Sarah Church to step down as vice provost for undergraduate education

Sarah Church will step down at the end of fall quarter after over three years as vice provost for undergraduate education (VPUE) because of an ongoing health issue, the University announced on Oct. 19.

“It has been extremely gratifying to work on enhancing the educational experiences of our wonderful undergraduate students and to develop resources and support for faculty in their teaching,” Church told the Stanford Report. “I would love to continue to lead this work, but at this time, I need to reduce my workload to focus on an ongoing health issue. I’m grateful to be receiving excellent medical treatment and expect to make a full recovery.”

Philosophy professor Lanier Anderson was appointed interim vice provost by Provost Jenny Martinez, who is also forming a search committee for Church’s successor. 

Church led the University’s academic continuity efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Long-Range Vision, and helped develop the Civic, Liberal and Global Education (COLLEGE) program.

Church’s departure marks the third top administrator to leave Stanford since May, following former provost Persis Drell and former President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. 

Prior to being appointed to the role on June 1, 2020, Church served as the vice provost for faculty development, teaching and learning, and led the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Previously, Church served as senior associate vice provost within VPUE, working on several initiatives supporting students who are first-generation, women and underrepresented minorities. 

Church came to Stanford in 1999 as a faculty member in the physics department. She was named the Pritzker University Fellow in Undergraduate Education in 2014 for her “sustained commitment, at the highest levels, to undergraduate education.”

Based upon the design of the Long-Range Vision team that Church co-led, the Faculty Senate approved the Civic, Liberal, and Global Education (COLLEGE) requirement for first-year students in 2014, which serves as a common curriculum for a liberal education.

Church also led the Academic Continuity Group as part of University pandemic management to ensure the continuity of education during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Daily has reached out to the University for comment on the structure and timeline of the search committee for Church’s successor.