Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The VPUE Faculty QuarterlyVPUE Logo

Winter Quarter 2012 - 2013


Dear Colleagues:  


I hope that you all had wonderful and restful holidays. As we enter the winter quarter 2013, I want to thank all the departments, administrators, directors of undergraduate studies and individual faculty members who answered the call of the new Breadth Governance Board (BGB) and sent in their courses to be registered under the new Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing breadth requirements. The response has been quite good. Still, we have more to do before we roll out the new WAYS to incoming freshmen in the fall of 2013. In the winter quarter, the BGB will be reviewing courses and getting a better sense of just where we are and where we need to go. They may ask for more information from departments or individual faculty at this time. We do know that we will need more courses in Creative Expression and Ethical Reasoning moving forward. Later in the quarter, you will hear more about special plans we have to elicit more courses in these categories. 


Also this winter quarter, we will ask you to take a very important survey on undergraduate teaching. While Stanford faculty members have been surveyed on such issues as quality of life, they have not, in quite some time, been surveyed as to their thoughts on and concerns about teaching and other engagement with undergraduates. Thus, this survey is certainly overdue. It will ask questions about your involvement with undergraduate teaching and your teaching in university service courses. It will ask about the relationship of teaching to your research, your interest in team teaching, your desire to do an online class, and your ability to be engaged in undergraduate education as fully as you would like. Your responses to this survey will be critical as we move forward with the implementation of the new general education requirements as well as other improvements and innovations in undergraduate education. We will share the results with your department chairs and with you. We will let you know how we are putting the results of the survey into action. Thank you in advance for your participation. As added incentive to complete the survey, we will have a drawing for five $500 gift certificates (your choice of either Southwest or Amazon) and twenty $25 Amazon gift certificates.


The winter quarter is also the time for faculty to submit proposals related to curriculum innovation (such as the Hoagland Award) and for applications to Faculty College. In this newsletter, you will find information about these specific grant deadlines and more. You can also locate information on the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) and its deadlines for faculty-in-residence as well as for the new Overseas Seminars.


As always, we at the VPUE look forward to working with you and hope that you have a successful winter quarter.


Very best,



Harry J. Elam, Jr.

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

Grants and Prizes

Two students in lab
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 and who should apply may be found on our faculty and staff website. Many grants, including Faculty College, have a winter deadline of February 15, 2013. Supporting documents, including detailed RFPs, and in some cases sample proposals, lists of previous grantees, and FAQs, may also be found on the website.   

Hoagland Award
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. Occasional $50,000 grants have been awarded for particularly ambitious, worthy projects. Proposals are due no later than April 30, 2013.

Save the Date: Firestone and Golden Thesis Medals, and Kennedy Thesis Prizes
The major deadlines for nominating an honors student for a Firestone or Golden Thesis Medal, or Kennedy Thesis Prize, have historically been announced in March, but we hope that providing them earlier will aid departments and programs in setting their internal deadlines. Nominations (including all supporting files) will be due to UAR on Tuesday, March 28, 2013, by 5pm. UAR will ask departments to report the number of 2012-13 theses in progress by Wednesday April 10, 2013. Detailed instructions will be distributed near the end of Winter Quarter. Please direct any questions to Awards Photo W13

Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and the Creative Arts is awarded to the strongest honors theses in the humanities, senior projects, or performances in the arts. The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research recognizes the best honors theses in social science, science, and engineering. The single best thesis in each field of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences or engineering is honored with the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize. All winners will be celebrated at the Medals Ceremony, held the Saturday before Commencement.  

Deans' Award for Academic Accomplishment Nominations Sought
On behalf of Pam Matson, Dean of the School of Earth Sciences, Jim Plummer, Dean of the School of Engineering, and Richard Saller, Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, we seek your help in identifying worthy nominees for the Deans' Award for Academic Accomplishment. This award, inaugurated in the spring of 1988, is given each year to between five and ten truly extraordinary undergraduate students who deserve campus-wide recognition for their academic endeavors that might not otherwise be celebrated. If you have encountered a student whose brilliant academic accomplishment places him or her among the best Stanford undergraduates, we invite you to write a letter of nomination. The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 22, 2013 and more information is available on the VPUE faculty site.
Teaching Opportunities

Program in Writing and Rhetoric
Winter 2013 PWR In May 2012 the Faculty Senate, acting on a recommendation in the SUES Report, voted that courses fulfilling the second level of the Writing and Rhetoric Requirement (WR 2) could be expanded to include attention to a wider range of forms of communication including oral, visual, and digital forms. Faculty who believe they already teach courses that might fulfill the WR 2 requirement or who would be interested in developing such courses are encouraged to be in touch with Professor Nicholas Jenkins, Faculty Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, to discuss preparing a course proposal for review by the Writing and Rhetoric Requirement Board. Nick can be reached at (650) 725-2935 or

