DATE: March 23, 2018

TO:  Voting Members of the General Faculty

FROM: Mindy McCann, Chair, OSU General Faculty and Faculty Council

SUBJECT: General Election for the OSU General Faculty and Faculty Council

The candidates for Vice Chair of Faculty Council are Udaya DeSilva and Gina Peek. The successful candidate will serve as Vice Chair from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019, Chair for 2019-2020 and Past Chair for 2020-2021.

The following information on the candidates may be helpful to you.

Electronic voting will be available beginning on Monday, March 26th at Noon.

The deadline for receipt of your electronic ballot is Tuesday, April 3rd at 8 a.m.

The following information on the candidates for Vice Chair may be helpful to you.


Udaya DeSilva Udaya is an Associate Professor in Animal Molecular Genetics in the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University.  He holds a split research: teaching appointment. Udaya holds a B.V.Sc. degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and was a practicing large-animal veterinarian for three years before he decided to pursue his interest in genetics by returning to graduate school. He holds a M.S. degree in animal genetics from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in human molecular genetics from Washington University in St. Louis.  After a two-year stint as a post-doctoral fellow and research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Sydney, Australia, Udaya accepted a faculty position at Oklahoma State University in 2001. He was promoted with tenure as an associate professor in 2006. His research focuses on metagenomics of microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract of ruminants and those that inhabit reproductive tracts of domestic animals. He teaches Animal Genetics and an Honors College seminar on depiction of science in the movies.  Udaya is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
His many service commitments to the university includes seven-year previous service to the faculty council that included serving as the secretary (2011-14) and chair of the Faculty Committee (2008-11).  He served as a member of the DASNR faculty council from 2004-2006 and was re-elected for a second term in 2017. He has served as the chair of the University Library Advisory Committee twice and has served on the University Bio-Safety Committee for over a decade serving as its chair from 2010-13. Udaya is a member of the Asian American Faculty and Staff Association of OSU and served as its founding treasurer.
Udaya was awarded Sigma Xi Young Investigator award in 2006, was an honorary inductee to the Golden Key Honor Society in 2008 and was recognized as the outstanding faculty in the College of Agriculture by the OSU Interfraternity and Panhellenic Council in 2008. The Department of Animal Science awarded him the Tyler Award in 2009 and the students of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources presented him with the Alpha Zeta outstanding teacher award in 2010 and 2015. Udaya was awarded the Regent’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014 and he was awarded the University Service Award in 2017.
Udaya and his wife Rupi lives in Stillwater, their son Charith is a senior at Oklahoma State University while their daughter Upuli is a sophomore at University of Oklahoma.  In his spare time Udaya could be seen riding one of his many bicycles on the back roads of Stillwater.

Position Statement from Udaya DeSilva

If given the opportunity, I consider it an honor and a significant responsibility to serve as the Vice Chair of the OSU faculty council. The Faculty Council is an integral part of shared governance at OSU. As its Vice Chair, I will strive to work with my colleagues in the executive committee and other councilors diligently to make your voices heard, continue to make the faculty council relevant, open, inclusive and be a voice for social and environmental stewardship of the university. 


Gina Peek  Gina is a Wisconsin native and first-generation college graduate. A graduate of the land grant system, Gina attended the University of Georgia for both her master’s (May 2004) and Ph.D. (December 2009) degrees. Upon graduation, she joined the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising in the College of Human Sciences as the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES) state housing and consumer specialist. Gina became department graduate coordinator in January 2016. She is currently the Human Sciences representative to Faculty Council. Gina firmly believes in the land grant mission: teaching, research, Extension.
In her Extension role, Gina provides translational research to help educate target audiences how to reduce exposure to environmental contaminants in the home, enable consumers to acquire and maintain affordable housing, enable consumers to maximize satisfaction given housing, and the most efficient ways to manage household demands on natural resources. Gina’s ultimate instruction goal is to serve as a catalyst for improving lives by taking the university to the public, that is, working within the trusted county delivery system to reach consumers.
One key outcome associated with Gina’s Extension scholarship is that it helped her create connections in Oklahoma and build a national reputation in the profession. On campus and in other states, Gina has worked with both Extension and resident faculty and staff in a variety of efforts. This holistic approach has proven to be successful in creating impactful outcomes, including numerous in-services and workshops, curriculum development, leader lessons, and print and other media designed to support instruction as a means of reaching consumers. The Scholarship of Extension is peer-reviewed, public and permanent. Gina has presented her research at international, national, and state conferences, published manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, and obtained internal and external funding.
The College of Human Sciences tagline “Solving human problems … enhancing human lives” sums Gina’s philosophy. The land-grant university has the honor of serving the public by providing unbiased research-based education to solve human problems and enhance human lives. As a state specialist, Gina feels it her duty to bring this philosophy to life.

Position Statement from Gina Peek

It is an honor to be nominated to serve as Vice-Chair of Oklahoma State University’s Faculty Council. If elected, I will connect with you. My primary goal is to support the tripartite mission of the University. Whether your appointment is teaching, research, Extension or a combination thereof, I am ready to represent your interests. Faculty council must be a strong voice. The 12 Faculty Council committees represent important issues across campus, from Academic Standards and Policy to Diversity and Student Affairs and Learning Resources. Executive committee leadership and committee participation serves as a means to communicate with Administration in a meaningful and impactful fashion. Shared governance and participation will help us set and maintain goals and achieve excellence. I appreciate your consideration.
When not at the office, Gina enjoys spending time with her family: Jason, Jenkins, and Hampton. Favorite recreational activities include biking, running, and swimming.