Faculty Senate discusses federal research, transformation of career education

The speakers at the April 13 meeting included President Marc Tessier-Lavigne; Provost Persis Drell; and Farouk Dey, dean of career education and associate vice provost for student affairs.

In the wake of budget proposals that suggest cuts in federal research funding, Stanford has stepped up its activities to make the case for the importance of federal investment in research to the nation and to people’s lives, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne told the Faculty Senate on Thursday.

“This week, I met with a senior Republican senator to discuss this topic,” he told the senate at its April 13 meeting, adding that investment in some areas of federal research, particularly from the National Institutes of Health, has bipartisan support.

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne gives his remarks at the Faculty Senate on April 13, 2017

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne gives his remarks at the Faculty Senate meeting Thursday. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Tessier-Lavigne said he will travel to Washington later this month to join colleagues from the Association of American Universities – Stanford is one of 62 members of the organization – and federal investment in research, humanities and arts, and education are at the top of the agenda.

“When in Washington I’ll take the opportunity to meet with other key leaders in Congress,” he said.

Tessier-Lavigne said he will also address the importance of Stanford’s federal research to an audience of key Washington business and economic leaders on April 25, at the 2017 Education Panel convened by The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. The panel will also include Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University, and Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the AAU on its advocacy efforts to raise visibility for the importance of federally supported research,” he said. “Again, it’s really reaffirming the importance, because this is widely understood.”

Stanford’s transformation of career education

In recent years, Stanford has transformed career education on campus by adopting a new philosophy that highlights meaningful work, connections and communities, an approach that is reflected in its name, Bridging Education, Ambition and Meaningful Work (BEAM), Farouk Dey, dean of career education, told the senate yesterday.

Farouk Dey, Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Career Education, speaks at Faculty Senate meeting on April 13, 2017.

Farouk Dey, associate vice provost and dean of career education, gives a progress report on the transformation of career education at Stanford. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

“This is not your typical college placement and career counseling center anymore,” said Dey, who is also an associate vice provost for student affairs. “At Stanford, we have invented the new paradigm of college career education, which has inspired many colleges and universities in the United States and around the world – connecting students to meaningful work by engaging community.”

Since establishing the new model and restructuring its teams in 2014, BEAM has tripled the number of students and alumni-mentor connections, engaged a wider diversity of employers, attracted more than 20,000 employment and internship opportunities in various sectors each year, and quadrupled enrollment of its career courses, thanks in part to Life Design Lab, a joint venture of BEAM and the d.school at Stanford.

Dey said 72 percent of graduates have had at least one internship before leaving Stanford.

Since launching Handshake in 2015, BEAM has seen an exponential increase in student and employer engagement. Handshake is an online platform that connects students with a diverse range of employers, events and opportunities.

Dey said BEAM has launched new initiatives aimed at students in the humanities and sciences, including the Stanford Meaningful Work Certificate, a two-quarter program that connects students with career coaches, alumni mentors and employers, and the BEAM Fellows, a new program that connects undeclared freshmen and sophomores who are considering the arts and humanities with internship opportunities made available by Stanford alumni.

In partnership with several campus partners, BEAM has also developed programs for PhDs and postdoctoral scholars, such as PhD Pathways, a daylong career education conference designed to inform and educate doctoral students and postdocs about the career paths that exist in academia and beyond. In addition, BEAM offers a 7-week interactive Career Community Cohort Program designed to help students develop their career-related knowledge in a small, community-style settings.

Looking ahead, Dey said BEAM will need the help of campus partners to tackle several challenges: engaging more students early and often in career education programs and services; engaging faculty in a meaningful way with its mission and activities; increasing career programs for underrepresented minority students; and creating a “safe space” for PhD students to explore careers beyond academia.

2017-18 Academic Secretary to the university

In other business, Provost Persis Drell announced that Tom Wasow, professor emeritus of philosophy and of linguistics, will succeed Hans Weiler as academic secretary of the university in 2017-18. As academic secretary, Wasow will serve as the parliamentarian to the senate and the Academic Council and its committees.

Drell also announced that Stanford has launched two search committees: one to search for a new dean for the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences to succeed Pamela Matson, and another to search for a new vice provost for student affairs to succeed Greg Boardman.