Harry Elam to step down as vice provost for undergraduate education

Oct. 27, 2019, 10:10 p.m.

Harry Elam, vice provost for undergraduate education, will step down at the end of this academic year, Provost Persis Drell announced at Thursday’s Faculty Senate. Elam is Stanford’s third vice provost for undergraduate education and has held the position for a decade. He will continue to serve as the vice president for the arts and the senior vice provost for education.

“I have enjoyed it wholeheartedly and have greatly appreciated this unique opportunity to impact and develop undergraduate education at Stanford,” Elam told Stanford News. “I think two terms is sufficient, and so I’m happy to let someone else come in and lead.”

Elam created programs that have become cornerstones of the Stanford undergraduate experience during his tenure. Elam aided in the creation and institution of Frosh 101 and the Leland Scholars Program. He also helped in designing and implementing WAYS requirements and the Thinking Matters program, the latter of which is slated to be replaced by the proposed Stanford Core.

He was also behind the creation of OpenXchange, an initiative focused on increasing student dialogue, a precursor to Cardinal Conversations. His impacts are also not just confined to Stanford’s campus: Elam created the popular Stanford in New York program.

In addition to Elam’s more formal roles on campus, students might recognize him as the moderator for various on-campus speakers and events. He has appeared onstage with visionaries of film such as Nate Parker (“Birth of a Nation”), Reginald Hudlin (“Marshall”), Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Ryan Michelle Bathe (“Army Wives”). He has also hosted events featuring award-winning authors such as Lynn Nottage and Zadie Smith.

Elam himself has also addressed students on a range of topics. In 2015, he spoke at the Sigma Nu fraternity as a part of its four-part program co-created with Stanford’s Program in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. He appeared as a guest lecturer for students in AFRICAAM 51 in 2018 and has addressed the ASSU Undergraduate Senate at their weekly meetings.

In 2017, in addition to his existing role as vice provost for undergraduate education, Elam became the vice president for the arts and the senior vice provost for education. He will continue to serve in these positions with hopes to create “a new arts and culture incubator” and develop “broader integrative educational initiatives,” according to Stanford News.

Contact Zora Ilunga-Reed at zora814 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Zora Ilunga-Reed is a columnist and a junior studying Philosophy & Literature. A native New Yorker, she was a Copy Editor, Desk Editor and Staff Writer in volumes past. Read her column if you want to hear her thoughts on the woes of humanities students, tech culture and more.

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