18.1 Committees, Councils and Governing Boards

Provides a brief, informal description of those governing boards, councils, and committees that, because of their influence on University research policies, are referenced with some frequency in Research Policy Handbook documents.


Academic Secretary of the Board of Trustees


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Bible, Sara

Associate Vice Provost for Research

Vice Provost and Dean of Research

(650) 723-9050

1. The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees has the ultimate responsibility for governing the University. Board members serve in a voluntary capacity as custodians of the University's endowment and all of its properties. The Board oversees Stanford's invested funds, sets the annual budget, and determines policies for operation and control of the University. Among their other duties, the Board appoints the University President and approves establishment of schools and departments, and policies related to investments, accounting, land use, and development. Trustees are appointed for five-year terms, renewable once; eight are alumni appointed through a special selection process and they serve four-year terms. The board meets five times during each academic year.

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2. The Academic Council

The powers and authority of the Academic Council are set forth in the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council of Stanford University, originally adopted in 1904 and subsequently amended, and in the Charter of the Senate of the Academic Council of Stanford University, originally adopted in 1968 and subsequently amended. The powers of the Academic Council are exercised through the actions of the Council, the Senate, Academic Council Committees, and Advisory Board, and Academic Council Professoriate. The Academic Council is vested with the authority to discuss and decide upon matters of policy within the province of the Professoriate, subject to the power of disapproval of the Board of Trustees.

The Academic Council Professoriate consists of the tenure line professoriate (except assistant professors whose appointments are "subject to Ph.D."), the non-tenure line professoriate, the non-tenure research professoriate, and senior fellows in specified policy centers and institutes.

The Academic Council consists of all members of the Academic Council Professoriate and academic administrative officers currently specified in the Articles of Organization of the Academic Council as members of the Academic Council.

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3. The Advisory Board of the Academic Council

The Advisory Board is composed of seven Full Professors who serve three-year terms. They are elected by members of the Academic Council in a process intended to achieve proportional representation of the Professoriate by field and size. All recommendations for faculty appointments, promotions, reappointments, and dismissals, and recommendations for the creation of new academic departments must be submitted by the President to the Advisory Board prior to their submission to the Board of Trustees for final approval. The Advisory Board also is authorized to make policy recommendations to the President and to address any other matters the President may choose to refer to it. In addition, this Board has formal responsibilities and functions related to faculty discipline, academic freedom, and faculty grievance procedures at Stanford as described in more detail in the policy statements on these subjects found in this Handbook. For more information about the Advisory Board, contact Faculty Affairs, Provost's Office.

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4. The Senate of the Academic Council

The Senate consists of 55 elected representatives of the Academic Council and certain academic officers as ex officio members without vote, including the President, Provost, Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Deans of the seven schools of the University, University Librarian and Director of Academic Information Resources, and the Academic Secretary. The Senate's Charter in effect delegates the full functions of the Academic Council to the Senate, subject only to extensive provisions for review and referendum. Through its committees, the Senate is the responsible body for enacting legislation governing the scholarly and teaching activities of the University. On behalf of the Academic Council, the Senate approves academic policy, confers degrees, and approves interdisciplinary degree programs established outside of academic departments. For further information about the Senate, contact the Academic Secretary.

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5. The University Cabinet

The primary function of the University Cabinet is to recommend and review principles, policies, and rules of University-wide significance. Chaired by the President, membership of the Cabinet includes the Provost, Deans of the seven Schools, Vice Provost and Dean of Research, the Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and the Director of the Hoover Institution. Its purpose is to assure the centrality of academic objectives in the work of the University. The President and the Provost seek the Cabinet's advice on issues of University direction, policy, and planning, including, but not limited to: long-range planning for faculty and academic program development; strategic planning on financial, facilities, and fund-raising matters; faculty and student affairs; and personnel policies. The Cabinet advises the President and the Provost on other matters as appropriate.

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6. The Committee on Research

The Committee on Research is one of the Standing Committees of the Academic Council, appointed under the authority of the Senate, to formulate research policy and review the operations of the University's principal officer for research (i.e., the Vice Provost and Dean of Research) with respect to the implementation of such policy. (See the complete RPH: Charge to the Committee on Research) For further information about the Committee, contact the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research or the Academic Secretary.

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