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Stanford Report, January 30, 2002

Facuty Senate minutes Jan. 24, 2002, meeting

Report No. 5


At its meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2002, the Thirty-fourth Senate of the Academic Council heard reports and took the following actions:

By unanimous voice vote, conferred baccalaureate degrees on the Autumn Quarter candidates recommended by the Committee on Academic Appraisal and Achievement and listed in SenD#5278.

By unanimous voice vote, conferred advanced degrees on the Autumn Quarter candidates recommended by the Committee on Graduate Studies and listed in SenD#5279.

Approved by unanimous voice vote the following Sense of the Senate resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Senate of the Academic Council conveys its general endorsement of the Information Technology Support Recommendations set forth by the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems in Senate Document #5245.

These C-ACIS recommendations identify the four highest priority areas for short-term faculty computing support: operate the network as a utility; provide desktop and server support; expand the Academic Technology Specialist program; and replace faculty computers every three years.


Academic Secretary to the University



Call to Order

Senate Chair John Rickford called the Senate to order at 3:20 p.m. There were 37 voting members, 10 ex-officio members, and a large number of invited guests in attendance. The Chair welcomed three new members to the Senate: Arnetha Ball (Education), Heinz Furthmayr (Pathology), and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Gene Awakuni (ex officio).

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the November 8, 2001 meeting of Senate XXXIV (SenD#5270) were approved as submitted.

Action Calendar

The Senate, by unanimous voice vote, conferred baccalaureate degrees on the Autumn Quarter candidates listed in Senate Document #5278, as recommended by the Committee on Academic Appraisal and Achievement.

The Senate also, by unanimous voice vote, conferred the various advanced degrees on the Autumn Quarter candidates listed in Senate Document #5279, as recommended by the Committee on Graduate Studies.

Memorial Resolution

The Chair introduced Music Department Chair Stephen Hinton to present a memorial statement in honor of Herbert Nanney, on behalf of a committee consisting of Gregory Wait, who was also present, and Albert Cohen. The full text of the resolution was included in Senate packets and will be published in the Stanford Report. Following the memorial statement, members of the Senate stood for a traditional moment of silence.

Herbert Boswell Nanney, Professor Emeritus of Music, died of heart disease on May 20, 1996, at the age of 77, in a Mountain View convalescent hospital. He was born in Whittier, California, on August 1, 1918. After organ studies at UCLA, he earned his A.B. degree in Music from Whittier College in 1940 and an M.A. in Music from Stanford in 1951. He served Stanford both as University Organist and as an active member of the Music faculty for 38 years, before retiring in 1985. As a teacher, he organized a new doctoral program in organ performance practice in the 1960s. And as Director of Music for Memorial Church, he provided music for the wide variety of events that took place in the church. He also oversaw the construction of the Baroque-style Fisk-Nanney organ, dedicated by a series of celebratory concerts in 1984. Herb was a warm, caring, committed, lively, and witty colleague, as well as an inveterate punster. At social gatherings, he enjoyed demonstrating his ability to improvise at the piano, and especially delighted in playing popular songs in the style of classical composers.

Report from the Senate Steering Committee

Chair Rickford informed Senate members that George Dekker, Associate Dean of Graduate Policy and Professor of English, had recently undergone a major operation. In view of his significant history of Senate and university service, the Senate voted to wish Dekker a full and speedy recovery. Professor Simoni (Biological Sciences) joked that videotapes of Senate proceedings might also be sent to aid in his recuperation. The Chair previewed upcoming Senate agenda, including a planned April 4th "field trip across Campus Drive" to the Medical School, modeled on the Senate's acclaimed 2001 trip to SLAC. "I'm sorry to report that proposals for a similar field trip to the Hopkins Marine Station, or to Cancun, have not materialized," he quipped. Rickford thanked Craig Kapitan and the Stanford Report for their January 23rd story and diagram about the Senate's relation to the Academic Council and faculty governance in general.

Report from the Committee on Committees

CoC Chair Wooley advised that the committee had begun identifying faculty candidates to fill 2002/03 committee vacancies, and expressed thanks to the more than 50 individuals who had volunteered for service.

Reports from the President and the Provost

President Hennessy was out of town. Provost Etchemendy first provided an update on the University Needs Assessment Task Force. He thanked the deans, faculty, staff, students, and trustees who had participated in three working groups, submitting reports in May 2001 on infrastructure, interdisciplinary themes, and school and program needs. More work is still needed to refine the priorities, Etchemendy said, including evaluation by the new deans of Medicine and H&S. In spite of the economic climate, "we're still moving forward ... and I anticipate that by the end of this academic year we will complete the needs assessment process and establish fund raising goals for the next five to seven years."

