TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ACADEMIC COUNCIL THIRTY-SECOND SENATE
Report No. 13
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS, MAY 11
At its meeting on Thursday, May 11, 2000, the Senate of the Academic Council heard reports and took the following actions:
Authorized the Executive Committee of the Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies, under the joint cognizance of the Schools of Engineering and of Humanities and Sciences, to nominate candidates for Honors Certification for a period of five years, from September 1, 2000 through August 31, 2005.
Adopted SenD#5081 entitled "The Undergraduate Major: Guidelines and Policy" as recommended by the Committee on Undergraduate Studies. This document supersedes SenD#1769 dated September 27, 1976.
The new document contains general criteria against which all undergraduate majors at Stanford should be measured and specifies that each school should adopt a suitable process by which to review each departmental major every six to eight years. Summaries of departmental major reviews are to be forwarded to C-US..
SUSAN W. SCHOFIELD
Academic Secretary to the University
MINUTES, MAY 11
Call to Order
Senate Chair Mark Zoback called the Senate meeting to order at 3:21 p.m. in Room 180 of the Law School. There were 31 voting members, 9 ex-officio members, and numerous guests in attendance.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the April 27, 2000 Senate meeting (SenD#5086) were approved as submitted.
Zoback welcomed History Professor Peter Stansky to present a memorial statement in honor of his colleague Gordon Wright. The full text of the memorial resolution (SenD#5048), written by himself and Professors Gordon Craig, Carolyn Lougee, and Paul Robinson, was included in Senate packets and will be published in the next issue of the Stanford Report. Following the statement, Senators stood for the traditional moment of silence.
Gordon Wright, who died on January 11th, 2000, was the preeminent historian of modern France in the United States. His many accomplishments and extraordinary qualities as a person secured him a position as a major figure in the profession in this century. His international and national standing is attested to by his presidency of the American Historical Association as well as by his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, as a foreign honorary member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in Paris, Commander in the French Order of Arts and Letters, and President of the Society for French Historical Studies. At Stanford he held the William H. Bonsall Professorship of History in the School of Humanities and Sciences and served the university in innumerable ways. Born in Lynden, Washington in 1912 to a family of schoolteachers, farmers and preachers with roots in this country going back to the 1630s, Wright received his B.A. from Whitman College in 1933 and his Ph.D. at Stanford in 1939. He was a member of the History faculty at the University of Oregon before returning to Stanford as a full professor in 1957. He retired in 1977 but continued to teach at Stanford and at several other universities. Gordon Wright was an extremely successful teacher and had a prolific scholarly career. The figure he admired most in French history was the socialist leader Jean Juares, whom he described as "untouched by vanity, arrogance, or a thirst for power, deeply committed to the Orwellian principle of decency." Although modesty would have forbidden him from saying so, in those words Gordon Wright described himself.
Zoback next introduced Classics Professor Mark Edwards to present a memorial statement, written by Professor Michael Jameson and himself, in honor of Professor Antony Raubitschek. The full text of the memorial resolution (SenD#5070) was included in Senate packets and will be published in the next issue of the Stanford Report. Following this statement, Senators stood again for a traditional moment of silence.
Professor Antony Raubitschek, Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Classics in the School of Humanities and Sciences, died on May 7, 1999 at the age of 86. After studies at the University of Vienna, in Athens, and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, he taught at Yale and Princeton and came to Stanford in 1963. Raubitschek was a scholar of international reputation who worked in virtually all fields of classics, ancient languages and literatures, history, archaeology, epigraphy, and philosophy. He not only directed a large number of graduate dissertations, but also was widely known and widely popular as a gifted and devoted teacher of undergraduates, inspiring his students and many others in the community with his love of classical culture.
