Arbor’s role in decreasing light pollution in dark skies.
SACUA Chair Joy Beatty, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, also discussed a Senate Assembly resolution that allows e-voting on a case-by-case basis. The next Senate Assembly in March will use e-voting for the SACUA elections. While Beatty believes that e-voting will be beneficial, she shared her concerns about getting everyone on board.
“We hope that will only take minutes,” Beatty said. “The only thing that we’re worried about explaining to people why this is coming forward when we’ve been saying for over a year that we can’t do e-voting because we have to approve it. Getting people to understand why this is now okay (will be difficult).”
Linguistics Professor Emeritus John Swales came into SACUA to discuss the issue of publishing and selling textbooks to University students. In a previous article by The Daily, students raised concerns about professors writing textbooks and requiring them for their own classes. Swales discussed the hard work and effort that professors put into publishing textbooks and students believing that professors are trying to make money from students is inaccurate.
“I’m afraid the University of Michigan Press has always disregarded the scholarly and research-oriented aspect of the textbook publications,” Swales said. “They think of some kind of a cash cow and that’s what annoyed me in that article that was written by the press. They give no credence to the … excellent work.”
SACUA member David Potter, professor of Greek and Roman history, said textbooks are meant to share intellectual findings and not solely to make a profit.
“You can not predict what is going to be successful in an academic publication.” Potter said. “What you depend on is the quality of the work.”
The committee also discusses the disbandment of the Committee for an Inclusive University. According to Beatty, this committee felt that the University was not listening to their demands. Beatty shared how her role on the U-M Dearborn campus has impacted her view on this committee.
“As a Dearborn representative, I do care about the sharing of Ann Arbor’s rich treasure chest of stuff,” Beatty said. “CIU has been struggling to find a reason for existing and feeling listened to and valued that they’re saying ‘we’re just done.’ The idea there is to think about various populations, so Flint and Dearborn would be one example.”
Reporter Jasmin Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org