At a meeting of the Senate Assembly yesterday, three faculty members were elected to fill positions that will become vacant this spring on the leading faculty governing committee.

Seven candidates competed for the three seats on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, which meets weekly and is widely considered the most direct voice the faculty body has in campus and University affairs.

At the meeting, each candidate spoke about their qualifications for the position and offered their opinions on the responsibilities of a SACUA member.

Forty-six people cast ballots to elect the new SACUA members. School of Engineering Prof. Rachel Goldman netted 31 votes and was elected to the committee along with Engineering Prof. Kimberlee Jane Kearfott, who netted 23 votes. School of Medicine Prof. Kate Barald was also elected to SACUA with 21 votes.

Goldman, a University alum, has served on the Senate Assembly from 2001 to 2005 and is currently the graduate chair in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

“I feel like I have seen the side of the people and I’ve seen the side of the administration,” Goldman told Senate Assembly members.

Goldman has an office on both North Campus and Central Campus along with her lab space. She said that as a member of the academic community on both ends of campus she felt that she could aid in the communication between smaller academic entities within the University — like departments and units — and the University’s central administration.

Like Goldman, the second newly elected member to SACUA, Kearfott, is also from the School of Engineering. Kearfott cited her interest in academic freedom and faculty governance as reasons she would make a good SACUA member. She recalled watching her grandfather lose tenure for teaching evolution in a religion class and said the experience was one of the reasons she wanted to join the committee.

Kearfott said she has served on many committees and believes that she will be effective in negotiating strategies on SACUA. She added that she believes the job of SACUA is to listen and represent faculty effectively, but also to balance contemporary needs with the tradition of the organization.

“I view the SACUA job as one of addressing those modern concerns while continuing to stick with the principals of my grandfather,” Kearfott told Senate Asssembly members.

The final new member to join SACUA this spring will be Barald who has been with the University for 28 years. She has experience with faculty governance, having served on the committee that helped to ensure written rules were in place at all University departments and schools for tenure in 1995.

Barald also cited her experience with mentoring students from ranging in experience the undergraduate level all the way through to post-doctoral fellows, saying she was “very dedicated” to mentoring. In her speech, Barald also said she believed that SACUA’s role was to fairly represent the concerns of all faculty members.

“I think the voice of SACUA is essentially the voice of all the faculty, not any one school college or group,” Barald said.


After the voting finished at yesterday’s meeting, Tim Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, presented information to Senate Assembly members about his office.

Slottow said that the University of Michigan is one of three Universities, including University of Texas and the University of Virginia, that have a AAA credit rating. He also told the Senate Assembly that the total net assets of the University are valued at about $8.7 billion.

“That’s one of the reasons that even in the difficult financial economy we find ourselves in, we are still in a relatively strong position, because so many of our assets and our net assets and our liabilities are relatively small,” Slottow said at the meeting.

Slottow also discussed the 40 to 50 groups that work under the Office of Business and Finance to provide services to faculty and students across campus. Some of these entities that are well known around campus include Plant Operations, Planet Blue and University of Michigan Parking and Transportation Services, Slottow said.

However, Slottow also stressed the importance of other, less well-known groups, including the University’s Upholstery Shop and Furniture Repair and the University of Michigan Interior Design Service.

Slottow discussed at length the operating measures of these smaller entities under his department and the Business and Financial Office’s commitment to customer service, saying the bi-annual survey given to faculty and students is one of the most effective ways of measuring the quality of service.

Slottow also briefly discussed the condition of University Recreational Sports facilities, saying they are in the worst shape in terms of facilities compared to that of other recreational sports facilities at schools around the country.

In addition to discussing the University’s recreational facilities, Slottow also talked about the North Campus Research Complex. He said a transportation technology forum was held to allow companies to highlight their ideas for new transportation to and from the NCRC.

Slottow said that while no decisions have been made, some suggestions at the forum included aerial gondolas, buses that look and feel like light rail and smaller, three to four person transportation methods.

He said the decision will be made as a part of the University’s “integrated master planning” and will involve reconsidering how North Campus will look in the future in terms of housing and other components of North Campus.

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