The proceedings from the GSC meeting on 2006-11-08
GSC Agenda: November 8, 2006: 6:15-8:15 – FOOD @ 6:00!
Graduate Community Center – Nairobi Room
Quorum for this meeting is eight voting members.
1. 6:00 FOOD (thanks Matt!)
2. 6:15 Welcome with Introductions
3. 6:20 Announcements (Paul)
i. Minutes from 11/1
ii. Superman Returns will be showing for Fall Grad Night at Flicks on Nov. 12th at 7pm. Maria needs volunteers to help pass out donuts and juice and set-up (please arrive at Memorial Auditorium at 6:30 pm). She also needs a volunteer with a car willing to help earlier on Nov 12th to drive and pick-up donuts and juice and other necessities.
4. 6:25 Funding (Adam)
5. 6:30 Promotional Items update: (John) 15 mins
6. 6:40 Parking and Transportation committee (Martin Mueller)
7. 7:00 VPGE Presentation and Disscussion
8. 7:45 GSC Checklist: Where are We? (Jenny)
9. 7:55 New Business
10. 8:00 Adjourn GSC Meeting
Thomas Lee* (Proxy for Rebecca Kaplan)
Christina Mariscal* (Proxy for Matt Andrews)
Dirk: Rebecca can’t be here but can I act as her proxy?
Paul: No you can’t be a voting member and be someone’s proxy.
Tom: I can be Rebecca’s proxy.
Paul: OK, Tom is Rebecca’s proxy. The first announcement is to approve the minutes from 11/1.
Jenny: There was one correction; Donna saw that ticked should be ticketed.
Paul: With that correction, are there any objections to passing the minutes from 11/1?
(none) The minutes from 11/1 pass by consensus.
Paul: Superman Returns will be showing for Fall Grad Night at Flicks on Nov. 12th at 7pm. Maria needs volunteers to help pass out donuts and juice and set-up (please arrive at Memorial Auditorium at 6:30 pm). She also needs a volunteer with a car willing to help earlier on Nov 12th to drive and pick-up donuts and juice and other necessities.
Paul: We need volunteers, someone to help pass out donuts and juice and one to meet at 4:30 to help pick stuff up.
Linus: I can help pick stuff up.
Jenny: I can help stuff myself with donuts!
Paul: Thanksgiving dinner planning is underway. There will be a kid’s corner. If you are here for the week don’t forget to register and don’t forget to tell people to register. There will be a tent outside the GCC outside studio one and there will be another tent by the volleyball courts.
Tom: Are there other activities taking place over spring break?
Jenny: I think the GSPB has other activities planned such as rock climbing.
Paul: Last week George had dinner with president and I had dinner with the provost with 20 other grad students. George, do you want to say a bit about how your dinner went?
George: Overall the students seemed pretty happy. There were a number of things that came up that gave clues on what VPGE will do. The first one was orientation. This seems to be especially relevant to international graduate students. The president thought the GSC could fill role in the orientation. Second, the president felt that he doesn’t know much about graduate students and he seems interested in getting information from graduate student surveys.
Tom: Did he talk about whether he would be willing to kick in money for surveys and gathering information?
George: He seemed open to committing to listening to proposals about funding surveys and increasing ways to find out about grad students. He also talked about diversity and seemed to indicate that he was moving in a direction that diversity committee would like. He also brought up the mental health committee which I hadn’t heard anything about before.
The president seemed concerned that graduate students were not going into academia. He was also interested in interdisciplinary research with a focus on Asia. There was sychronicity in what he was interested in and what grad students who were present were interested in.
Tom: Graduate students not going into academia is a trend in all sciences because of the few jobs that exist in academia.
George: The president was also interested in programs like the JDPhD (Combined law and PhD program).
Paul: The next night I went to provost’s dinner. The question “what is a provost” came up. The provost is in charge of academics and students affairs. The President is in charge of the long range vision of the university whereas the provost deals with the day-to-day workings of the university.
Questions that came up were, are the palm trees really $30 000? The answer is yes, but they are usually donated. He seemed to think that construction would continue on campus. Munger will be delayed another year and Terman will be torn down.
