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Emphasizing academics, Casper simplifies administrative structure

STANFORD -- Emphasizing central academic purposes, Stanford University President Gerhard Casper on Wednesday, Sept. 9, announced a simplified organizational structure for his new administration.

Casper set out a plan (see chart) that formally consolidates academic functions under the provost, the university's chief academic officer and second-ranking official, and reduces the number of vice presidential offices to four. Of existing vice presidencies, it gives two (Libraries and Information Resources, and Student Affairs) vice provost status to reflect their academic importance; disbands two (Planning and Management, and Public Affairs), in addition to Administrative Resources, whose dissolution was announced last January; and eliminates the VP title from another (General Counsel).

The result of lengthy consultations Casper conducted as he prepared to take office Sept. 1, the reorganization has been approved by the Board of Trustees pending technical by-law changes at its Oct. 1 meeting. Some of the changes will go into effect immediately; others will take several months to be implemented.

"I have found that the give and take I like among senior staff and officers occurs more easily if the group is relatively small and consultations can be kept very informal," Casper said.

"A downsized group of senior officers has the further advantage of increasing the responsibility - and therefore the authority - of directors and other line managers. Stanford has excellent people who need to have the ability to respond effectively and quickly in these times of cuts and financial stringency. Cleaner lines of authority also should improve efficiency in such important areas as our internal controls.

"The reorganization carries forward downsizing that was begun earlier," he said, "while retaining the University Cabinet as the central council."

The Cabinet - which is chaired by the president and includes the academic deans and the directors of the Hoover Institution and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center - will continue as the body that provides counsel and review on principles, policies and rules of universitywide significance. The Operations Council, an advisory body comprising the vice presidents, will no longer exist.

The president emphasized that the changes primarily consolidate, rather than eliminate, functions.

"The organization chart is built around central academic purposes," he said. "Many functions are necessary for the support of teaching, learning and research - the main tasks of a university. I would like us to look constantly for ways to improve support of faculty and students."

Casper said that financial savings stemming from the changes will be used to strengthen one of the core academic operations of the university, the library.

He announced that the university will reestablish the suspended position of Director of Stanford University Libraries, and that Keith Baker, professor of history and chairman of the faculty library committee, will chair the search for the new director.

The library director will be part of the provost's office, reporting to the Vice Provost for Libraries and Information Resources.

"I believe that Stanford was foresighted when it responded to the challenges of information technology by combining libraries with other information resources," Casper said. "However, the libraries need a director who can pay careful attention to the development and use of our book collections."

The president also announced the appointment of Geoffrey M. Cox to the new position of Vice Provost for Institutional Planning. Cox comes from the University of Chicago, where he was an associate provost and budget director. Casper was Chicago's provost until accepting the Stanford presidency.

Casper said that he had concluded that Stanford's capacity to review and develop academic plans fell far short of the need in financially difficult times. He and Provost Gerald Lieberman recruited Cox to fill the new position, which will report to both the provost and the president.

The only university officers that will remain at the vice presidential level will be the Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine, the Chief Financial Officer, the Vice President for Development, and the Vice President for Faculty and Staff Services (whose office is renamed from Human Resources to reflect broader responsibilities).

Upon the departure of John Schwartz, who last week announced he would step down upon the appointment of a successor and no later than the end of the academic year, the general counsel no longer will be designated a vice president. The position will continue to report to the president.

Of the vice presidential offices that will be disbanded, most of Planning and Management's units will be reassigned to a new Office of Facilities Planning and Operations. A search has begun to find a head for that office, which will be under the Chief Financial Officer.

Casper and Lieberman expressed their hope that Ray Bacchetti, who has been vice president for planning and management, would stay with Stanford in another capacity. He will continue his current responsibilities until the appointment of the new director.

Of Public Affairs' units, the News Service will report directly to the president; Government Relations, Publication Services, Events and Services, and University Relations transfer to the Office of the President and the Provost. That office also includes the Office of Multicultural Development and the Ombudsperson.

A month ago, Vice President for Public Affairs Robert Freelen announced his plans to retire Feb. 28, 1993.

Overall, Casper said, a university's administration should always keep in mind that teaching, learning and research are what the enterprise is all about. He added that he admired the approach of Wallace Sterling. Stanford's fifth president once commented that his educational philosophy was simply to find the best possible faculty and students, give them all possible support, "and then see what results."



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