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Director's Column - December 4, 2006

(Photo - Keith Hodgson)As you all read in the message from Jonathan in SLAC Today last week, I will be assuming the role of Acting SLAC Director during the next two months while Jonathan is away on sabbatical. This includes all of the Director's responsibilities both inside the laboratory and in relation to Stanford and the Department of Energy (DOE), apart from matters that relate to Particle and Particle Astrophysics faculty and governance. This area will be the responsibility of Persis Drell. It is a privilege to serve the laboratory and all of you in this temporary capacity. I would like to assure you that SLAC's senior management team will continue to work together with me to manage the day-to-day needs and longer term activities of the lab. I plan to continue the tradition of writing weekly Director's Columns for SLAC Today. Communication from senior management to the staff is something which I feel is extremely important and I will keep you up to date on management decisions and activities that might impact all of our daily work and future.

Besides introducing myself in this, my first column, I would like to comment on two very recent oversight activities. Last Thursday was the closeout of the review and inspection by the DOE Office of Independent Oversight (OIO). The OIO team was on site for an extended period and interacted with many of our staff. Their visit was facilitated by staff acting as "points of contacts" for a number of areas at SLAC and many staff were involved in providing extensive documentation and information. I would like to personally thank all of you for your extraordinary help, effort and cooperation in allowing the OIO team to carry out their review. We will be receiving the formal report early in the new year and developing a corrective action plan within the two months that follow. As this process evolves, we will keep you informed.

A second review was held Friday and Saturday of last week. This was the meeting of the SLAC Policy Committee (SPC). The SPC is the highest level oversight committee for SLAC. The group meets twice yearly and reports to the University. At this meeting, the SPC considered a range of topics that included LCLS Construction and loss of the CLOC building, plans for accommodating the space needs resulting from the loss of the CLOC, and programmatic topics for photon science (PS) and particle and particle astrophysics (PPA). They heard reports on progress in developing a strategy for scientific computing and accelerator science. The ES&H program was also discussed. The PPA faculty presented their 5-year faculty development plan. Recommendations were made in a closeout with Stanford Provost Etchemendy, Vice Provost for Research Ann Arvin and Assistant Dean of Research, John Brauman. A written report will be forthcoming soon. The advice of such a distinguished committee of outside scientists is a central and key component of both near and long term strategic planning and I thank the SPC members for their time and effort in such valuable service of SLAC and Stanford. Thanks also to all the faculty and staff who prepared material and made presentations during the meeting. The SPC will meet again next May.

In closing today's column, let me encourage you to be in contact with me at any time, sharing your thoughts or concerns, the good or the bad news or anything that might be on your mind that you feel I could be helpful with. My e-mail address is and my phone number is (650) 926-3153. Please enjoy a safe and productive week!

—Keith Hodgson, December 4, 2006