We talked about the Stanford Challenge and new institutes. We talked about the tenure process. We talked about departments accepting too many students and not having enough funding. We talked about graduate advising. It something that the VPGE will bring up and we will continue to talk about later in the meeting.
Tom: I have a few comments about the change in the political landscape. Democrats have taken the house and possibly the senate. Nancy Poloski, the new speaker of the house, represents san Francisco. Many others in house are from the bay area. The good thing about being in the majority is you dictate what happens in the house. The last time we were there they were very open to listening to what grad students had to say. Last time we talked about not taxing stipends and it was stuck in George miller’s committee. This is a chance for us as Stanford and students in the area/across the country to be heard. If anyone is interested in being involved come and find me.
Paul: Thanks for bringing that up. We do have money to send people to advocate for us.
Kristina: Who is on the legislative action committee?
Jenny: Maxim mentioned he was interested.
4. 6:25 Promotional Items update: (John)
John: Idea is to make people more aware about the GSC in the past we gave out bottle openers and other items. Currently we are looking at between 250-500 items.
The five items we are considering are umbrellas, laundry bags, mouse pads, lights, and beer coozie.
Umbrella: $2.60 each/ 2000
laundry bags: $2.34/100; $4.29/250; $5.79/250
First Aid kits: $7.25/150; $7.05/500
Mouse pads: high tech, low tech
Ultra bright LED key chain: projects Stanford logo $4.25/1000
Beer coozie: $5.88/250;
John: Mouse pad/first aid were poorly received.
Paul: I like the laundry bag.
John: Laundry was well received.
Kristina: I’d worry the umbrellas would fall apart.
Tom: Umbrella’s not as universal as the other items, some people bike.
Jenny: Which laundry bag do people like?
John: The bottom two are nylon the top one is cotton.
Tom: Go for the larger bag.
Shireen: The larger bag means longer lines at the laundry machines.
John: Conclusion, we like the laundry bags, the larger one is better. People will use them for their entire time here. But the cheaper one is half the price so we’d get twice the mileage
Tom: Have you looked into USBs? On another note, my bottle is falling apart.
John: I’ll look into the USB’s and into the lights more.
Transportation Funding Request:
Paul: Moving on to Transportation. Aaron and Martin, can you sort it into three sections history, plan of action, what you are asking for and then deal with questions?
Aaron: Sure, we recently met with met with Brodie Hamilton, the head of parking and transportation; he was receptive and wants to have fewer cars on campus both for environmental purposes and the GUP. We presented results from the survey which was from students on the grad commute list and the grad events list who participated. In the results from the survey, which were the same as the results I talked about last time, we see about the same interest in the go pass for next year as in the go-pass this year (1100). The most important details from the meeting was they want to know how many students are going to be taking their cars to campus if Go-Pass is not renewed. They also want to know if we have come up with more ways to fund it. They are fairly solid that P&T not going to come up with funds for the Go-Pass. The survey results we presented to them showed 307 of the people who responded to the survey would drive to campus if the GO-Pass was not available. These numbers are significant to P&T because of the GUP. They GUP gives Stanford a hard ceiling that they can’t go over or they will have to pay for road improvements. P&T also had their own survey that showed a decrease in the number of cars on campus and an increase in the number of students using the GO-Pass to commute to school although they are not ready to say there is a causal relationship.
Adam: Why wouldn’t people just continue to take the train?
Aaron: There is a thin line between how much people will pay for the go-pass before they will just buy a parking pass. The margin that determines if people will use the pass is something we tried to find out in the survey we designed.
Dirk: It’s about $10 to drive from San Francisco to Stanford.
Aaron: Not everyone who uses the go-pass is from San Francisco; I don’t have the break down in front of me. There seems to be strong support for the GO-Pass.
Martin: I will talk about the future of the GO-Pass. The central idea is that we would like to get the GO-Pass for 2007 and so the main problem becomes how we fund it. We plan to have a meeting with the provost to ask for the money. We feel our position is strengthened if we come in saying we have money from the Deans and from the GSC. The university seems willing to pay a large amount per staff to not drive and so will hopefully be supportive of the program.
Aaron: This is something that also came out of the meeting with Brodie Hamilton. We are also trying to make the GO-Pass just as cheap as the cost from staff by putting money into the GO-Pass.
