Faculty Senate minutes - February 21, 2008 meeting
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ACADEMIC COUNCIL FORTIEth SENATE Report No. 7
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS, FEB. 21
At its meeting on Thursday, February 21, 2008, the Fortieth Senate of the Academic Council took the following action:
By unanimous voice vote, the Senate approved the recommendation from the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP) that the Program in Introduction to Humanities will be allowed to undertake experimentation for a three year period starting in 2008-09, consistent with the current objectives of Area One, and with the authority to certify for the requirement courses whose structure may exhibit a different form than prescribed in the IHUM Legislation while maintaining equitable workload standards for students. Students who complete such experimental courses will receive full credit for satisfying the first-year requirement. This recommendation will not pre-empt further recommendations C-USP might make subsequent to completing the mandated review of Area One..
REX L. JAMISON Academic Secretary to the University
Minutes, FEB. 21I. Call to Order
The Chair, Professor Eamonn Callan, called the Senate to order at 3:20 PM. In attendance were 33 voting members and 7 ex officio members.II. Approval of Minutes - (SenD#6052)
The minutes of the February 7, 2008 meeting of Senate XL were approved.III. Action Calendar IV. Standing Reports
A. Steering Committee
Chair Eamonn Callan presented the Steering Committee report:
1. At our last meeting, the Senate passed a resolution calling for a committee of the Senate to be formed and charged '…to examine non-academic council appointment processes, including the use of honorific titles, at Stanford, and report results and recommendations to the Faculty Senate…' The Steering Committee has asked Professor Gordon Chang, Chair of the Committee on Committees, to convene his group to provide a list of faculty to who will be asked to serve on this ad hoc committee. Professor Chang will report back once the committee has been appointed.
2. The Steering Committee is busy working on upcoming Winter and Spring Quarter agenda topics and has rearranged some previously scheduled items.
March 6. At the final Winter Quarter Senate meeting, two weeks from today, we will hear a brief report on the NCAA re-certification and approve a recommendation for graduate degree-nominating approval for the new department of Environmental Earth Systems Sciences in the School of Earth Sciences. Following those two brief items, we will move to the Law School Lounge to meet in Executive Session for a special report.
April 17. At the first Spring Quarter meeting the Committee on Graduate Studies will present a recommendation on a new policy for approving future joint degree programs. Also, two of our student representatives will present brief reports on undergraduate and graduate issues.
May 1. The committee on Research will report on the research project announced last year selecting Stanford University to lead the Army High Performance Computing and Research Center consortium. And, Pat Jones, Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, will present the annual reports on Faculty Gains & Losses, Recruitment & Retention and an update on the Status of Women Faculty.
May 15. In a brief Senate meeting prior to the Annual Academic Council meeting, Hester Gelber, Chair of C-USP, will present the mandated ten-year review of the Area One General Education Requirements.
"The remaining two meetings of the 40th Senate will include the Provost's Budget report and a report from the Dean of Admissions."
There were no questions for the Steering Committee.
B. Committee on Committees
Professor Gordon Chang, Chair of CoC had no report except to confirm that the CoC will meet soon to generate the a list of candidates for the ad hoc Committee on non-Academic Council appointments.
C. President's and Provost's Report
Chair Callan asked President John Hennessy if he had a report or announcements.
President Hennessy had no reports or announcements, but correctly anticipated questions about the announcement by the university of a new Enhanced Undergraduate Financial Aid Program.
Chair Callan recognized Professor Robert Simoni.
Professor Simoni thought the news was wonderful and thought the current students and their parents would be delighted.
President Hennessy interjected, "I thought you were talking about Oprah for a minute, Bob." [The university also announced today that Oprah Winfrey had accepted its invitation to be this year's speaker for Stanford's 118th Commencement.]
Professor Simoni, agreeing to add that item to the good news, returned to the new student aid plan and asked how much it is going to cost.
President Hennessy: "It will cost about 15 and a half million dollars in year one, and then escalate by the differential between tuition and, let's say, family disposal income …as a rough guess. So that's roughly $300 million of endowment."
Professor Simoni asked if this meant it was going to be funded through new funds?
President Hennessy replied, "Some fraction of it, roughly a third, will come from the increased endowment payout approved by the Trustees last year, the remainder will in the short term be covered by increased allocations from The Stanford Fund and from the President's funds. For the long term, we have made a decision to double the fund-raising goal for undergraduate scholarships as part of the Stanford Challenge. If successful, that will yield another $200 million of endowment."
Professor Simoni asked whether the university was going to address the cost of graduate education and the current struggle faculty in the biosciences, and in the School of Humanities & Sciences [H & S], are having trying to support graduate students. The vigor of the research enterprise is affected, since graduate students are the bedrock of our enterprise. Was the university planning a comparable fund-raising effort to raise money for graduate students?
President Hennessy responded, "As part of the Stanford Challenge, we have a graduate fellowship at Stanford, and it is the only graduate fellowship program that we are planning to raise money for…we are going to have to ask ourselves how aggressive we can be raising money for graduate fellowships, because…I'm worried this is not a short-term problem—that, in fact, we will see limited growth in the federal research budget, given the overall pressures on the federal budget [in which]…research is this tiny sliver sitting over in discretionary funding. Remember that, for example, the farm bill was funded for $250 billion, enough to fund the entire university research enterprise several times over, including all the agencies, the National Science Foundation and [the NIH].
