By DEVIN BANERJEE
To those familiar with the lineitems of John Hennessy’s CV—from co-founder of MIPSTechnologies to board member of Cisco Systems and Google—it maycome as no surprise that Stanford’s10th president also co-chairs theNational Research Council’sCommittee on Science,Security andProsperity.The committee,which Hennessyco-chairs with Brent Scowcroft,for-mer National Security Advisor toPresidents Gerald Ford and GeorgeH.W.Bush,urged President Obamaearlier this year to revamp exportand visa controls that it considers tobe ineffective and,in many cases,detrimental to the prosperity of thenation.The committee’s recommenda-tions came in the form of a Januaryreport titled “Beyond ‘FortressAmerica’:National SecurityControls on Science and Technologyin a Globalized World.”“The national security controlsthat regulate access to and export of science and technology are broken,”begins the report.“As currentlystructured,many of these controlsundermine our national and home-land security and stifle Americanengagement in the global economyand science and technology.”In an interview with The Daily,Hennessy said visa and export con-trols as they currently stand are out-dated remnants of the Cold War era,when weapons technology was tight-ly protected for the sake of wartimenational security.“What’s happened in export con-trol is that it has not had a global,complete look at the whole area in along time,”Hennessy said.“And byglobal,I mean looking at it from theperspective of the academy,indus-try,as well as national security con-cerns.”For this reason,“regulation haspiled on top of regulation on top of regulation,”according to theUniversity President,and of these,deemed export control remains alarge hindrance to university-leveldevelopment.Deemed export regu-lation is a set of rules limiting accessto technology for foreign nationalswhile in the U.S.“So,for example,somebody fromChina or Iran may not be able to useelectronics or work on next-genera-tion technologies,”Hennessy said.And following the attacks onSeptember 11,the list of controlsquickly lengthened.“The concerns became quitebroad because they became thingslike access to fundamental bio-science technologies that could,inthe wrong hands,be used to buildbio-warfare,”Hennessy said.“So,that became a real concern in theacademy.”At the same time,however,industry and military professionalsbecame concerned about tighteningregulations in both visa and exportcontrols.“Our visa controls have made itmore difficult or less attractive fortalented foreign professionals tocome and learn what is great aboutthis country,or to stay and help growthe American economy,”the reportstates.“Our export controls retardboth the United States and its alliesfrom sharing access to military tech-nology,and handicap Americanbusiness from competing globally.”Hennessy echoed these concerns,but emphasized the need for bold,direct action to avoid the stagnantnature of Washington politics.“Like a lot of things in govern-ment,if it’s never forced to cleanitself up or ‘sunset’ itself,the list [of regulation] just gets longer andlonger and longer,”he said.Hennessy noted that part of thedifficulty in inciting change is thefact that export and visa controls arenot housed in any single sector of the government.“Which is why we’ve tried tofocus on a Presidential Directive asthe key way to solve the problem,because otherwise you have to getState,Defense and Commerce to allact in concert,”he said.“And that’sextremely difficult.”Speaking specifically toStanford’s role in national research,the President noted that theUniversity does not conduct anyclassified research,nor does itaccept funds for classified research.But Hennessy said there remains agray line when it comes to “sensi-tive-but-unclassified research”thatcomes from the government,whichStanford resists.“We felt that the dangers of thatto the University and the opennessin research that we espouse was areally dangerous bank,”he said.“So,we’ve tried to push away from thatand say that’s something the govern-ment can use when it wants to con-trol information,but that we should-n’t find ourselves in a situationwhere there are broad attempts tocontrol information that’s unclassi-fied.”Hennessy said some institutionsbelieve it is in the national interestthat they accept money for suchresearch,but that most leading insti-tutions would view the “necessarycompromises”as unacceptable.The Committee on Science,Security and Prosperity is currentlyin the process of reviewing theinflux of recommendations thathave followed the report’s publica-tion.But Co-Chair Hennessy,whilerecognizing that there exists a set of individuals in government who areconcerned about the issues the com-mittee has raised,also recognizesthat President Obama has higherpriorities.“Put these issues against thebiggest economic crisis in 80 years,amessy war,a situation inAfghanistan—while this is animportant problem and it’s a nag-ging problem and a building prob-lem,it’s hard to say that it’s about tocause everything to collapse in thesame way that,let’s say,if Afghanistan or Pakistan completelyfails,”Hennessy said.The committee’s 100-pagereport,which includes specific rec-ommendations for the President,can be accessed on The NationalAcademies Press Web site atwww.nap.edu.