Report from the Senate Steering Committee
The Chair offered congratulations to three Senate colleagues just named to the National Academy of Sciences: Thomas Kailath, George Papanicolaou, and Richard Scheller. Kailath was the only one present, causing Zoback to speculate that "the other two must be on the lecture tour right now." President Casper added that he wanted to "boast that seven out of 60 newly elected members of the National Academy are Stanford faculty members." Obtaining reassurance from Statistics Professor Brad Efron, to laughter, that "this is more than ten percent?" he said this is the second time in the past few years that more than ten percent of the new members have been from Stanford. Zoback previewed agenda items for the remaining two Senate meetings, including a report on June 8th from H & S Dean Beasley. He reminded Senators that that final meeting would be attended by members of the Board of Trustees and followed by the President and Provost's reception for Senates XXXII and XXXIII. There were no reports from the Committee on Committees, the President, or the Provost, and there were no questions put to them.
Proposal for a New Interdisciplinary Honors Program in International Security Studies (SenD#5082)
The Chair recognized Professor R. Fernald, Chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Studies, to present the recommendation to initiate a new honors program in International Security Studies. He welcomed Professor Scott Sagan, Program Director, and Stephen Stedman, Program Coordinator, as guests, along with the associate deans from the two schools that would share cognizance, Russell Berman (H & S) and John Bravman (Engineering). Fernald explained that the program had been initiated by members of the international security studies group within the Institute for International Studies and had been extensively reviewed. "Our recommendation is unambiguous," he stated. "This is a rare opportunity for students to work in an honors context with very advanced leaders in this field." Berman, who called the proposal well conceived and exciting, wholeheartedly supported the C-US recommendation of a five-year authorization. Sagan commented, "I'm thrilled it's gotten this far, and I'm really looking forward to recruiting the students and starting this program." There were no questions from the Senate floor. The following proposal, moved and seconded by C-US, was approved on a voice vote without dissent:
The Senate authorizes the Executive Committee of the Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies, under the joint cognizance of the Schools of Engineering and of Humanities and Sciences, to nominate candidates for Honors Certification for a period of five years, from September 1, 2000 through August 31, 2005.
The Undergraduate Major: Guidelines and Policy (SenD#5081)
Zoback explained that the next item came from the Committee on Undergraduate Studies and set forth proposals concerning the structure and content of undergraduate majors at Stanford. If approved, it would replace a document approved by the Senate almost 25 years earlier, SenD#1679. The subject of the major was again discussed by the Commission on Undergraduate Education but no policy actions were taken at that time, he said. Zoback noted the presence of Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Bravman and Humanities and Sciences Associate Dean Berman, and welcomed a number of C-US members as guests, including Lori White, Director of Undergraduate Advising. He encouraged Senators to focus their attention on the bulleted proposals contained in the document rather than on the background material leading up to them.
"The choice of a major field of study is at the heart of a university education," Fernald began. With over 60 departments and programs offering undergraduate degrees at Stanford, that choice fundamentally shapes the intellectual skills and factual knowledge students acquire, he said, and most graduates many years later characterize their undergraduate education by where they went to school and what their major was. "Yet, as noted in Senate discussions as far back as 1976, despite its centrality to the educational process, 'all too frequently, the major is viewed as a number of units or a list of required courses.' " Though the Senate had asked C-US in 1976 to develop broad guidelines for the major and oversee their effective application, that had not taken place, he revealed.
Seventeen years later, President Casper established the Commission on Undergraduate Education (CUE) "to make sure that Stanford's undergraduate program is characterized by rigor, responsibility, and coherence." In spring 1994, Professor James Sheehan, CUE Chair, made recommendations that CUE believed would "reform, reinvigorate, and improve a number of things that we do at Stanford." Of CUE's 11 major recommendations, ten were acted on in various ways and have become part of the educational landscape, Fernald said -- a new language requirement, a new writing requirement, changes in grading policy, use of technology in teaching, creation of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education position, and others. He pointed out that review of departmental majors was the single item that was not confronted from the CUE document. He said he had found one quote in the October 13, 1994 Senate minutes, from the President:
The Commission has my full support in calling for responsible review under university authority of all departmental majors. The Commission sees a need for greater faculty involvement and program coherence.
"That shows how much influence I have," Casper interjected, to laughter.
