Long-Range Planning effort digs into the details

The four Area Steering Groups involved in Stanford’s Long-Range Planning process have been hard at work reading and analyzing proposals. Graphics produced by the groups illustrate some of the themes they are seeing; white papers from each of the groups will be made available to the campus community in winter quarter.

If you submitted an idea or proposal for Stanford’s Long-Range Planning process, rest assured: It’s now getting close scrutiny from a very dedicated group of people.

Four Area Steering Groups of faculty, students, postdoctoral scholars and staff are now reviewing the more than 2,800 proposals that came in from across the campus community and from alumni last spring. The groups – focused on the areas of Education, Research, Our Community and Engagement Beyond Our University – worked during the summer and already have put in hundreds of hours.

More than 100 members of the steering groups are participating in the effort. Their task is to review, group, discuss and contextualize the ideas and proposals submitted in each of the four areas.

“The challenge Stanford faces is not a lack of important ideas, but so many good ones that our campus is going to be very busy in the coming years,” said law Professor Rob MacCoun, co-chair of the Research steering group.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell launched the Long-Range Planning effort to help build a bold and collaborative vision for the university’s future.  Ideas and proposals were submitted by a July 1 deadline.

A list of acknowledgments of those who submitted ideas and proposals is now included on the Long-Range Planning website.

“Persis and I met with each of the Area Steering Groups this summer,” said Tessier-Lavigne. “We witnessed first-hand their commitment to our community and the care that they are taking with each and every idea entrusted to them as they consider the future of the university.”

Many proposals are long-term and visionary in nature. Others are more focused on recommendations for short-term, practical improvements at Stanford. But all were welcomed, and all are getting thorough consideration.

The steering groups are working now to identify themes and subthemes based on patterns they have observed in the submissions they have reviewed. Each group has taken its own unique approach to organizing the ideas and conceptualizing themes and has produced a graphic illustrating some of the themes emerging in its discussions. Those graphics follow below:


LRP education image

Image credit: Courtesy of the Long-Range Planning process


LRP research image

Image credit: Courtesy of the Long-Range Planning process


LRP community word map

Image credit: Courtesy of the Long-Range Planning process

Engagement beyond our university

LRP engagement word map

Image credit: Courtesy of the Long-Range Planning process

The themes will take shape more fully as the groups’ deliberations continue.

“Our Education Area Steering Group is comprised of an incredibly thoughtful and accomplished group of faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds,” said co-chair Stacey Bent, professor of chemical engineering and senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the School of Engineering. “They have poured their passion for education and dedication to Stanford into many hours of work over the past few months as we read, organized and contextualized over 1,500 education-related proposals.”

The Board of Trustees heard an update at its Oct. 2-3 meeting on the Long-Range Planning process and had a session with the members of all four steering groups. Board Chair Jeff Raikes said the trustees are looking forward to digging into the content more deeply later in the process, at the board’s April retreat.

“The most exciting thing about the process is the energy and enthusiasm of all the participants from across the university community,” Raikes said. “The board is not leading this effort, but we want to be a thought partner with the community. It’s clear that the engagement of the Stanford community has been very impressive.”

The next step for the steering groups is to prepare white papers discussing the themes, for delivery to the executive cabinet, along with the 2,800 ideas, later this fall. The executive cabinet will consult with the group co-chairs as it reviews the ideas beginning in November.

The white papers will be made available to the Stanford community during the winter quarter.

“Marc and I have been energized and encouraged by our engagement with the Area Steering Groups and by our discussions with the community,” Drell said. “We look forward to continuing community engagement about issues affecting the campus well beyond the Long-Range Planning process.”

The Faculty Senate is scheduling a session on the planning process in November and a session in winter quarter, following distribution of the white papers. The president and provost will also host a conversation with the campus community in March.

Once the executive cabinet completes its review and develops a proposed vision, the Board of Trustees will consider the proposed vision in April, along with the Area Steering Group co-chairs and university leadership. After approval by the Board of Trustees, the final vision will be presented to the Stanford community. The executive cabinet will then identify further steps to engage with members of the community to develop specific implementation plans.