Martin: We also have an opportunity to put another measure on the ballot. Last year it wasn’t passed but we could put it on the ballot we think it might pass this year. If we don’t do something in 2007 then any momentum we have for the go-pass will fall off. We are asking again for money for 2007 to keep the program going.
Tom: One thing that I’ve noticed is that the construction is taking out a lot of the parking, in particular c spots, and this might be forcing students to drive earlier, during peak hours.
Shireen: Do all votes happen on the same day or can we move it to another day?
Tom: We have the power to do that, but it might not be a good idea. It’s hard enough to get people out to vote on one day.
Aaron: We are coming to the GSC with a proposal to fund it to a sustainable measure. This time we think we can get money from the provost again by saying how many people are using the GO-Pass.
Paul: Do you have plans to talk to the provost in the next week?
Paul: Are you in any rush to get out of here?
Paul: Let’s continue this discussion after the VPGE.
VPGE Presentation and Discussion
Jenny: We want to thank you for coming; This is Gail Mahood, Roberta Katz, and Mark Horowitz. They are going to give us an update as to where we are at.
Roberta Katz: You have 2/3 of the new office here. Patty, the new VPGE is on sabbatical. My job, I work in President Hennessey’s office and am the chief agent on interdisciplinary programs. Mark started working on the commission on graduate education. Gail has been working for Artie as the associate dean for grad student policy. Now they will both the associate Deans working with Patty. Patty will definitely want to come again to meet with you in January. Mark do you want to go first?
Mark: I am the associate Vice Provost for Special Programs. I’m primarily here to answer questions and bring them back to Patty. We are interested in finding out what programs you think will be useful. Last year I reported on the commission’s report and asked what you would like to say. Right now I’m interested in getting programs that will get both students and faculty on board. The biggest thing I’m working is the graduate student summer institute. I’ll talk a little about how that went: it was a success and I’m interested in what you think. I’m trying to launch some interdisciplinary skills classes and reorganize the institute to make it easy to take these classes. I am also getting faculty together so they can talk about these programs. Also trying to find people who will teach new courses.
We are talking to the GSC, the Grad student life office, and the career development centers on how we can coordinate these activities. We are also working with the alumni association, some alumni are interested in mentoring graduate students and some graduate students are interested in non-academic mentors. We are trying to set that up. There is a Science and Engineering Graduate Women’s Association, we are trying to facilitate in whatever way we can.
Back to the interdisciplinary institute. The law school is interested in interdisciplinary programs and has launched five new classes for this quarter. Also there is one in the GSB, the interpersonal dynamics class which teaches people skills and group dynamics, we are launching a couple sessions this year. There is also something called iwrite that gets people to write and talk to people who don’t know about what you do. The main event was the Summer Stanford Grad institute. There were three classes, entrepreneurship, design thinking, genetics, everyone who went thought it was a great experience. The faculty also thought it was a great idea and so willing to do it again. the Entrepreneurship and the design class will possibly be offered again this summer, genetics maybe offered once every other year.
Tom: I have a suggestion; since the touchy feely class, the interpersonal dynamics class, is always overfull maybe more classes should be offered. Maybe if we have it as a two week kind of thing then maybe people who can’t do it during the school year could attend.
Gail: I’ll just tell you some of the projects I’ve been working on. One is the issue of Stanford diversity. I’ve also worked on exit surveys and funding issues. I will be giving a report at the senate on graduate student diversity where we will be presenting data by department about changes. We will also talk about some of the programs to try and change the numbers. We are trying a new way of doing graduate student admit weekend. This year we are trying two experiments. The Bio department invited people they knew about to meet the Dean. I was very aggressive. People seemed to enjoy it and wished that they could stay longer. We are getting ready to do another one on February 23. We are trying to get them to come earlier and think about Stanford earlier. They will be having a lunch with the Deans and a dinner with the President. We will extend the offer of $500 to professors that want to bring students to visit who will change diversity of the university. Last year it was not used as much as I’d like. This year I will try and advertise more. The president and the dean of research have funded these programs. They are also funding a program the Walker program in physics. We are trying to put together under represented minorities undergrads and graduate students to encourage undergraduates to go onto graduate student careers. On of the things that came out of this school was that the numbers were small and we were trying to change this by changing small departments. What we really need to do is change the large programs like physics and engineering. The Pres has agreed to fund the alumni dinner where we bring in accomplished alum to fund diversity programs.
