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Charter for the IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee

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As of 09/25/23

1. Purpose of Committee

Stanford is committed to building a diverse, respectful, inclusive, and equitable community through Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment (IDEAL).  The IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee (AC) advises on IDEAL direction and recommendations to more effectively guide the university towards greater diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) for staff. 

The Advisory Committee will promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for staff, identify impediments such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, and religious intolerance towards staff, and recommend actions and strategies to eliminate them.   

The Advisory Committee is sponsored by the Vice President for University Human Resources (UHR), who partners with the IDEAL Strategic Advisors to provide direction for the committee.

1.1. Background

The IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee launched in October 2020, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, by IDEAL Strategic Advisors: Patrick Dunkley, Shirley Everett, and Elizabeth Zacharias. That time period also saw the rollout of the Brave Spaces initiative on campus to talk about race.

Given this context, the catalyst for the creation of the committee was addressing systemic racism in the Stanford community with a specific focus on anti-Black racism. That focus on anti-Black racism was not exclusionary; the Committee was conscious that historic systemic barriers designed to impact Black people affect many communities of color and marginalized identities. Nevertheless, the IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee intentionally approached issues of equity and inclusion with a broad lens, identifying barriers and encouraging action that affects a myriad of staff identities. Initial efforts focused on learning and development, HR policies and procedures, engagement and culture, and leadership.

1.2. Activities of the Committee

The Advisory Committee members may: 

  • Guide the strategic direction of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives for staff
  • Review, monitor, assess or propose programs and initiatives that will advance diversity and inclusion priorities for staff
  • Help establish annual metrics and assess progress on diversity, equity and inclusion for staff
  • Participate in the development of new staff programs or initiatives
  • Advise on staff IDEAL initiatives and other staff DEIB initiatives that fall under the Strategic Framework
  • Advise on DEIB initiatives of the UHR Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and other UHR departments (e.g., employee benefits and compensation, communications, talent acquisition, talent and organization development, HR systems, employee support programs, employee and labor relations)
  • Advise on other subjects related to staff that would benefit from a DEIB lens with a staff perspective at the recommendation of the AC Leadership Team 
  • Advise on issues and make recommendations about staff DEIB for consideration by senior leadership and influence others in building a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Serve as an advocate to member’s school/unit -- provide feedback to the IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee regarding needs of school/unit and relay insights from the program into school/unit
  • Seek opportunities to align IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee efforts with DEIB efforts being led by others for faculty, students and staff 
  • Serve actively on at least one sub-committee 

Many discussions taking place in AC meetings and subcommittee meetings are considered confidential and should not be discussed with those not participating in those forums.

2. Structure  

2.1. Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee (AC) is composed of approximately 20 staff from schools/units across the University. The full Committee meets approximately twice a month from September to June (generally no meetings in July or August). 

2.2. AC Leadership Team

The purpose of the IDEAL Advisory Committee Leadership Team is to: 

  • guide the Advisory Committee, including purpose, governance, meeting agendas and priorities for engagement;  
  • facilitate meetings of the full Advisory Committee; and  
  • ensure that the perspectives of the President and Provost are reflected in AC consideration. 

The Leadership Team meets prior to each AC Meeting. 

The AC Leadership Team consists of: 

  • Executive Sponsor:  Vice President for University Human Resources (VP-UHR)
  • Strategic Advisors:  Two senior diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging-focused appointees 
  • AC Program Leader: UHR Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (AVP-DEIB)

The AC Program Leader is responsible for identifying staff to provide operational support for the Advisory Committee and its initiatives. 

2.3. Sub-Committees

Subcommittees may be established to support the activities of the Advisory Committee. The specific composition of subcommittees may change over time to meet the needs of the AC.  

3. Advisory Committee Membership 

3.1. Composition

Organizational composition 

The Advisory Committee should include approximately 20 members (maximum) representing at least 10 different schools/units across the university.  There should be no more than two representatives from a single school/unit and no more than four representatives from a single job function/family.  Given the structure of the university, an effort should be made to ensure that these organizations are represented on the AC: at least 5 of 7 schools; organizations with large size/scope such as Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE); Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE); Business Affairs; External Relations; and Vice Provost for Student Affairs (VPSA). 

The Committee’s operations are supported by the University Human Resources Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging whose staff provide guidance and administrative support for the Advisory Committee and its subcommittees.

Demographic composition 

Efforts should be made to ensure representation on the AC from: all race/ethnicity groups (American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Asian American, Black or African American, Histanic or Latino/a, Native Hawai’ian or Pacific Islander, White or European); staff with disabilities and diverse gender identities; generational representation; varying tenure and job classification; and DEIB subject matter experts. However, because some groups (like Native Americans and Pacific Islanders) have very small populations, they may not always be represented on the committee to avoid overtaxing a small number of staff. Nevertheless, efforts should be made to ensure their voices are included (e.g., consulting with staff groups). Efforts should also be made to ensure that input from exempt, non-exempt and represented staff is included. 

3.2. Member Selection 

3.2.1. Who can be a member?

Members of the AC must be a regular staff member (full- or part-time) of Stanford University in good standing. Non-exempt staff can be members as long as meetings allow for required breaks and meal periods. Students, postdocs and faculty members cannot serve as members of the AC, although they may participate in subcommittees. 

3.2.2. Minimum Criteria for Membership 

  • Interest and passion for issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
  • Demonstrated leadership/allyship in their school/unit.
  • University citizenship - capacity to represent the point of view of the university vs. their own school/unit.
  • Solid track record of performance, and established credibility.
  • Well-connected (internal or external) and able to bring insights into the work of the AC and share the work of the AC with their respective groups. 
  • Collaborative, works well with team members. 
  • Candid - willing to challenge AC thinking. Feedback is not limited to meetings and may be provided outside of meetings. 
  • Reliable - willingness and availability to regularly attend meetings, to actively participate in initiatives of the AC, and to volunteer their time.
  • Passion for the university.
  • Committed to engaging in respectful discourse and willing to disagree without being disagreeable. 
  • Have participated in The IDEAL Learning Journey. 

