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Task Forces

Photograph of assorted staff placing their hands together to symbolize team work in JPG format.

During the summer of 2018, task forces for Our Most Important Work are being formed. The task forces will begin their work together in the fall of 2018.  A survey has been sent to Student Affairs staff soliciting interest in this work. The survey is available at this link

IDEAL and the Equity and Inclusion Task Force

The university has launched the IDEAL Initiative design team, and Student Affairs will play an important role. The initiative is one component of President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s new vision for the future of Stanford, which he shared with the campus community in May. IDEAL stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access in a Learning Community, and it will subsume Student Affair’s Equity and Inclusion Task Force. 

IDEAL is comprised of four systems (major categories for action): recruitment, engagement, research and instruction. Provost Persis Drell, the IDEAL project manager, has asked that Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole lead the engagement system. By engagement, we mean an individual’s campus experience from orientation through graduation, retirement, etc. We are dividing the engagement system into five areas: undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff.

The following individuals will play leadership roles:

  • Faith Kazmi (Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Women’s Community Center) will lead our undergraduate work.
  • Chris Gonzalez-Clarke (Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Education) and Sofie Kleppner (Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs) will lead the graduate and postdoctoral groups, respectively.
  • Karen Cook (Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity) and Elizabeth Zacharias (Vice President for Human Resources) will lead the faculty and staff pieces, respectively.

Next steps include populating the sub-groups; inventorying relevant, on-going work; identifying gaps, redundancies and needs; and exploring existing and needed metrics. We welcome your input and partnership.

Community and Belonging Task Force

Co-chairs:  Jennifer Calvert,  assistant vice provost for strategy and assessment, and Cheryl Brown, director of Frosh 101.

  • Challenge - Surveys suggest that many students feel a lack of belonging within the Stanford community.  Undergraduates’ satisfaction with the climate for racial and ethnic minorities on campus has steadily declined over the last several years.
  • Divisional Goal - Foster experiences, relationships and environments that ensure that every student feels a firm and abiding sense of belonging and contributes to the good of our community.
  • Task Force Charge - Design a comprehensive divisional strategy to address the articulated challenges for community and belonging.  Create policies, frameworks and tool kits related to your aims that can be propagated across the division and adapted to fit local contexts.  Note that you are not being asked to define all details of the solution to the community and belonging challenge; rather, you are responsible for defining a clear, coherent, division-wide pathway to the solution that will empower people across the division to contribute in aligned, meaningful ways.   

Process Expectations

  • Evidence based methodology (improvement science, design thinking, etc). 
  • Engage the division and students:  Each group will create opportunity points for the broader division and students to engage in the process (open discussions, surveys, SA forums, etc).
  • Action:  Each group should design opportunities for short term action and long-term planning.

Membership - Team needs to be multi-disciplinary to include members familiar with all the different parts of the area or topic.  Including managers with broad scope who are able to design systemic interventions for impact and local front-line staff who can articulate the individual experience.  Student membership is essential. 

Mental Health and Well-being Task Force

Co-chairs:  James R. Jacobs,  associate vice provost and executive director of Vaden Health Center, and Ken Hsu, assistant vice provost and director, Graduate Life Office

  • Challenge - Many undergraduates enter Stanford with low or vulnerable mental health and well-being.  This worsens at Stanford and a sense of feeling overwhelmed is particularly pronounced for our first-generation college students.
  • Divisional Goal - Develop and strengthen the foundational conditions that support students to be engaged, powerful learners.
  • Task Force Charge - Design a comprehensive university-wide strategy to address student flourishing as a surrogate for mental health and well-being.  Create policies, frameworks and toolkits related to your aims that can be propagated across the institution and adapted to fit local contexts.  Note that you are not being asked to define all details of the solution to the flourishing and well-being challenge; rather, you are responsible for defining a clear, coherent  pathway to the solution that will empower people across the institution to contribute in aligned, meaningful ways.   

Process Expectations

  • Evidence based methodology (improvement science, design thinking, etc). 
  • Engage the division and students:  Each group will create opportunity points for the broader division and students to engage in the process (open discussions, surveys, Student Affairs forums, etc).
  • Action - Each group should design opportunities for short-term action and long-term planning.

Membership - Team needs to be multi-disciplinary to include members familiar with all the different aspects of the area or topic.  Including managers with broad scope who are able to design systemic interventions for impact and local front-line staff who can articulate the individual experience.  Student membership is essential. 

Integrative Learning Task Force

Co-chairs:  Jan Barker-Alexander, assistant vice provost for student affairs and chair of community centers, and Sharon Palmer, associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

  • Challenge - There is unrealized potential to connect the realms of learning and development across domains of Stanford’s educational landscape.  Integrated learning currently occurs too often through chance than through intention and careful design.
  • Divisional Goal - Enhance opportunities for students to engage in purposeful learning that is mutually enhancing with the classroom and Stanford’s core educational principles.
  • Task Force Charge - Design a comprehensive university strategy to address the articulated challenges for integrative learning.  Create policies, frameworks and toolkits related to your aims that can be propagated across the university and adapted to fit local contexts.  Note that you are not being asked to define all details of the solution to the integrative learning challenge; rather, you are responsible for defining a clear, coherent, division-wide pathway to the solution that will empower people across the division to contribute in aligned, meaningful ways.   

Process Expectations

  • Evidence based methodology (improvement science, design thinking, etc).  
  • Engage the division and students:  Each group will create opportunity points for the broader division and students to engage in the process (open discussions, surveys, Student Affairs forums, etc).
  • Action:  Each group should design opportunities for short-term action and long-term planning.

Membership - Team needs to be multi-disciplinary to include members familiar with all the different aspects of the area or topic.  Including managers with broad scope who are able to design systemic interventions for impact and local front-line staff who can articulate the individual experience.  Student membership is essential.