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Humanities and Sciences Dean John Shoven lists the school's accomplishments over past year
STANFORD -- A new fellowship program will provide several assistant professors in the social sciences with a year's paid leave and a research account to prepare for their tenure reviews.
The program, designed to support promising young faculty, was announced Tuesday, April 25, by John Shoven, dean of humanities and sciences, in his second annual "State of the School" talk.
Shoven said that the new program will be very similar to the Dean's Fellows in the Humanities, a program that awards three scholars each with $5,000 and a year's paid leave.
The humanities fellowships were created last fall after anonymous donors gave $1 million to the program. The school -- the largest in the university, with 80 percent of Stanford's undergraduates -- will fund the new social sciences fellowships until a donor can be secured.
These programs, together with last year's $25 million gift from William Hewlett and David Packard for the establishment of the Terman Fellowships program, will provide substantial additional resources for young faculty, he said.
"The Terman Fellowships, Dean's Fellows in the Humanities, and new program for junior faculty in the social sciences underscore one of our most important commitments: to ensure that Stanford is absolutely the best university in the world in which to start an academic career," Shoven said.
An increased emphasis on replacing departing faculty with beginning professors will also facilitate faculty renewal, said Shoven, who stressed the importance of improving the environment for young professors. Last fall the school welcomed 28 new faculty and two-thirds of the appointments were at the junior level, he said.
Diversity among the faculty is also one of the school's top concerns, Shoven stressed.
"We all need to work together to implement aggressive and diligent recruitment and retention strategies that will add depth and breadth to our intellectual agenda," Shoven said. Of the new appointments, he reported, about 25 percent are members of underrepresented groups and approximately one-third are women.
In his "State of the School" talk, Shoven highlighted a number of other steps to enhance the humanities and sciences program.
"We could have chosen to stand pat, become academically conservative and self-satisfied. However, certainly in the last couple of years, we have done just the opposite. We are in the process of examining and questioning almost everything we do," Shoven said.
A newly established Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages to encourage collaboration between the language and literature departments is "a work in progress," Shoven said. "But early results confirm our confidence that we have made a good start."
Soon to be implemented changes in the undergraduate curriculum include a strengthened foreign language requirement that students can fulfill by completing one year of college language instruction or passing a proficiency examination, and an expanded writing requirement that calls for each department or degree- granted program to have at least one writing-intensive course.
A new interdisciplinary science sequence for non- science majors and the introduction of an interdisciplinary program on Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity are some examples of innovative proposals being given serious thought.
"As we always expected, the hard part is not coming up with the concept, but in building the structure and curriculum," Shoven said.
On the development front, Shoven reported that the total gifts received through the end of March amount to $16.3 million compared to $12.4 million at the same time last year.
The increase in funds from donors won't entirely offset overall budget pressures, Shoven said, and the school will be forced to streamline its operations. "All in all, the cuts for next year will be painful," he said.
To save money, the school is raising the average size of TA sections by 10 percent and considering the possibility of substituting advanced graduates for some lecturer positions. Other cost-cutting measures include reductions in staff and eliminating faculty computer monies from the base budget.
One area the school must continue to invest in is faculty salaries, Shoven said. Last year, the school embarked on a two-year program of salary increases for all assistant professors with the goal of recruiting outstanding scholars in a competitive market.
"Two years ago," Shoven said, "humanities and sciences departments reported many instances of salary offers from our competitors that were $2,500 to $5,000 above Stanford offers. Last year, the number of such cases was reduced and the differential was smaller."
Shoven tipped his hat to current faculty members, listing a number of professors who have won awards in the past year. Of the 450 faculty, there are 72 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 115 members of the American Academy of Sciences, 13 National Medal of Science winners, and 13 recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, he said.
The most recent award winner, he announced, is economist Anne Krueger, who was elected Tuesday to the National Academy of Sciences.
He also went on to name the winners of the Bing Fellowships, the university's most prestigious teaching awards that honor faculty from the Schools of Earth Sciences, Engineering and Humanities and Sciences.
The Bing Fellows include Christopher Chidsey and Daniel Stack, in recognition of their unique teamwork in teaching chemistry; Susan Okin, whose work has been instrumental in establishing political theory as a serious discipline at Stanford; and Jeffrey Koseff, of civil engineering for his innovative teaching methods.
Mathematics Professor Brad Osgood's term as the inaugural holder of the Bing Centennial Professorship has been extended in "recognition of his extraordinary leadership and innovative vision for mathematics and science education at Stanford," Shoven said.
He also announced the appointment of Stephen Haber, professor of history, as the new associate dean for the Social Sciences and Director of Graduate Studies.
Haber specializes in Latin American history and economic history, and is a recipient of the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching. He succeeds Anne Peck, who is returning to research and teaching after four years of serving on the post.
Shoven said Haber brings to the position a skill in bridging interdisciplinary boundaries in scholarship.
"His scholarship," Shoven said, " links the history department with political science, economic and international relations, a background that will serve him well in working for the best interest of these and other departments and programs in the social sciences."
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