Ten faculty members seeking three seats on SACUA


Ten people are running for three seats on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, the nine-member executive arm of the University of Michigan’s central faculty governance system. 

The winning candidates will begin their terms May 1.

The electronic vote will open at the March 18 Senate Assembly meeting. Members will be able to vote for 48 hours following the meeting. The winners are expected to be announced March 21.  

The top three vote-getters will serve three-year terms, replacing three SACUA members whose terms are expiring:

  • Lindsay Admon, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Medical School.
  • Damani Partridge, professor of anthropology and of Afroamerican and African studies, LSA.
  • Silvia Pedraza, professor of sociology and of American culture, LSA.

Biographical information and position statements supplied by the candidates to the Faculty Senate Office are listed below:

Seth D. Guikema

A photo of Seth D. Guikema
Seth D. Guikema

Professor of civil and environmental engineering and of industrial and operations engineering, College of Engineering

Education: Postdoctoral fellow in civil and environmental engineering, Cornell University, 2003-05; Ph.D. in engineering risk and decision analysis, Stanford University, 2003; Master of Science in civil and environmental engineering, Stanford University, 1999; Master of Engineering in civil engineering, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 1999; Bachelor of Science in civil and environmental engineering, Cornell University, 1997

Faculty leadership: Co-director, Center for Risk Analysis Informed Decision Engineering, 2020-present; member, Academic Board for Intercollegiate Athletics, 2022-present; member, President’s Faculty Council on COVID, 2020-21; member, Senate Assembly, 2021-present; member, College of Engineering Safety Committee, 2023-present; graduate program chair, Department of Industrial & Operations Engineering. CoE, 2017-19

Candidate statement: Strong faculty governance is critical to the continued growth and eminence of the university, to ensuring academic freedom and to fostering an environment where all faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to provide input to university decisions and to reach their potential in research, education and service. As a SACUA member I will represent faculty viewpoints in working with the administration as we collectively address challenges faced by the university community through shared mutual respect and open communication. I would be honored to work to ensure faculty voices and perspectives are heard to help guide university decisions and policies.

James W. Gulvas

A photo of James W. Gulvas
James W. Gulvas

Senior associate librarian; acquisition librarian and order unit manager, U-M Library

Education: Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians, Harvard University: Graduate School of Education, Professional Education, 2022; Master of Library and Information Science, Wayne State University, 2012; Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary communication, Aquinas College, 2011

Faculty leadership: Member, Faculty Budget Engagement Committee, Office of the Provost, 2023-present; Senate Assembly Financial Affairs Advisory Committee, chair, 2022-present, member, 2021-present; Librarians’ Forum vice chair, 2023-present; U-M Library Promotion Review Committee, co-chair, 2023-present, member, 2022-present; Big Ten Academic Alliance, Libraries Acquisitions Heads, chair, 2021-December 2022, member, 2020-present; co-chair, Promotion & Appointment of Librarians Implementation Working Group, U-M Library: Librarian’s Forum, 2018–19

Candidate statement: I am honored to stand as a candidate for SACUA, driven by a commitment to advancing faculty interests and fostering a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. With a background in leadership and advisory committees, I recognize the vital role of faculty input in shaping university policies and decisions. If elected, I will prioritize transparency and communication, ensuring that voices are heard and valued. By working together with a commitment to values, we can address challenges and opportunities that will benefit our university. I am dedicated to serving as a representative of faculty and advocating for the interests of our community.

Vania Hinkovska-Galcheva

A photo of Vania Hinkovska-Galcheva
Vania Hinkovska-Galcheva

Associate research scientist, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School

Education: Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in organic chemistry, Ph.D. in biochemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Science

Faculty leadership: Previous member of the Research Advisory Committee; editorial board member to Scientific Reports

Candidate statement: SACUA provides an opportunity to help shape the experience of all faculty, staff and students by leveraging the learnings and know-how of the diverse committee. As a senior faculty member my goal will be to work with all stakeholders, share my experience and ensure open and constructive communication. I would like to explore better startup funding opportunities for research-track faculty to establish more independence in their research activities.

