At the final meeting of the school year, Provost John Etchemendy, s Russell Berman and Ray Levitt and others perform a skit in honor of Rosemary Knight’s year as chair of the Faculty Senate.
In addition to a testimonial to outgoing chair Rosemary Knight, the senate heard presentations from Philip A. Pizzo, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine; Professor Emeritus David B. Abernethy, chair of the Stanford Emeriti Council; and Professor Tom Wasow, Stanford’s former delegate to the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.
In rhyming verse inspired by Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham
, The Cat in the Hat
and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
– a small cast of faculty and staff performed a skit poking fun at its own "SUES," the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford , as a testimonial to outgoing Faculty Senate Chair Rosemary Knight at its last meeting of the academic year on Thursday.
The script, which was filled with insider jokes about the senate’s deliberations on the report, began with Russell Berman, professor of comparative literature and of German studies, who was wearing a red-and-white striped top hat. Berman is director of I-HUM, the Introduction to the Humanities program. He said: I am Sam. Sam-I-HUM. To my classes Frosh must come.
Raymond Levitt, professor of civil and environmental engineering, who was wearing a red baseball cap – facing backward – and a name tag hanging on his chest that said "STUDENT," replied: That Sam-I-HUM That Sam- I-HUM I do not like his curriculum.
To which Sam-I-HUM responded: Do you like Green eggs and I-HUM? Would you like them Freshman year?
The "student" replied: I would not like them Freshman year. I would not like them with a beer. I do not like green eggs and I-HUM. I do not like them, Sam-I-HUM.
The final lines of the poem included a grateful nod to Knight, who shepherded the senate through the process of implementing the report’s recommendations.
Rex Jamison, academic secretary to the university, playing himself, with a nametag hanging around his neck that said "REX," said: Don’t all talk at once! Please, one at a time! It will all end well. It will all end quite fine. Thanks to sage Rosemary and her parsing of time.
At the end of the skit, Berman presented a framed version of the poem – which will be available in its entirety in the minutes – to Knight.
Knight also left the meeting with a red foam thumb, presented by Joseph Lipsick, professor of pathology. He said it was a token of appreciation for her "tireless efforts on behalf of all hitchhikers," a reference to the profile of Knight , "Rosemary Knight: Geophysicist, senate chair, hitchhiking advocate," that appeared in Stanford Report
Before the testimonials began, Knight, who is the George L. Harrington Professor of Geophysics and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment , reflected on her tenure as chair, saying it had been a "great year" at Stanford.
"I feel that what we have done as a community in terms of undergraduate education will have a really positive impact, not just on students but on the rest of us – on the faculty and staff as we all come together around this new vision, because what I see happening around this university is a lot of people taking off their department hats and putting on their Stanford hats," she said.
"And as I’ve said a number of times this year, when I start thinking about what SUES means to undergraduate education, I keep saying to people, ’You know, I’m not a professor of geophysics, I’m a professor of Stanford.’ And I see the SUES report has done a tremendous service by bringing our community together under this vision of undergraduate education. So thanks again to everyone involved in this great initiative."
Resolution on collegiate sports
Professor Tom Wasow, Stanford’s former delegate to the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA), a grassroots organization dedicated to providing a faculty voice on issues related to college sports, talked about the controversy over a May blog posting by John Calipari, the men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.
Wasow, a professor philosophy and of linguistics, said Calipari announced that Kentucky would no longer be a "traditional" basketball program. Instead, its sole goal would be winning national championships. Calipari made the announcement in a web posting after the team won the NCAA tournament, fielding a team consisting largely of freshmen who will play professionally next year.
COIA issued a response calling on the NCAA leadership and others who support the collegiate model of athletics to oppose the decision as an example of serious escalation in the professionalization of college sports – an escalation it asserted will place enormous competitive pressure on other schools to adopt similar practices.
"The program is no longer designed to provide students pursuing a college education the opportunity to compete, it is designed to train professional basketball players," the COIA statement said.
The Faculty Senate unanimously approved a "sense of the senate" resolution supporting COIA’s position. It said:
"The Faculty Senate of Stanford University fully supports the statement issued by COIA in response to the University of Kentucky’s new policies for men’s basketball. We are concerned that these polices lead towards the professionalization of college sports to the detriment of the students, our collective educational mission, and the amateur nature of sports in college."
Stanford Emeriti Council
David B. Abernethy , professor of political science, emeritus, and chair of the Stanford Emeriti Council, said the council had recently launched a
for use by all university retirees and current employees considering retirement.
"Clearly marked links point users to information such as retirement checklists, health plans and benefits, services the university continues to provide retirees, various university calendars and volunteer opportunities on campus in the local community," Abernethy said.
"Naturally, we hope this site will be widely used. We encourage you as senators to spread the word particularly to older members of your departments – faculty and staff."
School of Medicine
In his report to the senate, Philip A. Pizzo , MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine , who will retire next year, used aerial views of the school’s campus, as well as maps, architectural renderings and photographs, to illustrate "the world we live in and where we’re going."
Pizzo began with a look back at the beginning of his tenure as dean, "a time in which there needed to be some considerable rethinking about direction and the future."
"We began an effort that we’ve called ’translating discoveries,’ which was really a plan for addressing some of the issues that relate to education and our missions, of course, in research and patient care," he said.
"What I’m going to do with you today is to share at a very high level, and a somewhat kaleidoscopic manner some of the things that have taken place."
His slide show included views of the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge , including a view of a classroom in which every student had an iPad, and the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building , including a view of the three-tired glass chandelier that hangs in its lobby.
Following Pizzo’s presentation, Provost John Etchemendy said Pizzo has transformed the School of Medicine during his 11-year tenure.
Etchemendy said that the summer before he became provost, he met with the clinical chairs of the Medical School because it was the part of the university he knew the least about.
"The attitude and the unhappiness of the clinical chairs at that time, their feeling of lack of engagement in both the school and the university was palpable – and that, of course, had to do with the failed merger with UCSF," he said.
"One of the things Phil does is hold retreats once a year for large numbers of people in the Medical School. I went to the first few retreats. The first year, it was very interesting watching the body language during the retreat. Phil was up there talking so eloquently as he always does and trying to convince the people there that we had a mission, that it’s a single organization.
"And they were sitting there like this," Etchemendy said, crossing his arms and sitting back in his chair.
"The next year it was completely different," he continued "Phil had already transformed the engagement of the chairs of the departments. That has just continued. As you can see both in the pictures that he’s shown us, but also from attitudes Medical School faculty and the rest of the university, in fact. We have a lot to thank Phil for."
The senate responded with applause.
Minutes available next week
The full minutes of the meeting will be available by the end of next week on the senate’s website.