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Faculty Senate minutes February 19 meeting

TO THE MEMBERS OF
THE ACADEMIC COUNCIL
THIRTY-SIXTH SENATE
Report No. 7


SUMMARY OF ACTIONS, FEB. 19


At its meeting on Thursday, February 19, 2004, the Thirty-sixth Senate of the Academic Council heard reports and took the following actions:

By voice vote, with one (1) nay, the Senate endorsed the following guidelines as recommended by C-Lib to all Stanford libraries, faculty and departments:

1. Faculty and libraries are encouraged to support affordable scholarly journals, such as by volunteering articles and labor in the production, review and editing of journal content.

2. Libraries are encouraged to refuse "big deal" or bundled subscription plans that limit the librarian's traditional responsibility to make collection development decisions on a title-by-title basis in the best interest of the academic community.

3. Libraries are encouraged to scrutinize the pricing of journals and to drop those where pricing decisions have made them disproportionately expensive compared to their educational and research value. Special attention should be paid to for-profit journals in general and to those published by Elsevier in particular.

4. Faculty, especially senior faculty, are strongly encouraged in the future not to contribute articles or editorial or review efforts to publishers and journals that engage in exploitive or exorbitant pricing, and instead look to other and more
reasonably-priced vehicles for disseminating their research results.

EDWARD D. HARRIS, JR., M.D.

Academic Secretary to the University


MINUTES, FEB. 19


 

I. Call to Order

Chairman Wasow, although he was enjoying watching the senators interacting ebulliently with each other, quieted the crowd and called the meeting to order at 3:18 pm, just as the Provost and the President arrived. He made note of the "rich" agenda planned, and then moved right along.

II. Approval of Minutes

These (SenD#5549), from February 5, 2004, were approved as submitted. They can be accessed at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu.

III. Action Calendar

Wasow pointed out that "At our previous meeting on February 5th, the Senate received a recommendation from the Committee on Libraries for Senate endorsement on a set of guidelines addressing Stanford's reactions to the serials crisis. Senators engaged in a lengthy discussion on the guidelines, during which two amendments were voted on and passed. At that point, with the main motion still on the floor, the Senate voted to table the resolution." After conferencing, a substitute motion was approved, he said, by C-Lib and the Steering Committee. It had been placed at the senators' desks as SenD#5540B. Professor Ilya Segal, speaking for C-Lib in place of the absent chair, Doug Brutlag, invited comments and questions.

Professor Gordon Chang was "...unfamiliar with the names of these journals that engage in exploitative or exorbitant pricing since I'm not involved in subscribing to these journals. Is it possible to circulate or identify these journals?" Michael Keller answered that, "We will be putting empirical data, not interpretations, on a Web site for consultation. It will be a growing and changing list, of course, but available to all."

Professor Joanne Martin said, "I apologize because I couldn't be here last time. But this has generated a whole lot of discussion where I work. I wonder if this question's already been asked before. We absolutely need the top-tier journals, which are very expensive, in order to keep up with our field. And if the library doesn't have them, the junior faculty and doctoral students in particular are very concerned that they will have no other alternative than to pay for an individual subscription, which they just can't afford to do."

Keller and Professor Segal tried to reassure her. Keller answered, "We offer a document delivery service that will provide articles from journals to which we do not subscribe. And also, when we cancel journal titles, we routinely go around to the faculty to get their opinions about what titles should be canceled and what not. It is absolutely true that there is a tactical challenge here. But at the same time, the strategic engagement of some of these publishers is automatically reducing the list of titles available by making them so expensive that there is no possibility that increases in the library materials budgets will be able to meet those costs. So we are forced into a cycle of cancellation. This motion and others like it around the country are meant to address the strategic challenge."

A number of nouns were suggested by both senators and ex officio members to better define certain journal publishers, and after the laughter had settled, Wasow called for the vote after reading the revised guidelines that came from the Committee on Libraries:

The Senate endorses the following guidelines as recommended by C-Lib to all Stanford libraries faculty and departments.

1. Faculty and libraries are encouraged to support affordable scholarly journals, such as by volunteering articles and labor in the production, review and editing of journal content.

2. Libraries are encouraged to refuse "big deal" or bundled subscription plans that limit the librarians' traditional responsibility to make collection development decisions on a title-by-title basis in the best interest of the academic community.

3. Libraries are encouraged to scrutinize the pricing of journals and to drop those where pricing decisions have made them disproportionately expensive compared to their educational and research value. Special attention should be paid to for-profit journals in general and to those published by Elsevier in particular.

