Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The VPUE Faculty QuarterlyVPUE Arches Logo

Spring Quarter 2010 - 2011


Dear Faculty Colleagues:


I hope that all of you had a great start to the Spring quarter, a quarter that is always packed with activities, ultimately culminating in the wonderful exuberance of our commencement. As we enter this final quarter of 2011, I want to make a concerted appeal to you to become pre-major advisors. Undergraduates very much need the wisdom, guidance, and expertise of tenure-line faculty serving in this capacity. With the addition of professional advisors, the academic directors in the dorms, the role of the pre-major advisor has changed considerably, and for the better. Now, rather than asking you as faculty to become experts on the Stanford requirements and fields of study, we ask you to engage students in ways that help them articulate, and then pursue, their intellectual passion. In addition, we have added a quarterly hold through the registrar's office that compels each of your advisees to meet with you every quarter before they are allowed to register for the following quarter. This new system has proven popular and successful with both pre-major advisors and their advisees. Students want and need good advising. Freshmen come to us so full of energy and anticipation and, as faculty advisors, we have a great opportunity to shape their academic direction; advising is a critical influence when they select a major. I do hope you will join me in becoming a faculty pre-major advisor. I know you will find it rewarding.


Keeping with the theme of advising, I want to announce that we have recently formed a new faculty advisory committee for Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR). This new committee will meet for the first time this quarter. The expressed purpose of this committee is to help both the advising staff and the administration of UAR continue to build and strengthen Stanford advising. We want to see advising become one more area in which Stanford leads the way in undergraduate education.


I also want to announce a new program that will go into effect at the New Student Orientation (NSO) this fall. On the Thursday morning of NSO, a Stanford faculty member will address the incoming class on the subject of what a liberal education at Stanford means. This new NSO address arose from an idea put forward by Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities and Arts, Debra Satz. It is one that has garnered considerable faculty support in subsequent discussions both with the Bass Fellows for Undergraduate Education and the VPUE's Undergraduate Advisory Council. Also supported by Provost Ethchemendy, this idea is right in line with the thinking of the SUES Committee and anticipates their recommendations due to the Faculty Senate later this fall. We will select the first faculty speaker this spring, so you will hear more about this speech in the weeks to come.


In this newsletter, you will find information on current curriculum grants and other opportunities. Please note that the Hoagland RFP is now available, as promised in our last edition. The due date for proposals is April 30, 2011. I have also included a link to a video from our NExT series-a project that uses video to inform students about the resources and opportunities available to them at the VPUE. I hope that you enjoy the video and that you have a great quarter.


With thanks,




Harry J. Elam, Jr.

Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities
Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Grants and Prizes

The Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching makes resources available for faculty projects that enhance student learning and enable teaching innovations. Awarded to individual faculty or teams, three to four grants are given each year in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. The possibility exists of occasional $50,000 grants being awarded for particularly ambitious, worthy projects. The 2011 Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching request for proposals is now available, with submissions due by April 30, 2011.


Stanford Storytelling Project  

Founded in 2007, the Stanford Storytelling Project gives Stanford students and the community the opportunity to create and experience Student in a recording boothpowerful stories about the big questions we all have about our world and ourselves.Thanks to a generous gift from alumnus Bruce Braden, the project will expand substantially in the coming year and become the first of a new set of arts programs for undergraduates. Starting this spring, the project will host a blog on storytelling craft, produce a special series of audio recordings of stories for children, and offer a non-credit, drop-in course called the Friday Storytelling Studio.  It will also begin quarterly story contests with cash prizes and offer 10-15 grants annually of  $1,000-$2,000 to students interested in turning their research or experience into a recording or performance. To learn more about the project, contribute work, or just listen to great stories, please visit the Storytelling Project website


Student Honors Awards 

Top student honors theses are recognized annually by the following awards: The Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities Faculty and student in biology laband the Creative Arts is awarded to the top ten percent of all honors theses in the humanities, senior projects, or performances in the arts. The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research recognizes the top ten percent of all honors theses in social science, science, and engineering. Among the medal-winning theses, the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize is awarded to the top honors thesis in each field of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences or engineering. If you are interested in nominating a student, speak with your Department Chair. Undergraduate Advising and Research will be providing Department Chairs with information at the beginning of Spring Quarter.


