Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The VPUE Faculty QuarterlyVPUE Logo

Autumn Quarter 2012 - 2013


Dear Colleagues:  

I hope that your fall quarter is off to a great start. This year marks a pivotal transition in our delivery of undergraduate education at Stanford. The incoming class of 2016 is the first to experience the new Thinking Matters (THINK) requirement. Without the three quarter IHUM requirement, this class also has more freedom to explore in their freshman year than any other class in the last fifteen years. Already the results of the changes to the new freshman curriculum, legislated only last year by the Faculty Senate, are providing dividends. Almost half the students in this freshman class have enrolled in IntroSems this fall. This is a 10% rise over last year. In addition, although required to take only one THINK course, a significant number of students have signed up to take more than one.

The freshman year is also an excellent time for students to take introductory courses in a disciplinary area that they want to investigate. We have new introductory courses in programs and departments such as Science, Technology, and Society (STS) and Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) on board this year and we hope to have additional ones in the coming years. If your department has an interest in creating an introductory course and needs course development support, please contact Associate Vice Provost Shari Palmer here at the VPUE.

An area in which we will need input from all of you going forward is the implementation of the new general education requirement, Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing (WAYS). We will need you to work with your department, school or program, your Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), your department administrator and your colleagues to identify which of the eight WAYS course areas best fit your classes. We will then need this information, and your syllabi, submitted to the Breadth Governance Board (BGB) by the end of the fall quarter. This deadline is critical in order to have the new program up and running as mandated in September 2013. In the next few weeks, you will be hearing a great deal more about this process and its rollout. On October 15, there will be a meeting of all department chairs and program directors to discuss WAYS and other SUES reforms and their impact. This meeting will be followed by a meeting with DUSs in late October and then another later that month with departmental administrators. You will also receive direct communication from the VPUE and BGB detailing the definitions and learning goals for each of the eight WAYS categories and explaining how you individually can submit your course and syllabi to the BGB. A further description follows of the BGB, under the leadership of Professor Chris Edwards, as well as a link to the website where you can find more information and a calendar of events. Also below, you will see discussions of two other VPUE committees operating this year that come as result of the SUES report. Russell Berman heads a committee that will examine and revise our course evaluation forms and Michele Elam chairs a committee that will explore how to initiate helix courses (courses from different disciplines connected thematically).  

In addition to these endeavors, a major effort this year will be a faculty survey on undergraduate teaching. This survey will be mounted in conjunction with a survey from the libraries on library usage and resources. Mindful of faculty time, these two surveys have been combined. In terms of teaching, we will ask you questions about the relationship of your teaching to your research, about your connection to undergraduate teaching generally, about  impediments to your teaching or conditions that would promote your engagement with undergraduate teaching. We will ask about your involvement with teaching in your department's major, within IDPs, as well as in general education courses that serve the university more broadly. In addition, we will inquire as to your interest in or involvement with online teaching. These survey results will be shared with all faculty members through their departments and department chairs. We will use the results to help implement the new initiatives discussed above and more.

Finally, within this newsletter, you will also find information on funding resources and teaching opportunities. One such opportunity I want to draw your attention to is the possibility of teaching in an overseas seminar within the Bing Overseas Studies Program. Led by a faculty member, overseas seminars occur in the summer, most often in the period just before the fall quarter known at Stanford as September Studies. One faculty member called his seminar experience "the best teaching experience I've ever had." Information follows and applications for the summer of 2014-when we'll mount eight such seminars-will be available in December.

I hope that you have a wonderful quarter. Thank you for all of your great work with undergraduates and for your collaboration with the VPUE.

Very best,



Harry J. Elam, Jr.

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

Grants and Prizes

Faculty and Department Program Grants for 2012-13
VPUE provides support to faculty, academic departments, and programs through a variety of funds in several areas: curriculum and course development, program enhancement and support, and undergraduate research. A chart summarizing the funds, deadlines for proposals, and who should apply may be found on our faculty and staff website. Supporting documents, including detailed RFPs, and in some cases sample proposals, lists of previous grantees, and FAQs, may also be found there.  

Curricular Innovation in the Arts Grant was created to support projects within and beyond the arts disciplines. This grant encourages curricular development proposals that incorporate the arts into new courses that might not otherwise intersect with the arts. We encourage ideas that creatively reimagine the role that the arts can play in enhancing learning in any subject. The Curricular Innovation awards are also intended to encourage innovation in our existing arts curriculum.  For arts disciplines the Curricular Innovation award supports efforts to push new boundaries and experiment in ways that take instruction in the arts to a new level. For more information, please contact Gina Hernandez Clarke at Deadline: October 29, 2012 and ongoing. Please allow 2 weeks for proposals to be reviewed.  

