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WesternU / About WesternU / Governance / Academic Senate / Elected Committees

Elected Committees

The Academic Senate is responsible for administering annual elections to the various faculty elected committees of the University and to the Academic Senate. Ordinarily, elections of faculty members are held in May and the tenure of service begins July 1 and terminates June 30th, in the last year of their term.

The Vice Chair is responsible for soliciting and receiving nominations to elected committees and the Academic Senate.

Each full-time faculty member must be given adequate opportunity to nominate himself/herself to any committee, based on the restrictions listed in Section IV, C, #4.

Standing and special committees of the Academic Senate are formed as determined by the Academic Senate.

Faculty Senate

  • Members

    3 year term, 2 members per college

    Members Length of Term Colleges
    Chair – Hyma Gogineni 2023-2026 COP
    Vice Chair – Yadi Fernandez Sweeny 2023-2026 COMP
    Past Chair – Raj Kandpal 2023-2026 COMP
    Acting Past Chair – Malika Kachani CVM
    Vacant 2023-2026 CDM
    Brian Chui 2021-2024 CDM
    Khoa (Joey) Dang 2021-2024 CGN
    Michael Marinello 2022-2025 CGN
    Janet Konecne 2021-2024 CHS
    Michael Granado 2022-2025 CHS
    Anu Raisanen 2023-2026 CHS-NW
    Pinakin Davey 2023-2026 CO
    Vishwanath Venketaraman 2022-2025 COMP
    Yadi Fernandez-Sweeny 2023-2026 COMP
    Brion Benninger 2022-2025 COMP-NW
    Peter Oelschlaeger 2023-2026 COP
    David Min 2023-2026 COP
    Mary Schuh-Clark 2023-2026 CPM
    Saba Sadra 2021-2024 CPM
    Babak Faramarzi 2022-2025 CVM
    Wael Khamas 2022-2025 CVM
    Alternative Senators:
    Hicret Islamoglu CDM
    Bethany Thrasher CGN
    Laura Murphy CHS & CHS-NW
    Bradley Andresen COP


  • Standing Committees of the Academic Assembly

  • Animal Care and Use Committee, Institutional

    WesternU recognizes the importance of the use of animals in teaching and research programs. Animals are vital both for understanding basic biological processes and in developing diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive approaches for human and animal diseases. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees the care, treatment and housing of animals used in teaching and research by University faculty and staff to ensure that such use is justifiable and is performed according to all applicable federal and state regulations and guidelines. The IACUC also reviews all construction and renovation plans to animal housing facilities prior to the implementation of the plans. Additional details on committee guidelines and responsibilities can be found on the regulatory affairs website: Animal Care and Use Committee

  • Assessment and Program Review Committee

    The Assessment and Program Review Committee is responsible for developing and monitoring WesternU’s assessment and program review processes. The Committee serves a valuable role by overseeing these two ongoing quality assurance initiatives to help programs reflect on and improve their effectiveness.

  • Awards Committee

    The WesternU Awards Committee sets policy related to awards and honors to students and determines the recipients of all University-wide awards and honors granted to students at WesternU.

  • Commencement Committee

    This Committee and its Chairperson are appointed by the President. It consists of the Provost (or his/her appointee), the Dean (or designee) or degree-granting Program Chair of each College, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (COMP) the Vice President of University Student Affairs, the Director of Public Relations, the Director of Events and Programs, the Marshal, and the President of the Student Government Association (or designee). The term of office is one year. The purpose of the Committee is to plan and, in some areas, implement the University’s graduation ceremony and related events. The Committee submits to the President the results of its deliberations for his/her consideration and approval.