The Nation Academy of Scientists is starting a once a decade assessment of PhD programs. The last one was in 1994 and we are now going through it again. Some of the students will be surveyed. Specifically students from Mechanical Engineering, English, and neurosciences. We are collecting a huge amount of data from faculty on who they supervise. One thing that comes out is how much interdisciplinary research happens that we don’t necessarily trumpet. It’s a high stake thing that needs to be done.
Another thing that I’ll be doing is analyzing the results of the exit survey. We just got back the results from the second year of the survey. The exit survey is a survey that is put out to every student who submits their thesis. The initial results showed differential in funding issues and how satisfied students were with their funding. There are all sorts of questions on life style. The international students are happiest group by far. Some differences based on men and women and ethnicity.
Alex: Does it capture students who leave before finished?
Gail: This doesn’t capture those students; this is solely for people who have graduated.
Regarding funding issues. I’ve been working on SGF’s making sure we are tracking student better. We are trying to go back to how SGF’s used to be where half of the money went to new students for recruiting and old students for continuing. The result is you’ll see more second and third year students receiving SGF’s.
We’ve also negotiated with equivalent of the Mexican NSF to give Mexican nationals funding for their first three years at Stanford. They will pay for tuition but we still need to get money for stipends.
I’m also working with biosciences where they’ve capped the tuition grants. We’ve found a way to stop gap that funding so we won’t see a crash in the number of students being accepted into the biosciences programs.
We are Largely rethinking model for tuition structure for grad students. There is no rational reason why tuition should be the same model for graduate students as for undergraduates so I’ve been working on a variety of models to improve the structure. One would make it easier to support grad students on NSF’s, because we pay you a large amount; it costs $60 000 per year to support graduate students. We need to find a way to make it cheaper to support students. I would like to create a structure for students to advice to candidacy faster.
Some new off campus rate lower than the current TGR rate that would benefit students who are not on campus to find. Heather Farkus was a grad student who pushed this. This is something that we can hopefully implement this in the next year that doesn’t require redoing whole structure. We are trying to make it revenue neutral.
Jenny: Thanks for going through this, it is exciting to see what is going on.
Tom: Chair of my departments made a comment the other day regarding diversity. He said I would love more women in my department. Find me a way to fund them so that I can say come here and Stanford will take care of everything. How can we help him?
Gail: We need to put pressure on all fronts; many of these departments do have resources it’s just a matter of where you prioritize. I’ve often been told that this is a hard thing to raise money for. I think that’s not true at the grad level. I think there are people out there who would be very sympathetic to this issue.
Roberta: As more programs better defined. The SGF 2’s will be $100 million of new potential money. What works on the donations side is ideas, that’s the whole point of these initiatives. What’s selling is ideas, what money is used for is stipends.
Tom: We recently met with donors who said they would love to hire Stanford graduates but can’t because they are not Americans. One thought was to generate more engineering graduates that are citizens. Maybe way to package it is here is as a way to get a domestic crop of engineers.
Roberta: I know Gail didn’t mention this but another thought is to go lower in the pipe-line to get students in to graduate education.
Jenny: One thing we thought of was to have a large town hall/small dinners to launch VPGE to get students to make sure their voices are heard.
Gail: Try to make an appointment with Patty now to start.
Mark: Is a large town hall more effective or is are small dinners more effective?
Jenny: We haven’t done a lot of large meetings, we mostly have small dinners.
Paul: If we have a town hall that was more of a presentation and follow that up with smaller dinners to have communication with students.
Roberta: It would be great to have input from the GSC at this meeting as well.
Gail: You can’t expect her to express her vision for everything on Jan 6th. You might want to give her a chance to put her feet on the ground first. The other thing we could do is get her to listen early on and then do a presentation later.
Maxim: Almost 40% of grad students are international students. How are you going to address their issues? Throughout the university there is admin staff who don’t know about international issues but assume they know everything. It’s particularly important for international students.
Mark: There are a whole set of issues there were a few who spent a few months waiting for visas to arise. What are the issues that need to be addressed?
