The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met in the Alexander G. Ruthven Building Monday evening. The assembly focused on establishing a new plan for the position of the Faculty Grievance Monitor and a bylaw related to the dismissals of tenured faculty.
The meeting began with discussing the University of Michigan’s new generative artificial intelligence, U-M GPT which is free for students, faculty and staff to use. Senate Assembly Chair Tom Braun explained that LSA faculty are concerned with how fast the recommendations from the U-M Generative Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee were implemented during the summer and how AI is already being used in classrooms.
“(The professors are) concerned about the real impact that generative AI might have on learning itself,” Braun said. “Is there a value in having the students write their own draft of a manuscript rather than having a computer generate that draft for them ahead of time?”
The meeting moved on to the approval of new Standards of Operation for the Faculty Grievance Monitor, a U-M faculty member who reviews complaints from other faculty members about administrative decisions. This new plan is meant to expand on the work current Grievance Monitor Karen Staller has been doing and to help make the process of resolving faculty issues more efficient. The assembly discussed creating a team of grievance monitors rather than having one person in charge of reviewing all grievance cases. Braun explained that Staller has handled a lot of cases recently.
“We don’t have a process for the current system to reduce the workload that Karen Staller is already experiencing,” Braun said. “So I think our attempt here is to take the existing system and allow for more grievance monitors.”
SACUA voted on the new plan and passed it with a majority of seven to two, meaning that they will work towards creating a committee of monitors. When the faculty discussed who would be part of the committee, Rebekah Modrak, professor at the School of Art & Design, said it was important to consider how committee members would approach grievance resolution.
“It’s a very specific job and it really needs somebody who’s been through (similar situations the position deals with),” Modrak said.
The assembly decided to start the process of choosing members for this committee by writing down what characteristics and qualities they desired rather than immediately nominating specific individuals. Modrak wrote in the Zoom chat that some of the characteristics SACUA should consider included being familiar with regents bylaws and understanding the emotional and social consequences and implications of filing a grievance.
Senate Assembly member Silvia Pedraza said she agreed with Modrak on the importance of understanding the emotional burden someone can have when submitting a grievance. She also said having someone who went through the process of filing a grievance on the committee would be helpful.
“I think Rebecca is absolutely right, that (the monitor) does require people who have had some experience with these grievances,” Pedraza said. “But you’d be surprised how many faculty have (submitted grievances).”
The assembly moved on to discuss the Regents Bylaw 5.09, which outlines the process a tenured faculty member goes through before dismissal or demotion. Braun said they could discuss the topic further at a Senate Assembly meeting in the future and collect the Assembly’s thoughts on the bylaw.
“Hopefully, because this is an open meeting, the administration knows we’re talking about this and maybe there’ll be a little prerogative,” Braun said. “It would be wonderful to have a conversation about (SACUA’s thoughts on the bylaws).”
SACUA then moved to discuss the matter further in an executive session.
Daily Staff Reporter Ji Hoon Choi can be reached at email@example.com.