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2015 SGSI Course Overview

Students at 2014 SGSI

The Improviser's Mindset participants learn to think and speak "on their feet".

VPGE 2014

Explore ~ Experience ~ Expand

Adventures in Design Thinking: The Experience

  • Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Lecturer; Deputy Director, National Center for Engineering Pathways for Innovation, with colleagues from the and across campus

This week-long immersive workshop will lead you in the experiential exploration of design thinking, a methodology for creative and human-centered problem solving that will prepare you to lead innovation in teams at Stanford and in your future endeavors. Along the way, you will discover different factors that stimulate and inhibit creativity and innovation in individuals, teams, and organizations.

Change for the Better

  • Frederic Luskin, Senior Consultant in Health Promotion at the Vaden Health Center; Founder, Stanford Forgiveness Project

  • Aneel Chima, Assistant Director, Wellness Education and head of the Stanford Wellness Education Project

This new SGSI course presents the latest scientific evidence on how to change your behavior for the better. We will cover ways to decrease procrastination and enhance productivity, improve time management, limit the overuse of technology and harmful substances, and show you how the experts tackle other simple yet confounding life challenges. Drawing upon insights in neuroscience, psychology, and other sciences, we will employ guided practice in motivational interviewing, peer coaching, cognitive reframing and guided imagery to minimize unwanted behaviors and create desired new ones.

Designing the Professional: Addressing the question "Once I get my degree, how do I get a life?"

  • Dave Evans, Lecturer, Stanford Design Program; Co-Director D.Life Lab

What do you want out of life after Stanford?  Wondering how to weave together what fits, is doable, and will be truly meaningful?  Join us for Designing the Professional.  This course applies the innovation principles of design thinking to the "wicked problem" of designing your life and vocation in and beyond Stanford.  We'll approach these lifelong questions with a structured framework set in a seminar where you can work out your ideas in conversation with your peers.

Digital Publishing at a Crossroads: The Case of Stanford's Arcade

  • Roland Greene, Director of Arcade; Professor, English and Comparative Literature

Explore the opportunities and challenges of open-­‐access digital publishing through the case of Arcade, a "digital salon" for literature and the humanities that welcomes thousands of visitors weekly. Arcade is regarded as a model of intellectual exchange designed by and for scholars of literature; at the same time, it can be adapted to other fields, and most of the technical, legal, and practical issues it confronts demand a multi-disciplinary approach. Students will collaborate in small, interdisciplinary teams to think constructively about and propose solutions to these problems faced by Arcade and other websites—in digital publishing and in general (

Energy@Stanford & SLAC: Energy Research for the 21st Century

  • Sally Benson, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy; Director, Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP); Professor, Energy Resources Engineering

  • Tom Devereaux, Director, Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES); Professor of Photon Science, SLAC; Precourt Institute Senior Fellow

  • Stuart Macmillan, Consulting Professor, Geophysics; Chief Scientist, Energy Informatics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

For incoming Stanford graduate and professional school students: Jumpstart your energy education at Stanford. Build your personal energy network at Stanford and hear about current research from 35 Stanford energy “Rock Star” faculty and expert speakers. Develop a broad perspective on energy and meet Silicon Valley energy entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Visit a local energy company in Silicon Valley. The four-day course will allow you to meet other incoming graduate and professional school students who have an interest in energy, with the intent of building an interdisciplinary community across campus. A background in energy is not required.

Ethics & Research: Practices, Problems, and Principles

  • Jorah Dannenberg, Professor, Philosophy

  • Anne Newman, Associate Director, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society

What are the boundaries between academic research and private industry? Should scholars advocate policy change through research? What ethical challenges arise when conducting research in international contexts, or with vulnerable populations (e.g., children)? This course will address these and related questions about research ethics across disciplines and methodologies. We will frame the key principles and norms in research ethics (e.g., informed consent; autonomy; IRB history and regulations). A diverse group of faculty guest speakers will share ethical dilemmas they have confronted and how they dealt with them.

Jumpstart Your Academic Job Search

  • Chris Golde, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education

  • Laura Dominguez Chan, Assistant Dean and Associate Director of Career Communities, BEAM, Stanford Career Education

Are you about to enter the job market for a faculty position? Get a jump-start on preparing yourself and your application materials. This course is practical and experiential, involving practicing and editing. We will work on both written and oral parts of your job search preparation, including CVs, cover letters, research and teaching statements, and the job talk. Experts from across Stanford will present. An interdisciplinary class of peers will support you.

Leadership Labs

  • Evelyn Williams, Professor of Practice, Business School, Wake Forest University

When you graduate from Stanford, you face a world that expects you to demonstrate not only talent and knowledge, but effective communication and influence skills. Whether you have studied engineering, medicine, education, social sciences or other fields, as Stanford alumni you may find yourselves in positions where your ability to navigate change and interpersonal dynamics is just as important as your subject matter expertise and analytical skills.  The Leadership Laboratories are a series of experiential simulations and modules, designed to cultivate the skills critical to navigating complex, interdependent teams and organizations.  We focus on skills that help you influence outcomes, motivate others, and build productive working relationships—skills that will have a positive multiplier effect on your impact in the workplace.

Local Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems

  • Patrick Archie, Director, Stanford Educational Farm Program, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

This course provides an experiential overview of the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture via field trips to multiple Bay Area farms engaged in transforming local food systems. Students will be encouraged to connect with, and learn from each other across disciplines through their shared interest in food and agriculture.  Be prepared to engage all of your senses and get dirty as we join together to explore emerging models for the future of farming and food!

Public Policy Negotiation and Decision-Making

  • Janet Martinez, Senior Lecturer in Law; Director, Gould Negotiation & Mediation Program; Stanford Law School

  • Amanda Cravens, Gould Fellow, Gould Center for Conflict Resolution

This course is aimed at graduate students in all disciplines to focus on the analytical and practical skills of negotiation and decision-making. We will integrate theory with practice through literature, cases, and negotiation simulations in select public policy circumstances.

Stanford Ignite

Sunday, June 21 – Thursday, July 15; specific times to be determined

Stanford Ignite is a four-week certificate program run by the Graduate School of Business that teaches innovators how to formulate, develop, and commercialize their ideas. Participants will learn core business skills and experience working on a team to develop a business plan around a new product or service for an existing organization or a new venture. It is designed for non-business students. The cost of participating in Stanford Ignite is heavily subsidized for Stanford graduate students and postdocs, but a fee to such participants is still charged, given the intensive nature of the program. Apply immediately, since admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis.

(NOTE: Stanford Ignite is run by the Graduate School of Business; its $1,450 fee for Stanford students is highly subsidized by the VPGE Office. The application deadline is in mid-March annually.  The program fills quickly.)

The Improviser’s Mindset

  • Daniel Klein, Lecturer, Theater and Performance Studies; Graduate School of Business

Learn the techniques of improvisational theater and practice them with colleagues from around the University. Course topics will include Spontaneity, Narrative, and Status. Anyone interested in developing tools for individual and collaborative creativity and expanding leadership and teamwork skills is welcome. Absolutely no improvisation or acting experience is necessary.

For any additional questions, please email