4. Faculty, especially senior faculty, are strongly encouraged in the future not to contribute articles or editorial or review efforts to publishers and journals that engage in exploitive or exorbitant pricing, and instead to look to other and more reasonably-priced vehicles for disseminating their research results.

The voice votes were all "ayes", save one "nay." There were no abstentions.

IV. Standing Reports

Memorial Resolution

Rose O. Payne (1909-1999) (SenD#5522). The Chair introduced Professor Carl Grumet, Professor of Pathology. Grumet said, "Mr. Chairman, members of the Academic Council. Dr. Rose O. Payne, former professor of medicine in the division of hematology in the Department of Medicine and Professor Emerita after her retirement in 1975, died on April 19th, 1999 in Cupertino, at the age of 89. At her passing, the international transplantation community and Stanford lost one of our most colorful colleagues. Armed initially with only glass slides, eyedroppers, and a keen intellect, Rose was one of a handful of pioneers in the discovery and development of the human major histocompatibility complex or HLA system. Enjoying a well-deserved reputation for demanding from even the most senior of her colleagues a clear and concise examination of all data, Rose was equally appreciated for nurturing the HLA field through generous sharing, with junior and senior investigators alike, of her broad knowledge and her rare, precious HLA typing sera. These qualities, along with the fact that she was the only woman among that small group of HLA pioneers, led her many colleagues and friends to commonly refer to her as 'The Mother of HLA.'

To help put the importance of her discoveries in proper perspective for the general University community, it needs to be emphasized that the HLA system plays an overwhelmingly dominant role in determining human transplantation compatibility, genetic control of immune responses, and susceptibility to disease.

Thanks to Rose's ground-breaking work and her leadership role in international histocompatability workshops, we now understand the HLA system at the level of molecular biology and gene function.

The high esteem in which Rose was held by scientific and clinical colleagues alike was indicated by the many awards bestowed upon her. These included both the John Elliott Memorial Award and the Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award from the Association of Blood Banks, presentation of the Katherine D. McCormick Distinguished Lecture at Stanford, and the 1984 Woman of Achievement Award.

In 1985, the American Society for Histocompatability and Immunogenetics established the Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award in her honor. For many years, she was a member of the World Health Organization Committee on HLA nomenclature, served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, was a Councilor of the International Histocompatibility Workshops, and held membership in numerous professional societies.

Although she is no longer with us, the rich inventory of antibodies she left will continue to serve as the HLA typer's gold standards, while many fond memories of her keen and incisive mind will continue to serve as the critical thinker's 'Rose standard.'

Mr. Chairman, members of the Academic Council, on behalf of a committee consisting of myself, Professors Hugh McDevitt and Stanley Schrier, it is an honor to lay before the Senate of the Academic Council a resolution in memory of the late Rose O. Payne, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine in the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The senators stood for a moment of silence.

Next, Chairman Wasow was "...pleased to welcome Anne Kiremidjian, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to present a memorial resolution in honor of John A. Blume. Again, the full memorial resolution is included in Senate packets and will be published in the Stanford Report."

John A. Blume (1909 -- 2002) (SenD#5548)

Professor Kiremidjian began, "Mr. Chairman, members of the Senate of the Academic Council... Dr. John A. Blume, consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, died on March 1st, 2002, at his Hillsborough home at the age of 92. A three-time graduate of Stanford University, his affiliation and contributions to the University spanned over 73 years, as a student, researcher, teacher, and benefactor.

John Blume received his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering in 1967 from Stanford after receiving his bachelor's in engineering degree 30 years prior to that time.

He was a pioneering researcher and practitioner who, through his research and leadership, exerted tremendous influence on the development of modern earthquake design and practice. He offered several seminal books in earthquake-resistant design and published numerous journal articles that earned him the highest awards in civil engineering. He served as president and officer of leading professional organizations and was elected as honorary member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the New York Academy of Engineering, and the Structural Engineers' Association of Northern California. He was a fellow of the Concrete Institute of America, the International Association of Earthquake Engineering, and many more. In 1969, he was also elected to the International Academy of Engineering.

Often called the "Father of Earthquake Engineering," John Blume was instrumental in founding of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at Stanford that bears his name.

A longtime supporter of the University, he endowed a professorship and a graduate fellowship for research in earthquake engineering. His life and spirit belong to his profession and to his beloved university.

Dr. Blume will be remembered for his pioneering research, his remarkable books and lectures, for establishing a leading structural engineering design firm, for his generosity to Stanford, and, to those who were privileged to know him, for his warm and charming personality.