Yasmina Laouar

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Yasmina Laouar

Associate professor of immunology, Medical School

Education: Postdoctoral fellow in immunology, Yale University, 2007; Ph.D. in immunology, University Rene Descartes, France, 1997; master’s degree in immunology, University Rene Descartes, France, 1993; engineer in biotechnology, University Houari Boumediene, Algeria, 1992

Faculty leadership: Faculty Senate Committee on the Economic and Social Well-Being of the Faculty, chair, 2022-present, member, 2021-2022; DEI lead, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 2021-present; member, Biomedical Research Council, 2021-present; member, Faculty Advocacy Committee – Animal Care, 2020-present; member, Mental Health Strategic Planning for Staff and Faculty, 2023-present; member, Rackham Faculty Allies Program, 2021-present

Candidate statement: As a member of the academic community, I firmly believe that true progress is not achieved through homogeneity of thoughts, but through the exchange of diverse ideas. However, I recognize the inherent challenge in balancing democratic practices with the empowerment of minority perspectives. In a democratic system, majority rule often prevails, potentially marginalizing minority voices. Yet, it is precisely in these moments that we must be vigilant in upholding the principles of academic freedom and diversity of perspective. We must strive to create inclusive spaces where all voices are heard and valued, regardless of their popularity or prevalence. 

Nicolai Lehnert

A photo of Nicolai Lehnert
Nicolai Lehnert

Professor of chemistry and of biophysics, LSA

Education: Habilitation, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany, 2001-06; postdoctoral fellow in bioinorganic chemistry, Stanford University, 1999-2001; Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany, 1999

Faculty leadership: Member, Faculty Advisory Board, Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, 2023-present; Senate Assembly Committee for Fairness, Equity, and Inclusion, chair, 2022-23, member, 2020-22; member, Senate Assembly Committee on Anti-Racism, 2020-23; member, Growing STEM/NCID Knowledge Community Steering Committee, 2017-19; member, UROP Director Search Committee, 2017-18

Candidate statement: Faculty governance is a core value of our university that is worth guarding against administrative overreach. As a SACUA member, I will work towards strengthening the faculty influence on strategic decisions at the university level and elevate the faculty voice to decision-makers in the higher administration. Second, as a faculty advocate for diversity and director of an outreach program, I am dedicated to strengthening diversity initiatives at our university, and I will work towards improving equity and inclusion on our campus. 

Derek R. Peterson

A photo of Derek R. Peterson
Derek R. Peterson

Ali Mazrui Collegiate Professor of History and African Studies, professor of history and of Afroamerican and African studies, LSA

Education: Ph.D. in history, University of Minnesota, 2000; Bachelor of Arts in history and political science, University of Rochester, 1993

Faculty leadership: Member, Senate Assembly, 2022-present; associate chair, Department of History, 2023-present; member, LSA Dean Search Committee, 2018-19; associate director and director of the Center of African Studies, 2009-13

Candidate statement: At a time when academic freedom is increasingly hedged in, it is critical that SACUA would look for ways to expand faculty members’ power in running the University of Michigan. The work of SACUA has generally focused on offering advice to university leaders. I think it’s essential that SACUA would claim a less circumspect, more definite role. We need to draw disengaged colleagues into our work and amplify our collective voice. We need also to build solidarity with the local AAUP (American Association of University Professors) chapter. The times demand more resolution, more organization, and a broader vocation for faculty governance. 