A grant information session for 2012-13 VPUE faculty and department grants will be held on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 from 8:30 to 10 am in the Community room of the Black Community Services Center. Department and program administrators, directors of undergraduate studies, and other interested faculty and staff are invited. VPUE staff (including Sharon Palmer, Vice Provost's Office; Brian Thomas, UAR; Michele Marincovich, CTL; Joyce Moser, Bing Honors  College; and Gina Hernandez, Arts in Undergraduate Education) will give brief presentations about grants and take questions from the audience. Representatives from the SiCA, the Haas Center for Public Service, the Revs at Stanford program, the office of the new Vice Provost for Online Learning, and VPGE will also present regarding support for faculty in their areas. If you have further questions about this event please contact Shari Palmer at
Each year, Stanford is invited to nominate students for a variety of merit-based national scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate or postgraduate studies and research. Opportunities include the Beinecke (arts, humanities, social sciences), Goldwater (engineering, mathematics, natural sciences), Truman (all fields), Udall (environmental studies, Native American/Native Alaskan health care or tribal policy), and the Carnegie Junior Fellows Program (international affairs).  

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 early in Autumn Quarter. Advisors will assist these students in identifying opportunities and guide them through the application process. Further, if you are interested in working with campus partners in selecting the campus nominees for this year's scholarship and fellowship competitions, UAR warmly invites you to participate in one of the selection committees. For additional information, please contact Vivienne Fong at
VPUE's 2012-13 Faculty Advisory Committees

Following last May's vote by the Faculty Senate to establish a new Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing breadth system for undergraduates, the Breadth Governance Board will be starting its work this year. Chaired by Chris Edwards, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy, the Board's first task will be to articulate the purpose and rationales for each of the eight Ways of Thinking/Doing. It will also establish a process by which faculty and departments may certify their courses to fulfill the new general education electives. For more information about the charge, membership, upcoming events, and contact information for your input, please click here.


Course Evaluation Committee 

At the Provost's request, Russell Berman, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, has agreed to lead a committee to design a new course evaluation form in light of the SUES recommendations. The goal is an instrument more closely tied to student learning, rather than just satisfaction, and tailored to the specific class and its format, teaching practices, and learning goals. The Committee has been asked to present a recommendation to the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policies and the Committee on Graduate Studies in the spring of 2013.  For more information, including membership and how to submit your suggestions, click here. 


Helix Committee

Last year, the SUES report recommended an elective cluster of interdisciplinary courses called a Helix. Like the spokes of a helix connected by its spiral scaffolding, these three or four courses will be united both by a shared theme and by a dedication to the overarching frame of Stanford's larger liberal arts mission. Chaired by Michele Elam, Professor of English, Olivier Nomellini University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Martin Luther King Jr. Centennial Professor, the Helix Committee will make recommendations about implementation of Helix clusters to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education by Spring 2013. For more information, please click here. 

Undergraduate Advisory Council

The Undergraduate Advisory Council is an ad hoc advisory body for the vice provost. Sample issues for this year include helping to guide VPUE in implementing recommendations emerging from the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford, providing advice on new VPUE initiatives such as our initiative on technology and teaching, and beginning discussions about how we can best partner with departments and programs in rethinking how they contribute to general education. 

Teaching Opportunities

Bing Overseas Studies Program
Quarter-Long Programs  Each quarter, one Stanford professor serves as Faculty-in-Residence in each of the BOSP program locations. These faculty teach classes in their own disciplines, developing a course that incorporates unique features of the local culture and environment or that provides comparative perspectives on a particular topic. General information about teaching overseas is available on the BOSP website. Information on applications for the 2014-2015 academic year and additional details will be available on the BOSP website by mid December. Applications for Faculty-in-Residence appointments are accepted from current Stanford faculty who are Academic Council members. For questions, please contact Trudi Reinhardt at (650) 725-0232 or

Three-Week, Faculty-Led Seminars  BOSP Overseas Seminars are two-unit classes offered during the summer. For these seminars, faculty leaders design and deliver a course in their own discipline in an overseas location where they have prior experience. Recently completed seminars were in Brazil, India, Netherlands, Tanzania, and Turkey. Plans for Summer 2013 include Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Madagascar, Republic of Palau, and Wales. Information on applications to lead a seminar in Summer 2014 will be available on the BOSP website after December 15, 2012. For questions, please contact Naoko Sakata at (650) 725-0236 or  
Teaching Resources
With the creation of a new Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning (VPOL), Amy Collier has transitioned to the role of Director for Technology and Teaching for the new office. Amy will continue the work she accelerated at CTL of helping faculty design and teach pedagogically innovative courses using technology. She will also coordinate a partnership between VPOL and CTL, working  with teams in both organizations to support effective blended and online teaching. For more information on the Vice Provost for Online Learning's instructional design and course production teams, please see the VPOL website. Faculty who are interested in blended, flipped, and online teaching are encouraged to contact Amy at

