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Task force formed to re-envision Stanford’s undergraduate residential experience

By Elaine C. Ray

Provost Persis Drell has convened a task force to develop a comprehensive vision for the undergraduate residential experience. The ResX Task Force, one of the first initiatives to evolve out of the Long-Range Planning process, will be made up of faculty, senior university leaders and students. Susie Brubaker-Cole, vice provost for student affairs, and Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education, will serve as co-chairs of the task force.

“The vision President Marc Tessier-Lavigne unveiled during his Annual Address to the Academic Council included an initiative to develop a comprehensive plan for residential education,” said Brubaker-Cole. “Our residences should be thriving learning communities that foster a firm and abiding sense of belonging.  Many people have shared with me how important it is for the task force to articulate, first and foremost, the overarching vision for undergraduate residences.  This vision will be essential to guiding future directions for the many components the undergraduate residential experience,” Brubaker-Cole added.   

There will be multiple opportunities for student input into the process, and students are urged to monitor email for announcements about town halls and other forums for contributing to the task force’s work. 

The task force is charged with examining the arc of the four years of a student’s undergraduate degree and the ideal relationship between classroom and out-of-class learning. The committee will then determine the best structures to achieve the vision and goals, including:

  • The ideal housing configurations for first-year students, such as all-frosh dorms vs four-class residences or frosh/sophomore arrangements;
  • The ideal neighborhood concept that prioritizes community belonging and defines the optimal balance of students, common spaces, dining and other resources;
  • The ideal staffing structures, including roles for faculty, professional and student staff;
  • The ideal housing assignment processes for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors that support the university’s vision and goals;
  • Finally, the Task Force is charged with formulating recommendations for governance structures and approaches that will support near and long-term realization of the vision and goals.

Members of the task force include:

Sarah Billington, professor of civil and environmental engineering;

Bryan Brown, associate professor of education, associate dean for student affairs in the Graduate School of Education, resident fellow in Meier and Naranja;

Angela Filo, member of the Stanford Board of Trustees;

Phillip Malone, professor of law and a former resident fellow in Otero;

Jesse Rogers, co-founder and managing director of Altamont Capital Partners, a private equity firm.

Elaine Treharne, professor of English and a resident fellow in Ng House;

Ravi Vakil, professor of mathematics;

Jamil Zaki, assistant professor of psychology;

Two undergraduate students, Neel Guha and Kamina Wilkerson, also will serve on the task force.