Fernald recapped the reasoning that had led CUE to its recommendation for curricular review of majors. A CUE subcommittee had studied 12 majors, he said, conducting interviews and focus groups with students, faculty members and administrators, and receiving a remarkable 67% return from an alumni questionnaire. Quoting from the CUE report, Fernald advised that they had found a great variation in the quality of majors and "a disturbingly large number of informants" who reported that "their majors seemed poorly organized, that they often did not get good advice from the faculty, and that they perceived a general lack of commitment to the program." CUE concluded that departmental curricula "do not reflect the kind of excellence Stanford must demand from all its programs."
C-US had heeded this "clarion call" during 1999-2000 according to Fernald, examining the CUE information and discussing the significant changes in undergraduate education, principally outside the major, since 1994. These include opportunities such as freshman and sophomore seminars, Sophomore College, introduction of the minor, and increased undergraduate research. Missing from this "sea change in the undergraduate curriculum" is a systematic review of the major, he stated. In the course of their yearlong discussions, including consultations with the deans of H & S, Engineering and Earth Sciences, C-US asked what aspects of the major should be reviewed and how this review process might be carried out.
Summarizing information contained in the report provided to Senate members, Fernald said C-US believes that reviews should concentrate on how the particular course of study within the major leads to the development of intellectual capacities that underlie critical thinking, research, and communication skills. A major course of study should: provide a logical sequence of study organized to facilitate intellectual development; specify goals for students' introductory, intermediate and advanced work; ensure that there are adequate opportunities for independent research experience; and provide an integrative experience so that students can synthesize their knowledge and thinking in the major. Degree-granting departments and programs should also provide an informative summary of the expected course of study and the rationale for its organization, he said, and should ensure that descriptions of courses within the field of study provide sufficient information so that students can make informed decisions. Concerning advising, C-US proposes that there should be clear information to support the major declaration process and pre-declaration advice available from faculty or student services staff; that advising for majors include procedures to help students identify and select an appropriate faculty advisor who would serve as a mentor and be available, upon the student's initiative, to offer advice about the student's intellectual interests and career alternatives. An "advising transcript" is also needed, C-US believes, to provide information about the structure and organization of the undergraduate experience and allow students and advisors to assess progress toward completion of degree requirements.
Fernald noted that C-US had discussed several other issues flagged by CUE but was passing those on to the Committee on Academic Appraisal and Achievement (C-AAA). These included the relationship of units to workload and the definition of what constitutes a B.S. versus a B.A. degree. Turning to the recommendation that all majors be reviewed, Fernald said that C-US proposes that reviews be carried out approximately every six to eight years. Each school should adopt a suitable review process, C-US believes, possibly in conjunction with outside reviews of the scholarly work of the faculty. As noted by CUE, departments and programs in related fields might usefully be reviewed together, he said.
C-US believes that periodic reviews of departmental majors will be very positive, as they have been in the majority of cases for interdisciplinary programs (IDPs), where the Senate already mandates such review. Despite the work required to undertake a review, many IDP directors report that the process of stepping back and evaluating the curriculum is very valuable. "Every garden needs pruning and some new plants," noted one. C-US also believes that such reviews are a logical way to include junior colleagues who often would like to participate in setting directions for departmental curricula. Fernald concluded that the proposed guidelines and policy for the undergraduate major come enthusiastically supported by the members of C-US and the colleagues they had spoken with. Senate Chair Zoback opened the floor for discussion.
Responding to a request for clarification from Vice Provost Kruger, Fernald explained that C-US believes that independent research experiences and a capstone experience should be available to all students in the major, but that only one of the two would be required of any single student. Professor Efron (Statistics) said that the proposals about the content of the major were perfectly reasonable but that he did like the "one size fits all," required nature of the review. He suggested instead that available data and better surveys of graduating students should be used to decide on a case-by-case basis when an outside review is called for. Citing the burden on the department chair of carrying out a curriculum review, he asked, "What 40 or 50 or 100 hours of work is the chair not supposed to do that year?" Fernald replied that, while some departments certainly have model majors that evolve in appropriate ways, a number of others are "broken" and do not seem to get fixed under current processes. He said that if after systematizing a review process and completing a full cycle, say in 15 years, it is no longer deemed necessary, the mandate can be removed.