"I think we are going to have to raise graduate fellowship money…that is a challenging fund-raising opportunity…We don't have as natural a constituency as we do for our undergraduate scholarships. But I think we will have to do it—and do it aggressively.
Professor Simoni commented, "…The Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships (SGF) fund-raising went exceedingly well…So [it's not a] given that it can't be done."
Provost John Etchemendy added that graduate fellowships are among the top priorities in the Humanities and Sciences [H & S] portion of the Stanford Challenge.
Professor Mark Horowitz invited Professor Simoni, who was the person responsible for raising funds for SGF, to talk with his [Horowitz'] donors.
Chair Callan recognized Professor Phillipe Buc.
Professor Buc noted that there are other types of worries. He noted the "corridor fears" among junior faculty is that the money to beef up the support for undergraduates would impair salary raises for faculty. "That's a real fear…It's not necessarily a fear that I share, but our task as senators is to convey paranoia." [ Laughter ]
President Hennessy acknowledged that it is an issue and invited the provost to comment.
Provost Etchemendy responded that Professor Buc's question was very perceptive because the general fund [the source of faculty salaries] is a relatively small portion of the budget—less than a quarter of the overall budget and is growing less quickly than the overall budget. Its growth is at the same rate roughly as inflation for the foreseeable future, while faculty salaries have been growing faster than the Consumer Price Index [CPI].
The provost continued, "And, of course, the overall enterprise grows faster [than inflation], putting more demands on the general funds budget. One of the reasons that we are…financing the financial aid increases the way John [Hennessy] described is specifically to protect the general funds budget…None of the sources he described are general funds…Nonetheless, you are absolutely right, as are…your paranoid colleagues to worry about how these kinds of changes affect our ability to remain competitive on faculty salaries.
"For example, to go back to the previous question [by Professor Simoni], if the university were to say, 'Okay, in order to solve the problem with graduate fellowships, for example, the cap on the NIH budget, we'll cut tuition, or we'll provide general funds to fill in that gap', those general funds would come out of the same limited pool that allows us to pay faculty salary increases.
"So there's a reason to be worried. We're doing our best to protect the general funds budget from these changes."
Professor Buc thanked the provost and added another concern: "When we talk about inflation at Stanford, there is, of course, the CPI, but there's also local inflation."
Provost Etchemendy agreed, "…if I were to pick a single challenge that this university has, it is the housing issue…this is one of the only places in the country where we have not seen a significant softening of the housing market. That's not good."
Chair Callan recognized Professor Andrew Fire.
Professor Fire returned to the issue of funding graduate education: "I don't know if everybody here realizes the challenge that [finding funds for graduate students is]—a lot of faculty feel they can't fund a graduate student. [We have]…our graduate student visits in the bio science program coming up next week. There are quite a number of faculty that have opted out of interviewing, because they don't feel they can support a graduate student...And I think that's weighing substantially…on the creative research that gets done. If we [acquire] a reputation as a place where graduate students have to work for a lab with money, that's really going to take away from the [research] program…I think that's something we can sell relatively aggressively as a fund-raising goal. It's something that would, I think, particularly engage the local community."
There were no further questions for President Hennessy.
Chair Callan asked the provost if he had any reports or announcements?
Provost Etchemendy shook his head, "Nope. I'm announced out."
Chair Callan, confirmed his comment, "You're announced out."V. Other Reports
School of Humanities and Sciences (SenD#6055)
Chair Callan invited Richard Saller, Vernon R. & Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) to give his report to the Senate. Chair Callan acknowledged that several guests were invited to hear this report.
Dean Saller thanked Chair Callan and commenced his presentation with the aid of slides.
"It's truly a pleasure to be with you. I arrived in Stanford, 11 months ago to the day. And coming at the tail end of a Chicago winter, it felt like I was landing in the Garden of Eden. And it still feels pretty good.
"…much of the way that I think about things has to be understood against the background of 22 years at the University of Chicago as a professor of history and classics, eight years as a dean of social sciences, and, finally, five years as provost.
"Unlike Gerhard [Casper, President Emeritus], I'm not wearing my Frank Lloyd Wright tie from Chicago. I noticed that he continues to wear his. But it is still very much a part of my thinking.
"People have asked me about the differences between Chicago and Stanford…I would say that Chicago is a great university, but Stanford sets its sights higher. Chicago aimed to be a top five private university, and Stanford simply aims to be the best university in the world in the 21st century… It's thrilling to be associated with that kind of aspiration, especially at a moment when universities probably are getting more attention in the world for their role than ever before in human history. The phrase 'entrepreneurial spirit' trips off people's tongues all the time…it's a little trite, but it also, I think, has a truth to it. And I do feel that here, the sense of possibilities that the university provides, for a variety of reasons.
"One of the reasons I think we can aspire to be the very best is the position that we start from. We, I think, have arguably the best arts and sciences faculty in the country. I underline 'arguably,' because one would want to recognize that people have different views. But if you look at the rankings, I think you can make a case for that.
"The NRC [National Research Council] rankings, which are the most sophisticated, are way out of date. The NRC collected data in 1993, and the faculty lists don't resemble where people are right now, to a large extent.