  • Dual Use of Research of Concern Committee

    Dual use research of concern (DURC) is a subset of dual use research defined as: “life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.” WesternU established the DURC committee. Faculty play an integral role in this regulatory committee. Additional details on committee guidelines and responsibilities can be found on the regulatory affairs website: Research Committees

    3 year term, 1 per college, 3 at-large

    Members Length of Term Colleges
    Harshavardhan Deoghare 2021-2024 CHS
    Hendrik Szumant 2022-2025 COMP
    Bradley Andresen 2022-2025 COP
    Yvonne Drechsler 2021-2024 CVM
    Patricia Shakhshir 2021-2024 CGN
    Naveen Yadav 2023-2026 CO
    Zohra Tumur 2021-2024 CDM
    Mary Shuh-Clark 2023-2026 CPM
    Anu Raisanen 2021-2024 CHS-NW
    Lyna Luo 2023-2026 AT LARGE (COP)
    Brion Benninger 2022-2025 AT LARGE (COP=NW)
    Michelle Steinaur 2023-2026 AT LARGE (COP)
  • Financial Aid Committee

    The WesternU Financial Aid Committee advises the Director of Financial Aid on financial aid matters. It proposes and reviews policies and procedures regarding Federal programs and reviews and makes recommendations to the Administration on student financial aid grievances.

  • Grievance Committee

    The Grievance Committee consists of five full-time faculty members elected at large. The following faculty ranks should be represented: Assistant professor, Associate Professor, and full Professor, at least two of which will have tenure. In the event that each faculty rank cannot be represented, a follow up election to select a member at large, open to any regular faculty rank, will be conducted. The Committee elects the Chair and Secretary from among its members. The term of office is for three years. The terms will be staggered to provide continuity. However, under no circumstances shall Committee membership expire during consideration of a grievance.

    3 year term, 5 members elected at-large

    Members Length of Term
    Peter Oelschlaeger, COP Associate Professor (TENURED) 2023-2026
    Mihai Covasa, COMP Professor (TENURED) 2022-2025
    Mohammed Elsalanty, COMP Professor (TENURED) 2021-2024
    Preeti Kotha Assistant Professor 2022-2025
    Edward Wagner Professor 2023-2026


  • Institutional Biosafety Committee

    The Institutional Biosafety Committee was established under the provisions of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules to create and implement policies that provide for the safe conduct of recombinant DNA research and to ensure compliance with the NIH Guidelines. In addition, the IBC will 1) oversee research involving infectious agents and toxic biological molecules, 2) review research protocols from grant applications submitted to extramural funding agencies to confirm that experiments will be conducted safely and in compliance with the NIH Guidelines, 3) review prior to their implementation any University constructions plans that include laboratory space requiring a biosafety level designation of BSL-2 or higher, and 4) advise the University concerning biosafety policies for students, employees, and faculty. Faculty play an integral role in WesternU’s Institutional Biosafety committee. Additional details on committee guidelines and responsibilities can be found on the regulatory affairs website: Biosafety

  • Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects

    The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is established in accordance with federal law to ensure that human subjects participating in research activities conducted at, and/or sponsored by, the Western University of Health Sciences or its auxiliaries are protected from undue risks and deprivation of personal rights and dignity. Committee structure, actions and procedures of the IRB are governed by the Policy Manual of the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects found on the regulatory affairs website: Institutional Review Board

  • Library Committee

    The purposes of the University Library Committee are 1) to provide faculty and student representation in library related matters, 2) to act as a liaison between the Executive Director of Harriet K. & Philip Pumerantz Library and the use community, 3) to advise the University community on matters related to biomedical information resources, and 4) to advise the Executive Director on general policies and library needs in view of the academic programs.