Soumya Rangarajan

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Soumya Rangarajan

Clinical assistant professor, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan Medicine

Education: Residency in internal medicine (2016) and fellowship in geriatric medicine (2017), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Doctor of Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, 2013; Master of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, 2008; Bachelor of Science, political science (with high honors) and general biology, University of Michigan, 2006

Faculty leadership: Medical director, Hospital Care at Home, 2021-23; medical director/geriatrics lead, Acute Care for Elders, 2018-21; Advancing Inclusive Leadership for Women and Underrepresented Identities Subcommittee, 2021-25; Faculty Senate Medical Affairs Advisory Committee, 2018-21

Candidate statement: The addition of clinical track faculty, lecturers and librarians to the Faculty Senate in 2023 is a monumental shift for university governance, presenting an opportunity to represent a much broader array of voices, increasing transparency and open communication. As a full-time clinician and new clinical track faculty Senate member who also has the pulse of Central Campus as an undergraduate LSA alumna, I hope to bridge the old and the new. Traditional tenure and research track faculty and new clinical faculty members have opportunities to learn from each other, breaking down silos and fostering growth across the university.

Merle Rosenzweig

A photo of Merle Rosenzweig
Merle Rosenzweig

Informationist, Taubman Health Sciences Library

Education: Master of Arts in liberal studies, School of Information, University of Michigan; Bachelor of Arts, Wayne State University

Faculty leadership: Member, secretary of the University Advisory Committee, 2017-present

Candidate statement: As a proud alum of the University of Michigan it would be an honor to be considered as a candidate for the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and to support the mission of the University of Michigan in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future. I believe we face many varied new challenges today that will impact the university now and in the future. Among them, climate change; diversity, equity, inclusion in student enrollment and faculty recruitment; and gender equality. Serving on SACUA will provide me with the opportunity to help achieve them.

Melanie S. Tanielian

A photo of Melanie S. Tanielian
Melanie S. Tanielian

Associate professor of history, director of the Program in International and Comparative Studies, LSA

Education: Ph.D. and Master of Arts in history, University of California, Berkeley, 2012 and 2007, respectively; Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern studies (honors) and Bachelor of Arts in religious studies (honors), University of California, Berkeley, 2004

Faculty leadership: Member of the Senate Assembly; co-chair of the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Academic and Intellectual Freedom Lecture Committee, 2023-present; director of the Program for International and Comparative Studies, 2023-present; director of the Center for Armenian Studies 2020-23, International Institute Steering Committee, 2020-21 and 2023-present; U-M Civil Liberties and Rights Committee, 2017-18

Candidate statement: Academic freedom, free speech and faculty governance are paramount to scholarly integrity. First, I will champion policies upholding academic freedom and free speech, serving as a conduit for faculty diverse perspectives. Second, representing faculty voices, I will work from a space of responsibility, cooperation and transparent communication with the goal of upholding the community’s collective values and interests. Most importantly, I will work to amplify those voices that are marginalized in our collective to foster inclusivity.  It’s about safeguarding integrity, fostering dialogue and mutual respect within our academic community, and communicating our collective needs to the administration.

Lori Tschirhart

A photo of Lori Tschirhart
Lori Tschirhart

Librarian for earth and environmental sciences; assistant director, HS-STEM/Science (University Library Research Division)

Education: Bachelor of Science in biological sciences, Michigan State University, 1999; Master of Library and Information Science, iSchool at the University of Washington, 2005; Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, professional education, 2019

Faculty leadership: Member, Senate Assembly; General Counsel’s Advisory Committee, 2015-18 and 2020-23 (chair, 2020-21); Kresge Librarian Promotion Review Committee, 2018-present; Promotion Review Committee U-M Library, 2023-present

Candidate statement: I am happy to increase my contributions to faculty governance through service to SACUA. As a librarian, I work with faculty across campus. The nature of my work naturally lends itself to identifying topics of interest and areas of concern across disciplines, facilitating communication, and surfacing the points of view of our diverse community through earnest advocacy. I am prepared to work collaboratively with faculty to advise and consult with the executive officers of our university. I am ready to contribute to and work toward a shared vision in the best interests of our institution.


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