The University and the Faculty
Last updated: September 7, 2016
Leland Stanford Junior University was founded by Leland and Jane Stanford in 1885 in memory of their only son, Leland Junior, who died of typhoid fever in Florence, Italy in 1884 just before his 16th birthday. His parents had come to California in 1852 and, although Mr. Stanford was trained as a lawyer, he entered the mercantile business with his brothers in the gold fields. They established large scale operations in Sacramento where Mr. Stanford became a leader in business and politics. He was one of the “Big Four” who built the western link of the first transcontinental railroad and was elected Governor of California and later United States Senator.
Senator Stanford procured the passage by the California legislature on March 9, 1885 of an enabling act under which a University, or Universities, might be founded, endowed, and maintained in California through an ordinary deed of trust. Senator and Mrs. Stanford executed such a deed of trust on November 11, 1885, founding Stanford University. This document, known as The Founding Grant, conveyed to the 24 original trustees the Palo Alto Farm and other properties, directed that a University be established on the farm, and outlined the objectives and government of the University. Thus, the 8,800 acre campus and approximately $20,000,000 formed the original endowment.
Along with Johns Hopkins and Cornell —also founded in the 19th Century—Stanford University was in the vanguard of American universities patterned on the German model, which stressed research and the freedom to learn and teach. In addition to the traditional liberal arts education, all three provided scientific, technological, and professional training.
The objectives of the University as stated in The Founding Grant were “to qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life; and to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principles of government....” The Founding Grant also called for “a University of high degree,” offering “studies and exercises directed to the cultivation and enlargement of the mind.”
In a letter to David Starr Jordan, the first president of the University, setting forth his educational ideals, Senator Stanford cited the need for instruction in the sciences, mathematics, law, and “general education” if the student was to qualify for “usefulness in life.” But Senator Stanford also attached great importance to the study of literature, music, and art. “The imagination needs to be cultivated and developed to assure success in life,” he wrote. The University opened its doors October 1, 1891. Senator Stanford died within two years, and the University was plunged into severe financial jeopardy because of the complicated nature of his estate and a government suit involving railroad holdings. Only the determination and sacrifices of Mrs. Stanford, President Jordan, and the faculty kept classes going. The estate was cleared after, in Jordan’s words, “six pretty long years.”
The Founding Grant reserved to the Founders the right to amend the Grant, and Mrs. Stanford, in the years following her husband’s death made several amendments in the form of addresses to the Board of Trustees. These covered such points as the non-sectarian, non-partisan nature of the University, the powers of the President, the duties of the Trustees, financial management, housing on campus, gifts from others than the Founders, summer schools, research, and tuition.
Mrs. Stanford died in 1905 and thus was spared a second crisis when the 1906 earthquake caused more than $2,000,000 in damage to campus buildings. Fortunately, this, too, proved to be only a temporary setback for the University.
David Starr Jordan, a world-famed ichthyologist, was 40 years old when he was selected in 1891 by Senator and Mrs. Stanford to be the first president. He served until 1913 and thereafter was Chancellor and Chancellor Emeritus until his death in 1931.
John Casper Branner, Professor of Geology and Vice President of the University, served as President from 1913 until his retirement in 1915.
Ray Lyman Wilbur, member of the Stanford class of 1896, was elected third President in 1915 after a medical career in practice and as Dean of the Stanford Medical School. He retired in 1942 and then was Chancellor until his death in 1949.
Donald Bertrand Tresidder’s time as fourth President was cut short by his death in 1948. Holder of Stanford A.B. and M.D. degrees, he had served as a University trustee.
J. E. Wallace Sterling, holder of a Stanford Ph.D. in History, was installed as Stanford’s fifth President in 1949. Upon his retirement in 1968, he became Chancellor and served until his death in 1985.
Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer, a noted chemist and former President of Rice University, became the sixth President of Stanford in December 1968 and served until his resignation in September 1970.
Richard Wall Lyman, seventh President, took office in September 1970 and served until August 1980 at which time he accepted the presidency of the Rockefeller Foundation. He had been Vice- President and Provost and Professor of British History. He returned to Stanford in 1988 to serve as Professor of History and Director of the Institute for International Studies until retirement in 1991. He is currently the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus.
Donald Kennedy was Stanford’s eighth President, serving from September 1980 through August 1992. Prior to his appointment he had been Vice President and Provost and Professor of Biological Sciences. He remains Professor of Biological Sciences and holds the Bing Professorship of Environmental Science, Emeritus.
