Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, November 15, 2000
Administrative Session of the Steering Committee



Nov. 9

Call to Order

At 2:23 p.m., Chair Brad Osgood called to order the Administrative Session of the Steering Committee on behalf of Senate XXXIII. In addition to the Chair, Senate Steering Committee members and alternates Charlotte Jacobs, Hazel Markus, Debra Satz, Hank Greely, and Michael Harrison were in attendance, as well as presenters and invited guests.

Osgood explained that the Steering Committee would receive the annual reports of three Academic Council committees, all of which had reported to the full Senate the prior year.

1999/2000 Annual Report of the Committee on Libraries (SenD#5118)

Professor Philippe Buc, C-Lib member, reported on behalf of the prior year's chair, John Bender, and the current chair, Karol Berger, neither of whom could be present. He summarized the committee's activities during 1999/2000 including: facilities issues (reopening the Bing Wing and planning for off-campus Auxiliary Library storage); Green Library collection redeployment; study of branch library needs and problems, including the possibility of consolidation; scholarly copyright management; and containment of science/technology/medicine journal costs. Buc advised that most of those issues would continue to be discussed by C-Lib in the current year, in addition to some new topics: recruitment and retention of library personnel; integrated access to digital information resources; and allocation of library carrel spaces.

Responding to Steering Committee questions and comments, Buc and Michael Keller (University Librarian and Director of Academic Information Resources) advised that the affected faculty in the scientific disciplines are being regularly consulted about solutions to journal cost problems. They also explained that C-Lib does have jurisdiction over the libraries in Law, Business and Medicine, and in the past year had attempted without much success to inform itself about critical Medical School library facilities issues. Keller said that he would welcome the participation of a Law School faculty member on C-Lib in the future. Keller and Buc agreed with Harrison that if further work were undertaken by a C-Lib subcommittee on the "crisis in scholarly publishing," the focus should be on action-oriented recommendations that were likely to be implementable.

Chair Osgood accepted the 1999/2000 Annual Report of the Committee on Libraries, on behalf of the Senate, and thanked committee members for their work.

1999/2000 Annual Report of the Committee on Academic Appraisal and Achievement (SenD#5117)

Professor Rex Jamison, 1999/2000 C-AAA Chair, reported briefly on the committee's activities during the prior year. He highlighted efforts to address disparities in grade distribution among courses and departments, including the dissemination of extensive information on grading patterns to departments along with a memo requesting answers to three questions. Unable to garner more than a 25% response from departments, C-AAA had decided to continue dissemination of grade data, he said, and hoped to increase the faculty's awareness of the issue. Jamison identified other committee efforts including: clarification of field designations on transcripts; recommendation concerning mid-term examination scheduling conflicts; discussion of a residency requirement for students entering as freshmen (carried forward to 2000/01); and concerns about Teaching Assistant training. Jamison thanked Stella Kallianis, who provides staff support to the committee, and is "terrific," noting also that the students on C-AAA attended regularly and contributed thoughtfully. Professor Hall, 2000/01 C-AAA Chair, advised that in addition to items mentioned by Jamison, the committee would be discussing: Rhodes/Marshall/Churchill scholarships and University honors; the question of what a unit of credit should mean at Stanford; and effective use of morning, afternoon, and evening hours for academic courses.

In reply to comments from several Steering Committee members concerning grade distribution, Hall acknowledged that different disciplines may have differing but well understood expectations about the meaning of grades. Hall and Registrar Roger Printup expressed the view that the Stanford faculty did not see disparities in grade distribution as a serious problem. The Steering Committee encouraged C-AAA nonetheless not to underestimate the power of social norms which were already changing as a result of the prior year's dissemination of grade distributions, to consider requiring departments to report on their grading practices, and even to examine possible policy interventions.

The Chair thanked the committee for its efforts and accepted, on behalf of the Senate, the 1999/2000 Annual Report of the Committee on Academic Appraisal and Achievement.

1999/2000 Annual Report of the Committee on Graduate Studies (SenD#5116)

Professor George Dekker, 1999/2000 C-GS Chair, advised that in the previous year the committee had occupied itself with: interdisciplinary program reviews, including one that required considerably more attention than usual; participation in the joint meeting of the Faculty Senate with the ASSU Graduate Student Council; revision of procedures and guidelines for the dismissal of graduate students (carried forward to 2000/01 in conjunction with C-AAA); changes in residency policy for graduate students (also to be further addressed in 2000/01); and issues of graduate student diversity, where Stanford is sharing in a disturbing national decline in minority applications to graduate schools. Professor Steven Zipperstein, current C-GS Chair, added that the committee was planning to stay in touch with the social and economic aspects of graduate life because of the obvious effects on recruitment and retention, particularly of minority students. Zipperstein echoed Jamison's earlier praise of the same committee staff support person, Stella Kallianis, calling her "simply extraordinary." [Schofield indicated that Kallianis staffs three Academic Council committees and all of their subcommittees. The Registrar, her boss, agreed that she definitely deserved the praise.]

Encouraged by the Steering Committee, Dekker and Zipperstein concurred that Stanford has an opportunity to take a leadership role in reaffirming the importance of diversity in educating students to function in a diverse society. C-GS, though it has minimal power, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Policy (a role Dekker is now filling) can make a difference, even in the decentralized Stanford environment, they said. One way to address the problem at Stanford is to give as much visibility as possible to improved housing and child care resources for graduate students, Zipperstein stressed.

Osgood accepted the 1999/2000 Annual Report of the Committee on Graduate Studies, on behalf of the Senate. He thanked the outgoing chair and committee members for their good work.

Noting that Senate members were crowding into the lobby, "waiting to legislate," Chair Osgood adjourned the Administrative Session at 3:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan W. Schofield
Academic Secretary to the University