The Provost reported next on the childcare subsidy grant program, available for the first time beginning in January 2002. The tax-free grants were targeted to benefits-eligible faculty and staff with household incomes below $115,000. Funds totaling $602,000 were awarded to all 218 eligible applicants -- 26 faculty and 192 staff. Etchemendy thanked Teresa Rasco and the WorkLife Office for making the program a reality. He said that a larger amount of money had initially been set aside, and indicated that program refinements were being considered for 2003.

In a surprise announcement, Provost Etchemendy and Vice Provost Bravman revealed the names of eight faculty members forming the inaugural group of University Fellows in Undergraduate Education. They are:

* John C. Boothroyd, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

* Thomas H. Byers, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Management Science and Engineering

* Harry J. Elam, Jr., Professor of Drama

* Patricia P. Jones, Professor of Biological Sciences

* Terry L. Karl, Professor of Political Science

* David M. Kennedy, Professor of History

* Douglas Osheroff, Professor of Physics; and

* Eric Roberts, Professor (Teaching) of Computer Science.

This new form of university recognition singles out some of the most dedicated undergraduate educators, from any of the seven schools, providing them with an annual allocation of unrestricted funds for a five-year term. Etchemendy said that funding for these fellowships is part of the Campaign for Undergraduate Education, which is seeking endowment support for Stanford's significant recent enhancements to undergraduate education. Bravman, who identified an ultimate goal of 40 fellowships, also announced the donors for each of the initial eight. Most of the recipients were present for the announcement, including three serving on Senate; they were asked to stand and received a hearty round of applause.

2000/01 Annual Report from the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems (SenD#5238)

Senate Chair Rickford invited Professor Paul Segall, past chair of the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems, to discuss his committee's annual report and their recommendations for information technology support. Rickford also welcomed 2001/02 committee chair John Gill, as well as other guests including ex-officio members Chris Handley, Director of Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS), and Michael Keller, University Librarian and Director of Academic Information Resources. Segall underscored the critical importance of information technology in support of the teaching and research of the faculty. He expressed gratitude to leaders of ITSS and SUL/AIR, including Handley, Keller, Jan Thomson, and Raman Khanna, for participating in committee deliberations and being responsive to C-ACIS suggestions, often by implementing solutions "without a lot of formal procedure." Segall devoted most of his remarks to the committee's IT support recommendations (see below). Chair Rickford subsequently accepted the 2000/01 Annual Report of the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems on behalf of the Senate.

Information Technology Support Recommendations (SenD#5245)

Professor Paul Segall, 2000/01 Chair of the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems, described the committee's work to appraise computing infrastructure problems and needs, along with a subcommittee of the Provost's Needs Assessment Task Force. A survey revealed "that fully half of the faculty are not satisfied with their computer support," he said, "and that dissatisfaction spans a wide variety of very basic computer functions." Segall noted that C-ACIS and other groups had identified as early as 1998 the increasingly critical nature of computers and computer support for the faculty. "Time we spend hassling with something that's gone wrong with our computer is time we're not spending with students, writing papers, or doing research," he commented. The committee understood "that it all boils down to resources and priorities," Segall said, and worked very hard to select only a small number of highest priority items to be addressed in the short term.

Segall described the four information technology support recommendations from C-ACIS:
* Operate the network as a utility

The network (including the campus backbone, gateways to the outside internet, and in-building wiring) is essential for e-mail, web use, data exchange, etc. Campus network connections now number over 60,000. C-ACIS recommends a centrally funded and managed network, treating it as an essential component of infrastructure like electricity and heat.

* Provide desktop and server support

With exponential growth in HelpSU support requests to a level of 120,000 this year, and a complex, multi-platform environment, desktop and server support needs to be increased. C-ACIS recommends a level of support roughly equal to one dedicated professional for every 40 faculty members.

* Expand the Academic Technology Specialists program

C-ACIS believes that the most effective way to improve teaching through technology is to expand the ATS program to provide, for approximately every 40 faculty members, one ATS professional who is also familiar with the academic disciplines of those faculty.

* Replace faculty computers every three years

C-ACIS recommends that all faculty and those lecturers who do extensive undergraduate teaching have up-to-date computers, replaced approximately every three years, to reduce downtime and improve academic effectiveness.

Segall reiterated the committee's fourfold recommendations and noted that preliminary cost estimates had also been provided in Senate materials for discussion purposes. He asked Chris Handley of ITSS and Michael Keller of SUL/AIR to join him in answering questions.

