Senate visits the arts district to discuss the humanities

Richard Saller, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Debra Satz, senior associate dean for the humanities and arts, talked about the state of the humanities at Stanford. Jason Linetzky, director of the Anderson Collection, invited faculty members to collaborate with its staff and create new programs.

Debra Satz speaking while Richard Saller looks on

Richard Saller and Debra Satz addressing the Faculty Senate on Thursday. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Holding its Feb. 5 meeting at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, the Faculty Senate gave members the opportunity to visit the newest addition to the university’s growing arts district and to take guided tours of the galleries.

“I hope one thing that gets accomplished this afternoon is that you have the chance to see – for those of you who don’t spend time in this area – just how much the arts district is blossoming,” said Richard Saller, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. “The outcome of the last campaign, in terms of new programs, new facilities and, in some areas, new faculty, has been remarkably transformative.”

Saller and Debra Satz, senior associate dean for the humanities and arts, discussed the steps the university is taking to get prospective students interested in the humanities to apply to Stanford; to retain students with programs that maintain and deepen their interest in the humanities once here; and to track what happens to them after they graduate.

“We’ve been working with admissions on reaching out to students with humanities interests,” Satz said. “This has included brochures that the departments have been sending out, letters from department chairs to high school students, and a summer program that brings 100 talented high school students with humanities interests to Stanford for a high-quality experience.”

In addition, Stanford is opening a humanities-themed dorm next year to create a community among like-minded students, she said. “We want to have a hub for them.”

Satz said the School of Humanities and Sciences also has been working with Stanford’s Career Development Center to highlight the many career opportunities open to humanities majors.

“We think a lot of students don’t engage more with the humanities because they’re afraid of their career prospects,” she said.

She cited the Stanford Summer Institute for General Management, a four-week residential program for undergraduates at Stanford Graduate School of Business, as an example of a program that opens the eyes of humanities majors to the world of business.

“Let your students know that students in the humanities do very well on the job market – and they’re happy,” Satz told senate members.

In another presentation, Jason Linetzky, director of the Anderson Collection, talked about how the Anderson family began collecting art and assembling their collection.

Linetzky said the Anderson Collection has hosted several events in collaboration with the Stanford community, including “Scene in Action: Dance, Fashion and Visual Art as Performance,” which Aleta Hayes, a dance lecturer in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, choreographed with her students in the Summer Arts Intensive and performed amid the collection’s paintings and sculptures.

He said “Scene in Action” was a testament to the building’s potential as a place for active learning, creative programming and academic studies, and a place to engage physically and emotionally with its paintings and sculptures.

“They moved through the space and they really made this space something that I had hoped it could be, but wasn’t sure how it would be,” he said.

Linetzky encouraged faculty members to think about ways to collaborate with the Anderson Collection and create new programs.

The full minutes of the Feb. 5 meeting will be available on the Faculty Senate website next week. The minutes will include the question-and-answer session that followed the presentations. The next senate meeting will be held Feb. 19.