Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The VPUE Faculty QuarterlyVPUE Logo

Summer Quarter 2011 - 2012


Dear Colleagues:  

I hope you are having good and productive summers. I have much to share with you and hope that you find this issue of the Faculty Quarterly, featuring announcements as well as opportunities for faculty in the upcoming fall quarter, particularly informative.

First and foremost, I'd like to welcome Professor Ramón SaldÍvar as the new director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP). Professor SaldÍvar will begin at BOSP in September, and we are all very excited to work with him. 

The 2012-13 school year promises to be an exciting one in undergraduate education at Stanford, headlined by the inaugural Thinking Matters program. With thirty new courses from across the university, freshmen will have unprecedented opportunities to discover and explore during their first year at Stanford. To assist them in making these selections, we have created a new online tool, Cardinal Compass, which links students to potential freshman-oriented courses related to their interests, including Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) courses and Introductory Seminars. During the year, we also plan to pilot a new course aimed specifically at sophomores, "Designing Your Stanford." Taught by the, this course enables students to apply design thinking to their planning for the next three years of college.  

In addition to these new programs, we will roll out key initiatives that impact faculty directly, with which we will need your assistance. More details will be provided in the fall Faculty Quarterly, but I wanted to take this opportunity to make you aware of them.

In the early fall, with the support of the provost and the deans of H&S, Earth Sciences and Engineering, and in coordination with the vice provost for faculty affairs, we will undertake a faculty survey on undergraduate education. Among other issues, this survey will ask you about the relationship of undergraduate teaching to your research, what resources are necessary to support your work with undergraduates, and about your ability and desire to teach general education courses as well as major courses within your department or an interdisciplinary program. It will also ask about your interest in incorporating online technology into your classes. The results of this survey will help us greatly as we plan for and implement the recommendations from the SUES report. Data obtained from the survey will also be made available to all faculty and their departments.

Also, under the direction of Professor Russell Berman, a new provostial panel will begin work this fall on revising our course evaluations. Our hope is that we can design a feedback mechanism that provides faculty with more constructive information on their teaching and the learning goals for their courses.

Lastly, under the direction of Professor Chris Edwards, the new Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing Governance Board will begin their work around the breadth requirements legislated in the spring. This governance board will need your help and that of your department and Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in organizing your courses into the most appropriate of the eight Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing categories.

We look forward to working with you on all of these new developments. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I hope that you enjoy the rest of summer.



Harry J. Elam, Jr.

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

Grants and Prizes

The past year brought a round of exciting proposals to support undergraduate teaching, and we congratulate the following colleagues and projects!

Funded by the Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching:
  • Implementation of Interactive Web-based Activities to Assess Mechanics Self-Efficacy and Achievement: Professors Sarah Billington, Sheri Sheppard, and Robert (Bob) Calfee (Emeritus)
  • Development of a Web- and Mobile-device-based Game on Cell Signaling/Website Platform for Virtual Experiments on Epigenetics: Professors Carol Boggs, Jonathan Antonio Edelman, Roel Nusse, and Matthew Scott
Projects funded by VPUE Curriculum Development Grants, Humanities X Grants, and Curricular Innovation Engaging the Arts are on the VPUE faculty website.

VPUE Departmental and Faculty Grants for Undergraduate Research are awarded to facilitate student engagement with the original scholarship of faculty across all disciplines. The autumn quarter deadline for Departmental and Faculty Grant proposals will be in late October. Final deadlines and the Request for Proposals will be available online by the start of the autumn quarter. For more information, contact Associate Dean Brian Thomas at (650) 723-0051 or

At the close of the 2011-12 academic year, we congratulate our Stanford nominees as well as our national scholars who have been awarded prestigious domestic fellowships. Thank you to the faculty members who served on the campus nomination committees, and much appreciation is due to the many colleagues who wrote letters of recommendation in support of the student applicants.

Our students and faculty are celebrated on the undergrad fellowships webpage.

