「才」與「財」的結合——史丹福大學

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1989 / 8月

文‧張靜茹 圖‧鄭元慶


美國加州有個評斷當地四所大學的說法:

 

如果你很會讀書,家庭又富裕,就念史丹福大學;

 

要是你會念書,家庭並不富有,就念柏克萊大學;

 

若是家庭富裕,功課卻不是頂尖,就進南加州大學;

 

萬一成績不如理想,家裡又不是很有錢,就念加州州立大學吧!

 

此說雖嫌「以偏蓋全」,但不可否認,「家世好、又會念書」已成為史丹福大學在加州人心中的註冊商標。


六○年代,當加州柏克萊大學在學術與學生運動上雙雙遠近馳名之際,離它僅一小時車程的史丹福大學卻還「沒沒無聞」。

而今天史丹福在學術上的地位與學生的素質,則已被視為「西岸的哈佛大學」。

最近幾年,在各種對美國各大學院校的評鑑名單中,史丹福的師資、學術研究、教學及研究設備,均名列前茅。去年它在理、工和商、教育學院均排名第一,總成績更名列榜首,把向來位居一、二的哈佛、麻省理工學院等幾個大學硬是比了下去。

另一項最近的美國官方統計則指出,史丹福應屆畢業生的年平均收入高居全美大學之冠;史丹福的企管碩士更是人中之龍,年薪沒有六、七萬美金請不到手……。

有人形容史丹福能在短短不到廿年的時間「竄起」,速度有如「十多年來襲捲全球的資訊工業」,之所以有如此的比喻,是因為史丹福的勇往前衝,的確拜了不少資訊工業之賜。

史丹福的轉捩點

一八八五年,加州鐵路大王、曾擔任過加州州長的雷.史丹福為紀念他未進大學念書即早逝的兒子,創立了史丹福大學。

私人興學的老史丹福頗有見識,對曾任印地安那大學教授的首任校長喬丹,強調學校應對文學、音樂、藝術、科學、數學、法律等各個領域研究的重視,使史丹福一開始即具有一所大學的氣勢。

到一九一六年,學校由一百廿五位教授組成的委員會把史大分成獨立的廿六個系,卅年後又改組為地球科學、教育、工、文理、法、商、醫等七個學院、七十個系,學校現今規模大致底定。

但是直到一九五九年,工學院院長特門的一個構想,才是史丹福最大的轉捩點。

由於史丹福校地非常大,學校利用有限,他便建議學校以極低廉、象徵性的地租長期租給工商業界或畢業校友設立公司,再由他們與學校建教合作,提供各種研究和學生實習。這個構想使史丹福成為第一個在校園成立「工業園區」的學校;也為他們帶來許多「意外」收穫。

一開始由於地租便宜,吸引了不少公司問津;不久資訊業興起,加州的地理與氣候,被美國許多投資者視為設廠的「金礦」,史丹福此舉遂如點燃了火種,公司一家吸引一家成立,不久就超出史丹福能提供的土地,而跨好幾個城市,延伸到聖荷西,到了八○年代,就成為舉世皆知的「矽谷」了。

重金聘請第一把交椅

在工業區如火如荼發展之際,史丹福為配合工業界腳步,使學校有能力接受各種委託研究,在政策上也大力改革。

尤其在師資上,學校「以極好的條件吸引一些非常頂尖的人來」,史丹福航空系副教授張福國說,當時即使某一領域的第一把交椅請不來,也不因此就找第二名的人。

資訊系研究生張南雄說,有位在哥倫比亞大學教統計十六年的教授,好不容易爬上系主任位置,卻因史丹福給他的條件太好,加上加州「不需一天到晚剷雪」,寧願降低職位來當教授。

「一九七○年代後,學校出了一批相當有名的教授,在理、工、管理領域留下許多新觀念」,電機系準博士陳希聖說,如此奠下了史丹福的學術地位。

學術地位高、研究能力愈強,近水樓台的矽谷委託的計畫愈多,美國各種能源開發中心、國防機構也紛紛慕名而來,「理工學院的老師手上有七、八個大型研究計畫是常有的事」,目前本身就有七個研究計畫在手上的張福國表示,史丹福名氣因此像滾雪球一樣,愈滾愈大。

教書、研究、拉生意

如今學校已不再需要像過去,以優越條件吸引最好的師資,但最好的老師卻會自動前來。

「現在已形成一個副教授空缺,來了將近一百個人應徵的情形」,陳希聖說,其中還不乏來自哈佛、加州理工學院第一流大學的老師。

學校老師要升等也很困難,除了系主任、系上教授的評鑑,還得向學生索取「對此位老師教學感想評語」的信函,論文則公開時間、地點發表,師生任憑參加、提出問題,考驗老師的表達等各種能力。

史丹福的老師要有三能,「好的教書者、好的研究人員、還要是個『很能爭取生意』(向外界爭取研究)的人」,張福國有感而發表示,委託學校的研究雖多,但史丹福是私立學校,老師仍會儘量向外爭取研究,否則就沒有經費可以做學術研究,光用薪水還養不起研究生。

「很現實」,張福國表示,連辦公室桌子和櫃子都得自己花錢買。不過,東西是自己的,隨自己怎麼用,不需花時間去報帳,「好處是行政效率迅速」,他說。

企業界最愛史丹福?

