This month’s Faculty Senate Spotlight features Professor Kanakadurga Singer. Professor Singer graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 2002 and then continued her training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology before becoming a faculty member in 2012.

Professor Singer’s participation in central faculty governance is relatively new. She became interested in representing the Medical School on Senate Assembly and is now in her second year in that position as well as serving for a second year on the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee (AAAC). She will be serving as chair of the committee for the 2020-2021 academic year.

When asked what her most meaningful experience or accomplishment has been in faculty governance, she explained that the most meaningful experience overall has been the opportunity to actively participate in meetings, and getting to understand shared and different experiences and issues of faculty across our campus. She elaborated that “understanding these different perspectives has been very valuable for the discussion of policy changes, especially around anti-racism efforts and COVID-19 pandemic”.

When asked what she hopes to accomplish in faculty governance during the next year, Professor Singer stated that as a member and chair of AAAC she really hopes to both provide feedback and represent the voice of faculty for discussions with Provost Collins.  She looks forward to the opportunity to have the committee be a resource for the Provost’s office when it comes to issues that arise that need faculty input. She has been particularly impressed with how the Faculty Senate office has organized faculty and helped collectively share the voice of the faculty in regard to the changes in how we support our missions during the pandemic. The issues of faculty equity, the values and processes in place to protect promotion and tenure, and the importance of faculty oversight of policies that affect our peers are all of importance at this time and topics she hopes to address with AAAC in the year to come.

When asked why she decided to become involved in faculty governance, Professor Singer explained that she decided to become involved due to her interest in advocating for her colleagues. She has expressed that she thinks it is critical that all faculty have the opportunity to advance in their careers, be protected in their positions, and be treated equitably. Professor Singer hopes to be a voice for the issues that faculty are facing, to increase her understanding of how to best support faculty, and to work with colleagues across campus to discuss policies and protocols with university leadership that affect all faculty and students. Being a part of faculty governance allows faculty to give back to the University of Michigan while representing the faculty, their school, and contributing to the University community.