Luke McCarthy named director of Faculty Senate Office

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An attorney with a background in education has been named director of the Faculty Senate Office.

In his new role, Luke McCarthy will provide key operational and administrative support to members of U-M’s central faculty governance system. He started June 23.

Luke McCarthy

“We have an exceptionally passionate faculty that are interested in quite a lot of different issues,” McCarthy said. “One of the things I’m hoping we can do is make sure the office can be a very action-oriented place, where we can work on turning faculty initiatives into concrete actions. That’s what I hope to bring (to the position): a focus on concrete results.”

McCarthy replaced MaryJo Banasik, who left in April after nearly three years.

The director of the Faculty Senate Office supports the various arms of central faculty governance — the Faculty Senate, Senate Assembly and the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs — as well as the SACUA/Faculty Senate chair and various faculty governance-related committees.

The job involves overseeing the office’s budget, managing faculty governance partnerships, providing advice and training, and researching and analyzing policy concepts, issues and the legal implications of university policies.

McCarthy earned his law degree from Florida State University. He has a Master of Arts and a Ph.D., both in English literature, from Western Michigan University.

McCarthy most recently worked as a teaching and research assistant at Western Michigan. He previously was a partner at Hartwell Failey & McCarthy, PLC in Grand Rapids and an associate attorney at Lisznyai & Associates, PC in Jonesville. At both law firms, he was a general practice attorney whose work included representing the boards of municipalities, businesses and homeowners’ associations.

SACUA Chair Silvia Pedraza said McCarthy described himself as “an odd duck” during his interview due to his unique combination of J.D. and Ph.D. degrees, experience as a lawyer and love for the humanities and political philosophy. 

“It is precisely those qualities and that combination that attracted us to him,” she said. “He also has personal qualities that are attractive, not the least of which is a sense of humor and a liking for academia. We found him to be a terrific candidate.”

SACUA is the nine-member executive arm of central faculty governance system, which also includes the Senate Assembly, 74 elected faculty members from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses, and the Faculty Senate, which consists of all professorial faculty, librarians, full-time research faculty, executive officers and deans.

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