Gerhard Casper served as the ninth President of the University from September 1992 to August 2000. He is currently the Peter and Helen Bing Professor in Undergraduate Education, Professor of Law, and Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies.
John L. Hennessy, served as the tenth President of the University from September 2000 to August 2016. He is currently the Shriram Family Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, became the eleventh President of the University and the Bing Presidential Professor in September 2016.
David Starr Jordan was appointed President in March, 1891, and by June his first faculty—17 men of youth and scholarly promise—had accepted appointments. Jordan sought professors who combined abilities for teaching and for research. The first class of 465 students was double the expectations, and 29 professors were added the second year. The Professoriate grew to nearly 300 by 1946, and in the postwar years moved ahead rapidly to its present level of about 1800.
The Articles of Organization of the Faculty were adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1904. These articles created the Academic Council, composed of assistant, associate, and full professors, to give the faculty a formal voice in University governance for the first time.
The Articles of Organization made clear the role of the Academic Council in curricular and academic matters and established the Academic Council’s Executive Committee, Advisory Board, and standing committees.
The structure remained essentially unchanged until 1968 when the Senate of the Academic Council replaced the Executive Committee, following approval by the Academic Council and the Board of Trustees. The Senate has since recommended a number of faculty policies, which have been approved by the Academic Council and the Board of Trustees. They are so noted throughout this handbook.
When Ray Lyman Wilbur took office in 1915, the faculty was grouped into 26 independent departments showing what Registrar J. P. Mitchell referred to kindly as “a serious absence of cooperation.” It took 10 years to evolve a system of Schools. The University currently has 7 schools: the School of Earth Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Engineering, the Graduate School of Business, the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Law School, and the School of Medicine.
Four hundred sixty-five students, 20 graduate students among them, were registered when the dedication ceremonies were held on the Inner Quad in October 1891. Total enrollment topped a thousand by the fourth year, and reached 2,200 in 1915, including 343 graduate students. The post-World War II surge brought 5,347 undergraduates and 2,970 graduates to the campus by 1948. Currently, about 6,700 undergraduate and 8,100 graduate students are enrolled.
The Founding Grant established Stanford as a coeducational institution. Mrs. Stanford set a limit of 500 women in 1899, but this figure became unrealistic, and in 1933 the Trustees decided to maintain substantially the same proportion between men and women as existed in 1899. In 1973, following court approval of a change in The Founding Grant, all numerical limitations on the admission of women were removed.
The Board of Trustees is custodian of the endowment and all properties of the University. The Board administers the invested funds, sets the annual budget, and determines policies for operation and control of the University. The powers and duties of the Board of Trustees derive from the Founding Grant, Amendments, Legislation, and Court Decrees. In addition, the Board operates under its own by-laws and a series of resolutions on major policy.
Board membership is set at a maximum of 35, including the President of the University who serves ex officio and with vote. Trustees serve a five-year term and are eligible for appointment to one additional five-year term. At the conclusion of that term, a Trustee is not eligible for reelection until after a lapse of one year. Eight of the Trustees are elected or appointed in accordance with the Rules Governing the Election or Appointment of Alumni Nominated Trustees; they serve a five-year term.
The Officers of the Board are the Chair, one or more Vice Chairs, and the Secretary and the Associate Secretary. The Chair is elected to a two-year term at the annual meeting held in June. All other officers are elected to one-year terms at the annual meeting in June. All terms of office begin July 1.
Standing committees of the Board are Academic Policy, Planning, and Management; Alumni and External Affairs; Audit and Compliance; Development; Finance; Land and Buildings; and Medical Center. Special committees include Compensation, Investment Responsibility and Litigation.
The Board generally meets five times each year.
The Founding Grant prescribes that the Board of Trustees shall appoint the President of the University and that the Board shall give to the President the following powers:
• To prescribe the duties of the professors and teachers;
The Board of Trustees has delegated certain additional powers to the President. The President is responsible for the management of financial and business affairs of the University, including operation of the physical plant.
In the inability of the person appointed President to act as President, the Provost shall be Acting President.
The Provost, as the chief academic and budget officer, administers the academic program (instruction and research in schools and other unaffiliated units) and University services in support of the academic program (student affairs, libraries and information resources, and institutional planning). The Provost shares with the President the conduct of the University’s relations with other educational institutions, groups, and associations.