Bing Overseas Studies Program
I love teaching abroad because somehow one has the students there more focused and less "busy" with so much going on on campus here at Stanford. The relationship with them is much stronger. I come back from teaching for BOSP with a much better sense for who our undergrads are. In a way, it provides a positive booster for teaching undergraduates.  
-Charlotte Fonrobert, Religious Studies

Quarter-Long Programs
  Each quarter, one Stanford professor serves as Faculty-in-Residence in each BOSP program. These faculty teach classes in their own disciplines, developing a course BOSP Winter 13 that incorporate 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 where application information for teaching during the 2014-2015 academic year is now available. The deadline is February 15, 2013. Applications for Faculty-in-Residence appointments are accepted from any current Stanford faculty member who belongs to the Academic Council. 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 Summer Quarter. Faculty leaders design and deliver a course in their own discipline in an overseas location where they have prior academic experience. Recent seminars have been offered in Brazil, India, Netherlands, Tanzania, and Turkey. The seminar offerings for Summer Quarter 2012-2013 include Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Madagascar, Palau, and Wales. Information on applications to lead a seminar during Summer Quarter 2013-2014 are available on the BOSP website. The deadline is February 15, 2013. For questions, please contact Naoko Sakata at (650) 725-0236 or

Pre-Major Advising
Undergraduate Advising and Research is getting ready for the Class of 2017. One of our many efforts is to connect as many incoming students to faculty as we can through the Pre-Major Advisor program. Last year we had a record 350 volunteer Pre-Major Advisors, 40% of whom were Academic Council members, and we were able to reduce the number of advisees per advisor to 4-6. If you have never advised pre-major students or have not done so in a while, consider volunteering this year. Faculty have found the current program, with its support from full-time, professional, Ph.D. level advisors, known as Academic Directors, to work very well. As Daniel Fisher, Professor of Applied Physics, notes, "With the Academic Directors providing expert advice on courses, requirements and other practical matters, Pre-Major Advisors have the opportunity to become real mentors-both academic and more broadly. I have found exceptionally rewarding working with students who are starting to navigate life beyond acceptance to college." 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
CTL Faculty Fellows Program
After inviting applications this Autumn for two new Faculty Fellow positions at the Center for Teaching and Learning, CTL is delighted to announce the names of the two new Fellows: Professor Sarah Billington of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor Michele Elam of English and CCSRE; both will start their work at CTL immediately.
Sarah Billington W13
Professor Billington will share with faculty inside and outside Engineering her experiences incorporating hands-on learning in the classroom, including team and individual lab-based projects. She will also raise awareness about CTL resources and develop new ones for lecturers on online teaching materials, course design, and learner-centered syllabus construction; she also wants to help create a sense of community for lecturers at Stanford.  In the long term, she plans to share ideas about flipped classrooms, interactive online exercises to support lecture material, and the use of surveys in class.

Michele Elam W13
Professor Elam will focus on contributing to new curricular initiatives at the university. She is particularly interested in how MOOCs can be used in and for the humanities. To facilitate this, she will create a MOOC version of a class she regularly teaches, "Crossings of Race, Faith and Kin: Mixings in the New Millennium," paying close attention to pedagogical strategies that can also work well in seminars. Related to this course but on a broader level, Prof. Elam is developing an edited undergraduate reader on mixed race studies. Her work is particularly relevant to teaching and learning issues as the University develops courses for the new "Engaging Difference" general education elective.

Seeking Oral Communication Tutors
The Oral Communication Program invites you to encourage your outstanding student speakers to apply to be Oral Communication Tutors. Students will find information about the application process on the Oral Comm website. Applications will be due in early February.
Upcoming Events
Interested in integrating iPads into your class for a quarter? Attend a workshop in January, and get a chance to borrow an iPad to experiment with it. The Center for Teaching & Learning and Academic Computing Services are offering a specialized workshop with Dr. Andrew Currah, demonstrating how iPads can be integrated into your class, to increase student engagement and interactivity. Ask questions about the new iPads for Learning program and how you can be a part of this new educational initiative. For more information, visit the Academic Computing Services website or contact Marcelo Clerici-Arias.

