Stanford’s Board of Trustees holds final meeting of the 2021-22 academic year
Trustees approved the 2022-23 budget, heard reports on Stanford Medicine and ResX, granted approval for construction on building projects, and took action on other items.
In the Stanford Board of Trustees’ final meeting of the academic year, trustees approved the 2022-23 budget, heard reports on Stanford Medicine and ResX, and granted approval for construction on building projects, among other orders of business.
Trustees met on campus June 8 and 9 and toured parts of the Stanford Research Park, a community that supports innovative companies in their research and development pursuits while forging connections with Stanford’s talent and resources.
The board approved the establishment of the Oceans Department, which will develop oceans undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability when it launches on Sept. 1. Trustees also heard a report on the department name change of the Energy Resources Engineering Department (currently within the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences), which plans to welcome new members and expand its scope and mission as the Energy Science and Engineering Department in the Stanford Doerr School in September.
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne thanked the trustees, who he said have been instrumental in supporting the new school since it was simply a vision a few years ago. “The response has been extraordinarily positive and really provided a huge wind in our sails for other initiatives,” he said. “It reminds us that we have to set our sights high, and when we tackle problems, ask, ‘Are we doing all we can do?’ ”
The board took the opportunity to recognize two trustees who have completed their terms and are soon departing from the board: RoAnn Costin and Laurene Powell Jobs, both of whom joined the board in 2012.
The trustees approved the university budget plan for fiscal year 2022-23, which was presented by Provost Persis Drell, the university’s chief budget officer. The consolidated budget for operations is $8.2 billion, with general funds budgeted at $1.8 billion.
In discussing the context for budgeting 2022-23, Drell cited strong returns on the endowment; generous donors and philanthropy; significant funding needed for infrastructure and new program directions of the university’s Long-Range Vision; the continued challenge of affordability; the troubling implications of inflation; and a reduction in pandemic related expenses.
COVID and affordability issues have often become intertwined since the pandemic began, Drell said. As such, Stanford has allocated a combined $764.4 million in COVID mitigation and affordability initiatives in the last three years.
Guiding principles for 2022-23 budget planning and resource allocation, Drell explained, include: supporting our people; supporting research and education; building fundraising capacity in support of the Long-Range Vision; and budgeting a sizable general funds contingency in consideration of global uncertainty and future base budget needs.
“It’s a conservative budget because we’re in tumultuous times,” Drell said. “We’re deeply grateful to have the Long-Range Vision as a plan to operate on in periods of uncertainty.”
Budget highlights include:
- Total student financial support is projected for the first time at more than $1 billion, up 5.8%.
- Tuition was raised 4% after keeping it flat last year.
- A $664.5 million Capital Budget, set in the context of the $2.6 billion multi-year Capital Plan.
- “Other income” is projected at $529 million as pre-pandemic activities gradually pick up.
- The university’s strong salary program, on top of an across-the-board 3% salary increase earlier this year, will help address inflationary pressures.
- Investments of $52 million in base general funds will go toward mission and mission support areas, such as expansion of shared research platforms, systems infrastructure, and DEI efforts.
ResX and campus life
The core vision of neighborhoods in ResX, a new approach to residential education, is a campus where students are connected to one another and their home, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole told trustees. Stanford is nine months into the new undergraduate residential neighborhood program and has developed a solid foundation to build upon for next fall and beyond, she said.
Of the thousands applying for undergraduate housing next year, only 2% of students applied to change neighborhoods, Brubaker-Cole said. A new process to manage theme housing brings in ideas from faculty and students, which has resulted in new themes emerging in the last two years, including Well House, a substance-free wellness house.
To support the university’s Long-Range Vision, Stanford needs active, vibrant neighborhood communities and connections between students who are the lifeblood of the university, Brubaker-Cole said.
However, there has been a loss of “student memory” on campus in recent months as students were unable to experience some Stanford traditions, she told trustees. In the last three quarters, the campus had seven weeks of restrictions on student-led gatherings due to the pandemic, and labor shortages limited hours at many gathering spaces.