Bravman advised that he had become concerned in this, his first year as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education about problems with what he called the "learning infrastructure." "We must not give students reason to be cynical about what we ask them to do and how we ask them to do it. ... We expect of ourselves and of our colleagues in our scholarly discourse to be able to rigorously defend our claims and our arguments, our reasons for doing things one way and not another. We do not bring, in my opinion, the same level of rigor to all of our educational activities. To some we do, but to some we do not," Bravman stated. Since Stanford students are at least as smart as the faculty, he said, "we would do ourselves a great favor as well as improve our educational processes if we looked carefully at the things about which students in fact are cynical." He cited as an example the number of units assigned for a course compared to the amount of work required. "Students laugh at us over this," Bravman said, "and depending on who they ask, the answers they get are in fact laughable." While one might disagree about the exact hows and whens of this kind of review, he expressed the belief that departments should welcome something analogous to peer review of their academic programs. "It should be regular and ongoing," he said, "and they will only be stronger for it."
Berman concurred, noting that H & S believes it is time to invest in the junior and senior years the same kind of attention and resources that have been devoted to the beginning years of undergraduate education. He said that they have begun to ask external reviewers to answer specific questions about the department's undergraduate programs and the results have been very productive. H & S is also discussing issues about departmental majors with their Advisory Committee on the Curriculum, which also reviews the IDPs, he remarked. Former H & S Dean Shoven and current Dean Beasley both said that they favor coordinating curricular reviews with external reviews, for reasons of economy of effort. Beasley added that inevitable tradeoffs and resource allocation decisions between teaching and research must be considered at the same time. Professors Gardner (Molecular Pharmacology), Pratt (Spanish & Portuguese), Rickford (Linguistics), and President Casper expressed concerns that combining the two different kinds of reviews could cause the goal of assessing the rigor of the major, in a detailed Stanford context, to get obscured by questions of the scholarly attainment and the intellectual agenda of the department's faculty. "A separate review would allow the department as a whole to be involved in this area and would send a good message," Rickford said. Fernald stressed that C-US was proposing only that reviews of the major "might occur in conjunction with outside reviews of the scholarly work of the faculty or professional accreditation." The criteria they proposed -- to mirror the IDP review process and to involve students -- would presumably require some separate identity from the outside review, he said.
Pratt indicated that she thought her department and other small departments would welcome the opportunity to step back from their day-to-day concerns and set aside time to reflect deeply on the major. She noted however that either departments would have to be given some staffing help to carry out a self-study, or review teams would have to have some mechanism for gathering data that produced minimal demand on the department. Professor Heller (Biological Sciences) indicated that, based on his experience as a CUE member, it should be possible for a review group to follow an information-gathering protocol and come to conclusions about particular majors' strengths and weaknesses quite efficiently.
Shoven asked, "What should we make of the fact that about 25 percent of our students double major?" Either they are incredibly able and studious, or our majors are so easy that you can do two of them, he commented. Having championed the introduction of the minor, Shoven said he believes the next step is to strengthen the major. "The major should live up to its name. It should be quite difficult to do two of them." Pratt disagreed, voicing her opinion that the double major is not a sign of weakness, but rather a reflection of the fact that many Stanford students are not mono-disciplinary.
President Casper said that he had found the regular Senate discussions of IDP renewals very interesting and beneficial. "Nothing would make me believe that the departmental majors don't also need a fresh look every so often," he stated. He observed that many other universities are concerned about the number of double majors, and also indicated that Stanford will come under some criticism in its own re-accreditation concerning advising, including advising in the major. "So six years later, I'm still in favor of rigor and coherence," he joked.
Professor Wright (Economics), a member of C-US, commented that they had tried to produce "a workable checklist that would be useful in the context of a serious, directed review targeted at the quality of the major, looking at it from a student point of view." He said that future deans and committees would have to decide whether to do that in combination with a general department review, but in that case there should be a distinct portion of the effort devoted to the major. Professor Rickford commended C-US on its report and said he believed departments had lagged behind the central administration in paying attention to undergraduate education. "For instance, we have regular reviews of our graduate students, from those who came yesterday to those who were here before half of the faculty. But we never do the same thing for our undergraduates." He suggested that attention needs to be paid to advising beyond the Stanford degree, to help students prepare earlier for graduate work in their discipline, for example.