"So we're left with the U.S. News [and World Report] graduate department rankings. Unlike the undergraduate rankings, which include all kinds of information that I think are basically irrelevant to the quality of education, the graduate department rankings are based on reputation. So they tell us, I think, a bit about how the outside world sees us. And as you can see here from this slide, Stanford has, really, an extraordinary story to tell."
There are ten arts and sciences graduate programs ranked by U.S. News.
2008 US News Graduate Programs rankings:
#1: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology
#2: Mathematics, Political Science
Top 5: History, English
"[As you can see] nine out of our ten departments are ranked in the top five [in the US]. There's no university that's better than that.
"There's, of course, a question about whether the new NRC rankings, scheduled to appear in the late spring or summer, will alter this very much…The information that I've had most recently is that [the NRC is] going to change the formatting in a way that doesn't give you an ordered, discrete list from one to a hundred, but will group departments into quartiles. If that's the case, I suspect that the publication will be an anticlimax. The only news will be if a Stanford program isn't in the top quartile. We'll need to look hard at that if that's the case.
"Of course, rankings are arguable. There are all kinds of reasons to take them with caution. For one thing, small programs aren't ranked, especially in the humanities. And so the rankings, NRC and U.S. News, simply ignore a good part of what we do. There's a 'halo' effect, of course. One can argue about appropriate metrics. I haven't had this discussion here, but at Chicago, I had faculty [who insisted], 'You know, we need to have metrics to measure how we're doing.'
"And when you say, 'Well, what would those be?' You can guarantee that it will immediately dissolve into an argument that won't lead to any conclusion.
"Still, I don't think there's any doubt about the quality of …the Humanities & Sciences [H & S], here. Another refreshing quality, I think, is that it hasn't led to any smugness or self-satisfaction, self-celebration. We know that H & S has gaps and some areas of unevenness. Over the last 11 months, I've tried to get a sense of where those are and what we might do to improve them.
"Broadly speaking, I think H & S is characterized by small faculty size and a faculty that's highly capitalized, at least as compared with Chicago's. H & S has 508 billets filled. The number at Chicago in Arts and Sciences was 50 greater…that's not an apples-to-apples comparison, because our 508 include some of the creative and performing arts [while] at Chicago those were not degree programs and not a part of the departments in many cases.
"Humanities does have some small programs, and some, I think, are in a precarious situation…I'll talk more about that in a few minutes.
"As a broad generalization, H & S, with its 27 departments, differs from the professional schools, both in the sense that it's not organized around professional credentials or a specific body of professional knowledge, and in the span of subject matter. H & S runs all the way from high-energy particle physics to Chinese literature. I would call that richness. Others might call it diffuseness.
"I will…readily concede that we cover a lot of territories. We're organized into three clusters—the humanities, the natural sciences and the social sciences. Twenty-seven departments…[The number of] faculty has had some ups and downs, but has been more or less flat since 2000, only growth at the margin.
Dean Saller explained his view of his role in improving and supporting the quality of the programs and departments of H & S.
"I don't like the word 'vision'…a word that is used so often that I think it is trite. It doesn't have very much content at times and it also suggests more foresight than I pretend to have. As an historian, I think history is littered with five-year plans by visionary leaders…that never quite turn out that way.
"I think about my job in terms of creating space to enable the very best faculty and the best students to do their creative work without unnecessary barriers and with the proper support.
"That may seem obvious. But I think it makes 'academic management' — and the scare quotes are intentional—different from corporate management in many ways. We don't have one bottom line that's a kind of fungible measure. I have, in 508 faculty, 508 points of production, and they're doing things that are, in some ways, incommensurable [having no common measure or standard of comparison]. There's no single measure. Even if I have the best physics department in H & S, that doesn't mean that I would want to [turn] the entire school into one huge physics department. [ Laughter ]
To which the dean affirmed, "You wouldn't want to recruit 508 physics faculty members, believe me."
"…When I talk about development priorities in the school…volunteer fund-raisers who will say to me, 'What's your single focus priority?' And I can't answer that. …I've got four number one departments. Am I going to pick out one of them and neglect the other three in support? Or am I not going to support a top-ten department? Or are we not going to undertake some new programs? …We have to explain the kind of diffuseness [inherent in the H & S] to an external audience that doesn't always come ready to understand…or be receptive.
"I think this [situation] also differentiates a place like Stanford and Chicago from some third-tier universities…At a third-tier university, it makes sense for an administrator, a dean or a provost, to pick one or two programs and say that they're… [vigorously] going to go strengthen them and make them absolutely topnotch. [Instead] we're starting from broad strength, and we're challenged to provide support almost across the board.
"[To do that]…I like to think about trying to focus on the three basic drivers of quality—faculty, graduate students, and facilities.
"…Parenthetically, I'm not including the undergraduate programs not because they aren't important to H & S, but only because they're a kind of shared responsibility. I don't think of that as strictly within the confines of my portfolios; I work with John [Bravman] and others in the university. I'd be glad to answer questions about this.
Faculty quality. "[One issue is that we are facing] to be competitive in salaries and in housing costs is that we are living in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the United States. [This relates to] to expansion of departmental size. I'm sympathetic to that but on the other hand, if we have to make a decision between keeping a highly capitalized faculty that's well supported at more or less its current size as against expanding the faculty but losing ground on support [because] of these escalating costs, I think it's more important to maintain the quality of the support...
Graduate Programs. "This is a major focus and I'll come back to that.
