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Nutritional scientist to chair Senate Executive Committee

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu - June 2, 2008

Nutritional sciences professor Hedley Freake has been elected chair of the Senate Executive Committee for 2008-09.

The 10-member committee includes nine faculty and staff representatives who are elected by the University Senate and serve for three-year terms. One of these is elected each year to be chair. The Committee also includes a student representative.

The University Senate comprises 91 members, including faculty, staff, and student representatives.

The Senate Executive Committee coordinates the business of the Senate, setting its agenda and assigning tasks to subcommittees.

“Most business takes place not on the Senate floor but happens within the committees,” says Freake.

The Senate Executive Committee also acts as an interface between the University and the administration, meeting monthly with the President and the Provost, as well as with senior administrators as a group.

 Freake anticipates a busy year ahead, particularly in light of the budget pressures now facing the University. Discussions are also underway regarding the inclusion of representatives of the medical and dental schools in the Senate.

Freake was first elected to the Senate in 1998 and has served several three-year terms. He has been a member of the Senate Executive Committee since 2006, and was on the General Education Oversight Committee for six years, including three as chair.

He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in nutrition, and is an active researcher. A specialist in molecular nutrition, he is currently examining how cells regulate the exchange of zinc – a mineral crucial for the functioning of proteins inside a cell – with their surroundings.

In addition, he is principal investigator on a National Science Foundation collaborative grant with local community colleges to help minority and first-generation college students study the life sciences.

A native of Great Britain, Freake earned his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees at the University of London.

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