    2 year term, 1 per college

    Members Length of Term Colleges
    Karen Matgsumura-Lem 2023-2025 CDM
    Dawn Stone 2022-2024 CGN
    Amber Singletary 2022-2024 CHS
    Nicole Biltz 2023-2025 CHS-NW
    Nataly Fahim 2023-2025 CO
    Katherine Mitsouras 2022-2024 COMP
    Brion Benninger 2022-2024 COMP-NW
    Anthony Sengul 2023-2025 COP
    Adrienne Estes 2023-2025 CPM
    Vacant 2023-2025 CVM
  • Radiation Safety Committee

    The University Research Committee is a standing committee and shall conduct business that advocates on behalf of the faculty with regards to the research enterprise at Western University of Health Sciences. In order to conduct business, the committee defines a quorum as the Chair plus five (5) voting members. The University Research Committee consists of 12 faculty members that represent the various Colleges. Each College will elect one faculty member during the normal annual election process to serve as the representative. In addition, the committee has three at large members elected by the full faculty. In the event that all College representatives have similar research methodologies, then the ballot committee will give preference to those at large nominees whose research methodologies are in other areas from those of the College representatives. In addition, non-voting members will include the Vice President for Research and Biotechnology and an individual representing Grants and Contracts Services. The Committee elects its own Chairperson annually at the beginning of the academic year, and the Chair will call meetings as needed, but a minimum of four times.

  • Standing Committees of the Academic Senate

  • University Faculty Affairs Committee

    Responsibilities: The Committee is responsible for defining the roles and responsibilities of, as well as the rights, privileges, and benefits that accrue to members of the University faculty. The committee is responsible for revising the faculty handbook as needed, proposing, developing and reviewing policies that affect faculty, reviewing Promotion and Tenure (P&T) policy and procedures and making recommendations on P&T matters and decisions, reviewing and approving College faculty guidelines, and/or bylaws to ensure they are consistent with the university faculty handbook, participating in new and expanded program review processes, instituting University wide faculty awards, and providing guidance to the Center for Academic and Professional Excellence (CAPE). The procedures are detailed below.

    *Denotes Committee Chair
    **Denotes Ex-officio (Provost’s nominees)

    Members University Faculty Affairs Length of Term Colleges
    1 Peter Oelschlaeger
    2 Michael Granado
    3 Yadi Fernandez-Sweeny
    4 Raj Kandpal
    5 Saba Sadra
    6 Hyma Gogineni
    7 Malika Kachani
    Ex Officio Tim Wood


  • Academic Standards and Policy Committee

    Responsibilities: The Committee reviews and defines quality of curricula and academic programs within the University and across Colleges. The Committee also reviews academic policies and recommends changes to establish standards across Colleges as needed. The Committee discusses academic issues whenever brought to its attention by members of the faculty or those arising during the faculty assembly meetings. The procedures to accomplish these tasks are detailed in Section III.

    *Denotes Committee Chair
    **Denotes Ex-officio (Provost’s nominees)

    Members Academic Standards and Policy Length of Term Colleges
    1 Vishwanath Venketaraman
    2 Brian Chui
    3 Khoa (Joey) Dang
    4 Anu Raisanen
    5 David Min
    Ex Officio ** Brad Henson


  • Academic Support Services and Planning Committee

    Responsibilities: The Committee is responsible for periodically reviewing existing policies and providing guidance, as a representative body of the Academic Senate, and faculty input to Information Technology, Library, Research, Human Resources, Facilities and other co-curricular and support-services Departments. The Committee is also responsible for reviewing and approving co-curricular policies that impact quality of curriculum and the ability of the faculty to perform their duties. The Committee is also responsible for participating in program review processes, as well as that of all cocurricular and support-services Departments. The Committee shall participate in University strategic planning and other planning processes within the various support services units. Finally, the Committee shall serve as the primary channel of communication between support service units and the Academic Senate. The procedures are detailed in Section III.

    *Denotes Committee Chair
    **Denotes Ex-officio (Provost’s nominees)

    Members Academic Support Services and Planning Length of Term Colleges
    1 Janet Konecne
    2 Michael Marinello
    3 Brion Benninger
    4 Pinakin Davey
    5 Babak Faramarzi
    6 Mary Schuh-Clark
    Ex Officio ** Jonathan Daitch