Facilities. "H & S has a big stake in the building programs that are being undertaken on campus, whether it's the new Bing Concert Hall, the new arts building, new biology building, new Nano Building…or the Ginston replacement. All of these things will be important for support of student programs and research."
Dean Saller then turned to present goals and challenges for H & S.
"We have to maintain our focus. Even though Stanford is a rich university, we're up against super-rich universities…The per-student endowment at Stanford is about two-thirds [that] of the wealthiest universities. We feel that in some of the competition. So one of the ways to manage that is to make sure we don't waste money on things that are really peripheral. What this means in terms of faculty is, probably, targeted faculty increases. I think there are a few departments that have a credible argument that…their quality is constrained by size….Most of our departments are in the range of their peer set. I don't think any of them is the largest.
"There are some academic areas that I think …we do need to undertake some initiatives, in particular, in Asian studies. For historical reasons, Stanford is a kind of Eurocentric university. We have 38 faculty in European literature and language as against nine in Asian literature and language. For the 21st century, that doesn't seem like the right balance, although it may very well have been in the 1950s and '60s. [We are] not going to take away from the European [studies], but we want to add in the South Asia and Islamic studies. We are developing proposals…to build in those areas without creating whole new departments, which I think are probably beyond the bounds of what we're able to do right now."
Returning to graduate programs, Dean Saller reminded the Senate that one of the main targets that affects the whole school is having viable, well-funded graduate programs.
"…To the outside world, it's not obvious why graduate programs are important. So the first thing to do is to [clearly state] the basic reasons why it matters to have right-sized, well-funded graduate programs on campus.
"The first one is that it's core to our mission. If we're trying to train the next generation of the best researchers and teachers in the world, this is the way we do it. The second is that it's fundamental to the recruitment and retention of faculty. Finally, I know from my own experience as a graduate student, that having a [critical mass] of graduate students, is important. My view is that graduate students are, by nature, iconoclastic. If you have only one graduate student in a seminar or a lab with a professor, it's a little hard to be iconoclastic…iconoclasm depends in part on a dynamic of mutual criticism and support within the group of students who are learning together…for those basic reasons, we need, as I say, right-sized programs. That doesn't mean the biggest programs, but right-sized programs.
[Dean Saller showed a slide comparing the trends in admission to PhD programs over the last 20 years. Natural Sciences grew from 121 to 155, while Humanities declined from 115 to 76 and Social Sciences from 80 to 68.]
"How do we think about right-sizing graduate programs? Well, one [way]…is the ratio of graduate students to faculty.
[Dean Saller showed a slide of the ratio of faculty to entering PhD students in large humanities departments: Columbia 0.79 (students 62); Princeton 0.4 (students 49); Yale 0.7 (students 50); Stanford 0.4 (students 37).]
"This table combines these for the larger programs in humanities. What you see is that in terms of the absolute numbers of students in the entering cohort in these departments, Stanford was the smallest, and then [also] on the low side in terms of the ratio.
"…I have tried to identify those areas where I think some building would improve things…and just as I was doing that, of course, the pressures have been building in science funding."
Dean Saller showed a slide of the source of funds for doctoral education:
General Funds: 36%
Dean's Office Endowments: 6%
Dept. Endowment/Expendable 19%
Grants & Contracts: 17%
"…As you can see, the grants and contracts are not the lion's share, but they're a significant share. Covering the gaps coming out of the Washington funding policies is something that we're trying to figure out how to do.
"…One other issue about graduate program size is the trend in underrepresented minorities in our Ph.D. programs. To my mind, this is maybe the hardest slide—the most painful slide—to look at.
[Dean Saller showed a slide demonstrating a downward trend in the number of minority PhD student admissions to H & S from 25-30 in the early '90s to 13 (2005-06) and 16 (2006-07).]
"So what this says is that in 2006/7, we matriculated 16 out of an…incoming cohort of roughly 300.
"My overall goal after looking at the different…comparisons, is to add 125 Ph.D. fellowships across the school. This represents an 8% increase. It's not huge, but it's [still] going to take a lot of work, especially given the federal funding pressure we have to offset. I would like to see about half of those aimed at diversifying the graduate student body, in other words, roughly doubling the [present] numbers. If we are matriculating 30 a year out of 300, that's 10%. That's still not representative of the population as a whole, but it's better than we're doing now."
Dean Saller turned to research infrastructure.
"H & S is working …on fund-raising for the buildings. A lot of that has been done through the support of the president…Broadly speaking, donors at the school level are not necessarily the donors who are going to be able to name buildings.
"Research infrastructure has different dimensions depending on the field. The provost mandated that C-LIB set up a subcommittee to look at research infrastructure in H & S….We will attend to [the C-LIB report] when it appears.
"… In some of the social sciences, there are…needs to upgrade equipment. The most obvious illustration of that is the emergence of neuroscience as absolutely central in psychology. This requires multimillion dollar equipment investments of a kind we didn't have to make in the past. But it's clear, to maintain the standing in psychology, this is something that has to be done.
"In addition…we're working to connect with the Stanford Challenge initiatives. I've been trying to figure out…where it is that H & S connects…That's a bigger challenge for H & S, because, for human health, this is obviously dominated by the medical school, but it doesn't mean that we don't have a big interest in it, only that my friend [medical school Dean] Phil Pizzo has more stakes in that initiative."