Meredyth Krych, ASSU Representative-at-Large, said that she believed that current disparities in the quality of majors at Stanford should be eliminated and that advising within the majors should be strengthened. She suggested that Stanford should focus on ensuring that each major is rigorous and not worry about whether students complete more than one major. Professor Hinton (Music) revealed that as both an administrator and a teacher in a small department that had traditionally had quite a few double majors, "I feel personally rather in conflict with myself about the issue of double majors versus minors." The administrator would like to keep the number of majors up, but the teacher might like to advise some students to choose the minor instead. "My conflict would go away, I think, if I felt that the departments were being given sufficient credit for taking on minors as opposed to majors," he said, suggesting that this should be rethought.
Bravman remarked that he believed reviews of departmental majors could be accomplished at fairly low cost compared to the traditional outside visiting committee. "If you periodically convene groups of students to ask them what they think of their major, they will have no difficulty telling you," he said. He added that he thought many advising problems could be fixed simply by producing good documentary material to be handed out to students. Bravman agreed with Wright that passing Senate legislation was not the important thing, but rather "with the proper goodwill and a bit of energy I think we can make significant incremental, positive gains."
Noting that she had been involved in several efforts related to on-line education, Gardner cautioned that elite universities like Stanford must pay more attention to their constituency, for example provide better advising, in order to justify their high tuition. Bravman's comment that the University of Phoenix has 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week advising provoked several jokes, including a suggestion that "you just press one for good advising." Lori White, Director of Undergraduate Advising, said that many students feel they do not have adequate information to support the choice of one department as a major over another. Once they decide, they are often told there are no faculty advisors available in the department. Students also may not understand why they have to take courses in a particular sequence. "Unless we figure out a better way to advise students in all majors, we are going to have many, many students graduating without getting to take advantage of all of the wonderful things Stanford has to offer," White said.
Efron returned to his earlier point, objecting to a substantial burden being placed on department chairs without any actual evidence on the table that things were going badly. Fernald responded by quoting from the CUE report:
In some majors, up to half of the respondents ranked their work with the faculty "excellent;" in others, less than one-fourth; in the highest-ranked major, 95 percent of respondents thought the quality of courses was "good" or better, in the lowest, 47 percent. Similar ranges can be found in replies about the quality of teaching, opportunities for individual research, and faculty accessibility. However one interprets these data, we must conclude that they do not reflect the kind of excellence Stanford must demand from all its programs.
Fernald said that he believes the data show quite clearly that some departments are wonderful and some are terrible. "The problem is that we haven't attended to the problem."
Brian Schmidt, an undergraduate student member of C-US, confirmed that there was widespread student dissatisfaction concerning the disparities among departments in the major curriculum, the declaration process, and the quality of advising and instruction. There should be guidelines such as those proposed by C-US, he said, and it is not unreasonable for departments to be asked to conduct the review processes that will ensure that they live up to these expectations. Vice Provost Kruger reminded everyone that the National Research Council data comparing graduate education and research across universities is taken very seriously. "Should not appropriate data comparing undergraduate majors at Stanford be readily available to all students?" he asked rhetorically.
Professor Polhemus (English) questioned the proposal, on page four of the C-US document, that "the range of possible careers of graduates should be presented clearly." "That makes me think, well, you could open up a little Shakespeare shop, for an English major," he remarked. "Shakespeare.com," joked Zoback. On a more serious note, Polhemus said he believes that students double major to some extent because they want both a liberal education and vocational training.
The following motion was approved on a divided voice vote (one opposed, no abstentions):
The Senate adopts SenD#5081 entitled "The Undergraduate Major: Guidelines and Policy," as recommended by the Committee on Undergraduate Studies. This document supersedes SenD#1769 dated September 27, 1976.
Zoback thanked Fernald and the members of C-US for putting in so much time and energy on this important policy.