Maxim: Things that employees can address.
Mark: What is one of the things?
Maxim: They need strict instruction; the only place that can deal with international issues is international center.
Mark: I completely agree with you but I can tell people whatever I want, but they might not listen.
Maxim: Many international students don’t realize that they cannot be treated so badly by admin staff.
Roberta: If there are issues that are common it would be helpful for the students if we know about them and can deal with them.
Mark: Then we can think about programs such as informing the grad students about what there rights are.
Roberta: in the 90’s there was a graduate division here. Before than it was centralized, now we’ve operated for 10 years with a lot of holes. Because of nature of graduate education, which is decentralized, we need suggestions from you on what you need.
Martin: We don’t often learn about how to talk to others about research or about educating people. There are lots of courses on effective teaching methods/effective power points and would be very interesting.
Roberta: We were at a meeting with new k-12 programs that is also interested in that.
Jenny: A couple of questions that I have are: there are two associate vice provosts, will there be other associate vice provosts?
Mark: I hope not, the office needs to figure out which direction we are going. Getting small number of people together works well, more people will make it more difficult.
Roberta: Patty at this point doesn’t intend to bring on more people.
Mark: What are your concerns?
Jenny: We had a presentation of our vision where one person was working on programming, one person was working on diversity and so on. We are also want to know where you are housed.
Roberta: As of today they all have offices in the ** building.
Gail: I’ll spend some time there every week but I don’t know where I’ll be all the time.
Jenny: What is the size of the budget, can we go to the VPGE as a funding source? How can we get involved with the office and be informed?
Mark: You worrying about the size of budget may not be the best way to go. If you have really good ideas come to us and we’ll try and make our budget bigger. In terms of getting involved we are really interested in learning things that you have to say. If you have ideas about potential successful programs we will be happy to get involved. My email is horowitz@stanford.
Gail: We are going to start small and grow organically as the job is defined. Part of this has to be defined because we’ve split the vice provost from the dean of research. There is going to be six months where we are working this out. Nothing is set in stone so those things you think we should put our efforts into we can really focus on in those first months and we won’t be bogged down by burocratic problems.
Roberta: We are setting up budget now. We are unwrapping the dean of grad research and taking some for the VPGE. The hope is that we will be able to do as much if not more for grad education than we have done for undergrad education.
Tom: One problem we have is getting people to do more than just toss out ideas and to actually get their hands dirty. Do you have budget for paid staff or committee who will work on student issues? Are you going to having a NomCom committee? That has to be flushed out.
Mark: I have been telling people that I will get money to help out. In any of these programs I will make sure that it doesn’t cost you to do the work but you won’t get rich. The same applies to students.
Maxim: By cost do you mean money or power. By power I mean that students have a lot of ideas but don’t have permission.
M: I can run interference and can give funds so you don’t go broke but I may not listen to you either.
Maxim: For example if a student wants to reserve a room he is just small student. But the president of university can get the room. That’s what I mean.
Paul: It helps for all of us to see your faces.
Mark: If you don’t bring anything forward to this office we can’t implement them. Tell us what the problems are. We may think that we are addressing the problems but we may not know what the problems are.
Paul: We’ve got about 10 minutes left to discuss Parking and Transportation.
Martin: From survey, saw that we can ask for more money from students for Go Passes. Total revenue we generate will be higher until it turns over at high level. there is a limit we can ask for a go pass – the actual cost that go pass costs – $99.50. We could increase price to $150. We are committed to having it for 99.50 – we have to increase the prices, but have to get the most out of students to pick it up. $99.50 is equal to a one month pass for two zones on CalTrain. It’s a huge savings. Based on survey numbers, we investigated two scenarios of low versus high. We’re getting $30k from Deans from schools and preliminary earth sciences for $5k and law school will support it financially. We would like to get $35,000 from the GSC. The rest will need to come from office of the provost. If you divide the number we are asking of provost by the number of cars. We’re hoping that we are able to convince the provost to fund it at this level given the effect that the go pass will have. From 2004 when go pass was not available until 2006, the percentage of grad students using caltrain has doubled and we have a good case to make that we can increase that even more in 2007.
Paul: Let’s open it up to questions now.
Maxim: Is it open to on-campus?
