Provost’s Committee on Lecturers

The Committee on Lecturers appointed by Provost Persis Drell this past fall has been working since October to address the provost’s charge. The text of the provost’s charge is included below.

The committee has gathered information on how the schools employ lecturers, and would now like to hear from the broader Stanford community, especially the lecturers themselves.

As part of this effort, the committee has set up an online suggestion box, which is one of several means by which the committee will solicit input on issues of concern to this community. The committee invites lecturers and others who wish to contribute relevant feedback to do so. This site will remain active until March 2, 2018.

Additionally, the committee will host a town hall-style gathering on Friday, February 9, from 3:30-5 p.m., in Building 300, Room 300, located just off the Main Quad near Memorial Church. This gathering is open to all members of the Stanford community and will provide opportunities to talk face-to-face concerning issues of concern to lecturers. For logistical planning purposes only, please RSVP here. The committee looks forward to receiving more input, especially from lecturers.

Charge to Provost’s Committee on Lecturers

Stanford relies on core academic teaching staff for the execution of the teaching mission of the university. Core academic teaching staff include lecturers, senior lecturers and other non- academic council appointments that may involve a teaching role such as Adjunct Professors at Stanford.

Given the importance of this group to our teaching mission, we believe it is important to clarify their roles within the university, as well as identify and implement guidelines for career definition, development and advancement in this line.

This task force is asked to review all aspects of core academic teaching staff appointments at Stanford in the following categories:

ROLE IN TEACHING MISSION: Identify issues and suggest criteria for the use of lecturers in the teaching mission at Stanford.

  • What are the types of positions on campus, and how are they used differently in the different schools, including the professional schools?
  • What fraction of undergraduate and graduate teaching is being done by core academic teaching staff as opposed to academic council faculty?
  • Are there degree programs where core academic teaching staff are delivering the bulk of the content?
  • Should we have a University policy on who should be teaching?
  • What should the criteria be for hiring a lecturer to deliver a teaching program?
  • Are lecturers hired to teach the same things taught by the faculty, or is their best use to be complementary to the faculty?

CAREER DEFINITION AND DEVELOPMENT: Identify issues and suggest guidelines for career definition, development and advancement within the lecturer ranks.

  • How are lecturers evaluated for initial appointment and re-appointment? If there are currently no initial appointment reviews, should there be?
  • What are the optimal lengths of appointment, both minimum and maximum length?
  • Should there be a limit to the term of years lecturers can serve without a formal review of their performance?
  • Should appointment lengths be standardized across the University?
  • What are the opportunities for professional development for lecturers?
  • Are there expectations for lecturers to do research, and should funds be provided for such? In addition, we ask the task force to determine ways in which to foster community among and recognition of lecturers in the schools.

Committee Membership

Caroline Winterer (History) and Mehran Sahami (Computer Science), Co-Chairs.
Kevin Arrigo (Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences), Jonathan Berger (Music), Elizabeth Bernhardt (German Studies), Eamonn Callan (Graduate School of Education), Marvin Diogenes (VPUE), Nora Engstrom (Law), Paul Fisher (Pediatrics), Lisa Hwang (Chemical Engineering), James Lattin (GSB), Brad Osgood (Electrical Engineering), Jennifer Schwartz-Poehlmann (Chemistry), Charles Prober (Pediatrics and Microbiology), Rob Siegel (GSB), Scott Walters (Provost’s Office).