From the Neighborhood | College students and postdocs are wanted on the provost search committee

Persis Drell simply introduced she might be stepping down as provost after six years. For those who’re something like a few of the folks I talked to, your response was ‘what the heck is a provost?’

The provost is the chief tutorial and price range officer. For our College group, lecturers is clearly vastly necessary as one of many main ties that bind us collectively. However the price range for the multi-billion greenback enterprise that’s Stanford College is fiercely difficult, too, making the yearly accountability required to maintain the College operating one thing of a Herculean job. The affect the provost has on everybody within the College is exemplified by the veritable military of excessive stage directors who report on to the Workplace of the Provost.

A central tenet of democracy, to which our College management has a acknowledged dedication, is that individuals impacted by a choice should have a say in that call. Given the affect the provost has on everybody within the College group, it’s crucial that the faculty-led search committee have voices and illustration from throughout the College. Particularly, there ought to be illustration from the undergraduate, graduate scholar and postdoctoral scholar populations at a minimal. These committee members ought to have voting seats as required for true illustration. 

Stanford has a acknowledged dedication to shared governance. Current actions have referred to as that dedication into query for some members of our group. Proactively together with scholar and postdoc illustration within the necessary job of selecting a brand new provost for our College is a step that would assist start to restore the damaged belief. It could additionally align with a particular suggestion from the latest Lengthy Vary Planning Report produced by the Stanford College Postdoctoral Affiliation (SURPAS). College management should embody broad illustration on the provost search committee. 

Tim MacKenzie is a postdoc within the genetics division at Stanford College.