Martin: No. The University is required to pay for passes for all grad student population.
Dirk: First in 2005 there were 2000 in 2006 there were 1100. Going by the number there are 750. Why the drop?
Martin: In 2005 it was free. In 2007 the number drops because students charged. As the price increases the price drops.
Dirk: If you charged $150.
Aaron: Caltrain will consider it a contractual infraction to charge more than Stanford pays per student.
Aaron: What the GSC money does is express a commitment that the GSC is supporting the GO Pass.
Dirk: Two other quick questions, what was vote. And why are there ranges for the provost?
Tom: It was 58%, it needed 67%.
Martin: This is the range from provost accounts for revenue from sale of the go-pass.
Aaron: From the survey we think that 1100 people picking it up is the number of people who will pick it up.
Dirk: You are saying 1100?
Martin: We were saying that the number here is conservative. A lot of them were committed to buying it again.
George: I can’t see the ballot measure being more successful. Provost want to see reduction in cost, he wants grad students to pay for it themselves.
Martin: The ballot measure that was proposed last year was the first time. We have more experience and have learned from the last time.
Aaron: If the provost is convinced that cost per student to university decreased, it’s more like $600/pass to be reduced.
George: Do you have plan to get something going for 2007 for the ballot measure?
Martin: Our fist step is getting funding, our next step is looking into o getting programs set up for the ballot. For instance there has been international students interested in getting transportation off campus to shop at international food markets. With a special fees ballot we would include that and add extra programs.
Aaron: There is the international food program as well as getting zip car to come back to campus we could move to a more appealing ballot measure.
Martin: For example, the idea of the zip car is low cost per student option.
Maxim: I have many friends who live on campus it looks like the prices of rent off campus are kind of cheaper than on campus. So the prices are cheaper and we in addition want to subsidize houses, so now it is becoming more financially profitably and so in some ways it seams not fair to on campus students.
Martin: I see what you are saying but, talking with Brodie Hamilton and he hasn’t seen a flight of students off campus. There is also off campus housing in mountain view.
George: I think by the time you factor in utilities it’s more expensive.
Tom: Regarding convenience factor, it’s still pretty inconvenient. my commute is about 1 hour every day, being able to bike 10 mins to class is a huge convenience and once you factor in those costs you end up costing more. We’ve found that it takes grad students a long time to warm up to ideas. Even creating GSC took some time, the first time it didn’t pass and so you need some time. If the economics are changing then we can adjust that number. if we can cut the number. if we go to a special fee versus a general fee that makes it more attractive.
Aaron: The focus on the budgetary side is to add programs that cost less.
Adam: I have a big problem with people who live far away. I think if the GUP is that close where grad students matter then the provost should pay for it. I think there is still huge issues with on campus and off campus students. But that is not my main objection.
Tom: One thing that we’ve advertised is you can pay for it with less trips.
Adam: I live 15 miles away and it takes me a long time to get here . I think anything that we do to encourage students to live off campus is a bad thing and detracts from the time they spend working on their education.
Martin: Brodie Hamilton never articulated the fear that if we keep the GO-Pass students will move off campus.
Donna: Have you thought about surveying people on campus to see who has cars. If you gave me discounts on gas I might sign up. Or possibly a party bus to san Francisco on Friday nights. You should advertise that.
Aaron: The fact that the GSC didn’t even know what was on the ballot shows what a poor job we did advertising it last year.
Donna: You were targeting people who don’t have cars.
Matt: For the long term sustainability they get approval rating of 66-67% but refund rate is 4% a refund rate. I think having money for buffer is important.
Tom: Justin said he didn’t see a difference in the number of the students who asked for a refund with the size of the fee.
Kristina: The budget last year had room worked in for a buffer.
Paul: We are running out of time. We don’t necessarily have time to bring it to a vote otherwise can we take the motion to look at it again in the next week.
George: Where does money come from?
Paul: We certainly have money to do this.
Fen: We’ve been looking at places for the formal. We’ve looked at a mansion, the Fairmont, the Hyatt, and the Marriott. The Fairmont wants to know by the end of this week. The Hayes mansion was fairly flexible. If people want to look at this we have information here.
Paul: Can we adjourn and let people go and whoever wants to stay can talk about this after the meeting.