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Subcommittee on Writing and Oral Communication

This subcommittee will review Stanford's goals for undergraduate writing and oral communication within the overall structure and fabric of undergraduate education. It will examine closely both existing data on student writing and oral communication at Stanford and a broad range of student experience with the current requirement. It will also meet with departments, programs, and their representatives to learn what they expect from their students' writing and what they provide by way of further writing training and experience. The committee will consider carefully all aspects of current instruction in writing and oral communication at Stanford, but its focus is not limited to a program review: more broadly, it aims to understand the dynamic conditions affecting our students' writing and communication needs before, during, and after their time at Stanford and to articulate possibilities for meeting those needs at the levels of both general education and the major.


Jennifer Summit, Chair (English)* 
Christine Alfano (Program in Writing and Rhetoric) 
Doree Allen (Center for Teaching and Learning) 
Scott Calvert (Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education)* 
Krista Lawlor (Philosophy) 
Tanya Luhrmann (Anthropology) 
Susan McConnell (Biology)* 
Josiah Ober (Classics/Political Science) 
Claude Reichard (Technical Writing Program) 
Eric Roberts (Computer Science) 
Claire Woodard (Comparative Literature, ’12)

Subcommittee on Residential and Co-Curricular Learning

The subcommittee is tasked to think broadly about how and where students learn beyond the traditional classroom. It will assess current and alternate models of curricular and co‐curricular learning with particular emphasis on residential education and service learning (including community service and internships). We will explore the roles of residence‐based and co‐curricular learning in:

  • Encouraging self‐reflection and in discovering and exploring cross‐disciplinary intersections.
  • Student development from the freshman experience to the declaration and pursuit of majors.
  • Fostering citizenship in the context of residential communities (including residential staff, leadership in student groups, etc.).
  • Supporting peer learning (including student-initiated courses, programs and activities).
  • Bridging between the lecture hall and the residence, and between summer research, September term programs (Arts Intensives, Sophomore College, etc.), academic quarters, and inter‐session breaks (Arts Immersion Spring Break, Alternative Spring Break, etc.).
  • Educational breadth (with the assumption that every Stanford student should be exposed to, and engage with diverse cultural and artistic experiences), and depth (supporting undergraduate research and creativity in their designated areas of specialization).


Jonathan Berger, Chair (Music)* 
Alexander Berger (Philosophy, ’11) 
James Campbell (History)* 
William Durham (Anthropology) 
Deborah Golder (Residential Education)

Nadeem Hussain (Philosophy) 
Linda Paulson (Continuing Studies) 
Debra Satz (Philosophy) 
Philip Taubman (President’s Office) 
Gail Wight (Art) 
LaCona Woltmon (Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education)* 
Robert Zimbroff (History, ’12)

Subcommittee on the Freshman Year

The subcommittee will focus on the role of the freshman year in advancing the fundamental aims of a liberal education, guided by an interconnected set of more specific questions. What intellectual tools, skills, and experiences do first year students need if they are to take full advantage of what the university has to offer? How should we deliver them? (For example, should there be a required first year course (or courses), and if so, what should their character be?) What kinds of common experience(s) are important to solidify our broad educational goals for first year students? What relations should we establish between first year studies and residential life? Finally, what is the relation between the work of the freshman year and students’ subsequent development as individuals, including not only their further studies, but also their wider life during and after their Stanford careers (for example, how should we promote engagement in service, readiness for overseas experiences, foundations for lifelong learning and personal development, etc.)?


Lanier Anderson, Chair (Philosophy)* 
Aysha Bagchi (Philosophy/History, ’11)* 
James Campbell (History)* 
Charlotte Fonrobert (Religious Studies) 
James Gross (Psychology) 
Julie Lythcott-Haims (Undergraduate Advising and Research) 
Brad Osgood (Electrical Engineering) 
Ramón Saldívar (English/Comparative Literature) 
Robert Waymouth (Chemistry)

Subcommittee on Beyond the Freshman Year

The subcommittee will consider education beyond the freshman year programs, focusing on synthesis, integration, and reflection. We will doubtless discuss existing requirements, but will also think more broadly and creatively. The issues we choose to discuss are up to us, but may include the following: How do we encourage students to be involved with the creation of new knowledge? How should the majors interact with a student's "general education"? How can advising work most effectively? What can we do to encourage exploration and sustained reflection among our students? How can we reduce academic stress and other pressures on students' mental health? What programs tried elsewhere might work at Stanford, given the distinctive character of its faculty and students?


