Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 88.00
Liaison Sam Lubow
Submission Date Feb. 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
PA-3: Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.25 / 3.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
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Do the institution’s students have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a student council)? :

Do the institution’s students have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which students are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

Students serve on over 50 University Committees, including five committees of Stanford's Board of Trustees. These include the Board of Trustees Committee on Alumni and External Affairs, the Board of Trustees Committee on Development, the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, the Board of Trustees Committee on Land and Buildings, and the Board of Trustees Committee on Globalization. Additionally, all Board of Trustee members are Stanford alumni.

The Nominations Commission (NomCom), which is a branch of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) and is composed of 7 students from the undergraduate and graduate populations, is responsible for nominating students as voting members to university committees, Stanford Board of Trustee committees, and the Stanford Student Enterprises board of directors. NomCom has a direct impact on issues across the university through the students they nominate to committees. The term for the 7 NomCom members begins at the start of winter quarter and runs through the end of the next fall quarter. https://associatedstudents.stanford.edu/leadership/nominations-commission

The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is over 110 years old and is the only organization at Stanford of which every student is automatically a member. The ASSU provides funding to over 500 volunteer student organizations (VSO). These organizations in turn provide the majority of cultural, political, recreational and religious programming for the entire campus. The financial independence that the ASSU affords student organizations is one of the founding principles of the organization.

The ASSU also works to represent the interests, needs and perspectives of Stanford students at every level of decision making within the university. They advocate on behalf of Stanford students on issues such as the cost of living, diversity, student life and student activities. Each year the ASSU strives to innovate new projects and create new services that will improve the quality of student life at Stanford.

The ASSU is represented by legislative bodies (the Undergraduate Senate and the Graduate Student Council), an Executive branch, an Enterprise Component, and many other bodies. Each body handles a respective function but with significant overlaps. Loosely:
• The legislative branch facilitates the operation of student groups, managing the funding process for almost any event on campus
• The executive branch holds the improvement of student life and welfare as paramount, through self-initiated programming and support of individual student endeavors
• Stanford Student Enterprises ensures the long-term financial viability and independence of the Association and facilitates numerous student jobs and organizational reimbursements

Visit these sites for more details about ASSU's legislative bodies:

Do the institution’s staff members have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a staff council)?:

Do the institution’s non-supervisory staff members have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which staff are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

The University Management Group (UMG) is comprised of all administrative deans at the university and is charged with making decisions regarding the university's business processes. All staff members at Stanford are encouraged to participate in the Team for Improving Productivity at Stanford (TIPS), which reports to the University Management Group. At the least, administrative deans from 27 departments on campus are required to appoint staff members to this team, which is an open forum that:

1) Serves as a catalyst for communicating information to all staff.
2) Collaborates, raises awareness, influences and provides advice to enhance productivity across campus.
3) Supports successful and effective development and implementation of business processes.
4) Provides opportunities for leadership development to all Stanford staff.

The objectives of the TIPS group are to:

1) Provide a forum for staff who seek information and advice about Stanford programs and services.
2) Provide an opportunity for open discussion and the exchange of ideas about topics of interest.
3) Stay current and be informed about business operations and communicate information to and from business process owners and end users.
4) Provide a voice for user-level input and constructive feedback through identification, development, and implementation of University business processes.
5) Partner with other University groups in the identification, development, and implementation of policies, processes, and systems supporting Stanford business practices.
6) Engage staff to participate in Working Groups* focused on specific business processes, policies, and tools.
7) Bridge communication between staff and University Management Group (UMG).

The UMG/TIPS Liaison from each group is responsible for incorporating the feedback from the TIPS group by attending meetings, reviewing agendas, and soliciting additional input where necessary during the process of business and system development.

Additionally, Stanford embarked on a long-range planning effort in 2017 organized around key conceptual categories: education, research, our community, and beyond Stanford. The long-range planning effort began with the solicitation of proposals from all campus community members--including students, staff and faculty--between April and June 2017. A Sustainability Design team including faculty and staff will provide recommended actions to follow through on the proposals received. More information on the planning effort can be found here: https://planning.stanford.edu/
A total of 2,800 ideas were submitted, which were analyzed by area steering groups and synthesized into white papers in particular topic areas. The white paper on sustainability can be found here: https://planning.stanford.edu/papers/joint-paper-sustainability
After evaluation of the common themes by campus executive leadership, a vision for the university was announced in spring 2018. As part of this vision, Stanford announced two sustainability-related goals: 80 percent carbon-free by 2025 and zero waste by 2030. More information on Stanford's full vision can be found here: https://ourvision.stanford.edu/ Design teams comprising Stanford community members--including staff and faculty--were formed by topic area in Fall 2018 to execute Stanford's vision, including a Sustainability Design Team.

Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a faculty senate)?:

Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body? :

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which teaching and research faculty are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

The Faculty Senate is composed of 57 voting members serving staggered 2 year terms and 16 ex officio members. Standing guest seats are reserved for the student representatives, the Registrar, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Vice Provost of Faculty Development and Diversity and the Emeriti Council representative. The Chair, Vice Chair and Steering Committee members are elected from within the Senate body.

Members of the Academic Council are eligible to serve on the Senate and are placed in units based on school and discipline. Senators are elected annually by the Hare System of Proportional Representation; all Academic Council faculty may vote for faculty within their units. Elected Senators serve as free agents, not as representatives of a particular program, unit or school. The number of seats per unit is allocated relative to the size of the school and disciplines within that unit.