In concluding his remarks, Dean Saller turned to the dean's office itself.
"…Given what I said before about the dean's office creating space, [it's important] that we have a timely and responsive dean's office. I'm acutely aware of the fact that in the global rankings of universities, there's no category for quality of deans. [ Laughter ]
"There's quality of faculty, quality of research, quality of departments. But we're only as good as you are. I've begun to think about some process changes in the dean's office. We've actually instituted a few [changes], and we're monitoring them to try to produce clear answers—and clear answers faster. Having said that, though, I would offer one last observation against the background of my Chicago experience. Stanford is organized in a way that I think inherently makes decision-making more complicated. And it's led to demonstrably terrific results, but it is more complicated. By that I mean there's more sort of cross-cutting in the decision-making process. The Dean of Research, for example, is [a position] that we didn't have at Chicago in that form. Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE), and Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE), [represent] multiple points of responsibility for many of these things. So that means what could be resolved in Chicago by a telephone call between two people takes a meeting of eight to get resolved here. And that simply takes longer…The results are visibly outstanding, so it's not that I'm suggesting that we change it. It's only [my] impression of the organization.
That concluded Dean Saller's presentation.
Chair Callan opened the floor for questions and comments.
Professor Stephen Stedman opened the discussion: "You started with the point that we have aspirations to be a global, international, leading university. And then when you got to a discussion of diversity, it was sort of a 'Made in America' kind of discussion of diversity. Do you track how many international students are coming in as doctoral students and where are they coming [from] in the world? Are there large parts of the world from which we simply aren't attracting anybody?"
Dean Saller replied. "At the undergraduate level, we are very diverse domestically, but not too diverse internationally. At the graduate level [it's the reverse]—we're not very diverse in our domestic student population, but we are quite diverse in our international population. My memory is that something like 40% of our doctoral students in H & S are international students. The distribution does differ by program. But one of the things that is so interesting about the phenomenon of globalization is that our faculty, postdocs, and doctoral students…are flowing pretty freely across national boundaries now. And I think Stanford benefits from that."
Professor Stedman followed up: "…There aren't big parts of the world that are being left behind?"
VPGE Patti Gumport commented: "I'm not sure by school, so I don't know what it is in H & S, but our international graduate students come from 100 countries. The bulk of them are from three—China, India, and Korea."
Dean Saller noted that Korea is clearly overrepresented and that has to do with its interest in education.
Professor Debra Satz thanked Dean Saller for his review and then asked, "First, do you have any sense of …what explains the downward trend? …Was there a downward trend of a similar sort at Chicago? Is this out of keeping with what's going on? Is there something that you can point to that explains it?"
Dean Saller replied, "I will tell you what my best guess is…The competition for qualified students at this level is pretty intense. At Chicago, there was a more generous funding policy. The university simply funded all qualified graduate students in this area. And I know that [H &S] tried to do that but hadn't worked out the budget implications. And I'm now talking to John Etchemendy about whether we can move in the direction of that kind of program…For next year…the school will fund not two years, but three years for entering students in this category. Over time, [we'd like] to be able to take that to five years."
Professor Yoav Shoham asked, "How do you see the role of joint appointment between H & S on the one hand, and other schools, [on the other] in particular, the School of Engineering?"
Dean Saller responded, "I welcome that. I think having a compact campus — and in this way, Chicago and Stanford are similar — having all the schools in a fairly tight footprint is a real opportunity we need to take advantage of. …One of the reasons I think Stanford is poised to be the best university in the world in the 21st century is the strength of engineering. When I look at where H & S has strength, a good bit of it is the interface with engineering. In this new building that we're planning, the hope would be to create a lab environment where there's a lot of interaction…I'm happy to support joint initiatives that departments on the two sides join together on. We obviously have limitations of resources we have to deal with. I would guess with the change in the SLAC facility, that in the future, there will be more opportunity to do things in applied physics, engineering, at a SLAC interface."
Professor Gordon Chang thanked Dean Saller for his report and then commented, "Let me report that the humanities faculty I have been in contact with is quite appreciative of your work over the past nine months. So thank you, and keep it up. You mentioned your different targets. One of them was literature being unbalanced. Could you talk a little bit about maybe other targets or other areas of concern?"
Dean Saller replied, "We are now looking at strengthening the East Asian [Studies program] with some additional appointments, adding about five to seven…appoint-ments in South Asian [program] that would span social sciences and humanities. It might not be literature, it might be film, for example. And we have to think about what we can do based on the library and research resources that we have.
"In the Islamic program, we are putting together an external review to…help us think about what the next steps are..."
Professor Albert Camarillo commented, "Richard, let me first say that I and certainly my colleagues in history — I know of some of the other departments [too, greatly appreciate] the fact that you've sped up the process of appointments and promotions." [Turning to the other Senate members], " I'm sure all of you are aware of this. So that's a relatively small change, but in a way, a big change. So we really appreciate that…I see some building of additional trust between the dean's office and departments as well. And I think that's attributable to you. So thank you for that.
"Here's my question: "Getting back to your target for 120-plus fellowships, is that a specifically targeted campaign for graduate fellowships or is it linked to the larger campaign?"
Dean Saller responded, "It is linked to the larger campaign. 125 would be my goal for incremental fellowships. That's 25 a year in each incoming class. Some of that will come from the SGF program, I would hope…There's no telling exactly how much H & S will benefit, but since we have a very large proportion of the doctoral students, I would expect that we will get a fair share."