但他也不諱言表示,由於研究拿的都是企業界的經費,但大企業不可能提供基礎研究或需要長時間才有研究成果的計畫。因此史丹福的理工系所常往最實用、「有前途」的路走。

老師沒多餘時間花在冷門的領域,「但最冷門的領域,往往能產生最突出的成果」,張福國認為「這是個大問題」,他自己手上的研究計畫,就都是和目前最實用的航空科技有關。

「如此也並非不好」,歷史系博士范毅軍以為,由於學校參與社會各種研究,使學術和現實結合,對美國社會、政府機構都有助益。

學校也因為老師除接外界的研究,往往也是外面企業的顧問,間接可以和外界最先進的科技發展相連結。

「學生做的也都是現在最熱門或三、五年後會成為最搶手的東西」,材料科學系研究生,目前正在全錄公司做研究的陳超乾舉例說,如機械系發展電腦機械修理、醫學院鑽研AIDS病症。

如此學生不與外界現況脫節,畢業即能很快投入就業戰場,因此史丹福學生能成為全美一出校門,企業界最愛聘用的人才。

許多理工學院學生一畢業更自行創業,投入最熱門的資訊界,世界知名的惠浦(H.P)及Sun Micro都是史丹福校友所擁有。

讓柏克萊恨得牙癢癢

史丹福雖然沒有州政府的補助,但琳瑯滿目、大筆經費的外來委託計畫,使學校能有豐富收入;而包括矽谷在內的許多大企業界中,更不乏史丹福校友,也使史丹福成為每年校友們慷慨解囊、企業大方捐款最多的學校。

除了經費的充裕,「史丹福的電腦更是用不完」,張南雄說,只要矽谷裡有人出新產品就會送學校「試用」,而且很大方,一次出手送廿台,每台價值抵一輛萬元以上汽車的電腦是常事。

在學校電腦管理中心做研究的張南雄則表示,往往舊的電腦還未到淘汰期,新的一批就來了。「十幾萬的電腦拿來墊腳用」,曾在柏克萊取得碩士學位的張南雄說,此說一經傳出,「使得經費困窘的柏克萊學生恨得牙癢癢的。」

「一個專拾廢紙的人,每天坐在電腦中心門口,整理丟出來的報表紙,就足夠養家維生」,張南雄說。

每個進史丹福的學生,學校都會給一個像電話號碼一樣的電腦號碼,用來聯絡、留言「還可和遠在東岸的同學聯繫」,陳超乾最滿意的是省了寫信的時間。

十年前,矽谷多家公司更捐錢為電機系蓋一積體電路中心,把他們最新的電腦研究都集合到此,在此中心學生可以自行生產整套機器,也有最先進的設備做研究。

由於和「矽谷」的密切關係,學校已完全電腦化,也創造了一個極複雜,但管理最好的電腦網,「去年麻省理工學院還邀請我們電腦中心教授,去指導他們學校電腦中心的管理」,張南雄頗為驕傲地說。

貴族學校,田園生活

充裕的經費,也使史丹福能維持「貴族學校」的氣派。一進校門,筆直的棕櫚樹大道綿延一、二公里,才見到上好花岡岩材質,十七世紀西班牙農莊式的校園建築整齊排列著,「看任何一幢建築就知道是史丹福」,戲劇系博士候選人祝仲華說。

史丹福是私人財產,有權不讓閒雜人等進入,因此維持著極乾淨、單純、「象牙塔」般的環境。加上校園外是較高級的住宅區,環境很單純。

「有如生活在田園中」,祝仲華認為,此地是極佳的讀書環境;不過也有學生覺得偌大無比的史丹福到了晚上有如「監獄」。

只不過「監獄」中,還有座美國排名百名內的高爾夫球場供學生使用,而不管大學部或已婚研究生,只要願意,都有宿舍可住。若是夜讀晚歸,只要撥一通免費電話,就有校警專程送你返家。

在許多州立大學因為經費限制,學生還得花錢買講義時,史丹福的有線電視卻已接到學生宿舍,「萬一清晨睡大頭覺趕不及去上課,只要把錄影機定時到老師上課時間,就會自動錄好上課實況」,這是另一項令史丹福學生「得意」的事。