Mr. Chairman, members of the Academic Council, I lay before you a memorial resolution in the memory of the late John A. Blume, consulting professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Senate stood for a moment of silence.

Richard Scowcroft (1916-2001) (SenD#5546)

Chairman Wasow next introduced Lawrence V. Ryan, Professor emeritus of English, to present the memorial statement in honor of Richard Scowcroft. Professor Ryan, pleased to still be typing his notes not on a computer but on his 50 year-old manual typewriter, began. "Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate of the Academic Council, Richard Scowcroft died in his home on the campus on 8 October, 2001, at the age of 85. He came from Harvard University to Stanford in 1947 to join Professors Wallace Stegner and Yvor Winters in the recently founded Program in Creative Writing within the Department of English.

For many years, he taught in that program, as well as the literature section, and he alternated in administering the program in creative writing with Wallace Stegner, because both of them being creative writers, they felt they needed time off to do their own writing. And so Stegner, for example, often taught only half the year, and Scowcroft filled in when Stegner wasn't there. In addition to guiding the creative efforts of many aspiring fiction writers, Dick Scowcroft was a yeoman teacher of literature in the department, teaching many courses in the field of the novel, even in American literature, when the need arose. He directed numerous dissertations in the field of English literature.

Many of his students became very famous writers, Pulitzer prize writers. One of them, Tobias Wolf, is presently a member of the Stanford faculty. And not only did he create a wonderful learning environment for creative writers and for students of literature, but often he was called upon to direct dissertations beyond perhaps the level of his real commitment to the department. For example, he said because Professor Winters wouldn't take certain dissertations in his field of American literature, Dick Scowcroft very kindly took them over. He said, 'I learned more about Emerson and Thoreau from doing that than I ever had in my life.'

As a creative writer himself, Dick Scowcroft was a very successful writer of comic fiction, writing six novels during the course of his career at Stanford, some of the based on his Mormon background from his having grown up in Utah.

He really will be missed as one of the most congenial, most convivial members of the English department. Even though he was very ill in the last years of his life, he would constantly invite members of the department over to share the cocktail hour with him.

Mr. Chairman, it is an honor on behalf of a committee consisting of Professors Willard Stone as chairman, Charles Fifer, and myself, to lay before the Senate a resolution in memory of Richard P. Scowcroft."

Chairman Wasow asked the Senate, "Please stand for the traditional moment of silence."

After thanking Professors Grumet, Kiremidjian, and Ryan, Wasow forged ahead with the day's agenda.

Steering Committee.

He first reminded the Senate that, "...following the report and Senate discussion on the Oracle financial system, we will adjourn early to reconvene in informal executive session upstairs in the faculty lounge. At the March 4th meeting, we will hear a report from Vice Provost for Student Affairs Gene Awakuni, and, as well, three reports from Vice Provost for Faculty Development Pat Jones: (1) The report on faculty gains and losses, (2) Recruitment and Retention, and (3) The Status of Women Faculty. Please note on your calendars that the first meeting of spring quarter, scheduled for April 1st, which is the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Stanford's Academic Council, is canceled."

No one was sure whether this cancellation was a snub of the anniversary, or a cancellation in honor of it, or neither of the above, and Wasow moved on. "If we need an additional meeting later in the spring, it will be scheduled on an intervening Thursday afternoon."

Committee on Committees.

Although the CoC has been working hard to provide a prioritized list of faculty appropriate for committee service, no report, said Chair Arnetha Ball, was ready today.

Reports from the President and the Provost.

President Hennessy was sad to recognize the "...sudden death of our dear colleague, Jim Rosse, long-time member of the faculty and former Provost. We are currently in discussions about memorial arrangements. And we hope to have a service on campus at some point in the future."

On a lighter note he sprightly reminded the Senate (all of whom knew this, of course) that "...our basketball team is now ranked first in the country! And I hope none of you will do anything to jinx it." Professor Holloway quickly said, "I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to bring this question to your attention earlier. I've been around here long enough to know that some things are unexplainable. How did it come to be that the number-one team tonight is playing at USC and it's not on television?" The President bobbed and weaved on this one, before answering, " We're scalping the tickets!" [Later, he conjectured that the "L.A. market" wanted U.C.L.A. and Cal to be shown on TV...probably accurate.] Vice Provost Bravman blurted out, "It's on Direct TV," and at that point, Professor Simoni invited everyone over to Bravman's place to watch the game.

Provost Etchemendy had "...two somewhat longer announcements. The first is a report.

