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New position created to oversee graduate student policies

STANFORD -- A new high-level advocate for graduate students will be appointed next quarter, President Gerhard Casper has announced.

The new position - associate dean for graduate policies - will be part of a reorganized office of the dean of research.

Casper told the Faculty Senate Thursday, Dec. 3, that the university had gone "a little bit too far in decentralizing responsibility for graduate students and graduate student policy." He said he had reached that conclusion rather quickly after he began studying Stanford's administrative structure last summer.

He said someone in the central administration had to monitor and "worry about" a whole range of policy issues affecting graduate students, including potential policy conflicts among Stanford's seven schools, as well as issues involving the federal government.

He apologized to the Faculty Senate for having first announced the new position two days earlier to the Associated Students' senate.

He joked that questions regarding graduate issues arose during a lengthy examination by student senators in "President 101." Given the circumstances, it seemed appropriate to go ahead with the announcement, he said.

Derek Miyahara, who as deputy chair of the student senate is invited to attend and address the Faculty Senate, told Casper that he had earned an "A+" in President 101.

Miyahara also asked if graduate students would help select the new associate dean.

Casper said he was reluctant to make such a commitment, but assumed there would be some consultation with students. He also said the person named to the position most likely would be a faculty member.

Casper said he would ask Robert Byer's successor as dean of research to "move swiftly" to appoint the new associate dean. A search is under way for a successor to Byer, who is returning next month to his academic career after five years in the administrative post.

During the past year, many faculty and graduate students have complained about confusion and lack of advocacy resulting from elimination of the Office of Graduate Studies.

As part of "repositioning" budget cuts in 1990, then- Provost James N. Rosse reorganized and decentralized responsibility for graduate studies, undergraduate studies and academic planning and development. Linguistics Professor Elizabeth Traugott's position as vice provost and dean of graduate studies was eliminated in the process.

The new organizational structure appears similar to one that existed before 1985 when now-Provost Gerald J. Lieberman was winding up his tenure as "dean of research and graduate studies." The position was then split in two, with Traugott taking over the graduate studies portion.

Early in her tenure, Traugott fought federal proposals to tax graduate student financial aid. She and her staff assisted faculty with recruitment of women and minority graduate students. Traugott also played a major role as advocate for graduate student housing, during which time Rains Houses was built.

In the new organizational structure, operational aspects of graduate affairs presumably will remain with the schools, while some policy matters will be dealt with centrally, according to Patricia Devaney, associate dean of research. Details of the division will have to be worked out between the new dean and the school deans, she said.



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