Introductory Seminar faculty who wish to recognize students for outstanding work in a Freshman or Sophomore Seminar this year are invited to submit nominations on the program website. Nominations for the 2010-11 academic year are accepted on a rolling basis through June.  

Teaching Opportunities

Pre-Major Advising 

Being a Pre-Major Advisor benefits both you and the students.As Faculty and student at a computerAssistant Professor Jennifer Dionne of Materials Science and Engineering notes, "I have learned a great deal about the amazing undergraduate academic curriculum at Stanford, and feel better connected with the community as a whole. Also, I have enjoyed reconnecting with my 18-year-old self through the experiences of my advisees. They are a joy to work with and make pre-major advising a truly worthwhile experience." If you are interested in learning more, contact Kirsti Copeland, Director of Residentially-Based Advising in Undergraduate Advising and Research, at (650) 724-9267 or

Teaching Resources

NExT Online Video Series

Over the course of Spring Quarter the VPUE will roll out an online video series highlighting the NExT Logobreadth of options and opportunities available to undergrads through our programs. The series is titled NExT (New, Exciting, Timely) and the short videos are designed to help students answer the question, "What am I doing NExT?" Each video includes interviews with recent program participants who can share their unique perspectives on the benefits and value of participation. There will be six videos in the series, and will feature the Arts Intensive Program, the Bing Overseas Study Programs, the Hume Writing Center, Introductory Seminars, the Oral Communication Program, Sophomore College, and Undergraduate Research. If your students are asking what they could be doing NExT, we encourage you to point them to this valuable resource. For more information, and to view the videos in the series, please visit the NExT series webpage


Director of Arts in Undergraduate Education

Headshot of Hernandez

Gina Hernandez Clarke has joined the VPUE in the position of Director of the Arts in Undergraduate Education. In this new role, Gina will be a primary resource for students and faculty interested in engaging with the arts in their courses and studies. Working in close collaboration with the  Executive Director of Arts Programs and SiCa, Gina will help enhance the participation and engagement of students in existing VPUE arts programs. She will also research, design, and implement new programs and opportunities for students to study and practice the arts at Stanford. "I look forward to being an advocate for the place of undergraduates in the overall university arts vision," remarked Ms. Hernandez. For more information, please contact Gina at


Upcoming Events


Award-Winning Teachers on Teaching Lecture Series 

The Center for Teaching and Learning's longest-running lecture series, Award-Winning Teachers on Teaching, invites faculty winners of Stanford's major teaching awards to deliver a lecture on a teaching topic of their choice. The Spring Quarter series will feature two speakers:

Headshot of LongSharon Long
William C. Steere, Jr. - Pfizer Inc. Professor in Biological Sciences and Professor, by courtesy, of Biochemistry.

Thursday, May 12, 12:00-1:05pm

Gabriella Safran

Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and, by courtesy, of German Studies.

Thursday, May 19, 12:00-1:05pm


Talk titles and descriptions to be announced. Unless otherwise noted, all Award-Winning Teachers on Teaching lectures are held in the Hartley Conference Center, Mitchell Earth Sciences Building. 


Science/Engineering Faculty Teaching Lunches

Hosted by The Center for Teaching and Learning, these topical lunches provide an informal way for science and engineering faculty to exchange ideas about teaching and to connect with relevant resources and literature. The Tuesday, April 19th, and Friday, May 20th, teaching lunches currently are open for topic suggestions. Please contact Robyn Dunbar at if you have topics you would like to recommend!  


Summer Faculty Quarterly Preview

The summer edition of the VPUE Faculty Quarterly will highlight two initiatives we are rolling out. The first is entitled "Faculty College" and the second explores the intersections of technology and pedagogy. We look forward to sharing more details with you then.

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