Three faculty members won seats on the executive committee of the University of Michigan’s central faculty governance system in an election that used e-voting for the first time.

The Senate Assembly voted March 16 and 17 to elect J. Caitlin Finlayson, associate professor of English at UM-Dearborn; Allen P. Liu, associate professor of mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and biophysics; and Kentaro Toyama, W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information and professor of information, to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.

Finlayson, Liu and Toyama were the top vote-getters in a field of nine candidates. Their three-year terms will start May 1.

This was the first SACUA election to use the Simply Voting online voting platform.

E-voting was originally going to take place following candidate speeches at a March 16 Senate Assembly meeting. However, the meeting was canceled as part of the campuswide effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, and Senate Assembly members voted remotely. 

“We feel that because people were able to vote remotely, particularly in this kind of situation when people are working remotely, we got a lot more participation than we normally would have had,” said MaryJo Banasik, director of the Faculty Senate Office.

Finlayson, Liu and Toyama will succeed Joy Beatty, Sami Malek and Neil Marsh, who are term-limited.

According to her candidate statement, Finlayson said she would be a strong voice for the concerns and perspectives of the regional campuses, while also advocating for all faculty.

Liu said in his statement he would work with colleagues and the administration to build shared vision, shared engagement, shared mutual respect, shared information and shared risk.

Toyama said he is committed to ensuring well-informed faculty views are strongly represented in university decision making.

SACUA is the executive arm of the university’s central faculty governance system, which includes the Senate Assembly and the Faculty Senate.

The Senate Assembly consists of 74 elected faculty members from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The Faculty Senate is made up of all professorial faculty, librarians, full-time research faculty, executive officers and deans.

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