Professor Jones (Biological Sciences) and some others asked whether computer network costs could be recovered through the indirect cost rate or could be allowed as direct charges to grants and contracts. Vice Provost and Dean of Research Kruger joked that he had learned that any time an answer to a question begins with "This is a complicated subject," he knew he wasn't going to get a straight answer. He elicited laughter by then telling Jones, "This is a complicated subject." He advised that Stanford would have to make a proposal to the government if it wanted to attempt to recover network expenses through the indirect cost rate. Segall pointed out that a "telephone model" might result in charges of roughly $10 per network port per month, though
C-ACIS was recommending an "electricity model" where there would be no direct charges to the department or unit, and the system would be centrally managed.

Responding to several questions about replacing faculty computers every three years, Segall pointed out that the total cost would be relatively small, estimated at $1.3 million per year. And because different parts of the university have different funding sources and some already purchase replacement hardware, the net incremental cost might be only half that. Handley suggested that Stanford might consider an "information technology benefits budget" associated with each academic FTE, to ensure that sufficient money would be set aside annually to fund items such as those recommended by C-ACIS.

Vice Provost Bravman urged that faculty and staff be trained to solve basic computer problems on their own rather than paying IT support professionals to solve all possible problems, which would be prohibitively expensive. Professor Wasow (Linguistics) pointed out, however, that hardware and software were changing so rapidly that it was almost impossible for faculty to keep up. Bravman stressed the importance of becoming comfortable with using common software programs and solving basic problems. Professor Steele (Psychology) urged that department staff as well as faculty be kept up to date, and wondered whether the computer expertise of graduate students might be harnessed through some sort of teaching assistantship mechanism. Segall cautioned against relying too heavily on graduate students, noting that professional expertise was often needed, for example in complex areas such as security. He clarified that C-ACIS was recommending support for problems beyond the ordinary, not "hand holding at all times."

Professor Papanicolaou (Mathematics) asked if the rising costs of the network were being at least partially offset by reduced telephone usage and costs. Jan Thomson of ITSS responded that the price per telephone call had fallen substantially, and the number of calls was leveling off, in spite of growth in new buildings. Segall concurred with Professor Goldsmith (Electrical Engineering) that the C-ACIS recommendations should be viewed flexibly as "average guidelines" since computer support needs do vary among different schools and departments.

Professor Noll (Economics) expressed enthusiasm for the great job done by C-ACIS, which had gone beyond voicing complaints to identifying a core problem and proposing specific solutions. "For the first time in several years, you have given us a framework for substantially alleviating a critical problem. ... And you have reversed a long-standing trend of centralizing decisions about how to do things but decentralizing financial responsibility. I congratulate you," stated Noll, to applause. Noll also praised new ITSS Director Handley for being very responsive to faculty concerns and trying to make the system work.

Kruger asked what evidence C-ACIS had that the decentralized ATS model was the best model for providing academic technology support, particularly given the estimate of $3 million per year in central plus local incremental costs. Segall replied that committee members and other faculty who had received ATS support believe that the combination in one person of both technology expertise and disciplinary expertise is ideal. Provost Etchemendy pointed out that the ATS model actually represents a hybrid between centralization and decentralization, since specialists are housed in departments but work as a group, sharing information and solutions through the AIR organization.

Professor Martin (Graduate School of Business) offered advice for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the HelpSU resource. She suggested that the web front end be modified to ask requesters to specify three things: their own level of expertise, the apparent complexity of the problem, and the kind of expert they thought was needed. "This would permit a more calibrated match-making between the problem presenter and the solution provider," she said. Handley responded that ITSS would try this out to see if it made a difference.

Professor Gardner (Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology) asked if C-ACIS was recommending comprehensive support not only of office desktops but also of home computers and laptops and PDAs. She also wondered whether or not any standardization among the multiple hardware and software options was envisioned. Segall agreed that these were important questions. Faculty use of computers and need for support have increased dramatically in just one generation, he noted, and are demanding more resources and presenting difficult budgetary challenges.

Senate Chair Rickford thanked Segall for the very informative report and the Senate for a thoughtful discussion. He drew attention to a Sense of the Senate Resolution, at desks, offered by the Steering Committee as a way to express Senate support of the C-ACIS recommendations. The following resolution was moved, seconded, and approved unanimously by voice vote:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Senate of the Academic Council conveys its general endorsement of the Information Technology Support Recommendations set forth by the Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems in Senate document #5245.

