Stanford University

Dean's Message

Winter/Spring 2021

Photo by Stacy Geiken

March 16, 2021

Dear Stanford Earth Alumni and Friends,

Many of you have been following the process I have been leading with Vice Provost and Dean of Research Kam Moler to design a school at Stanford focused on climate and sustainability. I am pleased to write today with an update on our progress.

Please see this Stanford Report story
for a summary of the preliminary recommendations Vice Provost Moler and I presented to the Faculty Senate on March 11.  Although many details remain to be decided, a vision is taking shape that is inspiring enthusiasm and excitement from all corners of the university.

The next step will be to send the recommendations to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell and then share them at the April Stanford Board of Trustees meeting. The trustees will need to
support the creation of a new school, and then we can go about the nitty gritty planning of new courses and further design of departments, degrees, and certificate programs over the next academic year—not to mention tackling the many relevant organizational, financial, and governance issues.

As you may remember, we have been working on this since President Tessier-Lavigne announced the plan to create the new school in May 2020 as one outcome of a comprehensive and inclusive long-range planning process. I have included links to stories chronicling this journey below. A number of Stanford Earth faculty served on the Blueprint Advisory Committee, and I am deeply grateful for their hard work through the fall and winter. They include:

  • Nicole Ardoin, Associate Professor of Education; Sykes Family E-IPER Faculty Director; Emmett Family Faculty Scholar
  • Sally Benson, Precourt Family Professor (Energy Resources Engineering)
  • Greg Beroza,Wayne Loel Professor (Geophysics)
  • Noah Diffenbaugh, Kara J Foundation Professor (Earth System Science)
  • Scott Fendorf, Terry Huffington Professor (Earth System Science); Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Chris Field, Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies; Director, Woods Institute for the Environment; Professor of Earth System Science and of Biology
  • Jon Payne, Dorrell William Kirby Professor (Geological Sciences); Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs; and Professor, by courtesy, of Biology
  • Paula Welander, Associate Professor (Earth System Science)

I will have much more to report this summer. In the meantime, I hope you share my excitement about our school’s central role in Stanford’s bold effort to move the needle on some of the most complex challenges of the 21st century.

Stephan A. Graham
Chester Naramore Dean
Welton Joseph and Maud L’Anphere Crook Professor


March 12, 2021
New Stanford climate and sustainability school designed to achieve ambitious goals

March 9, 2021
Faculty deliberation supports proposals for new school focused on climate and sustainability

October 9, 2020
School focused on climate and sustainability moves forward

May 21, 2020
School focused on climate and sustainability will amplify Stanford’s impact

January 28, 2020
Committee seeks feedback on ways to bridge sustainability research, education and impact

For more about Stanford’s Long-Range Vision:

Stanford Sustainability Initiative

August 25, 2020
Stanford’s Long-Range Vision focused on accelerating university impact

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