Faculty Senate to consider expansion proposal


The Faculty Senate will consider a proposal to expand the University of Michigan’s central faculty governance system to include clinical professors, archivists and curators.

The Senate Assembly has voted 33-15, with one abstention, to send a resolution to the full Faculty Senate that would add about 1,810 members to that body, also referred to as the University Senate.

“The expansion of the University Senate follows more than a year and a half of work and discussion, and I hope members of the University Senate engage in this important discussion,” Senate Chair Allen Liu said.

The Faculty Senate currently includes more than 4,150 tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty, research faculty, librarians, deans and executive officers from the Dearborn, Flint and Ann Arbor campuses, including Michigan Medicine.

The Senate Assembly consists of 74 elected faculty members from the three campuses, representing the interests and concerns of faculty throughout the university.

A vote by the full Senate has not yet been scheduled. Liu said the election is expected to be set for sometime in late May.

If the Faculty Senate approves the resolution, the Board of Regents will be asked to change the Regents’ Bylaws, which describe Senate membership.

The proposal now facing Faculty Senate consideration includes structural revisions that will be part of the proposed Regents’ Bylaws changes if the full Senate approves the expansion.

Those revisions would include:

  • Assistant, associate, and full clinical professors, archivists and curators would become members of the Faculty Senate.
  • The Senate Assembly would expand from 74 to 77 members.
  • No unit represented in the Senate Assembly could have more than 17 representatives.
  • A new Senate Assembly “Library” unit would be created to provide representation for librarians, archivists and curators.

The Faculty Senate debated the proposed expansion Nov. 21. Those in favor said the clinical professors include talented individuals who deserve a voice in key university decisions. Opponents said adding clinical professors would significantly dilute the representation of current Faculty Senate members.

Last week, Senate Assembly members voted to add three amendments to the initial proposed resolution that would:

  • Require any future membership changes to be approved by two-thirds of those members voting.
  • Permit clinical professors, archivists, and curators to vote on all issues, with a caveat that only tenured and tenure-track faculty will vote on tenure-related issues.
  • Provide a list of example issues as guidance for interpreting what “tenure-related issues” means in the resolution.

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