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Trustees hear updates on online and experiential education at Stanford

At its Feb. 11-12 meeting, the Board of Trustees also bid farewell to four members and approved several construction projects making their way through the approval process.

Courtesy of Stanford and Diller Scofidio + Renfro Architectural rendering of the McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History on Roth Way.

Architectural rendering of the McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History on Roth Way. At their February meeting, trustees gave project and partial construction approval to the building.

In addition to approving tuition increases for the 2013-14 academic year, the Stanford University Board of Trustees heard updates on online and experiential education programs, bid farewell to four retiring members and approved construction projects in various stages of the approval process at its Feb. 11-12 meeting.

Online education

Trustees received an update on online education from John Mitchell, vice provost for online learning at Stanford and a professor of computer science in the School of Engineering, and heard presentations on recent developments in online education at Stanford, including course offerings, platform development, data analysis and education research. Presenters included:

  • Peter DeMarzo, senior associate dean for academic affairs and a professor in the Graduate School of Business;
  • Bernd Girod, senior associate dean for online learning and professional development in the School of Engineering and a professor of electrical engineering;
  • Charles Prober, senior associate dean for medical education at the School of Medicine and a professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology;
  • Mitchell Stevens, associate professor of education at the Graduate School of Education.

The board also heard about seed grants awarded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning to develop innovative courses for Stanford students or to reach beyond campus to teach massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

"There's a wide array of activity on campus," said Steven A. Denning, chair of the Board of Trustees. "It was an attempt to give the board some in-depth understanding of what's involved when we say 'online education' so we can better understand the strategic implications of online education."

Experiential education

Trustees also listened to a panel discussing the wide variety of hands-on learning programs at Stanford, ranging from a presentation on a recently redesigned large introductory laboratory class in the Department of Biology to Stanford in Washington, which places students in full-time internships in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Denning said trustees don't view online and experiential learning as mutually exclusive, because online education can enhance and improve experiential education. Trustees heard presentations from four speakers:

Members bid farewell to four trustees

Trustees feted four outgoing board members – Ann H. Lamont, Goodwin Liu, Miriam Rivera and Richard A. Sapp – who were elected to five-year terms through the alumni nominations process in 2008. Every two-and-a-half years the Stanford Alumni Association and the board's Committee on Nominations present four names to the board for election.

The festivities, which were held in Bing Concert Hall, included a cocktail hour and dinner in the hall's Gunn Atrium, and a musical interlude in which trustees heard the Stanford Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal in the concert hall. The orchestra is conducted by Jindong Cai, an associate professor (performance) of music at Stanford.

"It was a very enjoyable evening," Denning said. "One trustee spoke about each one of the retiring trustees. Then the retiring trustee got the opportunity to speak. We presented each one with a proclamation. It was a memorable event in an astounding venue."

Denning said LaTonia Karr, who was recently elected to the board, took part in a Sunday night dinner between trustees and Stanford students at the Faculty Club – a tradition of the February meeting.

Crothers Hall/Crothers College Dean's Residence

Trustees gave concept and site approval – the first two steps in the approval process – to a new dean's residence at Crothers Hall, a three-class undergraduate dorm on the east side of campus.

The two-story residence will be located at the north end of the Crothers courtyard between the current Crothers and Crothers Memorial wings of Crothers Hall. The first floor will serve primarily as a space for programming and events; the second floor as a private space for the residence dean's family living quarters.

The project is expected to return to trustees for design approval in June.

McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History

Trustees gave project and partial construction approval to the McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History. Since the board gave design approval for the building last June, the project budget has increased to $87 million, including $85.8 for the new building and $1.2 million to demolish the old Anatomy Building that once occupied the site.

The budget increase was attributed, in part, to the expansion of the first floor and basement in the northeast corner of the new building.

The building, which will be the new home for the Department of Art and Art History, will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for the arts at Stanford and further the ongoing development of an arts district at the entrance to campus. It will be a cornerstone in Stanford's initiative to enhance and expand the role the arts play throughout campus.

The project is expected to return to trustees in June for final construction approval.

Windhover Contemplative Center

By giving project approval to the Windhover Contemplative Center, trustees took the next step toward fulfilling the late Stanford art Professor Nathan Oliveira's dream of creating a campus center where people could rest in quiet reflection while viewing his large paintings inspired by birds in flight.

Since trustees gave the project design and site approval last April, the total budget has risen to $5.3 million, including a $4.9 million center and $360,000 in landscaping costs.

The project is expected to return to trustees in June for final construction approval. The contemplative center is expected to open in the summer of 2014.