Professor Gilbert Chu asked a question about the downward trend in minority PhD admissions, "I'm wondering if the decline is paralleled by a similar decline in applications?"
Dean Saller replied, "I can't tell you that. I do know that, in Chicago, the numbers were higher…We don't have a surplus of applications that makes this kind of recruiting easy…One of the things that I would hope to do is to set incentives in a way so that departments are willing to take risks. Because if we don't take risks, we'll never get there…My wife has a wonderful example. When she was in the anthropology department at Chicago, they admitted a student on one of these kinds of fellowships who had a low GRE [Graduate Record Exam] verbal [score]. A department faculty thinking about the opportunity cost for that student, if they have to pay for it out of their funding, would never take a chance on that student. At Chicago the department did…She is close to completing her dissertation. Because of her work discipline, she's actually going to do a credible job. And she's going to move into an academic career in a way that will make higher education better.
"[But] it needs to be done carefully. We don't want to bring in people to fail. [VPGE Patti Gumport] has been thinking about support systems….That's important, but the incentives right now discourage risk-taking because most departments feel they don't have as many fellowships as they would like, and so they want to focus on those students they know will succeed.".
Professor Chu followed up, "The reason I asked about applications, is obviously, if the application pool were actually growing, the need to take a risk would decline.
…[in our] science-graduate degree-granting program, that's our big problem. We don't have enough applications. But seeing a decline makes me wonder if there's a perception in the outside world among the underrepresented minorities that maybe Stanford isn't a congenial place."
Dean Saller agreed that that's an issue. "I am probably not the one who can talk about that most knowledgeably. But there are others in this room who see that as an issue. And it can be a kind of spiral, downward spiral...Bob Simoni, in a [recent] discussion about this issue, said, in biology, if we had said we were going to try to raise those numbers [of minority graduate students] ten years ago, the constraint would [have been] the application pool. He doesn't think that that's true now. He believes that in biology, for example, that there are more applicants out there than they are now admitting. If we can boost the support, we can pull in more of these students."
Professor Robert Dutton asked, "This is out of ignorance from being in the School of Engineering, but—coterminal programs and research experience for undergraduates in H & S—how does that translate into addressing these problems?...If we're fairly well-represented at the undergraduate [level], it seems like accelerating those two opportunities to get more of our undergrads up at that level would be a good thing."
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Bravman weighed in: "Most departments in the School of Humanities & Sciences don't admit their own undergraduates to doctoral programs for a variety of reasons. And I think that's their loss.
Peer institutions that we draw from in H & S to our Ph.D. programs have undergraduate bodies that are less diverse than ours, but still are strong. I think there has to be a better sense of getting them here. [Regarding the question] are we less attractive to doctoral students of color. I think the answer often is yes. And we have to understand why, beyond the cost issues….But that's the historical reason in H & S."
Professor Chu noted that, "Actually, it may improve as more senior graduate students with familiar faces are there to welcome the incoming applicants."
Dean Saller commented, "Certainly, we've got to reverse the trend line…And I don't believe that money is the whole story. But absent funding support, we're not likely to change the direction."
Vice Provost Bravman agreed: "And it was only money in engineering, Bob [Professor Dutton], as you know, that made this work. The deans put money specifically as you were describing. And that was the only thing that really turned it around, for exactly the same reasons that you illustrated as problems in H & S.
President John Hennessy commented, "[It was] basically guaranteeing all underrepresented minorities the first two years of their funding, which, in engineering, is [key and then you find other funds for the remainder of the time needed to earn the degree]."
Dean Saller agreed, "… In sciences, that may work, where there's external funding. In humanities and some of the social sciences, [the support] can't be limited to [just the] two years."
Professor Penelope Eckert inquired, "Do we have data on the success of the minority students we admit? My feeling is that the needs for support once the student gets here are far greater than we can imagine. I know a student with huge material problems. I would really like to know what…people's success rate is and what we have to do to make it better."
Vice Provost Gumport answered, "Two comments might be helpful. One is that I looked at the time-to-degree completion for students from different racial and ethnic categories. There's no substantial difference from one category to another, with the exception of a couple of departments [about which] I'd be happy to share the data with you. But nothing jumps out as being a significant trend within H & S.
"The second thing is, I think H & S is to be commended for making a significant investment in diversity recruitment and retention. There are staff people within H & S, three in particular, who have been working very hard on these issues and offering courses [to try to help] students already admitted. The [staff] is also available for counseling and advising…On the recruitment end, [we are] very active, traveling, participating in different …graduate school fairs, as well as other initiatives. H & S is out in front in some very visible ways here."
Professor Debra Meyerson noted, "This [concern about minority graduate admissions] just makes more compelling the push for faculty diversity, which, of course, is going to change the [mix] of our graduate students."
Dean Saller agreed, "One of the reasons that I focus on this is the frustration of trading [underrepresented minority] faculty with Harvard and Princeton. Ultimately, we've got to have a larger pipeline if we're going to change…I think we have to think about the good of the nation and what part we're playing. The last numbers from the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education was that the representation of African Americans on faculty at the four leading private schools was 2.7% at Harvard, 2.7% at Princeton, 2.7% at Chicago, 2.7% at Stanford."