The Steering Committee is elected by the incoming Senate from a slate of Senators nominated by the Committee on Committees. One of the Steering Committee's first tasks is to appoint members of the incoming Senate to serve on the Committee on Committees. Each Board of Trustees subcommittee has at least one faculty member appointed via the Committee on Committees and the Nominations Committee.

Full Professors in the Academic Council are also elected to the Advisory Board, which handles the promotion and tenure of Academic Council faculty.

As mentioned above, Stanford faculty also participate in the newly formed Design Teams that will develop plans for execution of Stanford's new vision as part of the long-range planning process initiated in 2017.

Does the institution have written policies and procedures to identify and engage external stakeholders (i.e. local residents) in land use planning, capital investment projects, and other institutional decisions that affect the community?:

A copy of the written policies and procedures:
The policies and procedures:

The Project Development Process (PDP) manual explicitly outlines the steps for engaging with the local community when developing new projects. The plan first outlines the goals of the Department of Project Management: DPM will provide professional leadership to plan and develop high-value, quality, long-term cost-effective facilities and landscapes that enhance the academic mission of the university, embrace our partnership with our community, and reinforce our stewardship of Stanford lands. To that end, DPM endeavors to:

• Provide services with integrity and professionalism
• Communicate with internal stakeholders and consultants
• Lead project teams to successful outcomes
• Balance competing priorities of the various university stakeholders
• Approach project challenges with creativity, respecting the ideas of others
• Pursue the various goals of Stanford University

The PDP Manual then goes on to list tasks in each phase of the project, which each entail an element of the community plan.From start to finish, these steps include outline community outreach goals, outline community outreach plan, define community outreach plan, and refine community outreach plan. For each stage, there are recommended elements to include,such as land use planning, investment, impacts to the local community health and welfare, and impacts to community character. Many of these considerations are further detailed in Stanford's Sustainable Building Guidelines, available here: https://sustainable.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Stanford_sustainable_guidelines.

The policies and procedures outlined in the Project Development Process manual lead to the process outlined below. First, Stanford’s project team works with the Government & Community Relations team to develop a public participation scope of work which includes: identification of participating agencies, departments and community stakeholders; establishing public participation needs, goals and objectives; and finally confirming the regulatory outreach requirements if the project or program needs approval by a governmental body. Next a public participation strategy is developed that details what tools will be needed to engage the community. Some examples of these tools include earned media such as newspaper ads, social media engagement, direct mailers, emails, newsletters, dedicated project hotlines, printed materials/handouts, one on one interviews, public workshops or open houses, targeted focus groups, participation in special community events, government meetings or other community-based organization meetings. As the public participation strategy is implemented, stakeholder and public input is documented. This input is then taken back to the project team members and the project is modified in response to broad input. If the project requires approval from a government agency, it embarks on another set of regulatory requirements for public engagement which might include presenting the project or program at various government meetings (city councils, commissions, board of supervisors, etc.). Once the project is approved, or in some cases denied, by the governing agency, the various community stakeholders are notified of the final decision.

Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which community members representing the interests of the following stakeholder groups can regularly participate in institutional governance?:
Yes or No
Local government and/or educational organizations Yes
Private sector organizations Yes
Civil society (e.g. NGOs, NPOs) Yes

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which external stakeholders are engaged in institutional governance (including information about each stakeholder group selected above):

Under the provisions of the Founding Grant, the Board of Trustees is custodian of the endowment and all the properties of Stanford University. The board administers the invested funds, sets the annual budget and determines policies for operation and control of the university. Part of this control of the university includes guiding how land is used, which is often guided by collaboration with the local governments, private organizations and civil society. In fact, the university’s external engagement – with the region, nation and world – was a major focus of the February 2019 meetings of Stanford’s Board of Trustees. All members of the Board of Trustees are Stanford alumni. More information about the Board of Trustees and how it is engaging with external stakeholders is available at: https://boardoftrustees.stanford.edu/

The Office of Government and Community Relations serves as a formal liaison between Stanford and its neighboring communities by maintaining relations with numerous community-based organizations and individuals. Government and Community Relations supports campus-community efforts that contribute to the vitality of the greater community. More information on the bodies and mechanisms through which external stakeholders engage with Stanford’s governance is available at: http://govcr.stanford.edu/

Stanford has been operating under two key Santa Clara County entitlement documents: a Community Plan and a 2000 General Use Permit, or GUP. The Community Plan provides a set of rules and policies to guide the university’s land use planning over an extended period of time. The GUP implements those policies and includes specific conditions to minimize impacts of Stanford’s development. In 2016, Stanford began the application process to Santa Clara County for an updated 2018 General Use Permit to authorize the next phase of campus land use in the coming years. The process requires both internal examination of the university’s academic and space needs as well as consultation with neighbors and community partners. Stanford launched the community effort with three public open houses in early June 2016 to solicit input from residents of campus and neighboring communities. Throughout 2017 and 2018, Stanford held and participated in numerous community meetings and town hall events to inform the public about what is included in the application, the environmental documents and next steps in the process. Stanford staff continue to provide information about the 2018 GUP to community based organizations at their request. Additional information about the 2018 General Use Permit can be found here: https://gup.stanford.edu/

Since 1951, Stanford has held a formal partnership with the Stanford Research Park, a 700-acre piece of real estate located on Stanford’s land that Stanford devoted for corporate innovation after World War II. The Stanford Research Park now houses over 150 companies, comprising a diverse and thriving community of entrepreneurs and innovators, many of whom are Stanford graduates and/or participate in Stanford’s governance in various ways. The Stanford Research Park itself is a core component of Stanford’s real estate and works closely with Stanford’s Real Estate Office within Land, Buildings and Real Estate to continually expand formal ties with the university in a variety of ways. More information is available at:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.