Stanford University
Dean Stephan Graham

Dean's Desk

Posts for faculty, students, and staff from the desk of Steve Graham...

Photo by Steve Castillo


ClockSeptember 30, 2021

First, welcome back to an active campus! It is such a delight to see students walking on the patio and lawns outside my office. I am greatly encouraged by the compliance I have seen with masking and we are taking every measure for safety. Remember that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must test weekly as a precaution for the time being. Mask in all indoor public spaces except when alone in a private office and mask in crowded outdoor venues, too.

As we look forward to a ‘near normal’ fall quarter, I also want to congratulate and welcome our Dean’s Graduate Scholars, our very first cohort of the Stanford Earth Postdoctoral Fellows program, and the faculty who have joined us in the last year. Our new faculty include: associate professor Jane Willenbring (GS) who joined in 2020 and assistant professor Alison Hoyt who arrived this August (ESS), as well as two new assistant professors in ESS. They are Elliott White Jr. and Earle Wilson, who will begin in January and July of 2022, respectively.

Building community

When I became dean in 2017, one of my priorities was to build a more inclusive, tightly knit community – one in which departments were more aware of each other’s activities and accomplishments and one in which everyone feels acknowledged.

Many efforts – from my faculty fireside chats to our expanded diversity, equity and inclusion programs, to town halls and social events (at least before COVID) – were intended to support that priority. This INSIDE Stanford Earth newsletter was also a strategic part of building our school community of students, staff, and faculty. With an open rate between 55 and 73 percent, which is quite high as these things go, I think it has done the job quite well. But it is now time to create an entirely new community comprised of several key Stanford units and some new ones, such as an accelerator and a social science institute.

Farewell, INSIDE

After four years, this will be our last issue of INSIDE Stanford Earth. Beginning next month, you will receive a new monthly newsletter called TRANSITIONS, which will circulate to all those who are interested in and invested in the new school focused on climate and sustainability. TRANSITIONS will distribute to department of Civil and Environmental Engineering members, to members of the Woods Institute for the Environment, and Precourt Institute for Energy, to members of Hopkins Marine Station, and others in the Humanities and Sciences community. Essentially, it will begin our transition into a larger community and will go to all who are currently subscribed to the Sustainability Initiative listserv, including all of you who have been receiving INSIDE.

TRANSITIONS will deliver updates and stories relevant to the new school – such as the dean’s search, new curricula and degrees, and planned initiatives. It will not be distributing internal news at the level of detail the INSIDE newsletter did, such as Comings and Goings and School Highlights. After we are through a transition phase and a dean for the new school is selected some time in 2022, that person will decide on what format internal communications should take. In the meantime, you will still be able find school news in School Highlights in the pulldown menu under News & Events at the top of all our Stanford Earth web pages.

I know all of you are eager to stay abreast of processes and changes in the coming transition to Stanford’s great new school. That is the job TRANSITIONS will temporarily do.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our communications and marketing team, especially associate dean for communications Barbara Buell who envisioned INSIDE and associate communications director Dee Tucker who has meticulously edited it with her. If you liked INSIDE, or even if you didn’t, we’d like to know about it in order to inform an even better future internal tool for the new school. To that end, I invite you to participate in this farewell feedback survey.

Stay tuned for the first issue of TRANSITIONS in late October.



Please take the feedback survey so we can improve a future internal communications.

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