As a sociologist of higher education, Vice Provost Gumport has focused her research and teaching on key changes in the academic landscape and organizational character of American higher education. She has studied the dynamics of academic change in several arenas, illuminating what facilitates it and what impedes it, within different types of colleges and universities. Driven by an abiding interest in knowledge change, she has analyzed how organizational, intellectual, political, economic, and professional interests redefine the content, structure, and relative legitimacy of academic fields. Her academic publications include 7 books and over 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She has received numerous awards for her teaching and research, including the Stanford Graduate School of Education’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 1995 and the American Educational Research Association’s Exemplary Research Award in 2006 for an outstanding record of scholarly research in the study of higher education. She has served on editorial boards of three leading higher education journals: The Review of Higher Education, Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, and The Journal of Higher Education (Chair, 1994–1995).
Since joining the Stanford faculty in 1989, Gumport has served the University in numerous leadership roles, including her current role as Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs. She continues to direct the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research (SIHER). She chaired the Social Sciences, Policy and Practice division within the Graduate School of Education. She has also provided long-standing service on a range of standing and ad hoc university committees. These include serving as a member of the Provost’s Budget Group since 2004; as co-chair of the Provost’s Diversity Cabinet; as senator and ex-officio member of the Faculty Senate and the Senate’s Planning and Policy Board; as a member of the Provost's Committee on the Status of Women; and on the Executive Committee of Stanford's AAUP Chapter. She was selected as a Fellow in the inaugural cohort (2008) of the Stanford University President's Leadership Academy, and since 2011 she has served as a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley. In 2012, Gumport accepted the President’s Award for Advancing Diversity through Institutional Excellence for the Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Doctoral Fellowship Program. Also in 2012, she served as President of the Association of Graduate Schools in the Association of American Universities.