Report on Plans for New Faculty Housing (SenD#5274)

Senate Chair Rickford welcomed Robert Reidy, Vice Provost for Land and Buildings, to present a report on the university's plans to build new housing on campus lands. Rickford advised that the Senate Steering Committee was not sure that one meeting would do justice to the scope and complexity of the subject, and was therefore prepared to have Reidy return for a second meeting if warranted.

Reidy reminded Senate members that they had received copies of PowerPoint slides in advance. He indicated that this was the beginning of an important outreach effort, seeking response and feedback first from the Cabinet, the Senate, and the Trustees. A committee had been at work for ten months, he said, made up of faculty members Pat Jones, Steve Monismith, and Brad Gregory, as well as Carolyn Sargent, Jeff Wachtel, and other staff from the Stanford Management Company and the Planning Office. Reidy advised that the current program envisions about 790 housing units, representing roughly 25 percent of the maximum number of faculty, student and staff housing units allowed by the county general use permit (GUP).

Seven fundamental principles underlie the development of the proposed new housing, Reidy explained:

* serve recruitment and retention objectives

* build quality housing

* assure sustained affordability (after the first buyer)

* create a financially self-supporting program (so as not to drain future resources away from academic needs)

* comply with the Community Plan and GUP (number of units, density constraints)

* achieve design compatibility with the campus

* expand the variety of housing options (creating a continuum at different price levels)

Reidy reviewed the distribution of current faculty housing: 40% of full professors (381 people) own homes on campus; 24% of associate professors (80); 12% of assistant professors (55); 11% of eligible senior staff (14); and 47% of emeriti (308). The existing housing inventory, he said, consists of: 46% rentals (including the recent addition of 628 Stanford West apartments); 16% attached homes (Pearce Mitchell, Peter Coutts, Ryan Court); and 38% detached homes. Reidy also drew attention to the differences in density of housing, ranging from 25 units per acre for the rentals to an average of 1.5 units per acre in the faculty housing subdivisions, with the attached homes in the middle. He then showed a slide with proposed new housing interspersed on the density continuum "to fill gaps." The most dense development would be on the Quarry Sites, for postdocs and medical residents, Reidy said, pointing out other sites at different densities, for example to meet the needs of the under-served associate and assistant professor groups. With a finite land resource, and a tremendous need for faculty housing as a residential university, "we have to balance based on density," he stated, "producing a continuum and filling gaps to meet our needs."

Reidy reviewed some of the constraints imposed by the Santa Clara County Community Plan and General Use Permit, including: academic growth boundary; housing units linked to academic growth; minimum and maximum density levels; and no net new commute trips. He then described three major sites -- the Quarry Sites, Stanford Avenue, and the Stable Site -- and proposed programs for each, showing pictures of the undeveloped land, cartoons of potential site development, and some photos depicting similar housing densities. For the Quarry Sites, 420 apartments are proposed, at 30 units per acre, mostly one-bedroom units; given postdoc and medical resident salaries averaging $38,000 per year the apartments could not rent for more than an average of $1,100 per month and would therefore require a subsidy of $2 million per year, or $29 million initially. The Stanford Avenue site constitutes a narrow strip of land between Escondido Village and College Terrace, with challenging interface issues, Reidy noted. Already zoned as low density (up to 8 units per acre), the proposal maximizes land usage with 50 smaller, more affordable homes, some detached and some multi-family attached.

The Stable Site, described as the "jewel in the crown," is about 38 acres with mature trees, bounded by Campus Drive, the tennis courts, Health and Safety facility, golf course, and creek. The proposed program mixes 170 single family homes at about 6 units per acre with 130 small apartment/condominium units at 44 units per acre, Reidy explained, because they believe that even the minimum zoned density of 8 units per acre would not feel right across the whole site.

He also pointed out benchmark development costs ranging from $285,000 to $610,000 per unit, asking Senate members to think about what it would mean for recruitment if Stanford could provide houses at those prices.

Reidy summarized the proposed housing master program as follows:

* 370 units of faculty/staff housing, cost of $150 million, recouped through home sales

* 420 units of postdoc/medical resident housing, cost of $90 million, to be recovered through rents over time

He also showed a summary timeline for possible development, beginning with the Quarry Sites, pointing out that the process is lengthy and that, even with the most optimistic assumptions, units would not become available until 2005 through 2007. Reidy identified next steps as: identifying funding sources; evaluating pricing structure options, for example pricing homes at cost with limited future appreciation tied to an index; community outreach, including individual stakeholder meetings, community workshops, focus group surveys, and frequent process updates; and obtaining Board of Trustees approvals. Vice Provost Reidy concluded by reiterating several key points. "Our principles -- especially recruitment, affordability, quality, and a continuum of choices -- provide a foundation for decision-making. The challenge is to balance the many competing priorities. And we believe that informed constituents such as yourselves will contribute to the program's success."

