Three faculty members elected to serve on SACUA


Three faculty members with backgrounds in African studies, medicine and history will soon join the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.

The Senate Assembly, which consists of 77 elected faculty members from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses, voted electronically March 18-20 to elect three new members of SACUA, the executive arm of the University of Michigan’s central faculty governance system.

The new members, whose terms begin May 1, are:

  • Derek R. Peterson, Ali Mazrui Collegiate Professor of History and African Studies, professor of history and of Afroamerican and African studies in LSA.
  • Soumya Rangarajan, clinical assistant professor of internal medicine, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, at Michigan Medicine.
  • Melanie S. Tanielian, associate professor of history, director of the Program in International and Comparative Studies in LSA.

As the top vote-getters from among 10 candidates, Peterson, Rangarajan and Tanielian will serve three-year terms, succeeding SACUA members whose terms are expiring: Lindsay Admon, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Medical School; Damani Partridge, professor of anthropology and of Afroamerican and African studies in LSA; and Silvia Pedraza, professor of sociology and American culture in LSA.

In a candidate statement, Peterson indicated his desire to serve the nine-member body, which advises and consults with U-M executive officers on matters that impact faculty, to help “at a time when academic freedom is increasingly hedged in.”

“We need to draw disengaged colleagues into our work and amplify our collective voice,” he said. “The times demand more resolution, more organization, and a broader vocation for faculty governance.”

As clinical faculty members were added to the Faculty Senate last year — along with archivists, curators, and lecturers with at least a 50% appointment — Rangarajan said she will be able 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,” she said. “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.”

Tanielian said she will work to help protect academic freedom and uphold 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,” she said. “It’s about safeguarding integrity, fostering dialogue and mutual respect within our academic community, and communicating our collective needs to the administration.”


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