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Death (Active Faculty)

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In the event of a faculty death, someone in the school in which the faculty member was appointed needs to serve as the case manager for the University, responsible for coordinating and overseeing the institutional response and ensuring that the following steps are taken. In many cases, this person may be the Faculty Affairs Officer and as such a list of Faculty Affairs contacts within schools can be found here.

1. Verify the identity of the person who died, note source of your information.  Fill in as much relevant information as you can gather quickly.  (We have created a Faculty Death Information Form which can be used to collect relevant information.)

2. Notifications:

Notify by telephone immediately: Roles and Responsibilities
Provost’s Office Internal communication with senior leadership
Office for Faculty Affairs – Provost’s Office They will initiate internal death protocol notification.  See Appendix A and Appendix
for a list of notifications completed by Faculty Affairs.
School Dean’s Office* They will ensure coordination with department; oversee student/grant related issues; and issue School-wide communication as necessary.  (See examples from Appendix C from H&S and Appendix D from Dean of Research)
Faculty member’s department/department manager Secure faculty belongings and office; review faculty teaching for the quarter and make student arrangements; work with dean’s office and family on memorial, student issues and research funding.
University Communications Public communication/liaison with external press
Office of the General Counsel Consider legal issues and/or need for preservation of files and communications as applicable
Director of Public Safety (if on campus and not attended) Liaison with Coroner, Sheriff as appropriate or needed. Consider Clery obligation if applicable.
Office of International Affairs (if death occurred abroad and/or requires repatriation) Assist to obtain clearances and arrange the transportation for the return of mortal remains.
Office of Risk Management (if death occurred abroad)  
Bechtel International Center If international faculty member
Office of Development Manage research funds

* A list of School Dean’s Offices phone numbers is at the bottom of this checklist

Notify by email: Roles and Responsibilities
Registrar To provide class lists for courses in session or upcoming
Director of IT Services To close SUNet ID access and email
Human Resources Officer in Department/School To manage benefits changes. See University Human Resources FAQ: Employee/Faculty Death for more information about the HR protocol.
Office for Religious Life To support department and students
Faculty/Staff Help Center To support faculty and staff who are impacted
CAPS To support students who may be impacted
Faculty/Staff Housing Management of loans/benefits
Dean of Students and Office of Graduate Life  To help with students who may need assistance transitioning to a new professor/adviser
Office of Sponsored Research For verification of current grant activity and follow up as necessary
Academic Secretary Office  


3. Verify that the family of the deceased faculty member has been notified.  Coroner’s Office is responsible for notification.  We cannot make public notice until this has happened nor should any one else be notifying the family or confirming the name of the deceased until the Coroner’s Office has notified.  If another member of the Stanford community has a similar name, consider a courtesy notice to that person and their family.

4. Department Manager should immediately seek return of University equipment including computers, phones and other items.  It may be necessary to allow a significant survivor to retrieve personal information from any devices.  Assistance should be sought from IT and/or the Privacy Office in the event of any difficulty with securing immediate return of all University equipment.  Equipment should be placed in a secure location and should not be re-purposed, absent appropriate approval (e.g., from IT or Property Management).   Department Manager should (after an appropriate period of time) empty office after seeking guidance from family about which items are personal effects.

5. Consider whether notice to EH&S is needed if death occurred on campus (such as for cleaning of space and notification, if needed, to anyone who may have had exposure to bodily fluids).

6. Check with the President’s Office to see whether a condolence letter has been sent.


Dean’s Offices Phone Numbers

School of Earth: (650) 723-2544
Graduate School of Education: (650) 723-2109
School of Engineering: (650) 723-2137
Graduate School of Business: (650) 723-2146
Humanities & Sciences: (650) 723-2275
School of Law: (650) 723-4455
School of Medicine: (650) 725-3900
SLAC: (650) 926-3300
Hoover Institution: (650) 723-1754
Dean of Research: (650) 725-1532

When a faculty member dies unexpectedly in the midst of the academic year, there are a number of issues that need to be managed.  The appendices that follow have been developed by School and University Office partners as a result of experience in these situations.

Appendices A&B – Faculty Affairs internal protocol for active and emeritus faculty
Appendix C – H&S checklist (focusing on teaching responsibilities)
Appendix D – Dean of Research checklist (focusing on research activities)