Programs of instruction in the University are organized primarily in the seven schools. Each school is administered by the Dean and staff. Deans of schools are responsible, both academically and administratively, to the Provost. The Graduate School of Business, the Graduate School of Education, and the Law School act as single units. The Schools of Earth Sciences, Engineering, Humanities and Sciences, and Medicine are organized into departments and programs, the chairs of which are responsible to their respective Deans.Chairs hold their administrative positions at the will of the President. Deans hold their administrative positions at the will of the Provost and the President.
A complete listing of the University’s administrative and academic executive officers appears in the annual Stanford Directory; additional information is available on-line at http://www.stanford.edu/about/administration/index.html and at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu/committee_resources/index.html.
Conforming to 1989 and 1990 actions of the Senate of the Academic Council on the recommendations of the Second Committee on the Professoriate, the Professoriate consists of the following categories of professorial appointments:
Tenure Line faculty
Non-Tenure Line faculty
Medical Center Line faculty
Other faculty designations
The powers and authority of the Academic Council are set forth in the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council, originally adopted in 1904 and subsequently amended, and in the Charter of the Senate of the Academic Council, originally adopted in 1968 and subsequently amended. The powers of the Academic Council are exercised through the actions of the Academic Council itself, the Senate, the Academic Council Committees, the Advisory Board, and the Academic Council Professoriate. The Academic Council is vested with the authority to discuss and decide upon matters of policy within the province of the Professoriate, subject to the power of disapproval of the Board of Trustees. The Articles of Organization of the Academic Council and the Charter of the Senate of the Academic Council are available from the Academic Secretary, or on-line at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu.
The Academic Council Professoriate consists of:
Tenure Line faculty
Non-Tenure Line faculty
The Academic Council consists of all members of the Academic Council Professoriate and the academic administrative officers currently designated in the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council as members of the Academic Council.
Twenty percent of the membership of the Academic Council constitutes a quorum. Professors Emeriti are Senior Members of the Academic Council with privileges of the floor and of service on committees but not with the right to vote or hold office.
The Academic Council holds one regularly scheduled meeting annually when reports are received from the President of the University and concerning the discussions and decisions of the Senate. Special meetings of the Academic Council may be held at the call of the President or by action of the Academic Council. In addition, special meetings of the Academic Council may be called by the Academic Secretary under provisions of the Charter of the Senate. Agendas, minutes, committee rosters, committee reports and other materials related to the Academic Council Senate are available from the Academic Secretary or on-line at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu.
The Advisory Board of the Academic Council is composed of seven full professors, one from each of the seven Advisory Board Electoral Groups as designated below. All recommendations for appointments, promotions, and for the creation and dissolution of departments, etc., must be submitted to the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is also authorized to make such recommendations to the President regarding policy as it may decide by vote to be expedient, but no recommendations for appointments, promotions, or dismissals may originate with the Advisory Board. The powers and functions of the Advisory Board are described in the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council.
The role of the Advisory Board in conducting faculty discipline hearings is described in the Statement on Faculty Discipline. The role of the Advisory Board in handling appeals relating to academic freedom is described in the Statement on Academic Freedom. The role of the Advisory Board in certain other faculty appeals is described in the Statement of Faculty Appeal Procedures. These three statements are found in Chapter 4 of this handbook.
For the purpose of elections to the Advisory Board, the members of the Academic Council are divided into seven Advisory Board Electoral Groups, which represent a rearrangement of Senate Electoral Units:
I Graduate School of Business, School of Education, Law School
Terms of office are three years, beginning on September 1 following election. The pattern of elections is based on cycles of three years. In the first year of a given cycle, members are elected from Electoral Groups IV, V, and VII; in the second year, members are elected from Electoral Groups II and VI; and in the third year, members are elected from Electoral Groups I and III. Consecutive service is limited to two terms (or fractions thereof), but a person is eligible for reelection at the third annual election after the expiration of any period of service.
Major administrative officers such as the following are not eligible to serve on the Advisory Board: the President, the Provost, School Deans, others delineated in the Articles of Organization as officers of Academic Administration; and other members of the Academic Council who are determined by the Senate to hold appointments of similar character in the University administration.
The Senate of the Academic Council was established by the Charter of the Senate, approved by the Academic Council on April 11, 1968 and ratified by the Board of Trustees on May 16, 1968, with subsequent amendments. The Senate exercises the deliberative and legislative functions of the Academic Council which, in general, has the power and responsibility for the academic administration of the University subject to limitations by the Board of Trustees. For more information refer to the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council, Chapter IV. Since 1993 the Senate has been composed of fifty-five members of the Academic Council apportioned as follows:
Graduate School of Business 3
Members of the Senate serve a two-year, staggered term. The Charter of the Senate of the Academic Council also provides for 15 ex officio members without the right to vote. The Rules of the Senate of the Academic Council (available from the Academic Secretary or on-line at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu/archive/handbook/103939/103939.html), provide for three standing guests from the Associated Students of Stanford University. Student guests, like ex officio members, have the right to speak, but not the right to vote.
