President John Hennessy has appointed Arthur Bienenstock, a professor of materials science and engineering and of applied physics who served as a senior science adviser to former President Clinton, to the position of vice provost and dean of research and graduate policy.
Bienenstock's appointment, announced Thursday by Provost John Etchemendy at the Faculty Senate, will be effective Sept. 1. He will succeed Charles Kruger, who has held the position for 10 years.
Bienenstock will serve on the university's executive cabinet and advise Hennessy and Etchemendy on a wide range of issues. Hennessy said Bienenstock fit the job description perfectly.
"This position calls for a combination of intellectual depth, first-rate research skills, thorough knowledge of Stanford and experience dealing with the federal government," Hennessy said. "Stanford is extremely fortunate to have a person like Professor Bienenstock, who brings together all of these traits in one dynamic individual."
Bienenstock is currently chair of the Materials Council and director of the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials. The council has made significant progress toward the university's goal of establishing five shared laboratories to support materials research. From 1978 to 1997, he directed the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), where he still holds a professorship. During the last five years of his tenure as director, he also served as associate director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).
In 1997, he was nominated by President Clinton to become associate director for science of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. As associate director -- along with the director of the National Institutes of Health and the director of the National Science Foundation - Bienenstock filled one of the administration's key positions in the area of science. In that role, he was a strong advocate for federal research funding and provided guidance on complex scientific and policy issues.
Etchemendy cited Bienenstock's service to the university in a variety of administrative roles as critical experience for the vice provost position. He has chaired the Faculty Senate Planning and Policy Board, the Committee on Research and two committees on undergraduate admissions and financial aid. He also has served as the vice provost for faculty affairs and was the university's first faculty affirmative action officer. He currently serves on the Advisory Board.
"Professor Bienenstock has been an exemplary university citizen," Etchemendy said. "He has a straightforward, collaborative approach that has earned him the trust and respect of the entire university community -- faculty, students and staff. And he understands well the importance of the relationship between SLAC and the university. I am very pleased that he will help us tackle many tough issues in the areas of research and graduate policy."
Chemistry Professor Hans Andersen, who chaired the search committee that recommended Bienenstock to Etchemendy, said the committee was impressed with his vast experience at Stanford and in government.
"His recent experience in Washington in the Office of Science and Technology Policy has given him a national perspective and national visibility that will be invaluable in carrying out his new job," Andersen said. "He also has broad knowledge of the interdisciplinary laboratories at Stanford as a researcher and as an administrator."
Bienenstock said he was drawn to the position because of the many challenges faced by Stanford in this area.
"The university must continue to seek better ways of facilitating research at the intersections of the disciplines, while maintaining the strengths of the disciplines themselves," he said.
Among other priorities, Bienenstock cited the need to attract more members of underrepresented groups into advanced study; obtain faculty and student access to instrumentation that is extremely expensive to purchase, operate and maintain; and ensure that SLAC's research continues to benefit the university and the nation.
Born in the Bronx and educated at Bronx High School of Science, Bienenstock received his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from Polytechnic University of New York and his doctorate in applied physics from Harvard. He came to Stanford in 1967 after serving as an assistant professor at Harvard.
Throughout his Stanford career, Bienenstock has maintained a research group that has, among other things, contributed significantly to the ability to determine atomic arrangements in amorphous materials using synchrotron radiation. Nationally and internationally, he has organized major conferences and has been a member of many distinguished advisory committees.
Stanford Report, June 18, 2003