Five years ago, a task force chaired by Jim Sheehan assessed the 'Faculty Appeals Procedure.' The existing procedure at the time, which was called a 'grievance procedure' had become very cumbersome and complex. The task force was formed to draft new appeal procedures. The Senate, in April of 1999, approved the new procedures, and at the same time, insisted that the Provost report by autumn of 2002 to the Senate how well the new appeal procedures were working."

Taking no blame for the tardy report, Etchemendy, said (guilelessly), "Well, I didn't know that!" Condoleezza Rice hadn't told him before she left for public service. Indeed, no one did. Now is the time for the report.

"Let me describe what the new procedures are. The old procedures provided for a grievance first being filed at the level that the decision was made. So, for example, if your department had turned you down for tenure, you could grieve and file with the department chair. And if that was turned down, then you could file another grievance with the dean's office. If it was turned down, you could file another grievance at the Provost's office. And, finally, it would eventually get to the President's office.

"The main change was that the new appeal procedures are all initially filed with the Provost, and then they go off to the Advisory Board and, if needs be, then to the President. Another change is that the grievance procedures previously had a grievance officer, who was, in effect, a judge. That 'judge' has been replaced with 'fact finders', who answer questions that I request which are relevant to the particular grievance. This results in the Advisory Board now acting as the judge.

"Since the new procedures have been in place, 13 grievances have been filed. Ten of them were grievances over reappointments and/or promotions. Three were on other matters, such as salary. Six of the 13 were denied, one was granted, one was remanded to the cognizant dean's office, three were withdrawn, and two are still open.

"The new procedure is, I think, working well in the sense that it has short circuited a great deal of extra work at various different levels at the University and a great deal of waiting on the part of those filing the appeals."

His second announcement was about the TGR tuition rate. "TGR, for those of you who don't know, TGR is 'terminal graduate registration.' It happens, generally, at the end of the third year. A Ph.D. student has finished coursework, has completed a certain number of units, and becomes eligible for TGR-reduced tuition. At that time the tuition is lowered for the fourth and subsequent years. Last year in the Senate I gave a couple of reports on the budget. And at both of those, I reported first that we were considering and, subsequently, adopting a move to double the TGR tuition rate in two steps, first, a 50 percent increase this year, and then another 50 percent next year. The TGR rate has gone from about $1100 per quarter to $1650 per quarter this year, and $2500 per quarter next year."

The Provost then explained the reasons for these actions. "First of all, the main reason is to provide an incentive to decrease the time to degree, to get people through in a fairly quick fashion. It is in no one's interest for Ph.D. students to remain in the Ph.D. program for six to eight years. It makes them less attractive job candidates, it decreases their productivity, career opportunity, and decreases their career earning potential. In addition, it balloons our graduate population, and I need not remind you that our graduate student population is very expensive to the University. For example, we currently house over 70 percent of our graduate students, either on-campus or in subsidized off-campus housing. It's very expensive for the university as the graduate population grows.

"Increasing TGR will provide additional revenue to offset the cost of those students as they stay around and have to be housed, or decrease the number of those students because they'll finish their dissertations earlier. Either one is actually a very good result."

The Provost then recounted a list of numbers of equivalent costs at our peer institutions, convincing even doubters that "...we're still lower than almost every other place and at parity with a few places [Harvard and Berkeley]."

In a question about this, Professor Granovetter said, "This is an observation more than a question. That six or seven years is too long for someone to be here as a graduate student working on a dissertation is a statement that doesn't apply to all fields. Our median time to Ph.D. is about six years [Sociology]. Our observation over the years is that students who finish in three, four, or five years do not do as well on the labor market, don't get as good jobs, and the dissertations aren't as polished or complete as the ones who take six or seven. So we don't see that it makes sense for us to push people to finish in a period of time that will disadvantage them when they go out looking for an academic job. What this means is that the burden of this additional tuition will fall differentially among departments. And I'm not sure what to do about that. The school of Humanities & Sciences supports students now for five years, which is a great improvement on the previous policy. But we do have a continuing issue on what to do about the sixth and seventh-year students."

Perhaps thinking to himself that even cardiac surgeons only take seven years to learn their trade, Etchemendy said, "I hope there are no disciplines where more than seven is the norm, because I think that's just too long for a person to be delaying their career. But, in any event, we are as competitive as any and more competitive than most."