Report on the Student Judicial Charter of 1997 (SenD#5090)
Chair Zoback indicated that several people had expressed interest in hearing how the two-year old student judicial system had been working, most notably President Casper. He said that background documents had been made available and that three people would be reporting -- Dean of Students Marc Wais, whose office is responsible for administering the judicial system, Physics Professor Blas Cabrera, and Ph.D. student Jyllian Kemsley. He welcomed several guests including Professor Richard Schupbach and Student Jeff Wu, co-chairs of the Board on Judicial Affairs, Laurette Beeson, Judicial Advisor, and Nancy Morrison, Judicial Affairs Officer. Zoback said that he had asked Steering Committee Vice Chair Brad Osgood to take his place for this item, since he had chaired the committee that had created the new judicial system in 1997 and might need to answer questions or participate in the discussion.
Dean Wais said that he and his colleagues were pleased to provide information to the Faculty Senate concerning how the judicial system had been working for the past two years. "Am I a little bit nervous making this presentation under the scrutiny of the President, who is a constitutional scholar? You bet I am," he joked. Wais said that thirty-two years earlier Stanford had adopted the Legislative and Judicial Charter of 1968 to administer the Honor Code and the Fundamental Standard. That charter, reflecting the turbulent times in which it was created, was legalistic, bureaucratic, and cumbersome, he said. In February 1996, President Casper convened the Committee of Fifteen (C-15) to review and possibly streamline the 1968 charter. C-15 designed a radically different judicial charter that was approved by the ASSU, the Faculty Senate, and the President, and was implemented in January 1998.
Wais described three guiding principles of the new charter:
- o affirm the importance of the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard as critical parts of campus life at Stanford
- to guarantee students a central role in establishing judicial policy and adjudicating cases, and
- to protect the rights of all individuals involved in judicial affairs, while upholding the highest possible standards of honesty and mutual respect.
The charter also mandated three significant structural changes, he said:
- it increased the professional staff in judicial affairs from one to two people
- it created the Board on Judicial Affairs to replace a more complex process involving the Student Conduct Legislative Council and C-15, and
- it created a mandatory hearing system utilizing judicial panels.
Now all students charged with violating the Honor Code or the Fundamental Standard must have their cases reviewed and acted upon by judicial panels comprised of four students (one serving as chair), a faculty member, and a staff member.
Referring to a matrix provided to Senators, Wais identified, for each of the charter's guiding principles, the related administrative practices, what has worked well, and what needs attention. The charter essentially compels students, faculty, and staff to engage the process, he said, referring to a chart showing the average length of time for the key stages of the process over a period of six years. He noted that there had been a steady decline in the average amount of time required to investigate a complaint, file charges, and adjudicate the case -- down from a high of 132 days to 57 days this year. (Wais noted several reasons for the time delay remaining rather long in 1998/99.) He said they were quite pleased with the efficiency of the new system overall. Wais reported that the system also provides enhanced and increased educational experiences for students who are defendants and for the 30 students who serve as panel members -- "more teachable moments." In addition, the new staffing structure has allowed potential conflicts of interest to be reduced, since students can confide in a neutral Judicial Advisor without worrying that it might come back to harm them.
Turning to "what needs attention," Wais stressed that greater outreach is needed to increase student understanding and appreciation of the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard. "When I go to student events, I ask if anyone can recite the two-sentence Fundamental Standard, and I offer them a lunch at the Faculty Club. I have never had to take a student to the Faculty Club to this day," he remarked. Wais also cited increased confidence in the system and a greater level of participation, especially by faculty members, as important, ongoing goals. Stanford is not unique, he noted, referring to a very recent academic integrity survey at Duke. The new system requires a greater time commitment of faculty members who suspect a violation, Wais emphasized, since there are more contested cases, which are often complicated and take longer to adjudicate. He said that often it is the syllabus and the instructions faculty members give for exams or assignments that end up going on trial. He also pointed out that Stanford is one of only six schools that use "beyond a reasonable doubt" as the burden of proof. This high burden of proof tends to discourage complainants from going forward and causes frustration when a case is dropped or a student is found not guilty. The stakes are also high, causing intense emotion and frequent parental and legal involvement. The academic calendar affects the system adversely, since cases that spill over into the summer take an abnormally long time to conclude, Wais noted, adding that Stanford's liberal stopping out policy sometimes means that a case may go on hold for hundreds of days.
