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Meet the Vice Provost

Patricia J. Gumport

Patricia J. Gumport is Stanford's first Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs.

A message from Patricia J. Gumport, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs

I am genuinely honored and privileged to serve as Stanford’s first Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs, launching our new office in 2007. I bring a distinctive perspective, having completed my own graduate studies here and joining the faculty in the Graduate School of Education over 25 years ago. We are all extremely fortunate to work in a university that upholds the highest academic ideals and promotes intellectual risk-taking. My intention—and the mission of our office—is to work collaboratively across the University to strengthen our academic practices while pursuing new ideas, offering expertise, and developing innovative resources to enrich the educational experiences of our students.

Stanford has a longstanding legacy as one of the world’s greatest research universities, with excellence in graduate and professional degree programs across all fields of study. More than half of Stanford’s enrollment is graduate students, 9,200 in 2016. Each of Stanford’s seven Schools seeks to prepare graduate students—in master’s, professional, and doctoral programs – and over 2,200 postdoctoral scholars – to thrive in rewarding careers.

Our students figure prominently in Stanford’s reputation for academic excellence, intellectual innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit. At the heart of Stanford’s mission is a deep commitment to advance knowledge and understanding within and across the disciplines. We do this exceptionally well—in the humanities and arts, natural and social sciences, engineering, education, and professional schools—by supporting students to develop as colleagues who will become highly effective leaders contributing in all sectors: education, business, government, and nonprofit.

Indeed, working with talented students from around the world is a rare privilege accorded our faculty and staff. Stanford students work alongside our faculty as intellectual pioneers, forging new paths of understanding and discovery. They bring vital curiosity and enthusiasm to their exchanges with colleagues. By asking questions, like “What would happen if…?”, students can launch fundamentally new insights and innovative practices. They often encourage faculty to explore new ideas and to apply prevailing theories and methods in novel ways. We are fortunate that our students bring diverse backgrounds and life experiences which enrich our university community, intellectually, socially, and personally. My colleagues and I consistently strive to create a welcoming and inclusive community of open-minded scholars who critically examine ideas and divergent perspectives, as they become even more dedicated and engaged.

Stanford is distinctive in that our Schools, departments, and faculty have considerable autonomy in shaping their graduate program requirements and allocating resources. Yet University-wide, we also embrace the highest ideals in pursuit of our University mission, especially nurturing a culture that affirms moving freely across disciplines with a spirit of exploration, experimentation, and collaboration. In fact, fostering cross-disciplinary dialogue is one of Stanford’s most prominent legacies, one that continues to yield much benefit to our students and alumni, as well as to our faculty and staff.

For Stanford’s faculty and staff, the benefits of working with students come with commensurate responsibilities. We have a sacred trust to do well by our students. All members of the university community have a collective commitment as we strive to ensure that every student has access to the best Stanford has to offer. The stakes are high, and our ideals even higher. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders around the world and across many sectors. My colleagues and I consider each day an opportunity to expand what’s possible in graduate education.

Patricia J. Gumport

Vice Provost for Graduate Education AND POSTDOCTORAL AFFAIRS

Professor of Education