Professor Simoni pointed out that the TGR in Biology will actually be $10,000 a year, because his graduate students enroll for four quarters, not three. While eyes were still focused upon him, Simoni could not resist a familial announcement: "John, did you know that about two hours ago, that Sabrina Cecilia Simoni was born at Packard Children's Hospital? ... to the proud grandparents of Robert and Diane Simoni?" Professor Cohen cried out, "Mazeltov!," and there was much applause. This was the first birth announcement in Faculty Senate history! [This is Simoni's fourth grandchild; he has caught up to the Academic Secretary].

Vice Provost Bravman queried, "So what will the TGR be when she's in the Ph.D. program?" Simoni did not answer verbally, but was sure that his estate would cover these costs.

Open Forum

Chairman Wasow noted that Simoni's gift from his daughter-in-law would have been more appropriately mentioned in this segment of the proceedings. Mercifully, there were no other comments, as time was running short.

V. Other Reports

I. Annual report of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid -- 2002/03 (SenD#5491).

Chairman Wasow was pleased to welcome Professor Hazel Markus, chair of C-UAFA, who began. "Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll try and be brief, because we were here in June of 2003 for an extensive presentation. I will go over some recent points and points we didn't cover. C-UAFA met ten times last year. Members of the committee included Hazel Markus, Chair, Hans Andersen, Rob Dunbar, Harry Elam, Paula Moya, Stephen Monismith, Ellen Porzig, Debra Satz, Lillian Bowie, Sunaina Sinha, Adam Wright and two ex officio members, Robin Mamlet and John Bravman. The committee was staffed by Christine Wire, and then Charlotte Glasser.

"Each year, C-UAFA reviews the statistics on the incoming class and this last year, 2002/2003, we reviewed the statistics on the class of 2007. Stanford received 18,628 freshman applications, with offers of admission being sent to 2,343 applicants. Of those, 597 were from early decision and 1,746 from the regular review round. This translates into an overall admit rate of 12.6 percent. Once again, admission was highly competitive, with approximately 11 applicants competing for each space in our freshman class. The transfer admissions process was extremely competitive again this year. One hundred and one students were admitted from this applicant sub-pool of 1,230. This was an 8.2 percent admit rate.

"This year's yield on the freshman class was up to 70 percent. Last year, it was 69.2 percent for the class that entered in the fall '02. And it was up from 65.1 percent from five years ago. Our yield on our strongest of those admitted, as measured by SAT scores and grades, has risen similarly over the past few years. We hope to speak longer about the whole process in an Executive Session of the Senate in an upcoming meeting. And, at that point, we'll be happy, more than happy, to break down these data into various categories that may interest you.

"Besides the regular updates that the committee received on the activities of the Office of the Undergrad Admission and Financial Aid, we engaged in extensive discussions of several key issues. These included the Advanced Placement policy and the impact of AP credit policy on the admission process; the role of SAT I and SAT II in the admission process; and the role of Stanford in the national conversation concerning undergraduate admission and financial aid. Those last three form the basis of the report that we gave in June. Some of you may remember that part of our presentation included a clip from the popular film, "Orange County," which featured a not-so-flattering representation of Stanford's Office of Admissions!

"I want to report that since then, there are two new films that fall into this category. One movie is called 'Perfect Score,' and the other one is called 'SAT.' Both, interestingly, appear to herald a popular uprising against the SAT. It seems clear that the SAT is being widely debunked as a valid measure of the 'right stuff.' Now this idea is being very widely disseminated, and people are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore. This is not just in the movies. We're going to be increasingly faced with what the score means and confronted with deciding what we, at Stanford, think this score means. I anticipate that there will be many more interesting discussions ahead about this in C-UAFA.

"One issue that we didn't cover in the June meeting, but was an important part of our discussions in C-UAFA last year, had to do with the President's Scholars program.

It was started in 1995 as an admission strategy to enroll the top 200 admits, a way to bring in our best student applicants. Those named as President's Scholars received a research grant to help jumpstart their research at Stanford and they received a more favorable financial aid package. Some students were delighted to be President's Scholars, but there were many other points of view. Other students who were admitted felt that it was a practice of marking and distinguishing that didn't serve the role it was meant to serve.

"Many Stanford students and faculty criticized the program for creating an intellectual elite instead of supporting a level playing field. Some students resented not being selected to be President's Scholars, looked less favorably on their admission to Stanford, and went elsewhere. Then there were others who were admitted as President's Scholars, read this designation as meaning that they were singled out as a top admit, and then opted to go to other institutions where it was clear that all the admissions were equally spectacular, in contrast to Stanford where there were only 200 admits who were so good. These were unintended consequences.

