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Stanford Report, January 14, 1998

Part II - Faculty Senate Minutes: 1/8/98

Faculty Senate Minutes: Jan. 8 meeting

(Continuation of minutes from previous page)

Report on Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation

The Chair welcomed Ted Leland, Director of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER), to report on his area, as well as Mary Edmonds, former Vice Provost for Student Affairs, to speak briefly about the NCAA athletics certification process. Conley also welcomed several invited guests with administrative or oversight roles related to athletics.

Leland began by acknowledging the faculty as the most important "shareholder" of DAPER. He described the scope of the programs at Stanford:

This large and diverse program is operated by 150 full-time and 400 part-time employees, Leland said, and overseen by seven major volunteer boards, including the Committee on Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (C-APER). He noted that DAPER produces 40 publications a year, hosts about 35 press conferences, and puts on 235 athletic events a year, 30 to 35 of which are on television and 60 to 70 on radio. Approximately one million spectators per year attend athletic events at Stanford, Leland reported.

On the financial side, Leland indicated that they average about $11 million annual fund-raising and have roughly 5,000 donors. DAPER also has $125 million in restricted endowment and reserve funds. Describing a total budget of $33 million divided into three separate budgetary categories, Leland said that the financial aid budget totals $8.3 million per year, providing 267 full and 158 partial scholarships among the 780 varsity athletes. The second category supporting physical education and recreation activities is $4 million annually, most from general university funds and an $800,000 allocation from the benefits pool. The largest budgetary category is intercollegiate athletics at $21 million, Leland reported, with football-related income of $7.6 million and $4.3 million from the golf course.

Responding to questions from Professor Koseff (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Vice Provost Saldívar, Leland explained that DAPER's total television revenue is about $5 million, the majority from football. Though half of the television revenue from football is shared equally by all Pac 10 schools, those that play in televised games receive $150,000 to $250,000 in addition, Leland said. Recently approved changes in Rose Bowl qualification rules could result in reduced income to all Pac 10 schools, he added. "If we were ever blessed enough to win the Pac 10, and they called us up saying, 'You're not going to Pasadena, you're going to New Orleans,' I would have to resign and move [away] ... because our alumni would be horrified," he joked. President Casper volunteered that he serves in the "absolutely splendid role of a Pac 10 CEO" and had fought valiantly against the Rose Bowl change.

Leland concluded his presentation by discussing the positives and the related challenges of the athletics program at Stanford. The integrity of the program, he said, is excellent, noting that Stanford is the only Pac 10 school never to have had a major NCAA violation. The resulting challenge is to continually emphasize the core values that make Stanford athletics different and to make sure that shortcuts are not taken. The scope of Stanford's program, with 33 sports, is the largest outside the Ivy League, he said, and a source of pride; the challenge being the ability to fund the program and keep up with increasing demand from students as well as faculty and staff, Leland stated. The excellent coaching staff, committed to what Stanford stands for, is a great asset, but presents the university with difficult marketplace challenges concerning compensation. The athletic and academic quality of the student athletes is first-rate, Leland pointed out, but the balance between athletics and academics is increasingly under pressure. Stanford's athletic facilities have been greatly enhanced in recent years, "but now we've got to stop building new facilities ... and turn our attention to other priorities," he stated, to applause from the President. Citing budget performance as the final positive attribute on his list, Leland reported that DAPER had balanced its budget or shown a surplus in seven of the preceding eight years. The budget presents constant challenges, he said, and creates "pressure points" of reliance on football income, on corporate support, and on entrepreneurial efforts such as hosting international competitions on campus.

Professor Roberts (Civil and Environmental Engineering) asked about gender parity in the athletics program. Leland responded that Stanford has been a national leader, adding three women's sports and 30 scholarships about four years earlier, and is in "substantial compliance" with Title IX regulations. The requirements may be changed to "actual compliance," Leland advised, which would mean that if 50% of the student body is female then exactly 50% of scholarship dollars must go to females; this would require some further adjustments at Stanford. Professor Lindenberger (English) asked whether differences occur between the Admissions Office and Athletics over students being recruited for football and other sports, and if so how those differences are resolved. New Admissions Dean Kinnally responded that he had been impressed with the relationship between the two offices, notwithstanding the fact that he had had to "hold the line" on several specific decisions. He said that the Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid (C-UAFA) permits the recognition of distinguished ability in athletics as well as in fine arts. Leland explained that the coaches prepare lists of applicants they are interested in, but Admissions makes the decisions and "we don't argue." Kinnally and Leland agreed that only the highest caliber students should be admitted. Leland revealed that Stanford is "the only Division I school outside the Ivy League that requires student athletes to fill out a complete application before their status is acted on" (plus the service academies, Rice added).

