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Growth limits expected in post-Centennial Campaign era
STANFORD -- Fundraising in the post-Centennial Campaign era will be marked by more faculty involvement and responsibility in the schools, as well as lowered expectations for academic growth, development officials say.
"We've led the country for four of the last five years in the bottom line total raised, but I don't think the bottom line is going to be the challenge of the post-campaign," said John Ford, vice president for development.
"Development obviously follows academic aspirations. We certainly will be influenced by whatever the outcome of the current budget analysis."
Because of the university's critical need to cut its operating budget over the next few years, two provostial committees, including a new one composed of faculty members, will look especially hard at the effect on the operating budget of future fundraising proposals, said history Prof. John Wirth, vice provost for academic planning and development.
"There are, for instance, a number of foundations who don't really allow us to recover our indirect costs," he said. "We are going through a range of models now on how to deal with situations like that, so we don't end up carrying out someone else's mission for less than it really costs us."
Despite the pressures, Ford and Wirth say they expect Stanford to preserve its tradition of flexibility, coordination and discipline in fundraising, so that the best ideas flow from the faculty, traditionally the originating source of priorities for development.
At most universities, Wirth said, "the Development Office is on its own except for dealing with the president. The faculty is somewhat removed, and deciding what gifts to seek is done on a more episodic basis."
In contrast, Stanford has what Wirth calls "an elegant process" by which entrepreneurial scholars are encouraged to develop new ideas for funding. Those who have taken advantage of the process ultimately have had as much to do with setting the institution's future as the president, he said.
The process begins when faculty members consult with their school's development officers and deans. Next, proposals go to the "green folders committee," chaired by a vice provost appointed from the faculty, which ranks them by merit.
Proposals that make this cut proceed to the Development Priorities Committee, chaired by the provost, which takes an especially hard look at whether proposals will be appealing to donors and how they fit into university-wide funding prospects.
Provost James N. Rosse has played a central role on both committees and a behind-the-scenes role in the Centennial Campaign, Wirth said. He sets the final priorities and especially works to mesh foundations, academic and budgetary goals, according to Bill Kimball, a former trustee who serves as one of four volunteer coordinators of the campaign.
"The provost tells us how much we have to raise for a particular objective and how much debt service he'll allow on a building, for instance," Kimball said. "And, if we decide we need to drop a goal from the campaign, such as the theater proposal, he must rule on it."
President Donald Kennedy, according to Kimball, plays the role of "super salesman" and has been particularly effective in raising corporate gifts.
"In soliciting corporations, you really want to talk to the boss, and there is where Stanford's boss is most helpful," Kimball said. "Don speaks with conviction and enthusiasm. I don't know his exact batting average, but it's above .500."
Future priority setting
The current process will be reshaped to involve school deans and faculty even more, Wirth said, part of Stanford's move to a less centralized administration.
The Deans' Cabinet recently approved the creation of a new Provost's Advisory Committee on Development to replace Wirth's "green folders committee" on Sept. 1.
The seven-member faculty advisory committee, chaired by civi8l engineering Prof. Haresh Shah, will assess proposals and give advice to faculty who want to seek funding for proposals of $1 million or more, or proposals sponsored by the schools that require university-level prospects and resources. Smaller proposals will be left to the schools, which can be expected to build up their own development efforts, Wirth said.
The committee will look not just at merit and donor interest but also at any potential ongoing budgetary implications of new proposals, Wirth said. From there, the proposal will be reviewed by the seven-member Development Priorities Committee as in the past.
In an era of decentralization, Wirth said, "I see these two provostial committees as very critical glues between the schools, the cabinet and the faculty at large. We know from other places how badly you can dig yourself in if you turn a university into a feudal system with big barons and small dukes.
"One dynamic that's always at work but is particularly sensitive now is the perception of distance between the faculty -- which is, by nature, episodically interested in the university as a whole and self-interested all the time in a small piece of the action -- and the administration, where you have the overall architecture in mind and are looking at the pressure points and flow of things. We do need to work on that."
Another thing that will require work is adjusting to less expansive financial times, Wirth said.
"We have a tradition of expanding resources and opportunities to make all this work, and learning to live in a world where we have achieved eminence and are just not going to have all these new opportunities is our biggest adjustment problem for the future," he said.
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