"In addition, at Stanford the admissions and the research environment have changed quite dramatically. It has become increasingly difficult to determine the top 200 admits. Moreover, and I think most important, undergraduate research has become a hallmark of a Stanford undergraduate education rather than an exception at Stanford. There are plentiful resources for any student who is motivated to do research.

"It seemed to us that there were many reasons to make changes to the President's Scholars program. We decided not to give Presidential Scholars awards to the incoming class of 2007, but, instead, to run a 'shadow program' to help us evaluate what the impact has been on the people that would have been Presidential Scholars in the 2007 class.

The 'shadow program' study suggests that awarding the President's Scholar designation is really of little value for increasing our yield of enrollees. Instead, the admissions office now appropriately emphasizes that all of the students at Stanford, all admitted undergrads who want to do research, will find the support to do so. We found that for the frosh entering in 2003, 46 percent of those that we designated in our 'shadow program' as Presidential Scholars entered the class. In the real Presidents Scholars program in 2002, 45 percent of those so designated entered; for 2001, the yield was 45.5 percent. So it seems to make no difference at all in our overall yield. We then looked carefully, breaking apart the group by intended majors. And it appears that all areas did fine without the formal program, save social sciences. In the social sciences, our yield was down a bit in the 'shadow program'.

"Separate from the Presidential Scholars program, the admissions office is continuing to work extremely hard on increasing the yield, and in particular, the yield of the most intellectually engaged students. A number of you at this moment are generously giving your time to a new program, an e-mail program that we've started recently. And we think this may be very helpful. Students who have been admitted who want to ask questions send an E-mail to someone who has agreed to do this. It only takes five minutes of your time and you can make a big difference. It's a sense that the faculty are there for students, that they are responsive, and that they care. So thank you all for doing that! Anybody else who wants to join...let us know.

"At this point, I'm going to ask Robin to speak a bit about another innovation this year, a 'single-choice early action' program."

Dean Mamlet began. "This year we moved from an 'early decision' program that had been binding (i.e., students were admitted and thus were forced to enroll at Stanford) to an 'early action' program with a slight modification. Students apply early; if they're admitted, they have until May 1st to decide whether or not they will enroll, but this is the only place to which they can apply early. We moved to this program for a number of reasons. The two primary ones were that we wanted to decrease the kind of pressure that we were hearing students felt in having to make that significant choice so early in their senior year. Another one was responding to complaints that 'early decision' really disproportionately advantaged the wealthy students, because students who applied for financial aid didn't have the luxury of comparing financial aid packages in the spring. So moving to 'early action' gives a better chance for a more diverse pool.

"What we found out this year was that both of those drivers actually were improved by moving to 'early action.' Students did report that it was a better program for them; it was more student-friendly. And certainly the pool expanded in its diversity. We also found a few surprises, most of them good, but one of them was that we had under-anticipated the popularity that this increase would have. We moved from an applicant pool of about 2400 to 4100. Another surprise was the strength of the pool. Typically, when you increase your applicant pool, and the size of your applicant pool goes up, the quality goes down. For us, it was the opposite. The quality was incredibly high. The other surprise was the increased amount of attention that these admitted students would request from the point at which they got their admission letter and May.

"I think that the jury is out on whether this is ultimately the way to go. What I will say, though, is that you're going to see a stronger class because of it. You are going to feel it immediately. Those admitted are exceptional. And 800 admits does form a very significant portion of the freshman class. Early indication is that our yield will be very high on them."

In a brief discussion/question period, Professor Gardner asked, "When you come back, will you discuss the implications of the new SAT, what kinds of changes you think are appropriate, and whether it increases the difficulty [e.g., in reading essays] in comparing students?"

Dean Mamlet agreed to do this, but added, "...the quick answer is that we're not looking at the grade on the essay. We're not choosing to evaluate the scoring on the essay."

Fortunately for the time crunch, Professor Hastorf was seated next to President Hennessy, who could answer Hastorf's question about which other institutions were pursuing the same path of an early action (modified) program. The answer, shared with the entire Senate, was Harvard and Yale.

Professor Joss asked, "Are you bothered that only 45 percent of the best students are enrolling, whereas the average enrolling of all accepted is 70 percent?" Professor Markus and Dean Mamlet looked searchingly at each other on this one, and the Dean said, "You know, I think that we always want the yield at the top to be strong. But the yield has been going up considerably." Professor Markus added, "The top is very heavily recruited and tied to SATs."

At this point, with time growing short, Dean Mamlet said that, "...if there are other things that you'd like to go over when we speak to an Executive Session, it would be effective to get an e-mail from you that states your relevant question."