Faculty Fellows Update
CTL has five Faculty Fellows actively pursuing projects to promote more effective teaching and learning on campus. In addition to their projects, Fellows are available to consult with other faculty on teaching questions, teaching grant proposals, classroom observations, and assessment projects. Please see the Program webpage for more information, and please contact CTL Director Michele Marincovich at or (650) 723-2208 if you would like to work with a Faculty Fellow or to become one. CTL will be appointing two new Faculty Fellows this quarter and invites applications from interested faculty by October 31. Fellows receive an annual stipend of $4,000 and CTL staff support to undertake a teaching and learning project relevant to their courses or department. Appointments are for one year with the possibility of two additional years. 
In early September, twenty-one assistant professors-representing a wide range of Schools and departments-gathered to design new courses or modify existing ones. Highlights of the 4-day event included rich idea-exchange across disciplines, application of research-based principles to the  development of syllabi and selected class materials, and a culminating public "poster session." Participating faculty will collaborate throughout the coming year around strategies for effective, efficient teaching practices that optimize for student engagement and learning. We plan this to be an ongoing annual program and appreciate co-funding by the deans of Humanities & Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering. For more information, please contact Dr. Robyn Dunbar, CTL at

Mid-quarter Feedback
Faculty often find it helpful midway through the quarter to get student feedback on how their class is going. The Center for Teaching and Learning offers two methods of getting such feedback: Small Group Evaluations (SGEs) and online mid-quarter evaluations. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. Small Group Evaluations require some class time, for example, but tend to have good response rates; online evaluations take no class time but can have low response rates. Regardless of the method you choose, CTL staff are happy to consult with you about the results. To set up an evaluation, fill out a request form about one week prior to the date on which you would like to have the evaluation done. For more information, please contact the associate director for your disciplinary area.
Upcoming Events


Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Public Service (SURPS) will take place on Thursday, October 4, 2012 in the Arrillaga Alumni Center from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. 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. For inquiries, please email

Reflections Seminar Information Session
Faculty who volunteer as Pre-Major Advisors (PMAs) are invited to attend a meeting on Thursday, October 11, 2012 from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Arrillaga Dining Commons, Room 105 to learn more about participating in a Winter Quarter pilot of "Reflections Seminars" designed specifically for freshmen to foster structured reflection about students' own values and how to align their choices at Stanford with those values.

Designing Courses in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Friday, October 19, 2012 from noon-2:00 p.m., location TBD.
Mariatte Denman, Ph.D., Associate Director for Humanities. Pre-register here. For questions, contact Mariatte Denman at

Teaching Large Classes: a Two-Part Seminar
Friday, November 2, 2012 and Friday, November 9, 2012, both from noon-2 p.m., location TBD.
Marcelo Clerici-Arias, CTL, Associate Director for Social Sciences and Technology and Amy Collier, Ph.D., VPOL, Director for Technology and Teaching. Pre-register for Part I (Nov. 2) and/or Part II (Nov. 9). For questions, contact Marcelo Clerici-Arias at
A great way to meet colleagues from other departments and gain practical teaching tips is to attend one or more sessions in our Teaching Lunch series. CTL provides lunch for these informal gatherings, and the topics are set by the faculty participants themselves. For more information:

Science and Engineering Teaching Lunches
Robyn Dunbar,
Thursday, Oct. 11, noon-1:15 p.m.
Students in Teams: War Stories and Strategies for Success
Wednesday, Nov. 28, noon-1:15 p.m.
Grading-the Agony and the Equity
Tuesday, Jan. 29, noon-1:15 p.m.
CAREER Awards, Broader Impacts, and your Teaching

Humanities Teaching Lunches
Mariatte Denman,
Thursday, October 4, noon-1:15 p.m. Welcome to teaching at Stanford. We will discuss Stanford students, resources for teaching and learning, teaching grants, and free services for you and your students that will save you time and engage your students.

Social Sciences faculty are welcome at either of the above or can contact Marcelo Clerici-Arias
at to start a Social Science series.

Stanford University VPUE

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