For any given academic year, the Senate elects a Chair and six other members to serve with the President or a designee of the President (usually the Provost) as the Steering Committee of the Senate. The first duty of the Steering Committee-elect is to appoint, from the members of the Senate-elect, a Chair and six other members to serve as the Committee on Committees of the Senate.
The Steering Committee of the Senate receives reports from Academic Council Committees and plans subjects for study and discussion by the Senate. The Committee on Committees performs several functions — nominating and appointing Academic Council members to serve on committees, as well as recommending the establishment of new committees and the discontinuance of existing ones.
The Senate refrains from taking action on any matter that is properly the concern of one of the Committees of the Academic Council. Only after the matter has been considered and reported on by the appropriate Academic Council Committee does the Senate take action — generally by acting on a recommendation from that committee. For the enactment of legislation governing the scholarly and teaching work of the University, the Senate of the Academic Council is the authorized body, but there are extensive provisions whereby any decision of the Senate can be challenged and made the subject for review and referendum by the Academic Council.
The Charter of the Senate of the Academic Council provides that meetings of the Senate shall be open to all members of the Academic Council, and that all decisions of each Senate meeting and the votes by which the decisions were taken shall be reported in writing to every member of the Academic Council within seven days after the meeting. The issue of Stanford Report published in the week following a Senate meeting always includes that Senate report.
1.2.I(1) Standing Committees
Standing Academic Council Committees and Standing Committees of the Senate formulate policy on all matters related to teaching and research, the central functions of the University. These committees are charged and appointed by the Senate of the Academic Council through the work of its Committee on Committees. The policies formulated by the Standing Academic Council Committees and Standing Committees of the Senate do not take effect until approved by the Senate of the Academic Council.
Standing Committees of the Senate:
Committee on Committees
Standing Academic Council Committees:
Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems
1.2.I(2) Planning and Policy Board
In Spring of 1992, the Senate established a new Planning and Policy Board composed of ten voting members. Seven members are appointed by the Committee on Committees to serve three year terms. The candidates are nominated by the Committee on Committees from among the entire Academic Council membership. The other three members are the current and two past Chairs of the Senate. Among the Planning and Policy Board’s charged duties is to articulate the academic vision and mission for the University and to formulate academic policy issues for consideration by the faculty.
University Committees, which deal largely with matters related to activities that support the teaching and scholarly work of the University, report to the President. These five committees formulate recommendations for policy, but such recommendations do not take effect until approved by the President. The President writes the charges to University Committees and appoints both their members and the chairs. Faculty and student members of these committees are appointed by the President on nomination of the Committee on Committees (for Academic Council members) or of the ASSU Senate Committee on Nominations (for student members). From time to time University Committees deal with matters of particular interest to the Senate of the Academic Council. On such occasions, the Senate may request a report, and the President may invite that University Committee to present the report to the Senate. Such reports are not subject to Senate action.
Committee on Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
1.2.I(4) Administrative Panels
Administrative Panels deal with matters of a technical nature, generally related to ensuring compliance with external regulations and internal policy regarding hazardous agents and human or laboratory subjects used in the course of University teaching or research activities. These panels review and approve proposed procedures such as those involving agents or laboratory subjects, draft relevant new policies, and frequently oversee the implementation of such policy. The President appoints the members of these panels which report to him through the Dean of Research. The composition of these panels, mandated by external regulatory agencies, includes faculty, staff, students and, in some cases, unaffiliated members who have expertise in the relevant areas.
Administrative Panel on Biosafety
Committee rosters for the Senate, the Advisory Board, and all Academic Council and Senate committees as well as University Committees and Administrative Panels are available each year from the Office of the Academic Secretary to the University and on-line at http://facultysenate.stanford.edu/.
1.2.I(5) Ad Hoc Committees
From time to time, the President appoints commissions, task forces, or committees, which are bodies designated to respond to specific instructions and requests from the administration. They are generally assumed to be temporary bodies.
1.2.I(6) School and Department Level Committees
There are many other advisory and policy-making committees at the school and department level, but these do not fall within the province of the Senate of the Academic Council.
