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Stanford University

To make real impact in the world, I believe you need the support of a terrific organization. I feel fortunate to have been affiliated with Stanford for over 30 years -- since 1993. Along the way I've been inspired by peers, challenged by students, and guided by Stanford's ethos of making the world a better place.

On the teaching side of things, I’m currently appointed as Adjunct Professor at Stanford Living Education,  within the Stanford Flourishing Project, under the umbrella of the Stanford School of Medicine. I’m also working with Stanford Lifestyle Medicine.  Previously I taught my classes in the Department of Computer Science and the Graduate School of Education.  At times I contribute at the d.School and the Symbolic Systems Program. No matter the department or program, I welcome students from across campus to join my courses and to do research in my lab. Most are graduate students, but I like working with smart and motivated undergrads as well.

Our Stanford Lab

My current projects range from research to innovation, teaching to mentoring -- a fun mix. 

At Stanford I lead an interdisciplinary team of Stanford students, recent graduates, and quantitative researchers. About 8 people are involved in lab projects at any given time.Our lab’s overall mission is this: Teach good people how human behavior works so they can create solutions that effectively increase health, boost happiness, and promote human flourishing.

My research lab

My Teaching

For about 10 years I taught my models and methods for Stanford's Department of Computer Science. As my interest evolved away from technology, I also changed departments. Today my teaching appointment is through Stanford Living Education in the Department of Medicine within the Stanford School of Medicine.

 

Usually I keep my class sizes small, and students apply to join by doing a small project that shows their skills in judgment and communication. I try to admit a diverse group--from different majors, ages, ethnicities--because I believe this makes a better class for everyone. (And sorry: I don't allow auditors, though sometimes I will welcome a guest to join one or two classes.)

Each year I create a new course to teach -- something that has never been done before. My classes always relate to human behavior in some way, but I explore from different angles. The first day of class I tell students that my courses are like a start-up. We have a plan for now, but I'm quite sure that plan will change. And I don't know if we will succeed. Why? Because no one has ever explored this topic before, and no one has ever taught a class like this before. They need to be flexible; they need to help the class move forward in a good way. And then I invite them to drop the class by saying, "If this kind of class scares you, then you need to drop and find a class that is more traditional."

 

So what happens? Almost no one drops. Most students love the idea of a groundbreaking class. And I do too. For 10 weeks we get to explore an important new area together. 

My teaching

A Few Former Students

Below I highlight some of my former students and lab members. As a teacher for all, and a mentor for some, I am grateful for the opportunity. I always challenge my students to use what they've learned from me to make the world a better place. 

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Students
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