Professor Schupbach (Slavic Languages and Literatures) voiced deep concern about the apparent lack of priority given to recreational athletics at Stanford. Declaring that many other colleges and universities with which Stanford competes do a better job, he referred to DAPER's approach as a "let them eat Roble" attitude. He cited examples of the small, airless weight facility at Roble Gym, full of obsolete equipment ("very much like the antechamber of King Tut's tomb") and the very restricted hours of access to the Arrillaga weight facility. Schupbach said that he believes the large demand for recreational athletics, though a financial challenge, should be better met. Provost Rice pointed out that some positive steps are being taken, such as the new recreational facility in Tresidder and new intramural fields on the west side of campus. She indicated that DAPER is not entirely at fault, since in 1991 the university made major cuts in budgets for recreational facilities and their upkeep, some of which are now being restored. Students should, however, have the highest priority for use of those facilities, Rice stated, and the university may not be able to meet the recreational demands of every faculty and staff member. "I happen to have a membership at the YMCA for exactly that reason," she commented.

Leland invited Mary Edmonds to speak briefly about the NCAA certification process, for which she is Chair of the Steering Committee and which was summarized in SenD#4769 placed at Senators' desks. This process was initiated in 1993 for Division I institutions in order to achieve reforms, insure integrity and institutional control of athletic programs, and increase public confidence, Edmonds said. She pointed out that the document lists the faculty, staff, and student members of Stanford's Steering Committee and its four subcommittees: Subcommittee on Commitment to Equity (Sally Dickson, Chair); Subcommittee on Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance (Jim Montoya, Chair); Subcommittee on Academic Integrity (Roger Printup, Chair); and Subcommittee on Fiscal Integrity (Tim Warner, Chair). The two-year process has a primary deadline of August 1998, she noted, when Stanford's completed self-study would be sent to a Peer Review team. The self-study must address stated operating principles in all four sub-areas, Edmonds said, accurately reflecting Stanford's program and specifying actions and time lines to correct any deficiencies. She encouraged faculty comments and input directed to any of the members, noting that it is important to address the climate in the classroom for Stanford athletes and their academic performance.

Professor McCall (Classics), describing himself as a devoted fan, expressed concern that Athletics regularly requests and receives from C-AAA exceptions to the Stanford policy prohibiting events during End Quarter and Final Exam periods, giving five specific examples for Winter Quarter. He asked Leland to explain the compelling reasons for requesting such exceptions "time and time again". Leland responded with surprise, noting that NCAA scheduling conflicts have arisen this year, for example with women's basketball, and promising to look into the general issue. When Chair Conley announced that it was necessary to move on to the next agenda item, McCall said that he had two additional points he wished to raise and that he felt Senators should have the opportunity to discuss this important aspect of university life with the DAPER Director more fully and more often than every five years. The Chair replied that she would invite Leland back to a future Senate meeting.

Report on the Science, Mathematics and Engineering Core

Conley next introduced Professor Brad Osgood, leader of the Science, Mathematics and Engineering Core (SME), as well as representatives of its three tracks, Professors Sharon Long (Biological Sciences), Martin Blunt (Petroleum Engineering), and Rick Myers (Genetics), Osgood reminded everyone that the SME Core is a multidisciplinary, three-quarter course sequence primarily for non-science majors, initially a major recommendation in 1993/94 of the Commission on Undergraduate Education (CUE). A design committee worked the following year, he said, issuing an RFP that resulted in faculty members from diverse fields assembling themselves into three tracks: Earth Resources and the Sustainability of Life; The Heart - Principles of Life Systems; and Light in the Physical and Biological Worlds. After course development in 1995/96, the courses were taught for the first time in 1996/97 and are in their second year, he explained, showing overheads indicating the broad range of faculty involved and the distribution of students. Osgood emphasized that these courses differ from most science teaching nationally in that the tracks are organized around particular themes, giving Professors Dick Zare and Sharon Long credit for this model; he also emphasized that the courses include a year-long laboratory component.

The fifteen SME Core faculty members are all learning a great deal from each other about how to organize and teach a course, Osgood said, and have found the collegiality exciting. Acknowledging the critical contributions of the graduate student TAs, on an equal footing with the faculty, he described the faculty as "stretched" and the TAs as "bent beyond recognition." Osgood detailed numerous university awards received by individual TAs in the course, who reported that they had found the experience extremely rewarding. Looking toward the future, Osgood related that they are pursuing partnerships with the Exploratorium, which has extensive expertise in developing hands-on science experiments and wants to reach a college and young adult audience, and with Stanford's School of Education, which he hopes will use the SME Core to train secondary science teachers who will carry the ideas into their own careers.

Professor Blunt discussed briefly the SME 1 course on Earth Resources and the Sustainability of Life, taught by three faculty members from Earth Sciences and three biologists. He cited as an example of its multidisciplinary nature the use of simple mathematical models taken from population biology and applied to U.S. and world oil production, a topic of economic and social interest to students. Professor Myers introduced the Heart course, taught by three faculty members in the Medical School (himself, Cox and Botstein), Siegmund (Statistics), and Simoni (Biological Sciences). Their mantra, he said, is "How do we know what we know?", teaching students the scientific process and developing ways for them to judge what they read in the media. Myers said that they weave in physics, engineering, mathematics, statistics, molecular biology, genetics, and even anatomy. He also commented that they could be teaching 60 students instead of the current enrollment of 30.