Committees at all levels are sufficiently numerous, and the demands on the time of persons serving on them sufficiently heavy, that the Committee on Committees recommends that any individual’s concurrent service should be limited to one University-wide committee, one School-wide committee, and one departmental committee.
1.2.I(7) Board on Judicial Affairs
The Student Judicial Charter of 1997 sets forth the core principles, requirements, and administrative mechanics of the student judicial process. The committee in this category is the Board on Judicial Affairs.
1.2.I(8) Faculty Membership on Board of Trustees Committees
Committee on Academic Policy, Planning and Management
In making nominations, the President asks for the advice of the Senate Committee on Committees for faculty nominations and The Associated Students of Stanford University Committee on Nominations for student nominations. Student candidates are then interviewed and selected by the Trustee Chairs of the standing committees.
The following italicized section is excerpted from the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council.
Faculty titles have been amended to conform with 1989 and 1990 actions of the Senate of the Academic Council on the recommendations of the Second Committee on the Professoriate.
Section 1a) The Departmental Professoriate shall consist of the Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, and members of professorial ranks not in the tenure line in the departments, and only they shall have the right to vote.
1b) The chair of a department shall preside at meetings of that department’s Professoriate and, as administrative head of the department, shall be responsible to the cognizant dean of the school in matters concerning the departmental operating budget, personnel actions, and similar matters, and shall serve as the official means of communication regarding departmental affairs between the department and the President, the Academic Council, and other departments.
1c) The chair or the designees of the chair shall sign all requisitions for supplies and equipment required by the department.
Section 2. The departmental Professoriate shall have the direction of the work of instruction in the department and of the internal administration of the department, subject only to such control as is vested in the Board of Trustees, the President of the University, or the Academic Council.
Section 3a) All matters of internal administration in the department shall be decided in conference or, if necessary, by vote of members of the departmental Professoriate as designated in the departmental by-laws.
3b) In case the chair of the department shall fail to concur in the decision of the departmental Professoriate, he or she shall report in writing the action of the departmental Professoriate: (i) in matters relating to appointment, reappointment, or promotion, to the cognizant Dean, the Provost, and the Advisory Board, or (ii) in academic matters not covered by the above, to the cognizant Dean, the Provost, and the Senate of the Academic Council, or (iii) in administrative matters not covered by the above, to the cognizant Dean, the Provost, and the Advisory Board, with a written statement of the reasons for his or her non-concurrence; and other members of the departmental Professoriate may, at will, make a written statement of their position.
3c) Any member of the departmental Professoriate shall have the right to appeal the decision of the department or of the chair, except in the case of an individual’s own appeal covered by the Statement on Academic Freedom or the Statement on Faculty Appeal Procedures at Stanford University, for which the University has duly established appeal procedures.
3d) The Advisory Board or the Senate of the Academic Council, as the case may be, shall in such cases consider the course to be pursued, and shall submit its opinion in writing to the President of the University, whose decision shall be final.
3e) The cognizant departmental Professoriate shall determine by vote, or other agreed procedures, when students shall be recommended for graduation, and the chair shall report the names of such students to the appropriate committee.
Section 4. The departmental Professoriate in the several departments may adopt bylaws for regulating the internal affairs of their own departments and shall keep a record of their official acts.
Section 5. Meetings of the departmental Professoriate may be called by the chair or by any two members of the departmental Professoriate.
In September 1975 an academic staff structure was established at Stanford consisting of the ranks of Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, Senior Research Associate and Research Associate. The establishment of this structure was the result of recommendations of the Senate of the Academic Council in response to the Report of the Committee on the Professoriate at Stanford. Members of the academic staff at Stanford University now is composed of the following three groups:
Clinical Life Science Research Associate
Basic Life Science Research Associate
Physical Science Research Associate
Engineering Research Associate
Social Science Research Associate
Visiting Research Associate
Research Associate/Clinician Educator
1.2L Other Teaching Titles
Instruction is also performed by staff or volunteers with Other teaching titles. There are significant variations in the circumstances under which individuals qualify for and secure appointments to these positions. Outside of the School of Medicine, other teaching positions are limited to the following:
Acting Assistant Professor
Consulting Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor (By courtesy)
Professor of the Practice
All individuals who teach a course for credit at Stanford University in a staff or volunteer position must have a professorial appointment, an Academic Staff (Teaching) appointment, or an Other Teaching Staff appointment approved for the quarter or term in which the course is offered. Individuals appointed as Academic Staff (Teaching) or as Other Teaching Staff are not members of the professoriate or the Academic Council.
Provider: Faculty Affairs, Office of the Provost, Stanford University