Events significantly increased from fall to spring, however, and student affairs is working to rebuild campus life through student organizations, Greek life, Cardinal Nights, and more, Brubaker-Cole said. For example, the Arbor, an outdoor pub behind Tresidder Memorial Union, regularly offers trivia and live music. The “class year return” pilot project included social opportunities such as a junior carnival and sophomore formal.
Neighborhoods are piloting weekly events like Cafe Nights, smaller weekend events like a spike ball tournament, and larger events like block parties, and a drag show and lip-sync competition.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs (VPSA) is applying what it has learned to a working model for community councils that will allow a strong fall quarter launch with neighborhoods developing signature events, weekly gatherings, and annual traditions, Brubaker-Cole said. A task force of alumni and students has been convened to look at campus data, research, and pilots, and will recommend how to build on successful campus life programs.
Stanford Medicine’s Integrated Strategic Plan (ISP) brings together its three entities – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (SHC), and Stanford Children’s Health – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford (SCH) – on an aligned path to improve human health through discovery and care, Stanford School of Medicine Dean Lloyd Minor told trustees.
Minor presented the report with Stanford Health Care President and CEO David Entwistle, and Stanford Children’s Health President and CEO Paul King.
The three leaders said they share a commitment to advancing health equity, stamping out racial bias in medicine, and fostering a more diverse and inclusive environment at Stanford Medicine. Their entities have also taken an integrated approach to increasing community access to cutting-edge care and research via their networks, Minor said.
In recent years, SHC opened its Emeryville location, expanded to Redwood City, and formalized a joint venture with Sutter Health to provide cancer care for East Bay patients. Being part of Stanford University provides a cross-disciplinary environment that fuels innovation and advances the care and clinical trials that can be offered to patients, Entwistle said.
SCH recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its network, the only pediatric network in the Bay Area. The ISP has been instrumental in guiding SCH’s strategy and facilitating successes, King said, which include launching the new center for pediatric IBD and celiac diseases and ranking as a national leader for pediatric organ transplantation.
SCH is also leading an innovative cancer trial focusing on CAR T-cell immunotherapy that shows promise in treating a rare brainstem tumor impacting children and demonstrates the value of clinical enterprise to research, King said.
The student mental health crisis is the most important issue facing undergraduate education at this time, and while not a new issue, it is a worsening one that needs new solutions, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Sarah Church told trustees.
Students should be challenged to learn foundational skills, approaches, and materials that will allow them to succeed academically while reducing chronic academic stress that threatens health or wellbeing and leads to unhealthy behaviors. She emphasized that academic stress isn’t the sole culprit, but it is an important contributing factor that must be addressed.
Academic stress and pressure are strongly embedded in the student experience and culture with overcommitment both inside and outside the classroom, Church said. There is also a valorization of lack of sleep among students, and pressure to choose the “right” courses and majors, and to get the “right” internship and job.
In response, the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) is considering initiatives that focus on the first year to set the tone for later years; a joint task force to look at ways to reduce stress around grades; initiatives around sleep and self-care; and faculty workshops to embed good academic habits and self-care in the classroom and curriculum.
Trustees granted construction approval for the Graduate School of Education (GSE) renovation and new building project, which will bring GSE faculty, students, and staff into a central location adjacent to the Quad and provide an interdisciplinary hub for research in teaching and learning. This project will strengthen the school’s identity and create state-of-the-art facilities to support inclusive, flexible, and interactive research and gatherings. Construction is expected to commence in October.
The board additionally approved construction for the Data Science and Computation Complex, which will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for computation and data research at the corner of Jane Stanford Way and Lomita Mall. Completion is expected by fall 2024.
The board also approved construction for the Blackwelder and Quillen Highrise renovations, which will include updates to the fire sprinkler, fire alarm, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems in the Escondido Village buildings. Construction will be phased and is expected to begin on Blackwelder in September and on Quillen in September 2023.