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Engineering dean to take on new industrial relations role

STANFORD -- James Gibbons, dean of the School of Engineering, will soon take over a new position, that of special counsel to the president and provost for industry relations, President Gerhard Casper has announced.

Gibbons will remain as dean at least until Sept. 1 or until the time a successor is in place. Regardless, starting in September, he will devote at least part of his time to overseeing university relations with domestic and international corporations.

Gibbons will be assisted in that effort by Dwain Fullerton, senior associate dean for external relations in the School of Engineering.

"The assignment is to respond to academic, as well as development, needs of the university," Casper said. "The task is to ascertain what can be done to increase relations between Stanford and industry across all areas of the university, but with a special emphasis on engineering, the sciences, and biology and medicine.”

Gibbons, the Reid Weaver Dennis Professor of Electrical Engineering, is widely credited with developing vital interdepartmental and interschool partnerships with industry since being named dean in 1984. He plans on devoting about one-third of his time to the new position.

"The experience that Mike Spence [dean of the Graduate School of Business] and I have had with the development of the Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association," Gibbons said, "suggests to me that school deans and their development officers must carry the significant responsibility for corporate development initiatives, with coordination coming from the Office of the President and Provost."

Casper said that Gibbons would be involved with, and draw upon, the Office of Development and would - in consultation with the president, the provost and the vice president for development - determine what central initiatives Stanford wishes to pursue with corporations, and what resources will be required to carry out those initiatives.

At the same time, foundation relations - the other half of the Foundation and Corporate Relations unit of the development office - is being reassigned to report to Geoffrey Cox, vice provost for institutional planning and finance.

Cox and Provost Condoleezza Rice said the move will enable foundation relations to be more closely associated with, and tied into, the university's long-term academic planning and management mission.

Over the past decade, foundation giving has become more specific, Cox said, and with increasing uncertainty about federal funding for university projects, Stanford may have to rely more heavily on foundations to fund crucial academic projects.

Moving foundation relations into the provost's office, he said, "will enable us to link their efforts more closely to the academic planning efforts, so that we can match our new directions with the resources that are available.”

"We felt that we needed to focus on developing more creative partnerships in a changing world," Cox said. Foundations these days, he said, "tend to be more selective when they are considering grants."

Two development officers, as well as a half-time proposal writer and a support staff member, will move from development to Cox's office, effective Sept. 1. Vice President for Development John Ford said no more than two layoffs would result from the changes.



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