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Discover. Innovate.
Drive Change.

There are unsurpassed opportunities for discovery, innovation and change.

Our faculty, students and alumni make up a vibrant community whose expertise is both broad and deep. For more than 100 years, we have been committed to rigor, daring and relevance in research and practice.


Discovery reveals what was previously unknown. It paves the way for new approaches and creates new opportunities.

A data revolution

A data revolution is changing how and what we can discover. Never before have we had so much raw information available for tracking and analysis. With new data from educational technologies, administrative records, genetic records and more, we will move beyond theories of “average” individuals and systems to create precise accounts of variation. With our peers across campus, we are building the infrastructure and methods to harness data’s power and advance education.

The promise of every child

With emerging tools and science, we can finally realize the promise of every child. Of special interest are children chronically underserved by education – children who have special needs; children who come from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds; and young children. We have launched a doctoral program on race, inequality and language in education, and a cross-campus effort on learner differences and special education. Next, we will focus on early childhood.

Science of learning

The science of learning is an area of rapid discovery. Advances in research have revealed multiple brain systems that learn in different ways. We are home to brain scientists, psychologists, linguists and anthropologists who are discovering how people learn at the most fundamental levels; how learning differs across individuals, cultures and content areas; and the conditions that best foster educational success.


Innovation turns discovery and creativity into usable knowledge. It is hard to anticipate and seem to come from nowhere. In fact, successful innovation comes from a culture of daring that prizes deep understanding of needs and possibilities.

Identities and participation

Innovation includes embracing diversity and inclusion, and deepening our understanding of the interplay of culture, ethnicity, ability and disparate social advantage. Learners’ identities, and those that people ascribe to them, determine where they feel they belong and can participate. We are creating new ways to help individuals and communities develop strong identities that invite participation across the curricula and in multiple settings.

Transformative technologies

Innovations in technology can transform education. Complementing new possibilities for teaching, new sources of feedback will renew all levels of education, and better inform students, teachers and policymakers. Artificial intelligence already delivers surprisingly thoughtful feedback on student assignments. Innovations will make it easier to collect data and deliver even more useful responses. With feedback, education can finally deliver evidence-based improvement and precision teaching.

A worthwhile education

What do students need to learn when so much knowledge is available at their fingertips? That's a question many educators are struggling to determine. We have a strong tradition of humanist and international comparative investigations into the role of education as it shapes society and learner's lives. We help determine educational standards, in part by continuously re-examining the changing needs of learners and the evolution of knowledge. And our instructors are developing the best curricula to help learners be analyzers, not just absorbers, of information.

Drive Change

Lasting change depends on sustained effort and leadership. Discoveries and innovations remain inert without additional efforts to put them into practice. We need new ways to bring the fruits of scholarship to those who can transform education.

Empowered educators

Teachers and school leaders are the most direct agents of change and advocates for improvement. We must empower them with knowledge, skills and societal respect. We bring state-of-the-art research to the Stanford Teacher Education Program, and we continue providing opportunities for leadership development. We are expanding professional development programs so that teachers and educational leaders can benefit from recent discoveries and innovations that improve learning.

Better systems of education

Policy is a primary lever of change to create better systems of education – systems that reduce disparity and foster excellence. Policy research gives school leaders and legislators timely knowledge and explanations on which to base their decisions. Developing more infrastructure and talent for conducting and communicating policy research to legislators will drive improvements to large-scale educational systems at the national and international levels.

Research and practice exchange

Interacting directly with educational providers, whether school districts or industries, provides another avenue for driving change. We are pioneering a distinct form of research-practice partnership, where faculty are responsive to the research needs of providers, and providers present unique opportunities for research. This collaboration provides support for local decision making, while also offering possibilities for the production of more widely used knowledge.

Learn more about the GSE Vision for the future

Grand Challenges

We have identified nine grand challenges in education where Stanford can drive transformative breakthroughs.

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Discover. Innovate. Drive Change.

To answer educations's grand challenges, we must discover new knowledge, innovate new ideas and put those ideas to work in the world.

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Strategic Initiatives

New programs, research areas and spaces will help us accelerate progress on education’s grand challenges.

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