Faculty Senate Meeting on May 27, 2010
2010-2011 Budget Report
Provost Etchemendy’s presented his report on the University budget for 2010-2011. In 2003, Etchemendy told the Faculty Senate, “Don’t panic”. In 2008, his message was “Don’t get complacent”.
In 2009, he advised, “Don’t get despondent”. This year’s advice is “Don’t count your chickens”.
This message is meant to communicate to the faculty that although the budget looks better than expected, the situation could change.
Due to the economic downturn, the Stanford endowment had the greatest drop in 50 years. The University reacted by freezing salaries, delaying or canceling 1.2 billion dollars worth of capital projects, and laid off 500 staff. The University chose not to cut undergraduate financial aid in 2009-2010. Etchemendy reported that these reactions proved themselves beneficial for Stanford to weather the financial downturn. The University is now able to begin new capital projects, like the Bing Concert hall.
The endowment gap is currently covered by funds from the President, the Stanford Fund, and a 10 million dollar addition from the general budget. Etchemendy hopes that a campaign push through the Stanford Challenge will help close the endowment gap next year.
Overall, Etchemendy is confident that the University can financially survive and continue to fund its many financial aid programs and research programs to allow Stanford to continue its growth and maintain its status as an elite university.
Andrea Goldsmith, the Senate Chair, announced the recipients of the Gores Award and the Cuthbertson Award. The Gores Award recognizes faculty and teaching staff who made contributions “to teaching in its broadest sense” according to the University’s Registrar Office. This year, Sherri Sheppard, a professor in mechanical engineering, will be receiving this award. Vice Provost John Bravman will receive the Cuthbertson Award. The Registrar Office describes this award as recognizing individuals who make contributions to the “achievement of the goals of the University.”
Moment of Silence
Today’s Faculty Senate meeting began with a moment of silence for Edward Harris, the chair emeritus of the School of Medicine. He passed away at the age of 73 due to adenoid cystic carcinoma, a neck and head cancer.
Committee On Research
The Committee on Research presented two proposals for the Senate that involved allowing exceptions to certain individuals within the research committee. These proposals will allow the Committee on Research to conduct a trial to research allowing Senior/Distinguished staff from SLAC and University Post-docs to obtain Principal Investigator (PI) status on research projects.
Persis Drell, the director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, advocated that SLAC needs the ability to grant PI status so that it can compete for non-Department of Energy projects. NASA and other research based organizations can “drive the frontiers of research for our facility” but right now there are limitations due to the few individuals that have PI status as a Senior or Distinguished staff member.
Many faculty senators worried how this will put pressure on the University. Provost John Etchemendy stated that since it is common for universities to lose money on research, money for research “should be restricted to faculty institutional resources to support faculty” instead of staff or University Post-docs.
Eventually both propositions were passed but not until two amendments occurred. Instead of researching the opportunity for all University Post-docs to be considered a PI on research opportunities, the trial will now be limited to only Post-docs in the School of Medicine. Additionally, the Committee on Research will have to consult the Faculty Senate again in the fall on this topic.