During its second meeting of the quarter, the Faculty Senate heard Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) executives Shanta Katipamula ’19 and Ph.D. candidate in education Rosie Nelson outline their goals for the 2018-19 school year, with particular attention paid to forming partnerships between Stanford students, faculty and staff.
Katipamula and Nelson presented the ASSU’s eight focus areas for the year, which include disability advocacy, academic diversity and freedom, mental health, first generation and/or low income (FLI) communities, environmental justice and sustainability, community centers, housing equity and sexual violence.
Comparative literature professor David Palumbo-Liu said he appreciated the pair’s awareness of the need to respond ethically to community concerns and asked what they saw as their biggest challenges. Both answered that forming partnerships across campus is their most ambitious — but also most important — concern.
Katipamula cited a “partnership model” as their primary strategy for instigating change. The two assured the Faculty Senate that they have been meeting with a diverse array of leaders across campus, including students, faculty and staff.
“In all of our work, we are building intentional partnerships across campus so that future ASSU executives can continue the work we are starting,” Nelson said. “We are creating connections where they haven’t existed previously … [and creating] relationships and building them into the ASSU structure.”
When asked how the Faculty Senate could support the ASSU, Katipamula said, “If there isn’t a student in the room for a decision that’s being made, question why that is.”
The Faculty Senate then heard from several speakers in a panel discussion on Stanford’s role as a “global university.”
Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), former U.S. ambassador to Russia and political science professor, delivered a brief presentation about the FSI’s efforts around research, teaching and policy impact on campus. McFaul also shared the FSI’s goals with the Faculty Senate, which include strengthening the master’s program in International Policy and expanding cybersecurity and disinformation studies.
“We actually just launched a new curriculum about four weeks ago,” McFaul said. “But if we’re going to compete with the best programs in the world, we have to have a better financial aid package for [graduate] students.”
Other panelists discussed challenges within their respective departments. FSI Senior Fellow and political science professor Jeremy Weinstein spoke about the Global Studies Program, highlighting concerning trends such as declining language enrollment.
After the panel, computer science professor Mehran Sahami questioned the use of enrollment numbers as an appropriate metric for a program’s success.
Earlier in the meeting, University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne reported that he attended the Association of American Universities’ (AAU) biannual presidents meeting last week. Although the AAU mainly discusses education and research, Tessier-Lavigne noted that this meeting placed an emphasis on the broader context in which universities operate, particularly in relation to national security.
“As many of you are likely aware, federal policymakers are increasingly raising concerns about the potential compromise of academic research, protection of intellectual property and potential espionage on university campuses by foreign actors,” Tessier-Lavigne said.
According to Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford has been working with the AAU and Congress to ensure that sensitive scientific research and emerging national security issues and threats are appropriately addressed on university campuses. However, he also affirmed his and the AAU’s support for international scholars in America.
“Every year, thousand of the world’s best and brightest come to our nation to learn, teach, research and innovate,” Tessier-Lavigne said, quoting from an AAU statement released last Tuesday which affirmed the group’s commitment to protecting national interests.
Vice Provost and Dean of Research Kathryn Moler told the Faculty Senate that she would send them further information about the next steps Stanford will take on the matter.
The Faculty Senate also presented memorial resolutions in honor of Morris “Buzz” Zelditch, Jr. and Per Enge.
Zelditch, who passed away last December, was honored for his scholarship and leadership in the University’s Department of Sociology for over half a century. Enge was recognized for his contributions as one of the world’s foremost experts in global positioning technologies (GPS) and as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford. He passed away in April.
The Senate will next meet on Nov. 8, 2018.