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Debra Satz
Photo by Richard Morgenstein

Dean's Initiatives

Under the leadership of Dean Debra Satz, the School of Humanities and Sciences has launched several initiatives and pilot projects.

Assessing Our Departments 

Beginning in 2019-20, we will begin piloting external reviews with one department from each of our three academic clusters. The focus of these reviews will be to address the following questions: 

  1. Where might we invest/disinvest programmatically and/or intellectually? 
  2. What is the current state of teaching in the department and how might that improve? 
  3. What opportunities exist to further diversify our faculty and graduate student populations? 

Improving Undergraduate Teaching 

We recently rolled out an H&S teaching initiative that requires all incoming assistant professors to attend the three-day Course Design Institute offered through VPTL. To further support junior faculty teaching, departments will assign a senior faculty mentor to provide expert guidance and observe classroom instruction. In addition to hopefully improving the quality of teaching throughout the school, this model also informs the assessment of the candidate’s teaching at reappointment and tenure. 

Exploring New Approaches to Diversifying Our Graduate Student Population 

For many years, the school has invested significant funds and has received meaningful support from the provost to launch programs designed to attract and support graduate students from diverse backgrounds. We are taking this year to conduct a review of our current array of programs, with the goal of enhancing our support of the most effective programs, sunsetting less impactful ones, and identifying promising new programs to pilot. We are, of course, partnering closely with VPGE in this effort.

New Directions Learning Grant

Initiated in fall 2018, the H&S New Directions Learning Grant (NDLG) is designed to grant one course of teaching relief for one quarter to full professors in the School of Humanities and Sciences who wish to pursue new interests related to scholarly work in their research or teaching portfolios. On average, three awards will be given in each quarter.

Grantees use the release time to enroll in courses at Stanford related to their interests. Faculty are expected to participate as fully as possible in class activities and assignments. Courses may be at the graduate or undergraduate level and may span departments. In order to enroll, the grantee must secure agreement from the instructor. 

Building Community Among H&S Faculty

One clear theme that emerged from the dean search process is a desire among many of our faculty to engage more with colleagues in other departments and disciplines. To help strengthen the H&S intellectual community, we have launched a series of small forums that convene groups of faculty to discuss specific issues; a short list of topics includes freedom of speech, conflict of interest, open science, and reproducibility/replication of research. The H&S deans also host informal happy hours to facilitate unstructured community building.