2. Report on Oracle Financial Systems.

Chairman Wasow indicated that we would hear from Chris Handley, Chief Information Officer, about the Oracle system, but discussion of his report would be deferred until the Executive Session that would follow immediately in the Law School faculty lounge. He introduced the other guests as well, "...Randy Livingston, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Anne Hannigan, Associate Vice President, Office of Research Administration; Susan Calandra, Controller; Susan Webert, Director of Procurement; and Steve Jung, Director of Internal Audit."

Chris Handley began. "Thank you very much. In creating this presentation today, I realized it was actually for two audiences. One is you, but the other is behind you in the department, your administrators. So for that reason, at each of your seats, you have a copy of this presentation. You also have a copy of what we believe remains to be done in the Oracle financial system. Why are we going through this? What are the top issues? Why did we make the decision? How did we get here? People want to know what the next steps are, and what our current progress is.

"So, why are we doing this? Back in the early '90s, we decided to replace the SPIRES system with commercial applications. One of our biggest problems with SPIRES, because we had written all of the software ourselves, was that we had no one to consult with about any regulatory changes that were dumped upon us. Now, in moving to commercial software, when a new law comes out or a regulation comes out, we actually do not have to write the upgrades to do that. Another problem was, because they were batch systems, they were extraordinarily slow when it came to the end of the year. It took us an incredible length of time to close the University's books.

"Now, you're probably thinking, or I would be thinking if I were you, 'Well, you know what? You seem to have actually recreated that problem.' And it is true that there's a lot of pain on the campus right now. But, as with Axess, things are getting better. And by the time we're finished, we will basically be getting things much faster than we've had before. In our situation now, if we have an upsweep of work, we can actually go out and bring in consultants, because they understand these commercial applications. We were never able to find anyone who understood the SPIRES system outside of Stanford.

"What are the top issues right now? The most important one, I think, is that productivity has decreased in schools and departments. There has been a steep learning curve. The time to complete transactions currently is quite long. In some cases, it's two to three times what it used to be.

"The system is now six months old. My assessment is that you would normally expect to see this level of problems at three months, not at six months. We know that. The system is still young enough so that, occasionally, it will do things such as freezing. We also recognize there are missing and inaccurate data. And initially there weren't enough reports out. There still aren't. But the rate of report generation is picking up.

"Central services, such as procurement to the end user, have slowed down for a couple of reasons. One is that administrators in departments are taking longer to complete requests. But also, the workers in the central departments are taking longer to complete things as well.

"What we have to recognize is that the toll on individual administrators in schools and departments is very high right now. These are all people who pride themselves on doing their work, people who pride themselves on having the information for you. And at the moment, they feel completely disarmed, embarrassed, and ashamed because they can't actually get the information for you.

"What does this mean to individual academic schools and departments? Managing money is difficult, if not impossible, right now. Anne Hannigan had to release people from the quarterly certification because there wasn't the information there that you could actually certify. Productivity in schools is low. The perception of you and other end users is that the usability of the system is low. Morale is low. It's all unacceptable.

The requirements of our sponsors are not being met. And the transactions are taking much longer.

"So how did we get here? The facts are that all of us who were involved either at the executive levels, management, and the teams made some mistakes during the implementation. All of us made mistakes, some of which were foreseeable, some of which were surprising. But the combination of these have given us the results we've got today [one observer likened this to 'the perfect storm of financial system management problems']. You would have expected in November to see a whole bunch of problems related to errors in the conversion, related to the fact that people were trying to climb the learning curve. But this has gone on far longer. And why is that?

"The first reason is, unlike AXESS, which, as you may remember came out in nine successive rollouts, with Oracle we had a huge struggle internally and went with what is referred to as the 'big bang' model. Now, we now understand why it's called that!

The reason we were forced into that is when we had to change the Chart of Accounts, the backbone of every financial system, we were forced to change it everywhere. If you don't change it everywhere, what you've got is the core of the system in the new Chart of Accounts, and the ancillary system on the old Chart of Accounts. And, unfortunately, because we had so many accounts before, it is not a one-to-one relationship between the new chart and the old chart. So if we brought up just half of it in the new Chart of Accounts and left the old half as it was, we would have had an even worse reconciliation problem than all of you are experiencing today. The other problem with the 'big bang' approach is that many people at Stanford get their help in informal ways. When you have something wrong, you often don't get a Help SU ticket, but instead pick up the phone and call someone in the central office. Well, the problem with 'big bang' is that the people in the central office have exactly the same number of days of experience on the system as you do in the schools.