Contact Devin Banerjee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By MOLLY SPAETH
Amid news of a declining newspa-per industry and a changing era of journalism,Ellen Weiss,senior vicepresident for news at National PublicRadio (NPR),stressed the impor-tance of journalistic flexibility in anevolving model of news media lastnight at Kresge Auditorium.Entitled “Worst of Times,Best of Times:NPR in the 21st Century,”thelecture was sponsored by the John S.Knight Fellowships program.According to James Bettinger,thedirector of the John S.KnightFellowships program,the annual lec-ture series was established to createawareness and facilitate discussionon current journalism issues.“The idea is to bring in outstand-ing authorities on journalism to talkabout journalism issues for Stanfordand to the Peninsula community,”Bettinger said.Weiss’ lecture addressed thechanging nature of broadcast jour-nalism and the need for a new busi-ness model in an age of economicrecession and declining newspapersubscription.She argued that in themiddle of a journalistic revolution,the current challenges facing thenews media today provide opportu-nities for creativity and entrepre-neurship in the media industry.“It is an interesting time to liveinside a major journalism institutionthat is still succeeding in its tradition-al form—and yet also trying toembrace and adapt to the new worldorder,”she said.Weiss went on to stress the impor-tance of flexibility as journalistsadapt to a changing business model.“The structural model,the busi-ness model is shot,”she said.“Thesustained downturn of the economy,with the attendant fall in advertisingincome,exacerbates the dilemma.”Weiss,who currently holds NPR’stop news management position,oversees 18 domestic and 18 foreignnews bureaus in addition to morethan 50 hours of news programmingeach week.With this experience,she outlineda plan on how NPR will adapt to achanging age of journalism.Herpoints included cross-training NPR journalists to be proficient in differ-ent forms of media,filling the grow-ing gap in local news coverage,capi-talizing on the new relationshipbetween media and audience,priori-tizing content and stressing theimportance of innovation.“Communication is totally differ-ent now,and I think the opportuni-ties to make us better journalists areenormous,”Weiss said.“The peopleare reviewing and writing about ourwork much more easily,immediatelyand much more publicly than everbefore.”Weiss also said that like manyother news sources,NPR is facingfinancial hardships.Even after cut-ting 10 percent of its staff inDecember,it is still considering morebenefit cuts in light of the currenteconomic situation.Yet,Weiss was optimistic for thefuture of her medium.According toher,more people are listening toNPR than ever.“More Americans listen to public
The Stanford Daily
Weiss hopes for bettertimes in industry
ARNAV MOUDGILL/The Stanford Daily
Ellen Weiss, senior VP for news atNPR, spoke at Kresge Auditoriumabout the changing strategies innews media. The talk was part of anannual lecture series hosted by theKnight Fellowships program.