3.2.3. Nomination/Selection process 

Annual process

Senior leaders and members of the AC may be asked to suggest potential members. Recommendations should include name, title, organization and reason for nominating.  

For the regular membership cycle, suggestions should be submitted to the AVP-DEIB by July 1 of each year.  AVP-DEIB will compile a list of all nominees and make recommendations to the AC Leadership Team that take into account the criteria listed above and the desire to have broad representation. The AC Leadership Team will then select the staff to be invited to join the AC. The AVP-DEIB will send an invitation to the selected staff on behalf of VP-UHR by August 31. The term for new members will begin on September 1. 

Off-cycle process

At times there may be off-cycle invitations for membership.  This could include, but is not limited to, reasons such as the departure of a member, a critical and sizeable under-represented group is not reflected in the membership and/or a critical skill or resource is needed within the membership to support the work of the AC and/or AC subcommittees. 

3.3. Terms 

AC members are generally invited to serve a two-year term which will begin on September 1, although they can be invited to serve for more than two years. Ideally, no more than ⅓ of AC members would turn over in a single year to ensure continuity. 

Special consideration for inaugural AC members: 

All AC members with the original term of September 2020 - August 2022 will be given the opportunity to extend their term if desired. The ideal plan for continuity for current AC members (to allow overlap for inaugural vs. new AC members) is:    

  • ~⅓ end service in August 2023
  • ~⅓ end service in August 2024
  • ~⅓ end service in August 2025

3.4. Member removal 

AC members who do not consistently engage in meetings and/or activities of the AC or are not meeting the minimum membership criteria may be asked to discontinue participation in the AC. 

4. Activities

Recognizing that AC members are employed full-time and that the work of the AC is beyond their regular job scope, it should be ensured that work taken on by the AC will be as impactful as possible (e.g., prioritizing areas for which partnerships can be created that increase the likelihood for progress and long-term sustainability). 

4.1. Scope of Work

The Advisory Committee is chartered by University Human Resources to provide input on a broad range of topics that impact the staff member experience, including core areas of HR such as talent acquisition, orientation, training and development, performance management, total rewards, employee relations, staff safety, well-being and inclusion. The AC also collaborates with Stanford’s disability and staff groups.  

4.1.2. Projects of the Advisory Committee

For each new project of the AC or AC subcommittee, a proposal should be submitted to the AC Leadership Team for feedback. After feedback is incorporated, the project can formally commence. That proposal should minimally include: 

  • Description of the problem or issue and which organizations at Stanford have responsibility or oversight for that area (if known)
  • Description of how the AC or AC subcommittee will engage with the problem or issue 
  • Goals/outcomes of the engagement, including measures of success that can be monitored or tracked  
  • Names/roles of potential collaborators and how they will collaborate, including:  
    • AC members 
    • UHR departments and/or staff whose areas of responsibility overlap this issue
    • Other Stanford units/staff whose areas of responsibility overlap this issue (or are impacted by this issue)
    • External contributors 
  • Resources needed to be successful

Additionally, if a suitable and available internal resource or collaborator cannot be identified and a paid consultant is deemed appropriate, project scope and estimated budget must also be submitted to the AC Leadership Team for consideration. 

After a project has been completed, the subcommittee will submit a report/presentation of the findings/recommendations/outcomes first to the AC Leadership Team, and then after feedback is incorporated, to the overall Advisory Committee. The report should include measures of success that can be monitored or tracked and a recommended frequency for follow-up after the work of the subcommittee is complete.  

The AC Program Manager is available to assist AC subcommittees and/or AC members with developing proposals and reports.

4.2. Subcommittees

The purpose of the AC subcommittees is to optimally leverage the efforts of the AC, including engaging and collaborating with external stakeholders and subject matter experts to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion for staff in key areas. The work of subcommittees may include:

  • recommending to the full AC and/or AC Leadership specific actions/initiatives for consideration by senior leadership; 
  • recommending goals/objectives and metrics as measures of success for the areas under their approved scope of work; and
  • identifying the internal and external resources needed to achieve subcommittee goals/objectives.

AC Subcommittees are established primarily along the areas of the DEIB Strategic Framework for Staff. AC Subcommittees can be created or sunset as appropriate with the approval of the Strategic Advisors. The scope of work for projects proposed by a subcommittee is to be submitted to the AC Leadership team for feedback prior to initiation, and any major revisions to the scope of work must be resubmitted for additional feedback.

Subcommittees typically should include at least three members, with at least two members being AC and/or Leadership Team members. Subcommittee assignments can be informed by personal interest, recommendation by AC and/or Leadership Team member, and the need to balance committee members across subcommittees.  

Others from outside of the AC may serve on a subcommittee, as needed and should be listed in the project proposal (e.g., subject matter experts or members of partner organizations; can include faculty, students and postdocs as needed). 

Each AC subcommittee must be chaired by a member of the AC and/or AC Leadership Team. Subcommittee chairs will be confirmed by the AC Leadership Team and should ideally serve a minimum of one year. Whenever possible, subcommittee chair transitions should take place in September or at a transition point between projects.  

For any subcommittee project, subject matter experts and/or responsible organizations should be identified to collaborate with the subcommittee as projects are developed and recommendations are refined to ensure that recommendations can be implemented once the subcommittee completes its primary engagement with the project. 

Subcommittees should meet at least monthly.