Admins consolidate ‘pre-college’ programs

Feb. 27, 2012, 2:07 a.m.

Earlier this month, the University announced the formation of a new administrative unit called Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS), which will bring all of Stanford’s pre-college educational programs into one department. SPCS, currently comprised of six on-campus organizations, will exist under the umbrella of Stanford Continuing Studies (SCS).


According to the SPCS website, the new unit will “foster the development of tomorrow’s undergraduates through programs that enrich the educational experience of pre-college students.”


Raymond Ravaglia, associate dean and director of SPCS, said the unit will allow current programs aimed at pre-college students to share resources, promoting inter-program interaction. He added that SPCS will also help new departments and programs as they start to be developed.


“There was a constant sense of common need,” Ravaglia said. “There were clearly opportunities for synergies on the marketing side, on the back office side.”


The six organizations included in SPCS are the Stanford University Online High School, the Education Program for Gifted Youth Summer Institutes (EPGY), the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, the Stanford University Mathematics Camp, the Stanford Math Circle and the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute. The last will take place for the first time this summer.


Ravaglia said University officials had often considered creating a “mirror image” to SCS, which, instead of tracking students after they graduate, will try to focus on students before they enter college.


According to Ravaglia, this program came to fruition due to a number of factors: the realization of a definite need for the program among University officials, the increased popularity of the Stanford University Online High School and the retirement of a longtime EPGY faculty director.


Ravaglia also said the collaborative spirit of SPCS will allow for financial and administrative benefits across all pre-collegiate programs.


“There are a lot of opportunities for improving cost efficiencies,” he said.


For example, in the past each pre-college program had to buy information from College Board separately. The programs then used this information in order to market to select students who had scored above a certain threshold on standardized tests. With the creation of SPCS, the data will only have to be purchased once, Ravaglia said.


“There will be some new positions being created,” Ravaglia said. “What we’re really hoping to see administratively is more of a recognition that there is this pre-collegiate ecosystem is out there, [even if it’s] not necessarily been something that anyone’s paying attention to.


Ravaglia said that they have noticed a need for programs such as the SPCS amongst middle and high school students.


“The focus is those kids who are hoping to attend a university like Stanford and who are academically ready and, in many cases, have pressing need for more advanced instructional or intellectual experiences than are readily available in their normal school setting,” Ravaglia said.


“I’m looking forward to the expansion of SPCS with other programs coming aboard, current and new, from various areas of the campus,” said Judith Ned, executive director of the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program. “I think this is just a great idea. The University is on the cusp of something great. Hats off to the SPCS leadership for really thinking about this.”


During the next six months, one of the main goals of SPCS will be to ensure that each of its pre-existing constituent programs operate smoothly for the upcoming summer. Ravaglia hopes that SPCS will make its first call in mid-spring for new University initiatives to be implemented in fall.

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