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Stanford Report, April 7, 1999

$3.2 million grant to benefit law, arts, ethnic, race studies


A new institute in the arts, a new program at the Law School and more funding for existing initiatives will be coming to Stanford thanks to a $3.2 million grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

Stanford and the foundation announced this week that the grant, to be made over a three-year period, will fund:

The new grant money seizes on and expands the Irvine Foundation's commitment to the study and celebration of California's diversity.

"Our past grants to Stanford have helped the university focus internally on the increasing diversity of its student body. This new grant aims beyond the campus, to build stronger links with diverse communities across the state," said Bob Shireman, the foundation's program director for higher education.

"We've focused a great deal in the past 12-13 years on the issue of diversity and changing demographics of the state, and on the need of colleges and universities to recognize the changing face of California," he said.

The Arts

The new Institute for Diversity in California Arts will, beginning in January 2001, bring to campus culturally diverse California artists. The emphasis will be placed on performance and visual artists interested in using their work as a social expression and stimulus for community discussion. The artists will be at Stanford for one quarter.

They will receive a stipend and resources to develop works while on campus and will be paired with an academic collaborator with similar research interests. Students will work as apprentices to the artists, who also will engage in teaching activities.

In addition, the program will culminate in a series of university and community-based public presentations and discussions, such as a staged reading or exhibit.

Charles Lyons, professor of drama, helped develop the grant proposal and will direct the institute. He was elated by the announcement.

"I've been at Stanford 26 years, [and] this is a wonderful moment for the arts here," he said.

Noting that Stanford has made a big impact in science and technology in the state, "It's really important for Stanford to make a stand in terms of the development of the arts in California," he said.

Law School

At the Law School, the new Initiative in Law, Business and Public Policy seeks to prepare leaders with an ethic of public service and the combined professional skills of the three disciplines. It is a response to the growing trend among law school graduates to pursue careers in business and the public sector.

The Law School's outgoing dean, Paul Brest, will direct the program.

Brest emphasized that the intent of the program is to integrate public policy and business into the core law school curriculum with the funding of three new positions over the next three years.

"My hope is that this is going to allow Stanford to do something extraordinary that will provide a model for law schools elsewhere in the country," he said.

"This is not a specialty track, but rather we are looking for a body of knowledge and skills important in the preparation of all graduates. We'll be exploring how to integrate this into courses that students would take anyway, but there will be some new courses developed that haven't existed," Brest said.

The grant proposal notes that while society has an urgent need for skilled and ethical leaders, schools of law, business and public policy in isolation do not adequately respond to that need.

The emphasis in law school on the appellate case method, the proposal adds, induces students to frame every problem as "Given these facts, what are the rights and liabilities of the parties?"

That emphasis, the proposal says, "constrains creative problem-solving and fosters a tendency to 'lawyer' every problem . . .. Legal education has not typically included skills in working collaboratively and anticipating and averting the problems arising in complex business transactions or regulatory programs."

In addition to new curricular offerings, the initiative includes a set of public policy externships during the summer and the academic year that will offer students a broader choice than existing public interest externships.

Race and Ethnicity

The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity also will benefit from the Irvine Foundation gift. Previous Irvine grants played a key role in developing the curricular base for the establishment of what is now the CCSRE's undergraduate interdepartmental degree program.

The new grant money is aimed at establishing partnerships among Bay Area community leaders, public policy makers and academics at Stanford on policy issues related to minority populations. It also will help train the next generation of public policy leaders in California and facilitate the academic and career development of faculty who will add diversity to the professoriate at Stanford and elsewhere.

"The generous support of the Irvine Foundation will be instrumental in building the teaching and public policy research agendas of the CCSRE, one of the first programs in American higher education to facilitate comparative perspectives on race and ethnicity, both within the U.S. and internationally," said history Professor Al Camarillo, CCSRE director.

A new Public Policy/Leadership Summer Institute for undergraduate majors and minors in CSRE will be created, allowing participants to develop critical speaking and writing skills and exposing them to public policy leaders. Fifteen students will participate in the two-week residence-based program that will begin before autumn quarter of this year. A pilot program of the summer institute was held last September.

A new CCSRE summer internship program will link academic study of issues related to race and ethnicity to a hands-on public policy or public service internship with a non-profit or governmental agency. Again, a pilot program was held last summer.

The new grant money also will help graduate students and junior faculty.

A pilot program will be initiated to provide dissertation support to graduate students working in areas related to the study of race and ethnicity.

For junior faculty, two postdoctoral fellowships will be created each year over the next three years. Recipients will receive one quarter of salary support before the fifth year of their appointments at Stanford. The fellowships are an attempt to address the problem of junior faculty who overextend themselves, especially because their work for CCSRE is outside their departments and thus not generally considered part of their regular departmental duties.

The new grant money also will fund roundtable discussions to be held three times a year involving local leaders and faculty of Stanford and other Bay Area universities.

"The grant funds will allow the CCSRE to launch a new Community-University Partnership project that will bring together Stanford faculty and leaders from local Bay Area communities to address issues of urgent concern facing many ethnically diverse, low-income neighborhoods," Camarillo said.

Part of this effort will entail the annual publication and dissemination of public policy and research profiles documenting the socioeconomic, educational and demographic status of ethnic and racial minority populations in a variety of cities throughout California.

"The existing information on different minority communities throughout California is uneven and is characterized by major gaps in knowledge," the grant proposal says.

Department Chairs

The grant money also will augment the Department Chair Leadership Initiative, which provides managerial expertise to faculty members who become department chairs.

"President [Gerhard] Casper and I have long said that the department is the most important administrative unit in the university when it comes to issues of academic leadership," Provost Condoleezza Rice said.

"This grant will be tremendously helpful in efforts to manage departments more effectively and to address the many challenging issues that have been brought to our attention by department chairs," she said.

Beginning winter quarter 1999, two workshops will be held each year for the chairs on such issues as faculty and graduate student recruitment and diversity; managing departments; and human resources management.

The grant also will fund the continuation of the Department Chair Institute, a one-day offering that brings together department chairs throughout the university to identify shared concerns. SR