If you have encountered students with outstanding accomplishments in academics, research, the arts, or community service, please encourage your students to meet with a professional advisor in the office of Undergraduate Advising and Research. Advisors will assist these students in identifying fellowship opportunities and guide them through the application process.
Teaching Opportunities

Pre-Major Advising
UAR has begun its matching process for Pre-Major Advising, where we will take a record 354 volunteer faculty and staff advisors and search among the 1784 incoming freshmen and 30 new transfers for the students with whom they are likely to have the most productive conversations.  This year 40% of our Pre-Major Advisors are Academic Council Members, up from 33% in previous years.  A sincere thank you to our many faculty volunteer Pre-Major Advisors, both new and returning. 

Bing Overseas Studies Program 

Faculty who will teach in residence for BOSP in 2013-14 were named recently. They come from 18 different departments and four different schools. Charts showing BOSP Faculty in residence over a number of years can be viewed on the BOSP website.

Plan ahead for offering an Introductory Seminar in 2013-14!
Both the SUES Committee and the Faculty Senate have expressed strong endorsement for universal freshman enrollment in a seminar. New students experience a  more successful transition to Stanford and improve their chances for academic success when they get to know a faculty member in a small class setting that focuses on shared intellectual interests. One strategy for accomplishing increased enrollment is expanding the Freshman Seminar curriculum, especially into the professional schools and departments that have not previously offered an Introductory Seminar. We are eager to help faculty develop seminar topics that address students' interests. For information about participating in the Introductory Seminar program, contact Russell Berman, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities and director of Stanford Introductory Seminars, or Ellen Woods, associate vice provost for undergraduate education, The current catalog of seminars for 2012-13 is available online.  
Teaching Resources


The Hume Writing Center offers resources to faculty giving writing assignments in their courses. We can provide writing workshops tailored to the specific needs of your course and students, offering help with writing literature reviews, using evidence, building complex arguments, or integrating data effectively into a text. We can also meet with you to discuss writing assignments or writing activities for your course. If you have TAs or CAs helping to guide student research and writing, we can conduct workshops and/or individual consultations for them related to the teaching of writing. Finally, we can provide a description of the HWC's resources to add to your syllabus. To request any of these resources, please email More information is available on the HWC website.
Upcoming Events


First Lecture

The second annual "First Lecture" during New Student Orientation will be given by Eavan Boland, the Bella Mabury and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor in Humanities and Melvin and Bill Lane Professor for Director of Creative Writing. Eavan's lecture will look forward to the series of Education as Self-Fashioning Friday lectures by visiting faculty.
New Student Orientation 2012 will mark the ninth year of the Three Books program. This year's moderator, Mark Applebaum, associate professor of music selected Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta by Chuck Klosterman, the 2007 documentary My Kid Could Paint That, and a suite of iPhone applications by Smule. The program, which features a panel discussion of speakers who represent the texts, will be in Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 2:00p.m. with a live campus simulcast in Pigott Theater.

Majors Night
Autumn Quarter Majors Night is an opportunity for departments to share information and answer student questions about majoring in the department. This year Majors Nights will take place on October 2, 2012 in Paul Brest Hall. Faculty are encouraged to participate in staffing these department tables and engaging in dialogue with the students on opportunities and areas of interest within their majors. To participate in the event, please contact Jayne Patterson at (650) 736-8853 or

The 11th annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Public Service (SURPS) will take place on October 4th, 2012 in the Arrillaga Alumni Center from 3:30p.m. until 5:30p.m. More than 100 student presenters will show posters about their research and creative projects. This will be an unparalleled opportunity for students and faculty alike to talk with undergraduate researchers about their independent projects across a wide range of disciplines. All members of the Stanford community are cordially invited to attend and learn more about the range of original work these students are undertaking, and about where these exciting experiences can lead. Students interested in presenting can learn more at the SURPS website.

Stanford University VPUE

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