Professor Jonathan Bendor asked, "Following up on Vice Provost Gumport's point, are there any over-time changes in performance [of the graduate students]?"
Dean Saller replied, "That's a really good point. There are at least three things we need to be thinking about, all of which are important: 1) How many are we recruiting into the Ph.D. program? 2) How many are we getting out the other end with degrees? And 3) what fraction of them are going into higher education? VPGE Gumport's university -wide program is focused on the latter two. But…if we don't get them in to begin our graduate program, she is not going to have people to take care of."
Professor Mark Applebaum commented, "The richness and diffuseness consideration is particularly striking in the humanities cluster, where you have 15 units and 200-plus faculty. What might be arguments for and against a separate arts cluster with its own dean?"
Dean Saller confessed, "I wasn't ready for a question that big." [ Laughter ]
He continued, "…Even within the arts departments, there's [sometimes] a divide between the scholarship side and the performance or creative arts side. And Stephen Hinton [Senior Associate Dean, H & S and Professor of Music] tells me that that's a fruitful mix…Take Stephen as an example—his interest is in musicology, but also in German. I think you would lose something by having a separate fine arts school…But I'm sure that there are also gains…"
Professor Applebaum interrupted, "If I might interrupt. I wasn't suggesting a separate school by any means. I'm only wondering if there [might be] a separate point person under your umbrella for a kind of 'subcluster'?"
Dean Saller responded, "We are trying to simplify in another way, and that is, the DLCL [Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages]; we want to make that a unit that reports to the cluster dean rather than [to] all of the departments. That will reduce Stephen's number of departments by four, to make it a little more manageable."
Chair Callan thanked Dean Saller for his presentation and so did the Senate by its enthusiastic applause.
C-USP: recommendation for experimental program for I-HUM GER/Area One (SenD#6034)
Hester Gelber, Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), submitted to the Senate a recommendation to C-USP from Professor Russell Berman, Director of the Introduction to the Humanities (I-HUM), for a new program for the I-HUM General Education Requirement in Area One. Chair Callan introduced Professor Brad Osgood, ex officio member of C-USP who also serves on the I-HUM Advisory Board and the Committee on Review of Undergraduate Majors, presented the recommendation in place of Professor Gelber, who was away from campus.
Professor Osgood began his presentation by acknowledging his pleasure in returning to the Senate.
"The reason why this motion is coming to the Senate in the first place is that it was Senate legislation that created the I-HUM program, so the Senate maintains an interest. But the primary governance of the program is through the governing board—the very active faculty governing board—and then through the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP)."
Besides Professor Osgood's several qualifications in connection with the subject of report described by Chair Callan, there was one more: "I am the proud parent of a Stanford freshman who is in I-HUM. So I think I know the program pretty well.
"And the first thing I would like to say is that I think all of us who have been involved in the program consider the state of the program is quite healthy. As a member of the governing board, I've [listened to] the discussion over a number of years, and I've seen the care that goes into reviewing the program, the individual courses and the general policy, and no more is that evident than right now with the leadership that [Professor] Russell Berman is providing the program. It's quite extraordinary to see how active the faculty is and how eager the faculty is to try different things. That's really the purpose of the request from the governing board through C-USP, [which] is to allow I-HUM to do a few more things around the edges, to take advantage of the eagerness of the faculty, to try out different models, and to try out some different experiments. Faculty eagerness is a quantity much to be prized around here and we certainly want to let them go with that.
"…The way to see the program evolving, as always programs do, is to allow for just the sort of experimentation where faculty can try something out and see how it works, and try to assess it well. I view the proposal by C-USP as a chance for this Senate to affirm their trust in the faculty to try those sorts of things.
"That's our proposal."
Chair Callan thanked Professor Osgood and invited Professor Berman to comment.
Professor Berman thanked C-USP for bringing request to the Senate and then commented, "We conducted an extensive self-study the last year. It's been on our Web site. In the course of that self-study, we consulted widely with faculty and we found faculty coming up with some interesting modification proposals. We'd like to be able to try these out on the margins. The main structure of I-HUM, as mandated by the Senate, will stay the same. But we'd like to have the governance board have the latitude to entertain some alternative proposals."
Chair Callan thanked Professor Berman and opened the floor for discussion.
Professor Hank Greely opened the discussion: "This looks good to me, but there's one thing about it that troubles me. I see that C-USP is on our agenda in three months to present its recommendations more generally about I-HUM. I wonder why we need to do this now. It may be you need to do it in order to prepare programs for 2008/2009. But then maybe you should wait for a year if C-USP is likely to come up with major recommendations [regarding I-HUM]. I note language in the memo about this shouldn't preempt any action in May."
Professor Osgood replied: "I don't anticipate any action in May. As Russell [Professor Berman] mentioned, there was already a very extensive self-study. The program is always under review. I think the main point right now is to prepare for some of the programs for next year and to take advantage of that faculty eagerness to do so."
Professor Greely followed up, "I take it then we should not expect a request for major rewriting of the I-HUM program?"
Professor Osgood agreed, "I think that's fair to say."
Professor Camarillo commented, "I-HUM was born of curricular innovation and experimentation. So this [recommendation] is really consistent with what I-HUM has been about. I think Russell has done a wonderful job in recent years of reaching out to additional faculty. He's hearing faculty say, 'Can we maybe rethink structure around the edges?' So the experimentation is consistent with the origins of the program. I think it's a wonderful idea to continue this experimentation."
