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The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met in a hybrid format in the Alexander G. Ruthven Building on Monday to discuss faculty composition data, amendments to the ethics and compliance office and he ethics and compliance office and Faculty Senate Office director updates.

The meeting began with a discussion about tenured faculty and the increased proportion of clinical faculty positions due to recent hiring in the last year. SACUA chair Silvia Pedraza, LSA professor of sociology and American Culture, said people who are practitioners in their respective fields have many experiences they can draw on to train students, which is why clinical faculty positions exist and are largely concentrated in the health profession.

“The proportion of tenured faculty has risen a little bit, but the enormous growth has been in the clinical instructional faculty,” Pedraza said. “It has risen all the way from (nearly zero) percent to 2,500 clinical faculty.”

Kanakadurga Singer, vice chair of SACUA and associate professor of pediatrics, attributed the rise of clinical faculty to self-bolstering factors.

“The University of Michigan hospital is still really research-heavy as far as medical schools go nationally, but we have a large patient population to serve, and from that we have to serve the education of the trainees for that field,” Singer said.

Lucas McCarthy, director of the Faculty Senate Office, said he is currently working on a proposal to establish an independent compliance office separate from the Ethics and Compliance office. 

Senate Assembly member and Information professor Kentaro Toyama said he has been discussing the proposal with Thomas Finholt, previous School of Information dean and current vice provost of Academic and Budgetary Affairs, and stated that many deans are concerned about the large size of the Ethics and Compliance office.

“Many of us are contemplating a version where it’s just the ECRT (Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office) that reports to the board for a limited time period, with the main thing being (that) we don’t want the regents to be really involved in the day-to-day running of the University,” Toyoma said. 

At an April meeting earlier this year, SACUA introduced a resolution to create an office for ethics and compliance, which would report directly to the Board of Regents. Members at that meeting discussed the need for an ethics and compliance office — which the majority of other Big Ten universities have established — in order to address how the University handles sexual misconduct cases between faculty and students at the University. 

Toyoma said the office’s direct line to the Board of Regents may be something to reconsider. 

“Keeping in mind the fact we live in a political swing state and (though) the regents are majority left-leaning — and one day might become majority right-leaning — many of us may be unhappy that the compliance office is reporting directly to the regents so I think there are multiple reasons to be careful of what we are recommending,” Toyoma said.

According to McCarthy, the frequency of meetings for specific committees within SACUA is decided by the executive office and the chairs of said committees. Senate Assembly member and Art & Design professor Rebekah Modrak recommended increasing the frequency of these meetings for the General Counsel’s Advisory Committee (GCAC) and the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee (AAAC).

“GCAC is only meeting four times throughout the year and I heard that AAAC is only meeting six times, which is half the number of times we met when I served on that committee for three years,” Modrak said. “It just seems like limited participation by faculty to have such few meetings.”

The meeting came to an end with McCarthy emphasizing the commitment to the hybrid meeting style to accommodate everyone. 

Daily Staff Reporter Shehrez Chaudhri can be reached at shehrez@umich.edu.