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Senate approves individually designed majors; hears tributes
STANFORD -- At its final meeting of the year, the Faculty Senate on June 9 reauthorized the individually designed majors program for five years, approved bachelor's and advanced degrees, and paid tribute to outgoing Academic Secretary Marion Lewenstein and Senate Chair Patricia Jones.
Twenty-nine university trustees sat at the back of the room, the first time in the senate's 26-year history that trustees have attended a meeting. They came to hear preliminary recommendations from the Commission on Undergraduate Education (see separate story, page 1).
Tributes to Lewenstein, who will return to full-time teaching after three years coordinating faculty governance processes, included thanks from President Gerhard Casper for "rendering my too lawyerly prose" into good English in the senate minutes.
With Lewenstein's husband, Harry, looking on from the back row, Jones presented the academic secretary with a Stanford- red foul-weather jacket and hat for use on the couple's sailboat.
Jones said that Lewenstein effectively guided the last three senates and their committees despite the challenges of reduced staff and the added responsibilities of the recently created Planning and Policy Board and the ad hoc Senate Committee on Education and Scholarship at Stanford, a faculty group that helped guide $43 million in budget cuts three years ago.
"Her efforts to improve the efficiency of our operation and her special talents as a professor of communication have been particularly valuable," Jones said.
Incoming Senate Chair Robert Simoni led the tribute to Jones.
Some of the key issues the senate considered under Jones' watch this year, Simoni said, were sexual harassment, recruitment and retention of women faculty, faculty housing, faculty conflict of interest and commitment, and grading practices.
However, "your senate legacy will be the policy on cross-listing courses," Simoni said to laughter. The confusing issue several meetings ago was sent back to committee.
So much was accomplished, Simoni told Jones, because "you have extraordinary legislative skills that bring disparate views toward consensus."
Jones' success also can be attributed to the "extraordinary time commitment" she made to the senate, including her efforts in the matter of students' seeking faculty support for Asian American studies.
"Your successor will have an impossible act to follow," he said of himself.
Simoni presented her with a gavel as a symbol of the "enormous respect, affection and thanks of your colleagues," and suggested that she could put it to good use in her new job - she is succeeding him as chair of biological sciences.
In her remarks, Jones thanked all faculty for their service to the university and gave special recognition to those who serve on committees, commissions, task forces and panels.
"You all don't get enough recognition," she said.
Despite efforts, "we don't seem able or willing to reduce faculty committee work," she said. "This is because in the end we recognize that Stanford University benefits greatly from our faculty's willingness to invest its time, energy and intellect in academic governance." This helps ensure that Stanford is the place for learning and teaching that "we want it to be."
She singled out several committees "for coming to grips with difficult issues and presenting them to us in a way that has led to constructive changes in our policies": Craig Heller and his Committee on Research for the conflict of interest and commitment policy, and Gail Mahood and her Committee on Academic Appraisal and Achievement, for the new grading policy.
In addition, David Brady and the Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Judith Goldstein and the Committee on Graduate Studies developed and began implementing more rigorous standards for the review of interdepartmental programs, she said. And she praised Artie Bienenstock and the Planning and Policy Board for the recent discussion on academic resources.
She also expressed appreciation for ongoing work by Boyd Paulson and the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems, Carl Gotsch and the Committee on Libraries, and Evan Porteus and the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid.
Jones also recognized the contributions of Assistant Academic Secretary Patricia del Pozzo.
"In a year of unexpected challenges, Trish did her job with devotion, skill and integrity," Jones said. "Senate chairs, academic secretaries, and even presidents and provosts come and go." She said that del Pozzo trains everyone and keeps "us on track."
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