大家都是第一名

在理工學院學術基礎穩固,給學校帶來收入後,人文學院也沾光不少。

史丹福一學年(九個月)平均二萬美金的學費、生活費,常使許多想申請入學的學生知難而退。但祝仲華表示,學校卻對無法像理、工、商學院有很多研究收入的人文科系研究生非常優渥。她在此念書,學校給她的獎學金,使她如有「二萬美元的年收入」,曾在兩所美國大學念書的她說,念文科還給你錢的學校不多,「因此理工科學生常笑我們是學校的『寄生蟲』!」

雖對文科學生極為優待,但對學生成績和各方麵條件的要求卻不馬虎。學校採「質重於量」的政策,祝仲華表示,和她同期進來的研究生只有二個,大學部也不過一、二十個學生,老師幾乎是「一對一」盯人,使你無法偷懶。

尤其理工學院,教授手上往往擁有許多大型研究計畫,手下必須要有能力極強的助理教授、研究生支持。為維持學生品質,學校對人數控制就極嚴格,比如機械研究所幾乎是一個研究生畢業,才再收進一個。也因此多年來,學校人數總維持在一萬人左右。

陳超乾也表示,在他來之前,國內華智電腦公司總經理、史丹福材料科學博士陳錦河就告訴他,想在史丹福念書不容易,「陳錦河說他在史丹福六年,沒有一天睡眠超過六個小時」,陳超乾指出。

菁英主義

如果大學畢業生的成績滿分為四,能進史丹福研究所的學生幾乎人人是三.九。祝仲華說,很多人過去習慣了當第一名,忽然來到此地,打擊會很大,「因為大家都是第一名。」

能申請進入大學部的學生,成績也都是過去班上的前五名。「除了成績好,也幾乎個個都當過社團領導者或有特殊才能」,張福國說,史丹福已成為美國人心目中採「菁英主義」、培養未來社會領導者的校園。

〔圖片說明〕

P.129

紅瓦、黃牆的農莊形式,是典型的史丹福建築。

P.130

資訊系張南雄很滿意史丹福有最好的電腦設備可供研究。

P.131

每一年畢業生會留下一片刻著阿拉伯數字的銅製「地板」,數字代表畢業年次。

P.132

校園內專門收集世界級雕塑家羅丹作品的雕塑館和露天雕塑花園,顯示了「富有」的史丹福不失人文精神。

P.132

教室外的露天廣場,是能見到較多學生的地方之一。

P.133

校園廣大、學生稀少,使史丹福上課期間也像放假。圖為創校時期留下來的教堂。

P.134

航空系副教授張福國認為,史丹福的老師除了教書、研究能力兼具,還要會「拉生意」--找研究。

P.134

近水樓台的「矽谷」,提供了史丹福不少研究計畫。

P.134

史丹福的校地之大,在全美大學中屬一屬二。圖為學校後山,還是大塊綠坡地。

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EN

Stanford University: Where Academia and Business Merge

Chang Chin-ju /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng /tr. by Phil Newell

There's a saying about universities in California:

If you can study well, and your family is wealthy, go to Stanford;

If you can study well, but your family is not well off, then go to Berkeley;

If you are wealthy, but not so good at the books, then go to the University of Southern California;

And if your grades aren't ideal and your family has no money, then you attend California State University.

Although this view is slanted, it's undeniable that good family background and good grades have become trademarks of Stanford University in the hearts of Californians.


In the 1960's, as Berkeley was acquiring a name for activism and academics, Stanford, only an hour away by car, remained undiscovered.

Today Stanford is known as "the Harvard of the West Coast." It is near the top of university rankings in teaching, scholarly research, and facilities. Last year its schools of physical science, engineering, business, and education ranked number one. Recent U.S. statistics show that the average income of just-graduated students from Stanford is the highest among U.S. universities.

Some compare the pace of Stanford's less than 20-year rise with the meteoric rise of the information industry. It's an appropriate metaphor, because much of Stanford's progress has been in tandem with the information industry.

In 1885, California rail baron and once state governor Leland Stanford established the university in memory of his son, who died before reaching college age. In 1916, a committee of 125 professors divided Stanford into 26 separate departments. Thirty years later it was again reorganized into Schools of Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Sciences, Law, Business, and Medicine, with 70 departments.

The real turning point only came in 1959, with an idea of the dean of the School of Engineering, Frederick E. Terman.

As the university uses only a limited part of Stanford's large campus, he suggested that the school rent land at nominal cost to businesses or alumni to establish companies to cooperate with the university to provide research and practical experience for students. This made Stanford the first university to have an "industrial zone" and yielded unexpected benefits.