Ravi Vakil, Chair (Math)* 
Lanier Anderson (Philosophy)* 
Thomas Ehrlich (Education) 
Michele Elam (English) 
Andrea Goldsmith (Electrical Engineering) 
Hari Manoharan (Physics) 
Scotty McLennan (Religious Life) 
John Shoven (Economics) 
Mike Tomz (Political Science) 
Nayoung Woo (Chemistry, ’12)*

Subcommittee on Breadth

How do we prepare students with the specialized skills they need to succeed in their chosen majors and professions while also honoring the commitment made in Stanford’s Founding Grant to offer “studies and exercises directed to the cultivation and enlargement of the mind”? How do we equip students with a breadth of vision and sense of an interconnected world, and help them to appreciate the wonders of the world around them? There are several essential components of our considerations:

  • The interplay between various requirements.
  • The current system of requirements at Stanford.
  • Requirements at other universities.
  • Methods of encouraging breadth, including requirements.
  • Appropriate level of sophistication.
  • Evaluation (e.g., graded vs. ungraded) and how best to encourage risk-taking and exploration.
  • The challenge of students’ differential preparation.
  • Implementation mechanisms, including certification.


Christopher Edwards, Chair (Mechanical Engineering)* 
Carol Boggs (Human Biology) 
James Chu (Human Biology, Honors in Education, ’11) 
Dan Edelstein (French and Italian) 
Zephyr Frank (History) 
Caroline Hoxby (Economics) 
Stephanie Kalfayan (Provost’s Office)* 
Kathryn Moler (Applied Physics/Physics)* 
Kristine Samuelson (Art) 
Jennifer Wolochow (Philosophy and Religious Studies, ’10; MA ’11) 
Mark Zoback (Geophysics)

Subcommittee on Education for Citizenship

What capacities and competencies do Stanford students need to participate as responsible and creative citizens in a global world? Where and how do students best learn and exercise these capacities in their academic program, in their co-curricular endeavors (e.g. Haas Center), in their residential lives? What can Stanford do to structure and support such learning? The subcommittee will generate and consider several new models of education for citizenship and will also assess the current Education for Citizenship general education requirement.


Rob Reich, Chair (Political Science)* 
Albert Camarillo (History) 
Prudence Carter (Education) 
Heather Hadlock (Music) 
Catherine Heaney (Psychology/Medicine) 
Julie Kennedy (Earth Systems)* 
James Nelson (Biology) 
Sharon Palmer (Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education)* 
Eli Pollak (Engineering, ’12) 
Stephen Stedman (Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies)

Subcommittee on Student Learning

This subcommittee will address a range of questions about how student learning might be improved at Stanford. Some of these questions will be broad-ranging and include: How and where do Stanford students currently learn? Is there value to and are there ways to help students make connections between their classes and between academic, extra-curricular and residential activities? How might we better align student and faculty goals and expectations for education? What are the possibilities (and potential perils) of using new technologies in the classroom? What can we do to encourage exploration and sustained reflection among our students? Other questions are more specific: Are there better alternatives to the standard lecture format? What are the limitations of existing instructional facilities and what must we do to improve them? Can we rationalize the existing system of course scheduling that often compels students to select their course based on time slot rather than interest?


Sarah Billington, Chair (Civil and Environmental Engineering)* 
Mark Applebaum (Music) 
Tom Black (Registrar’s Office) 
Taylor Cone (Mechanical Engineering, ’10; MS ’11) 
Richard Holeton (Academic Computing) 
Jonathan Levin (Economics) 
Michele Marincovich (Center for Teaching and Learning) 
Nadia Mufti (International Relations, ’11) 
Sharon Palmer (Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education)* 
Rob Reich (Political Science)* 
Sheri Sheppard (Mechanical Engineering) 
Sam Wineburg (Education)