Professor Harry Elam joined the discussion. "I just wanted to echo that sentiment. [I] sat on the committee that met some time ago—what was it, every Monday for two hours for two years—[that came] up with the idea that was I-HUM…What was built into that plan was that there would be some…chance for innovation, as Al said. I [also] want to echo the sentiment that Russell has done a really incredible job of looking at [the program's] strengths and thinking about ways that they can be tweaked. That's exactly what we want for this program that all freshmen have to take.
"In relationship to what will happen with C-USP in about three months is the sense that Russell's already done this extensive review. So when it comes to that time, it will be more of a report…reevaluation at that point."
Vice Provost Bravman: Let me just add that under Roland Greene's [Professor of English and Comparative Literature] leadership, the program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE)—the one, in fact, which Brad Osgood's son is enrolled—is also now undergoing serious review as part of the Area One requirements. Since for 30-plus years it was really under the direction of one person who's now retiring from our faculty, it's a great time to look at that as well. So we have every intent of continuing that program, which is extremely well regarded by its participants and eagerly asked after at every alumni event at which I ever have spoken.
"So SLE is continuing and, in fact, is being renewed. Professor Philippe Buc is playing a big part in it as well. So it is a time of rebuilding through experimentation, rather than stopping things. It's much more of a natural evolution directed by our faculty desires and what they want to do in the classroom. And that's the best way I know of to evolve a program."
Professor Keith Baker commented, "I am very much in favor of experimentation in the program. I do have one concern, though, which has to do with the role of the first quarter in ensuring a degree of interdisciplinary approach to the humanities and preserving I-HUM from being just introduction to one or another humanistic discipline. So I want to emphasize my sense that it's terribly important, whatever the experimental form might be, that this interdisciplinary, humanistic aspect be very clearly retained and that there be ways of making sure that that happens."
Professor Gilbert Chu announced that he is "…the proud father of a techie nerd son who has taken I-HUM courses. And the amazing thing is that when I have dinner with him, he's talking about his I-HUM courses. So, obviously, he has really enjoyed these I-HUM courses…I noticed on page 2 [of the C-USP recommendation] the average grades given to the I-HUM courses by the students are much worse than the grade he would give his I-HUM courses. So I suspect there's a huge variation in how successful some of these experiments have proven to be…I'm wondering if there's some way of trying to improve the experiments that are going awry and reinforcing the ones that are obviously going very well."
Professor Berman replied, "Well, one of the outcomes of the self-study was the understanding that the I-HUM management and the governance board, have to do a better job at monitoring the course success year by year…Courses are typically authorized for a three-year period. And now we're really paying very close attention to evaluations, to faculty self-reflection, and to input from the fellows. These are the postdoctoral fellows who run the discussion sections. We've been working with faculty and fellows to ensure that the teaching teams work well together. When all is said and done, that's been one of the difficulties in running what is really a very complex program for the important challenge of bringing high school students into college. That's really what the work of I-HUM is. And we do this by using many faculty and fellows. And it's a challenging pedagogical undertaking. And I think we're doing a good job of it."
Professor Mark Applebaum commented, "I just want to follow up on that. The perception I have in talking to my advisees is that the success or the failure of the curriculum, or the experience…rises or falls on the basis of their interface with the fellow—not in any way to downgrade the significance of the faculty and the curriculum, of course, but it seems to be that [the key] is that experience with the fellow…I think it's extremely important that whatever changes you make in the spirit of experimentation as well as the enthusiasm of the faculty, is communicated to…the fellows, or is coordinated with the fellows. That would clearly be a critical component in its success."
Professor Buc noted, "It's long been a tradition among Stanford freshmen to be dissatisfied with any kind of requirement imposed upon them. [Laughter ]
"So this being said, I think the task of I-HUM is to fight an uphill battle to convince more of the freshmen that they are not wasting their time with humanities, and actually teach them things that they like and teach them skills that they're going to [use] in whatever discipline they go. Engineers who write better and communicate [better] with other engineers in their own field are better engineers…our task is to make sure that we have tracks that work. And, indeed, the recruitment of the fellows is key. But so is, as Russell[Berman] mentioned, the teamwork between faculty and fellows. If the faculty give great lectures but don't explain to their fellows why they're giving these lectures and what is supposed to be done in the sections of seminars, the tracks flounder. And we have examples of that…So monitoring is key."
The discussion by the Senate having been finished, Chair Callan read the motion, which came seconded by C-USP, to be voted upon:
"The Program in Introduction to Humanities will be allowed to undertake experimentation for a three year period starting in 2008-09, consistent with the current objectives of Area One, and with the authority to certify for the requirement courses whose structure may exhibit a different form than prescribed in the IHUM Legislation while maintaining equitable workload standards for students. Students who complete such experimental courses will receive full credit for satisfying the first-year requirement. This recommendation will not pre-empt further recommendations C-USP might make subsequent to completing the mandated review of Area One."
By voice vote, the recommendation passed unanimously.VI. Unfinished Business
There was no unfinished business.VII. New Business VIII. Adjournment
The motion to adjourn was moved, seconded and approved. The Senate adjourned at 4:40 PM.Respectfully submitted, Rex L. Jamison, M.D. Academic Secretary to the University