At the time the information industry was just taking off. The climate and geography of California appealed to many investors, and companies set themselves up one after another. Before long they outgrew the campus, expanding to neighboring cities. Soon, they had become the world famous "Silicon Valley."

Stanford arranged for the school to be able to accept contracted research, and there were major reforms in policy. In recruiting professors, the school "offered the best possible conditions to attract a few top people," says Chang Fu-kuo, assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics. Even if the first choice couldn't accept a chair, it didn't mean the second choice would get it.

The higher Stanford's academic status and the stronger its research abilities, the more projects were entrusted to it. Resource development centers from across the United States and national defense institutions also flocked in. "For a professor in the physical sciences to have seven or eight major research projects on hand is common," says Chang Fu-kuo, who has seven projects at present.

Chang says that professors at Stanford need three kinds of ability: "to teach well, to be good researchers, and to really bring in the business." As a private university, Stanford's teachers must seek research programs outside; otherwise there would be no funds for research or grad students.

However, enterprises do not provide programs for basic research or research which takes a long time to show results. Because of this, Stanford's physical science departments focus on the most practical topics, taking the path with the best future. Professors don't have time to follow up trails that seem cold. But sometimes these produce the most outstanding breakthroughs, says Chang. "This is a major problem."

"This is by no means a bad thing," argues Chang Nan-hsiung, a grad student in information sciences. Professors are able to stay in touch with the most advanced technological developments. "What students do is also what's hot, or what will become the most fought over items three or five years down the road," says Chen Chou-chen, a grad student in material sciences and currently a researcher at the Xerox Corporation. In this way, students aren't cut off from the outside world and can jump into the thick of commercial battles upon graduation. This makes Stanford grads much sought after, or gives them the basis to strike out on their own, as with the well-known Sun Mirco company.

Though Stanford doesn't receive state subsidies, large funding from outside contracting has given the school a healthy income. Many major corporations, including those in Silicon Valley, are not lacking in Stanford grads. This has made Stanford the leading recipient in graduate and business donations every year.

Not only is funding no worry, "Stanford's computers are even more inexhaustible," says Chang Nan-hsiung. New products from Silicon Valley are sent to the campus for a trial run. Often new equipment comes even before the old computers have reached obsolescence. Chang, who got his M.S. at financially less well off Berkeley, jokes that this makes students at the latter grind their teeth.

Ten years ago, several companies from Silicon Valley funded an integrated circuit center and concentrated their newest research there. Students can produce entire machines on their own there and have the latest facilities for their research.

On the stable basis of funding provided by the physical sciences, the humanities have also brightened up. Chu Chung-hwa, a Ph.D. candidate in the Drama Department, indicates that, though the humanities departments cannot have research incomes similar to those of the sciences, the school treats them handsomely. Chu receives a scholar-ship with an income equivalent to US$20,000 a year. Chu, who has studied at two other American universities, says that few schools give so generously to the humanities. Some of the science students laughingly refer to the "soft sciences" as the "'parasites' of the university."

Although the school gives good treatment to students, they put a lot of demands on them as well. The school has a policy of "quality over quantity." There are only two other students who entered the program with Miss Chu; it's almost one-on-one with the professors, and it's impossible to slack off.

Especially in the hard sciences, it is necessary to have capable assistants for teaching and research. To maintain student quality, numbers are strictly controlled. The school has maintained a population of about 10,000 for several years. Only top high school students get into the under-graduate departments, and, "if university students are graded on a 4.0 scale, then those who can get into grad school at Stanford are all 3.9," says Chang Fu-kuo. Students long used to being number one are in for a shock--because "everybody here is number one."

Stanford is already an academic Mecca, cultivating the leaders of tomorrow's society.

[Picture Caption]

The red brick and yellow walled rural look reflects a typical style of Stanford architecture.

Chang Nan-hsiung, a student in the Department of Information Sciences, is very satisfied that Stanford offers its students top computer facilities for research.

Every graduating class leaves behind a brass plate in Arabic numerals to represent the graduation year.

The sculpture museum, which specializes in collecting the works of Rodin, and the sculpture garden indicate that affluent Stanford is not lacking a spirit for the humanities.

The open-air plaza outside the church is one place you can find somewhat more students.

With a large campus and relatively few students, even when school's in session it's like vacation time. The picture is of a church dating to the school's early period.

Chang Fu-kuo believes that teachers at Stanford need not only teaching and research ability, but also need to be able to "bring in the business."

"Silicon Valley" provides Stanford with a large number of research projects.

Stanford's campus is vast, first or second largest in the nation. The photo shows picturesque scenery overlooking the campus.

 

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