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Our 14 faculty serving across 10 LRP design teams

BY Stephan Graham
ClockNovember 07, 2018

In a public meeting in May of this year, President Mark Tessier-Lavigne offered a high-level overview of the university’s Long-Range Planning (LRP) process. In my May 21 blog , I briefly described what had transpired in the LRP to that point in time.  Although the LRP probably seemed dormant to most folks over the summer, in fact plans were being laid for a big push in the LRP for the current academic year, leading toward a presentation of a full-blown plan to the Board of Trustees in April and to the university community in May, 2019.  During September and October, some 27 (by my count) teams were organized under different initiatives. My purpose in this month’s blog is to provide you with a brief update on the organization of the LRP initiatives, their goals, and Stanford Earth’s level of representation in the initiatives.

The initiatives are grouped under five overarching themes: Supporting the Foundation, Research, Education, Community, and Values.  These titles are for the most part self-explanatory, though ‘Supporting the Foundation,’ likely less clear to you, pertains to university-wide resource platforms, such as research computing.  Each of the initiatives is to be spear-headed by smallish committees, termed ‘Design Teams,’ which in turn will be advised but not directed by one or more deans and/or vice provosts.  Co-chairs for the Design Teams were identified and invited first, and were followed by Design Team member selections (made by deans and co-chairs in coordination with the president and provost), which were mostly complete by the end of October.  Some initiatives will launch later after initial discovery work or evaluation of resources.

I’m happy to report that Stanford Earth is well represented on the Design Teams, particularly for those initiatives that are close to our research interests, cross-cutting facilities, the education of students, and how we live our lives.  We are not represented on Design Teams that are at a distance to our school, such as ‘Innovative Medicines.’  Summarizing Stanford Earth’s Design Team membership and involvement:

Supporting the Foundation Design Teams

  • Flexible resources: Rosemary Knight
  • Platforms and services, imaging: Tony Kovscek, Howard Zebker
  • Platforms and services, nano facilities:  Tiziana Vanorio
  • Research computing and data services discovery team: Stanford Earth CIO John Freshwaters

Research Design Teams

  • Natural world: Karen Casciotti 
    In addition, Associate Communications Director Dee Tucker will support the team on communication along with Ker Than, formerly of Stanford Earth, now a communicator at H&S.
  • Data science: Jef Caers, David Lobell
  • Sustainability (Graham is the advisor):  Scott Fendorf, David Lobell, Noah Diffenbaugh, Chris Field, Richard Nevle (Deputy Director of the Earth Systems Program), Nicole Ardoin (of GSE and Acting Faculty Director of E-IPER).  Scott Fendorf is the co-chair (with Lynn Hildemann of CEE).
    Senior Associate Dean Amy Balsom, along with E-IPER’s Anjana Richards will provide organizational support.  Associate Dean for External Relations Jen Judas will be attached to the team. And Associate Dean for Marketing & Communications Barbara Buell (along with Woods Director of Communications Chris Black) will support the team on communication.

Education Design Team

  • Future of the major (Graham is an advisor) 
    Associate Dean for Educational Affairs Robyn Dunbar will be supporting this team.

Community Design Team

  • Campus community, affordability: Alexandra Konings

Values Design Team

  • IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Community): Greg Beroza
    Stanford Earth OMA program manager Lupe Carillo

Stanford Earth is at the heart of sustainability science and engineering in Stanford University, so it is particularly important that a number of our faculty (who also are affiliated with the Woods Institute for the Environment) will be playing leadership roles in the Sustainability Initiative.

So, what is the purpose of these Design Teams?  In brief, the teams will develop a baseline analysis of existing activities, refine the strategic objectives of the initiatives, (their goals, scope based on existing and incremental resources, life cycle, etc.).  In the process, they will review proposals and white papers from the first stage of the LRP, consult with stakeholders, and gather other data, as well as develop recommendations for criteria for funding and access to resources for consideration by the Executive Cabinet.

The Design Teams have much to do over the next five months.  And even though there will be an unveiling to the university community in May of next year, the initiatives will continue to evolve well past that time.  Much of the Design Teams’ work will be done quietly, but the outcome of their efforts should have very significant consequences for the university in coming years. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Stanford Earth Design Team members for their willingness to participate in this important endeavor!


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