History of Continuing Studies

This is an Archive of a Past Event

*Location Update: Event will now be held in Lane History Corner, Building 200*

In 1988, Stanford launched the Continuing Studies Program as an experiment. Seven courses were offered that first Fall quarter, and nobody knew if there would be enough enrollments to continue into Winter and Spring. There were. And now, a little more than twenty-five years later, Continuing Studies offers more than 450 courses every year that enroll over 14,000 students, and sponsors another 50 free public programs, lectures, performances, and symposia for its loyal learning community.

Please join us for a look back and an exploratory conversation with three Continuing Studies founders and leaders. Why did the university establish such a program? Who teaches in it and why? What are the demographics and motivations of Continuing Studies students? How does it compare with other adult education programs around the country and historically (e.g., the Lyceum movement, Chautauqua, the Open University, and the Ethical Culture Society)? And— even though this is a Stanford Historical Society program—we’ll want to hear from you where you think Continuing Studies ought to go in the future.

William M. Chace
Professor of English, Emeritus; President of Wesleyan and Emory Universities, Emeritus
William Chace was Vice Provost for Institutional Planning at Stanford in the mid-1980s when he chaired the committee that drafted the Stanford Continuing Studies program. After serving as president of Wesleyan University and Emory University, Chace returned to Palo Alto where he has resumed his role as one of the most sought-after teachers in the Continuing Studies and Master of Liberal Arts programs, offering courses in Irish literature (especially Joyce), modern poetry, and American intellectual history.

Marsh H. McCall
Professor of Classics, Emeritus
Marsh McCall served as the inaugural Dean of Continuing Studies from 1988 until 1999, bringing the program from its fledgling beginnings to its robust maturity. A champion of the liberal arts, McCall has taught more than 40 courses in the Continuing Studies program, ranging from Homer to Virgil and Aeschylus, to Sophocles. These courses are not only among the most popular and highly enrolled, but also are life-transforming experiences for many students.

Charles Junkerman
Associate Provost and Dean of Continuing Studies
Charlie Junkerman took over as Dean in 1999, and has overseen the growth of the Continuing Studies learning community to its current size. He is responsible for adding public programs and performances to the Continuing Studies menu, and has initiated dozens of collaborative projects with colleagues within and beyond the university. He teaches popular literature courses regularly in both the Continuing Studies and Master of Liberal Arts programs.