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Ivy covering a stone sculpture of the regents seal.

Expanded U Senate meets for first time

By Rick Moore

From Brief, October 12, 2005

The University Senate met for the first time for the 2005-06 academic year on September 29, and while there was relatively little to discuss in terms of new issues, there were quite a few new faces involved in the proceedings. The meeting was the first of the reorganized U Senate, which now includes senators from the academic professional and administrative (P&A) and civil service employee groups.

The reorganization of the U Senate traces back to 2002, when a consultant to the University offered some ideas for making the senate more inclusive. A working group of University faculty, staff, and students discusseds the ideas further, and in 2003 the Faculty Consultative Committee proposed restructuring the University's governance system to allow for P&A and civil service representation.

Senate members

Members of the Senate are listed on the University Senate Web site. See 2005-06 Senate Members.

The idea was formally approved by the U Senate last fall and by the Board of Regents in February, and as of July 1, 2005, the senate now has 23 P&A and 23 civil service senators. Senators in both groups will serve in terms of one to three years. The University Senate--278 members total, including President Bob Bruininks, who presides over meetings--is now made up of approximately 60 percent faculty, 22 percent students, 9 percent P&A employees, and 9 percent civil service staff.

"I think it's an exciting opportunity," says Jaki Cottingham-Zierdt, chair of CAPA (the Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators), the governing body that represents P&A employees. "What I'm most excited about is that it's an opportunity for individuals from the various [employee] groups to be able to come together in a single forum around issues of shared concern.... The expanded membership is really about expanded perspective."

Bruininks opened the September 29 meeting by introducing the new senators to a hearty round of applause. He then introduced Terry Collins as the interim dean of General College and Gail Dubrow as the new dean of the Graduate School. Bruininks also provided an update on the University's strategic positioning process, which he deemed "very much a journey, rather than a destination." The 34 task forces charged with making specific recommendations for transforming the U into one of the top three public research universities in the world had their first official meetings on September 16.

For more information on the University Senate, which meets four more times this academic year, visit U Senate.

Rick Moore, University Relations, is a new senator representing civil service staff members.

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