Univ. President co-chairs committee on nat’l security
SCIENCE & TECH
Hennessy urges Obama to revise controls
Bravman updates Faculty Senate on recovery plan
By DEVIN BANERJEE
Financial realities once again dominatedthis week’s Faculty Senate meeting,where allears were turned to Vice Provost forUndergraduate Education John Bravman foran update on the recovery of his office.“I think we all understand that we’re in aperiod of financial crisis,”Bravman began.But the tone of the Vice Provost’s reportwas clear:optimism.Referencing the creation of hundreds of small courses,the upcoming launch of theStanford Arts Intensive and a small expansionof the Bing Overseas Studies Program(BOSP),Bravman cited the recent 30,400applicants as an indication of “infinitedemand”for the University.“That’s how we think about it,”he said.Still,after a cut of approximately 15 to 20percent in the University’s general funds budg-et and a reduction in endowment incomebetween approximately 20 and 30 percent,some 1,000 of Stanford’s funds are “underwa-ter”—that is,their current market valuesremain below their historic dollar values.Theseunderwater funds now pose the largest threatto the Office of the Vice Provost forUndergraduate Education (VPUE),accordingto Bravman.“We have built up reserves for a rainy day,”he said,“but we have not built up reserves foruniversal Armageddon.”Along with $8 million of the VPUE’s fundsthat have already gone out the window,Bravman has also implemented a majorrestructuring of his office,compacting nineunits into four:Undergraduate Advising andResearch (UAR);Stanford IntroductoryStudies (SIS),where most layoffs haveoccurred;Bing Overseas Studies Program(BOSP);and Center for Teaching and Learning(CTL),which has lost its administrative sup-port but will be propped up by the VPUEoffice.
Bravman noted that the major impingementhas been on his staff—16 layoffs,five hires forrevised roles and the loss of nine positions dueto attrition have meant an 18 percent reductionin the VPUE’s non-lecturing staff.Furtherreductions have hit advising,which slashed the$750-per-year honoraria for its advisors andresulted in the loss of its HPAC (head peer aca-demic coordinator) and peer advising pro-grams,as well as the Sophomore Seminars andSophomore College programs,which will face“continued reductions on the order of 15 to 20percent.”The latter two programs,Bravmansaid,are where students will feel the pain.But Stephen Stedman,a senior fellow at theFreeman Spogli Institute for InternationalStudies and a former Resident Fellow of Larkin House,probed Bravman on the elimi-nation of the HPAC program.The vice provostresponded bluntly.“We received evidence that HPACs weregiving poor advice,”he said.“The life experi-ence of a 19-year-old is not optimized to offeradvice to an 18-year-old.”Bravman instead touted this year’s newAcademic Director (AD) program,whichplaces a professional or faculty member in eachresidential cluster that houses freshmen.“We’ve seen,anecdotally—I can’t provethis to you—that ADs offer a great experi-ence for students,”he said.“Knowing that stu-dents will always seek advice,we should bepaying professionals.”
The Future of VPUE
Looking to the future of VPUE programs,Bravman assessed BOSP,SIS and advising.Onoverseas studies,he noted that a large portionof funding still streams from the President’sfunds,and the program is “extremely vulnera-ble”to swings in the strength of the dollar.Atthe same time,presidential funds will largelyfund the new program in Cape Town,SouthAfrica.With SIS,the Vice Provost admittedthat although PWR and IHUM run at verylean levels,they still cost $10 million per year.“I think we have to look at the costs of theseprograms,”he admitted.“We need to move onthis sooner,rather than later.”The VPUE office will also launch a newStanford Arts Intensive for 2009,which will begift funded for three years.And on advising,Bravman remains opti-mistic that the benefits of the AD program willoutweigh its cost.
Martin Shell,vice president of the Office of Development,followed Bravman with a reporton University fundraising.Shell reported that$108 million of the Stanford Challenge goal of $200 million has been raised for scholarships.“For the past four years,we have raisedmore money than any peer institution in high-er education,”he said.Still,for fiscal year 2009,the University con-tinues to see a slowdown in cash gifts and newcommitments.“I think most people felt like the worldstopped somewhere around January 5,”Shellsaid.“Conversations have elongated;donorsare slower to make commitments,asking formore time to pledge.”Bravman will address the Faculty Senatewith a follow-up report in November,and,if asked,Shell will return in the fall for an updateon year-to-date fundraising.
Contact Devin Banerjee at email@example.com.
SPEAKERS & EVENTS
NPR VP stressesnews flexibility