"Another problem coming out of the 'big bang' was just the sheer number of problems that arose. Project managers underestimated the amount of resources needed to handle emergency requests in addition to completing all of the new things that had to be done at the same time. The team got sucked into doing nothing but handling emergency requests. What that did was force the team into a delay mode.

"In addition, because there was not a 'play system' available before we went live, neither the central offices nor the departments had a chance to revise their business processes. As a result we had brand new systems with old processes.

"As you know, we did an enormous amount of training. Many of you noticed administrators in your offices disappearing for days at a time. Training was effective, and was one of the few things for which we received really positive feedback. It clearly wasn't sufficient, given the magnitude of change to the Chart of Accounts and some of the paradigm shifts. For example, some of our people have really struggled with the fact that in this system, to get a reimbursement, a faculty member has to be set up as a vendor! That's a paradigm shift. In addition, the implementation challenges are heightened because we do things differently everywhere at Stanford. We could not write one report that works for everyone. Often, six, seven, or eight versions of a report were needed to get something to work.

"What are we going to do about it? First, we've got to manage the project differently. We've started doing that months ago. We've added resources. And we're fixing the data quality issue. The good news is that although you will not be experiencing it at the level of schools and departments right now, there is already evidence that the tide has turned. And we'll show you some of the data that indicates that. We have revised the project plan by dividing all of the tasks -- and you'll see them in that report at your desks -- into As, Bs, and Cs, with As being the most important. We did this in cooperation with schools and departments. You will see the list of people with whom we have been working in the schools and departments. And if you have issues, those are the people to talk to or e-mail to get explanations about what's happening.

"In a 'SWAT team' approach we deployed four senior managers from ITSS and assigned them to key tasks, one for 'reporting', one for the deferred functionality and enhancements, one for daily support, one for data integrity and quality.

"We spent a lot of time working with the Acceptance Partners, work groups and Decision Support Systems to prioritize and design solutions. One of the benefits of going to a commercial system is that we were able to go out and contract with an outside agency to come in and do a technical upgrade to the system. And we also took five other people from ITSS and redeployed them, saying, 'Okay, your job is to look at speeding up reports.' 'Your job is to look at increasing system performance.' We added some outside consultants to improve reporting performance. We made the Help Desk more responsive by assigning analysts to work with all of the Help tickets that are coming in. For example, although we might receive 500 Help tickets during any one day, those are not 500 unique Help tickets. Often we could group them and solve the problem in 15 rather than 500 steps.

"We've also been bringing consultants into the central offices to try and streamline the business processes there. You might ask 'Well, why don't you bring consultants into my department to help me streamline?' I think that's a reasonable question. But if we do not improve the speed in the central offices, your perceived speed out in the schools and offices will be even slower. We have to fix crucial central problems first. We have temporarily brought people on in the central offices to remove transaction backlogs. We brought them on in disbursements and purchasing."

Are these measures having any effect? Mr. Handley showed a graph of time taken to 'close the month' accounts. In September it took 22 days; this has steadily fallen to, in January, 6 days. The target is to lower this to 5 days. Another graph showed that reports available increased from 26 "central" reports available in September to 75 in February, with a similar increase in "distributed" reports. Data issues in "expenditure" reports has fallen from 18 in October to about 4 in January, meaning that there are only 4 or 5 problems that have to be fixed on the expenditure statement before departments will be able to certify. "Open" Help tickets have fallen from 500 in January at any given time to fewer than 320 on February 10th.

Handley admitted that it is "...a pretty miserable time on campus. Some of it was avoidable, some of it was not. Some of it was just the 'fog of war' when you're doing a very large implementation. But we are making progress. And what I would like to suggest is that I come back in a couple of months with another progress report. At the speed with which things have picked up lately, a couple of months will make a huge difference on campus."

Mr. Handley ended by showing some "ITSS Customer Satisfaction Survey" data. It was interesting that in November, satisfaction was reasonably high, "...when" as he drolly expressed it, "people still had hope." He admitted that these numbers would not be as high today.

At this point, Chairman Wasow thanked Mr. Handley for his frank and complete presentation.

VI. Unfinished Business

- The 'unfinished business' of discussing Mr. Handley's report was to be moved immediately to executive session in the Law School faculty lounge.

VII. New Business - None

VIII. Adjournment

4:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Edward D. Harris, Jr., M.D.

George DeForest Barnett Professor, emeritus

Academic Secretary to the University