Professor Long pointed out at the back of the room two students' posters on pinhole cameras from the Autumn poster session in the Light course. She stressed that no matter the theme, each SME Core course must address a list of common concepts, for example, "science as a structure of testable hypotheses," and "the character of physical law, based on quantitative, reproducible evidence." Long illustrated these concepts by describing how the Light course begins with one sentence -- "Light is a carrier of information and energy in the universe" -- and proceeds to teach the origin and role of light in chemistry and physics in the autumn, moving to biology and more physics in the winter, and to information theory and technology in the spring. Multiple disciplines are constantly woven in, she said, and students are challenged to understand science as a process that goes beyond the particular theme, and to be actively engaged via the labs. Long said she believes that in their third quarter students achieve a far greater depth of understanding than had they taken three unrelated courses to satisfy the relevant GERs, though the results need to be evaluated over the long term.

Professor Jacobs (Oncology), a member of CUE, commended the faculty on turning an educational idea into a reality. Responding to Professor Abernethy's (Political Science) question about enrollment expectations, the presenters agreed that more students could be accommodated, with each track ideally at about 60 students. Professor Eric Roberts (Computer Science) acknowledged the faculty's sense of excitement in teaching the course, but queried whether it is disappointing not to be able to pursue the concepts since the students do not go on in science or technology majors. Long mentioned that similar frustrations arise in her teaching of plant biology courses to premeds. "I yearn for somebody to say, 'I love photosynthesis so much, I'm going to do that instead of cardiology,' she quipped. Myers and Long also pointed out that several students in their tracks last year did convert unexpectedly to science majors. Blunt expressed the view that teaching these concepts to students who will go on to successful non-science careers is an important goal, so that they will be better able to understand important scientific issues.

Roberts also asked why this wonderful interdisciplinary approach couldn't be applied to courses for science majors. "That's a not-so-hidden agenda here," Osgood remarked. Long noted, however, that building a shared underpinning of mathematics and other fundamental concepts is important for science majors and requires that courses be offered hierarchically. Vice Provost Saldívar commented that an indirect spin-off of the SME Core endeavor has been to show the humanities faculty how to fashion an introductory course with common methodology across different areas of study. Replying to a question from President Casper, Osgood indicated that he hopes one new SME track will be in development in 1998/99, to be offered the following year.

Professor Tsien (Molecular and Cellular Physiology) applauded the faculty members' efforts but encouraged them to reveal not just the positive side, but also the challenges and problems they faced. Myers said that recruiting busy faculty in diverse disciplines had been a major challenge for the Heart track. In the Earth track, cramming in too much material that became intellectually bewildering and too demanding for students was the biggest challenge, Blunt indicated. Long observed that with only four faculty members in the Light track, the commitment of time and energy was a real challenge, as was fitting disciplines with Procrustean training into such a multidisciplinary course. Chair Conley thanked the group for a marvelous presentation, and Senators responded with applause.

Renewal of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Immunology (SenD#4761)

Begging the Senate's indulgence to stay a bit late, the Chair introduced Professor Mocarski, Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies, and noted that several persons associated with the Immunology Program and its review were present as guests. Mocarski stated that he thought the renewal of the program was fairly straightforward, explaining that it had been initiated in 1987 and had undergone its second review. He reported that immunology is a very strong program at Stanford, with 50-some faculty members in the Medical School and Humanities and Sciences involved, and that it enjoys very positive regard from other institutions. The only problem that surfaced in the review was student concern about tracking of progress and communication of expectations, Mocarski said, leading C-GS to recommend a five-year renewal with a two-year interim report on these issues. Professor Boxer (Medicine/Hematology) stated that the review committee was very impressed with the strength of the program. Earth Sciences Dean Orr asked if C-GS was persuaded that the problems that had been identified were being taken care of, to which Mocarski responded that he believed the additional administrative support provided by the Dean's Office would indeed respond to the student concerns. Professor Brauman (Chemistry) commented that if departmental graduate programs underwent the same periodic reviews similar problems would probably be revealed.

The following motion, moved and seconded by the Committee on Graduate Studies, was approved by unanimous voice vote:

The Senate reauthorizes the Graduate Program Committee of the Interdisciplinary Program in Immunology to nominate candidates for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees for a period of five years effective September 1, 1999. An interim report will be due in two years' time which should address the range of student concerns that arose during the review, and should include evidence of improved communication, tracking, and student progress towards completion.

There was no new business. Following a motion and a second, the Chair declared the meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan W. Schofield

Academic Secretary to the University