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Stanford Report, May 21, 1997

Faculty Senate Minutes: 5/21/97


Faculty Senate Report


Chair Bratman commented that Professor Etchemendy's planned presentation to the Senate on June 12th would provide an excellent opportunity for discussion of the substantive issues and opportunities involved in these initiatives. Responding to a question from Professor Bravman (Materials Science), Casper said that he expected CTTL to "phase out" over the long run, but not immediately. Professor Perry (Philosophy) complimented the President on his choice of leadership for the Stanford Learning Lab, and the Senate showed its appreciation with a round of applause.

Report from the Planning and Policy Board II

Professor David Kennedy (History), Chair of the Senate's Planning and Policy Board (PPB), began his report by listing the members of the Board: Ann Arvin, Pediatrics; Wanda Corn, Art; David Freyberg, Civil Engineering; Tom Grey, Law; Doug Osheroff, Physics; John Perry, Philosophy; Michael Bratman, Philosophy as current Senate Chair; Gail Mahood, Geological and Environmental Sciences, as past Senate Chair; and, ex-officio, Geoff Cox, Vice Provost; Susan Schofield, Academic Secretary; and Robert Street, Civil Engineering, as the Committee on Committees liaison.

PPB had met nine times during the academic year, Kennedy said, "and I suppose as befits a body charged with taking the long view of academic issues, we have proceeded at a deliberate, even magisterial pace." He advised that his report would consist of an accounting of activities to date, a prospective look at where PPB was headed, and a request for any guidance that the Senate might care to give. Kennedy said that PPB-II, like its predecessor, had spent the bulk of its first year meeting with and learning about other individuals or groups engaged in examining "long-term trends and their implications for the University," the charge given to PPB by the Senate. Through these sessions, members sought to identify those areas where PPB-II might add value. Kennedy reported that a survey conducted at PPB-II's request by Geoff Cox had found that most of PPB-I's December 1995 recommendations had been acted upon, or were under active consideration by an appropriate University body.

Kennedy described three areas of long-term concern in which PPB-II planned to focus its energies over the next year.

1) Issues relating to research, including funding, the integration of research with undergraduate instruction, and the status of persons formally designated as research faculty. He noted that PPB's focus would be widened to encompass institutional support for research in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the Medical School.

2) Issues relating to academic organization and procedure, including the roles of department chairs, appointment and promotion procedures, and the status of independent laboratories, institutes and centers. Expanding briefly on the first point, Kennedy commented that, especially in the School of Humanities & Sciences, the practice of rotating, short-term chairs effectively constrains the possibilities for leadership, direction-setting, and responsibility at the department level. ("The typical [H&S] chair takes office with meager preparation, serves for a short time, and accomplishes little," he opined.)

3) Issues relating to faculty career development, including compensation plans, incentives, the shifting balance between research and teaching over an individual's career cycle, the University's ability to recognize and adequately reward outstanding contributions in both the research and teaching dimensions, and retirement.

Kennedy advised that PPB-II would probably proceed by forming subcommittees in the three areas mentioned, and that they intended to bench-mark with other institutions, gather data internally, and continue to work with other planning bodies throughout the University. "We stand ready, of course, to hear from the Senate or from individual faculty members about any of these matters -- and to consider adding to this agenda any items the Senate or others might care to call to our attention," he concluded.

Professor Wright (Economics) said he found the issue of the role of department chairs to have originality, and asked whether this was meant to include a broader look at the distribution of departmental tasks, including administrative tasks. While not touched on in PPB's preliminary discussions, Kennedy said he would not preclude it. Professor Roberts (Civil Engineering) followed up with the observation that certain burdensome tasks were evolving from the central administration down to the departments, leading Kennedy to remark that PPB had been inclined toward seeking more devolution of responsibility and resources to the departments. President Casper strongly encouraged PPB to consider as part of its inquiry the appropriate support for departments who get "stuck" with ever-more bureaucratic tasks, often at the behest of the government.

Chair Bratman thanked Kennedy for his report and urged Senators to reflect on PPB's proposed agenda and to contact the Board with comments.

From the Committee on Undergraduate Studies: Changes to the Area One Legislation - Report and Possible Action (SenD#4694, revised)

Chair Bratman introduced the next agenda item as the continuation of the Senate's May 1st consideration. Additions and changes from the document before Senate on May 1 were indicated in bold italics, he indicated, and were described in the cover memorandum from Professor Anne Fernald, Chair of C-US. Bratman reminded everyone that the Senate was still in "Stage One" consideration ("According to the metaphysics of stages, you stay in it until you leave," he quipped). He voiced the Steering Committee's hope that the Senate would focus primarily on what was new in the C-US document and would be able to move to "Stage Two" and to closure. The Chair welcomed a number of guests interested in the Area One program, who were given the right to speak.

(Minutes continued)