Jim Plummer M.S. ’67 Ph.D ’71, dean of the School of Engineering, will step down at the end of this year after serving as dean for 15 years.
Preliminary results from an ongoing study conducted by Ellen Woods, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education, have determined that 70 percent of the current sophomore class has been enrolled in either an Introductory Seminar or a September Studies course — whether Sophomore College or Arts Intensive — since beginning at Stanford.
There is much in the air this year about the place of the humanities at Stanford and about the optimal place of the humanities in an undergraduate education. First, there is no gainsaying that despite its nationally recognized quality, and despite real sympathy for it on the part of many non-humanist colleagues, the humanities faculty is not at the center of Stanford’s life — far from it. Enrollments have been declining for decades, and we humanists are sometimes taken to task by the University leadership for failing to counter this trend — the expression of a nation-wide trend in a university that is furthermore situated in the holy land of technology, Silicon Valley.
When I heard that William Deresiewicz, author of “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education,” was coming to speak at Stanford, I could not have been more excited. The 2008 article, which one of my dorm staff sent to our mailing list early fall quarter, has prompted me to think a lot about what it means to be at Stanford, receiving a “Stanford education” and whether or not I am truly challenging myself to become a serious thinker and productive member of society.
On striking the balance between providing some kind of guidance while offering students the freedom to explore resources at their disposal
The report — separate from the University’s Annual Report, which is created out of the University communications department — tells donors where their money went when they cut a check to the University and provides an opportunity to highlight areas where Stanford would like to invest more money into the undergraduate experience.