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2024 SGSI Course Overview

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Adventures in Design: A Experience 

  • Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, PhD, adjunct professor and co-director, University Innovation Fellows Program,
  • sam seidel, PhD, adjunct professor and co-director, K-12 Lab Program,
  • Meenu Singh, MS Ed, lecturer,
  • Aleta Hayes, senior lecturer, director of Dance, Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS)

If you want to succeed in a rapidly changing world, you will need to work with others outside of your discipline and learn from everyone and from every situation. This hands-on workshop will give you the opportunity to develop abilities used by designers towards these goals.

Audience: This class is open to incoming or returning graduate students in any discipline who are interested in design as a methodology for interdisciplinary collaboration and have not previously taken a quarter-long course. It is not a product or service design class.

Coaching High-Performance Teams & Individuals 

  • Evelyn Williams, distinguished teaching professor, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business; former director, Stanford Center for Leadership, Development, & Research and lecturer at the Graduate School of Business

How can you take any group of reasonable people and turn them into a high-performing team? That’s the central question we answer in this boot-camp-style experiential class. The purpose of the Coaching High-Performance Teams & Individuals course is to change the way you think about team problems, opportunities, and yourself. Through challenging team exercises, coaching sessions, and lots of hands-on experiences, this course is definitely NOT a spectator sport. However, in one week, participants leave this course with team analysis and coaching tools that will empower them to impact the world in profound ways.

Audience: This course is open to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in becoming strong team members and leaders.

Designing the Professional

  • Dustin Liu, lecturer & fellow, Life Design Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Kathy Davies, managing director, Life Design Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering

What do you want out of life after graduate school? Wondering how to weave together what fits, is doable, and will be truly meaningful? Join us for Designing the Professional, from the people who brought you Designing Your Life. This course applies design thinking principles to the "wicked problem" of designing your life and vocation while 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 interaction and conversation with your peers. 

Audience: Open to all graduate students in any discipline and postdoctoral scholars (if space allows). If oversubscribed, preference is given to doctoral students near completion of their degree.

Energy@Stanford & SLAC

  • Roland Horne, interim director, Precourt Institute for Energy; professor of Energy Science & Engineering
  • Yi Cui, director of Sustainability Accelerator; professor of Materials Science & Engineering

Jumpstart your energy education at Stanford. Build your personal energy network at Stanford and hear about current research from distinguished Stanford energy faculty and expert speakers. Develop a broad perspective on energy and meet Silicon Valley energy entrepreneurs. Tour Stanford's state-of-the-art energy facilities. Connect with Explore Energy and the robust energy community on campus. This four-day course will allow you to meet incoming graduate and professional school students who share an interest in energy and build an interdisciplinary community across campus. An energy background is not required; students from all schools and departments are encouraged to apply.

Audience: Graduate and professional school students in any discipline are encouraged to apply.

Ethics & the Academy

  • Anne Newman, executive director, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society

Ethical questions arise in all aspects of campus life. This course will examine some of these perennial questions and the foundational values that underlie them (e.g., justice, merit, equality). We will explore these values by considering current debates on campuses about issues like the societal consequences of research, anti-racist educational practices, university finances, and, most broadly, what a justice-promoting university might entail. We will discuss short readings and hear from guest speakers to learn about relevant campus norms and their rationales.

Audience: Open to incoming students, or students in early stages, as well as postdoctoral scholars (if space allows).

Flourishing: The Art and Science of a Life Well-Lived 

This course explores human flourishing and how to practice it in an age of hyper-complexity and ever-accelerating pace. We will engage these ideas through research-informed reading, class discussion, and guided practice related to the psychological, emotional, and social factors that promote a well-lived life. Graduate students from a range of disciplines will learn how to transform this learning from concept to lived experience.

Audience: Open to all graduate students in any discipline and postdoctoral scholars (if space allows).

Jumpstart Your Academic Job Search

  • Chris Golde, PhD, assistant director of Career Communities–PhDs & Postdocs, Stanford Career Education
  • Arne Bakker, PhD, director of Meetings and Community for Science, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Are you about to enter the job market for a faculty position? Get a jumpstart 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, the job talk, and research, diversity, and teaching statements. Experts from across Stanford will present. An interdisciplinary class of peers will support you.

Audience: Open to advanced doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars entering the faculty job market during 2024-25.

Race and Diversity in Higher Education

  • Vaughn Rasberry, associate vice provost for graduate education, associate professor of English

As many universities promote diversity and equity and foster the study of race and racial inequality, various political actors today seek determinedly to undermine these efforts. How do we make sense of this landscape, and what can be done to navigate and counteract these pressures? In this course, we will wrestle with this question by surveying the ideological and political landscape in higher education, reading and discussing new work by scholars with expertise in these areas, and sharing our knowledge and experience in seminar discussions and small group activities.

Audience: Open to all graduate students in any discipline and postdoctoral scholars (if space allows).

Research with Impact: Developing Skills as a Community-Engaged Scholar 

  • Clayton A. Hurd, PhD, director of community-engaged research, Haas Center for Public Service
  • Joanne Tien, PhD, director of RAISE Doctoral Fellowship Program, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education

In recent years, there have been increasing calls both within and beyond academia for universities to accelerate solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. This purpose also drives the interests of many graduate students. Join us to learn from leading scholars about different approaches to community-engaged scholarship and how you can develop a research agenda that addresses the priorities and needs of the broader community. Each session will involve scholars from across campus, and by the end of the week, participants will draft a brief research memo to guide their next steps.

Audience: Open to all incoming and current graduate students in any discipline and postdoctoral scholars (if space allows).

Sustainability Systems and Solutions in a Rapidly Changing World* 

  • Nicole Ardoin, associate professor, Environmental Behavioral Sciences, Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Join us to explore sustainability from a range of perspectives, including systems and solutions orientations. Through guest speakers, large- and small-group discussions, and hands-on workshops with faculty and academic staff deeply engaged in Stanford’s Doerr School of Sustainability, you will hone your knowledge and skills in areas from systems thinking to waste management, climate change to community engagement, and more. By the end of the week, you will have expanded your network of colleagues in the fields of environment, energy, and sustainability, and you will leave with actionable next steps to apply a sustainability lens to your own scholarship.

Audience: Open to all graduate students, with a preference for incoming, first-year PhD students. Open to postdoctoral scholars (if space allows).

*Please note: this course was formerly titled "Exploring Planetary Stewardship: Sustainability Solutions in a Rapidly Changing World."

Teaching as Research (TAR): Leverage Your Skills as a Scholar to Improve Your Teaching 

  • Gloriana Trujillo, PhD, senior director, Academic Teaching Programs in the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Jamie Imam, PhD, advanced lecturer, Biology
  • Shima Salehi, PhD, assistant professor, Graduate School of Education

Are you curious about what influences student learning and experience in the classroom? Join this community to ignite your curiosity, utilize and develop research skills, and discover pedagogical literature that will guide your design of a project centered on understanding and ultimately improving student outcomes. Designing this TAR project will help you become a more reflective instructor who can use classroom evidence to improve and inform your teaching. Completing the TAR project afterward will fulfill a significant portion of the requirements for the Practitioner level CIRTL@Stanford teaching certificate and may also help with future job applications and interviews.

Audience: Open to all graduate students in any discipline and postdoctoral scholars (if space allows). We will prioritize enrollment for those more advanced in their teaching careers or who have started or completed the Associate level CIRTL@Stanford teaching certificate.

For any additional questions, please email