Physics Professor Cabrera spoke next, explaining that he had taught at Stanford for 20 years and had been involved in several Honor Code cases in the preceding year. "These are never enjoyable experiences," he stated, "but I came away this year with the feeling that Stanford is well-served by the new judicial process." He emphasized his belief that the new system will only succeed if the faculty and students participate fully and help to make it part of the Stanford culture. He contrasted the very strict system at his alma mater, the University of Virginia -- where students ran the system entirely and anyone convicted of a violation was permanently expelled -- to Stanford's previous system which he found to be quite lax, with very few cases leading to significant penalties and most being dropped without a hearing. Cabrera described the two cases he had been involved in, noting that the uncontested case took only 30 minutes of his time, with the contested case taking about 10 hours over two quarters.
Jyllian Kemsley, fourth year graduate student in Chemistry who had served on judicial panels, said that Stanford must work to make the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard apply to day-to-day life on campus. She encouraged faculty members to discuss the Honor Code every time they hand out assignments, making clear to graduate students as well as to undergraduates what is and is not allowed. A contested Honor Code case might hinge on misunderstanding of what the syllabus meant by "all work must be done independently," for example. Gray areas, such as between discussing concepts versus discussing specific problems, should be spelled out using concrete examples, Kemsley urged. She said that the old judicial system had a poor reputation in her department, but her experience as a panelist under the new system has been positive. Students and faculty on these panels take their role very seriously, she noted, and display great respect for each other. She advised that many of the student defendants were there as a result of a late night, last minute decision made while trying to cope with non-academic problems. The judicial process had catalyzed many of them to talk to someone about their problems and had led to personal growth, Kemsley said.
Wais concluded the presentation by noting that real progress had been made in improving the judicial system under the new charter, and he thanked the President and Mark Zoback for their leadership. "However, much more work remains to be done," he stated. "We need the faculty to make the new system work. We encourage you to partner with us to ensure that Stanford's core values of honesty, respect, trust, and integrity are maintained and strengthened now and in the future."
President Casper referred to an article the day before in the Los Angeles Times about judicial systems at California universities. He said that Stanford's system, like many of these others, seems "invisible" and he wonders why issues such as what constitutes cheating never get discussed in public. Wais agreed that more such dialogue about the ethical and philosophical issues is needed at Stanford. Professor R. Fernald (Psychology) concurred, but added that he would like to see basic reporting to the community of the number and type of judicial cases, "certainly as interesting as the number of bikes stolen or skunks spotted," he remarked. Wais replied that this information was reported each quarter in the Daily, though Schupbach added that because it was placed as an advertisement, "you need to be looking for the Lozano's car wash ad, just above Domino's Pizza." Wais agreed that printing the statistics in the Stanford Report would also be useful.
Cabrera commented that teaching assistants in large science classes had always tended to believe that Stanford did not take Honor Code violations seriously. It is extremely important to let the TAs know that when they go out on a limb to accuse someone of cheating, it will be taken seriously in the new system. Professor Porras (Graduate School of Business) expressed the opinion that the raw statistics were of little value, but that providing concrete examples of actual cases, in a sanitized version, would be educational for faculty members and for students. He indicated that as the Faculty Representative of the PAC 10, he receives a report of any school's violation of NCAA rules, and can pursue it to find out if that might be happening at Stanford. "That's educational. I don't think the statistics really do that," he said. Kemsley volunteered that real cases are used to provide TA training in her department.
With Professors Gardner and Gordon attempting unsuccessfully to suppress their laughter, Gardner finally explained, "Deborah asked me what the PAC 10 was." The Provost expressed delight that "there are some faculty members who still have their attention on the important things," but the President chided her, "Deborah, I am the Chair of the PAC 10." "Good, you can tell me all about it," she replied. Amidst general laughter, Osgood may or may not have obtained a motion, but he declared the meeting adjourned nonetheless at 5:14 p.m.
Susan W. Schofield
Academic Secretary to the University
Note: The background documents
and reports distributed to the Senate are normally available on the
Academic Secretary's Office web site at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu, by clicking on the relevant Senate meeting