Gardner Center founding director Milbrey McLaughlin was among 15 international scholars who were awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, on October 16. The conferment at Svenska Mässan was attended by 800 guests. In receiving this honor, Milbrey joins a distinguished group of individuals, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, recognized by the university for their significant contributions in research, the arts, and society.  Read the full story!

To be college- and career-ready, all young people must have access to deeper learning opportunities that will prepare them to think critically, work collaboratively, and apply classroom learning to real-world contexts. A new brief examines how California district leaders have collaborated with each other, the Gardner Center, Transforming Education, and other partners to design a school accountability system that ensures equitable access to deeper learning opportunities by focusing on a process of district-led, continuous organizational learning and improvement. 

Parents, teachers, and administrators reported how working together to implement Art in Action helped strengthen social bonds and foster a school community.

This is one of the research findings from a year-long implementation study of Art in Action. The project offered Gardner Center researchers an opportunity to partner with the nonprofit arts organization that serves over 50,000 students across 1,800 classrooms to gather and analyze data that Art in Action will use to sustain and scale its programs. The work also gave us the chance to think deeply about youth development and the habits of mind that John W. Gardner believed to be essential elements of continuous change and growth on the part of young people.

Although the rhetoric of "data-based decision making" has been
de rigeur for many years, the Gardner Center team has found that interest in and commitment to data use is not typically reflected in youth-serving organizations' practices . . . and we think we know why.  In many cases, these organizations do not yet understand data as a deeply strategic driver. Rather than viewing data use as an opportunity to solve problems, illuminate strategy, and accelerate learning, the habits of gathering and reporting data only for compliance purposes tend to dominate. In  a new Gardner Perspective , Executive Director Amy Gerstein shares insights from our work, including a continuum, or series of phases (depicted below), which youth-serving organizations traverse while developing the skills to more confidently use data to support strategic decision-making, and, ultimately, action.

gardner center at stanford


Cardinal Quarter provides opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in full-time, quarter-long public service experiences with support from the university. Over the past summer, Stanford students engaged in international, national, and local Cardinal Quarter opportunities. They included a fellowship with WhizzKids United, a South African organization that combines soccer and HIV and AIDS education; internships in Washington, D.C. with the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Department of State; and, a fellowship at the Gardner Center to help advance youth and community engagement in and through the arts, education and technology in East Palo Alto.

Alexis Wood Trujillo, our Cardinal Quarter Fellow, spent a busy summer working with Gardner Center colleagues and members of East Palo Alto's Youth Action Team in their ongoing efforts to galvanize the community around the city's planned Youth Arts and Music Center. The result: "Into the Eyes of East Palo Alto," an installation of audio and photo portraits of eleven established and emerging artists created by East Palo Alto youth that opened on August 28. In September, Alexis reflected on her experience as a Fellow in a Gardner Perspectives piece.

Tom Ehrlich, founding chair of the Gardner Center's advisory board, wrote about the Cardinal Service initiative in a recent Leadership column in Forbes. He and co-author Ernestine Fu view the positive response to Cardinal Quarter and similar programs as a "promising sign that future generations of students will graduate committed to a lifetime of public service as an avocation or vocation." We were proud to host a Cardinal Quarter Fellow and thrilled to have Alexis with us for the summer.

in the media

new members of our team

Policy Analyst

Research Assistant

Stanford Shinnyo Fellow