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Stanford Report, September 29, 2000
Faculty Senate holds first meeting of the year

The 33rd Senate of the Academic Council held its first meeting of the year Sept. 28, a session that was abbreviated in order to hold a reception for new President John Hennessy and new Provost John Etchemendy.

"Ramón, will that be smoking or non-smoking?" senate chair Brad Osgood -- making like a maitre d' -- asked Ramón Saldívar when the English professor entered the Law School lecture hall a couple of minutes late.

Academic Secretary Susan Schofield shows the "speed limit" sign she prepared in case Brad Osgood speaks too fast.
photo: L.A Cicero

Osgood's sense of humor and speed of speech were in much evidence during the meeting, which he dominated only because of the first meeting's introductory nature. Academic Secretary Susan Schofield was armed with a tongue-in-cheek orange "Speed Limit" sign reading "200 words per minute." "In case you all feel that things are going a little too fast, just wave at me, and I'll help Brad see the orange sign," she told the assembled faculty.

The senate has 55 voting members of the faculty and 15 non-voting ex-officio members. Of this year's voting members, 14 have never served on the senate previously and about 30 percent are women.

"The senate will be effective only if there is a lot of good, open discussion and a lot of interesting issues are brought up," Osgood said on a more serious note. "So I want to encourage each of you to take that upon yourselves and to generate enthusiasm and interest among your colleagues on the faculty."

Hennessy gave his first report to the senate as president, providing some good news about a tentative agreement with the City of Palo Alto over the golf course (see related story). That topic prompted Brad Efron, statistics, to inquire about the future fate of the driving range.

Hennessy said the driving range would remain "for the foreseeable future" but that at some point down the line its site could be needed for graduate student housing. "But that is probably some time out," he said.

Brad Efron, statistics, shares a laugh with Provost John Etchemendy.
photo: L.A. Cicero

Stephen Monismith, civil and environmental engineering, asked about the status of the stable parcel, which the university also has been considering for housing. Hennessy said plans for that area "have not been fleshed out," but that a possibility was to provide a mix of small single-family house lots, condominiums and townhouses.

With the high cost of housing affecting the ability of the university to recruit faculty and staff, a variety of housing plans have been under consideration. The broad strokes of the university's intentions are contained in its draft 10-year General Use Permit, which county officials are expected to act on at the end of October.

In other business, the senate heard a review of last year's busy Committee on Undergraduate Studies and got a preview of some of the issues it will be studying this year. Incoming committee chair Hester Gelber, religious studies, said those include the possibility that additional requirements could be made to the undergraduate curriculum in the areas of ethics, service learning and oral presentations. Several interdisciplinary programs also will come up for review, she added, as well as a proposal for a potential new one in archeology.