To register in one of the two identical workshops:
  • Thursday, January 17, 2013. 8:15-9:45 am. Bldg. 550, Room 126.
    Breakfast served, please RSVP
  • Thursday, January 17, 2013. 12:00-1:30 pm. Bldg. 550, Room 126.
    Lunch served, please RSVP.
Award-Winning Teachers on Teaching
The Center for Teaching and Learning's lecture series, Award-Winning Teachers on Teaching, Steele AWTT W13 invites faculty winners of Stanford's major teaching awards to deliver a lecture on a teaching topic of their choice. The Winter Quarter series will feature two speakers:

Dean Claude Steele, I. James Quillen Endowed Dean of the Stanford University School of Education and Professor of Education, will speak Thursday, January 31, 2013, noon-1:05 pm, Hartley Conference Center, Mitchell Earth Sciences Building Note: Revised date.
"Stereotype Threat: How It Affects Us and What We Can Do About It"
Dean Steele will discuss his theory of stereotype threat, which examines how people from different groups, being threatened by different stereotypes, can have quite different experiences in the same situation. It also helps explain group differences in performance from the intellectual to the athletic.
Vakil AWTT W13
Professor Ravi Vakil, Department of Mathematics, Thursday, February 21, 2013, noon-1:05 pm, Hartley Conference Center, Mitchell Earth Sciences Building
"Guiding Students as They Learn How to Think"
Professor Vakil will share ideas learned from working with bright young students on designing every part of a class to serve the larger goal of teaching students to think at a higher level, keeping in mind that most learning happens outside the classroom.

Faculty Teaching Lunches
Wise Interventions: How Brief Social-Psychological Interventions Can Help Students Do Better
This is a Learning@Stanford event open to all Stanford faculty; it is also part of the Science and Engineering Faculty Teaching lunch series. Register to reserve a lunch.
Date: Friday, February 22, 2013, Noon-1:30 pm
Location: TBA
Guest Speaker: Professor Greg Walton, Department of Psychology
For more information, contact Robyn Dunbar.
In recent years, several brief social-psychological interventions-some lasting an hour or less-have been shown to improve students' grades and experience in school even months and years later, and to close persistent achievement gaps. How do these interventions work? They're not magic! They target "toxic beliefs" students may hold-like "I can't do it"-or persistent worries like "Do I belong?"-which can prevent students from performing as well as they can. When faculty are able to help students change these beliefs, and set in motion positive self-fulfilling cycles in which better experiences build on better experiences, we can improve our students' experience in class over long periods of time and remedy persistent racial and gender inequalities.

Professor Walton's research examines the nature of self and identity, often in the context of academic motivation and achievement. He is interested in social factors relevant to motivation, in stereotypes and group differences in school achievement, and in social-psychological interventions to raise achievement and narrow group differences.
Arts Faculty Teaching Lunches
What the Arts Teach

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, Noon-1:15 pm Stanford Faculty Club 

Please sign up online.

How do students learn through the arts? How can faculty bring arts practice into teaching? How do the arts uniquely engage students and enhance student learning? This noontime discussion is an opportunity to share curricular innovations in arts practice across disciplines. Panelists: Amy Freed, Playwright and Stanford Artist-In-Residence, and Sue McConnell, Professor in Biology.

Facilitated by Gina Hernandez, VPUE, and Mariatte Denman, CTL. Hosted by VPUE & Center for Teaching and Learning. All interested faculty are invited to attend and share their ideas and insights about learning through the arts. 

  AI Faculty_W13

Humanities Faculty Teaching Lunches
Humanities Course Design: Engaging Assignments and Activities
Friday, February 1, 2013, Noon-1:00 pm
Location: Sweet Hall, Room 303
Please sign up online.
For more information, please contact Mariatte Denman.
Based on John Bean's book Engaging Ideas and informed by research on learning through discussion, we will go beyond the traditional paper assignments and discussion format to develop assignments that foster deep learning and engage students with the course subject and with each other. Bring examples of assignments that have worked well in your courses.

Science and Engineering Faculty Teaching Lunches
CAREER Awards, Broader Impacts, and Your Teaching
Tuesday, January 29, 2013, Noon-1:30 pm, Durand 450
Register to reserve a lunch.
For more information, contact Robyn Dunbar.
You are invited to a special teaching lunch session to discuss tips for success in applying for NSF CAREER Awards (and other grants) that have a significant Broader Impacts component. The primary focus will be on successful teaching, learning, and public outreach projects.

Stanford faculty who are recipients of NSF CAREER grants and/or who have served as NSF CAREER or Broader Impacts reviewers will share their thoughts for developing your teaching/outreach ideas, conveying your ideas to review panels, and implementing programs. CTL staff will be available to discuss national initiatives in college science/engineering teaching and how these might contribute to your projects. Staff from Stanford's Office of Science Outreach and others will also have information about current programs at Stanford with which you might collaborate as well as suggestions for other initiatives and community partners. NOTE: if you have been a CAREER Award panel reviewer-or are a recent award recipient-please let Robyn know and plan to join us if you can!

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