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Stanford Leadership Academy

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Building the leadership capabilities of the faculty and staff who guide the university now and in the future.


Twenty-eight participants are selected from across the university to participate in the Stanford Leadership Academy each year. These individuals are regarded as “rising leaders” who have the potential to assume even broader leadership roles, and who will enhance the diversity of perspectives among university leaders.

Selection & Eligibility

Participants are typically nominated by the most senior leaders within their school or unit in partnership with their local human resources representative, and approved by the President and Provost. This process takes place each year in the spring quarter.

Nominees should hold leadership positions, such as department Chair, Associate Dean, Dean, Senior Director, associate Vice Provost, Vice Provost, or Vice President roles.

Faculty nominees should also be members of the Academic Council who show promise of becoming not only distinguished scholars but also academic statespersons interested in addressing complex challenges and leading innovative initiatives that contribute to the university’s academic missions.

Program Format

The Stanford Leadership Academy is led by two faculty co-directors:  Robert Joss, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Patricia Gumport, Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Former Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs. The program is managed by the Talent Management and Workforce Strategy team within University Human Resources.

Stanford Leadership Academy begins with a full-day program followed by monthly, in-person sessions throughout the academic year.

Stanford faculty and administrative leaders are invited to lead presentations and discussions at each session on a variety of topics, including:

  • Leadership of Academic Organizations: Demystifying Leadership, Leading change
  • Strategic Thinking, Discovering Strategy by Design
  • Changing Organizational Culture; Building Strong Culture: Managerial Levers and Transparency
  • Building Diverse Teams, Creating Inclusive Workplaces
  • Managing Crisis, Developing Compelling Leadership Communications
  • Influencing without Authority; Motivating Others
  • Enhancing Persuasion and Negotiation Skills
  • Building Individual and Organizational Resilience

Sessions are highly interactive, often focusing on case studies and current examples. This design enables participants to grapple with the complexities of leading at Stanford, while developing relationships with colleagues across the university. 

In addition to the sessions, participants receive 360-degree feedback, individual executive coaching, support on specific leadership challenges, and the opportunity to work with a professional communications coach.  Alumni of the program often remain in close contact.