Rickford thanked Reidy for a very informative presentation, recognized several guests including Carolyn Sargent, Director of Faculty/Staff Housing, and opened the floor for discussion. Responding to a query from Professor Kreps (Graduate School of Business), Reidy confirmed that one option being explored to achieve the goal of sustained affordability beyond the first buyer involves pricing new homes at cost and capping appreciation. The current housing system of market-driven pricing with faculty assistance programs creates an artificial market, he noted.

Professor Lipsick (Pathology) expressed support for housing the important postdoc community. He encouraged Reidy not to reduce the total number of units, and, in order to serve those in greatest need, to provide access based on income, which varies considerably across the postdoc and medical resident population. Professor Noll (Economics) questioned why the university was planning for such a large increase of almost 600 people in the postdoc/medical resident category. He also asked if these were primarily Medical School postdocs, and voiced surprise that a particular school would get preferential access to housing.

Provost Etchemendy responded that the majority, but not all, of this population was indeed in the Medical School. He clarified that the postdoc growth numbers used in the GUP were merely a straight-line projection based on very rapid past growth. "I actually think that we need to slow that growth down significantly," Etchemendy said, pointing out however that this is very difficult for the university to control because postdoc funding is applied for and received by individual faculty on individual grants. The Provost also explained that postdocs and medical residents are the most under-served population because they have no university housing support whatsoever. He reminded everyone that in addition to housing purchase programs available to all faculty, assistant professors also have subsidized rents at Stanford West. Remarking that the project as planned "doesn't pencil," i.e., rents that would be affordable can't cover the costs, the Provost pointed out that a subsidy from the Medical School/Hospital would certainly help and would ensure that their postdocs and residents would get priority.

Medical School Dean Pizzo tried Kruger's "This is a very complicated subject" response, to laughter, but then acknowledged that a dialogue needed to take place concerning ways in which the Medical Center might co-share in the investment if they were going to co-share in the benefit. Professor Wooley (Electrical Engineering) recalled a report from former President Casper expressing concern about the uncontrolled growth of postdocs. Professor Wasow (Linguistics) alerted Senators to the fact that the Stanford postdoc community has an active e-mail distribution list, and he said he had read many bitter attacks on the university, frequently concerning housing.

Vice Provost Kruger and H&S Dean Long underscored that there are a number of postdocs outside the Medical School, including Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Engineering. Long also pointed out that on-campus housing was particularly important for postdocs and medical residents because they must work long and often unpredictable hours. Professor Gardner (Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology) reminded everyone that increasing numbers of postdocs represent increased research productivity and success. Professor Koseff (Civil and Environmental Engineering) commended Reidy on his presentation. He also suggested that a clear tension exists between the two goals of sustained affordability and financially self-supporting projects. He urged the Provost to reopen consideration of the existing housing assistance programs as the university wrestles with the right approach to providing so much new on-campus housing.

Professor Perry (Philosophy) ventured an opinion that he knew would be unpopular with on-campus residents concerned about the so-called infill sites. "I feel I have a duty to say that I have lived in the area for 35 years and I have always thought that there is a tremendous amount of land at Stanford that essentially stands as a monument to the faculty lifestyle of the late 1890s." Perry joked that he occupies "a little million dollar slab home in the flood plain, with Professor Etchemendy not far away." Current faculty housing land is grossly underutilized, he said, but short-term solutions are impossible because of issues of equity, fairness, and aesthetics. "Any solution has to look beyond the present homeowners and ask where do we want to be in
50 years. ... By that time it will be a monument to a lifestyle that's not only a century away, but a century and a half." He urged that a group be formed to look at a fair way to transform the existing faculty housing areas without destroying the aesthetics or the good fortune of those who live there. "And I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that," Perry added.

Gardner raised the importance of carefully addressing the issue of emeriti housing, which she knew to be a sensitive subject. Vice Provost Jones responded that the committee had paid quite a bit of attention to this group and hoped that many of the smaller homes, including some single-floor flats with elevator access, would be attractive to emeriti or surviving spouses wishing to leave large single-family homes. The hour being late, Senate Chair Rickford asked whether Senate members would like to continue discussion of faculty housing at their next meeting. A majority responded affirmatively, and Rickford encouraged anyone with particular questions or interests to convey those to the Academic Secretary.

Accepting a motion and a second, the Chair declared the meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan W. Schofield

Academic Secretary to the University