Skip to main content

Presidential Search (2015-16) – Presidential Attributes

The Presidential Search Committee has consulted extensively with the Stanford community to develop a preliminary set of attributes Stanford seeks in the university’s 11th President. Although this preliminary set will evolve as we continue our search process, we believe the following attributes will be important when choosing the next President of Stanford:

  • The President must be an inspirational, enthusiastic, creative and empathetic leader who demonstrates ethics, integrity and an unwavering commitment to upholding and protecting the founding principles of the university.
  • Stanford’s President must be both a distinguished scholar with high intellectual standards and an accomplished administrator who can focus on long-term strategic objectives to advance the academic mission of the university. Key management qualities will include the ability to select and empower a talented, highly effective team and to work within an academic governance structure with a collaborative leadership style. An understanding of complex organizations, fiscal acumen and the ability to find creative and innovative solutions to problems will be essential.
  • Stanford’s community is large and diverse, and the President must be able to build and sustain credible, trusting connections within it. The President must be a collaborative leader, able to consult key constituencies, seek input and be responsive to concerns, and then move forward exercising judgment in the best interest of the University.
  • The President must demonstrate intellectual curiosity as a distinguished academic who displays a breadth of interest in the totality of the academic enterprise that is Stanford University. It will be critical that the President have an appreciation for all academic disciplines and also demonstrate leadership in pedagogy, supporting innovations in teaching and learning for the benefit of our students.
  • Stanford’s President must be committed to maintaining and enhancing Stanford’s welcoming climate and to strengthening diversity in all areas. The President should be devoted to building a community of diverse faculty, students and staff in which people feel included and respected. The President will be expected to preserve and enhance access to Stanford for the brightest students without regard to financial need.
  • Stanford’s President must have a broad global perspective and continue the University’s tradition of finding creative solutions not only to the challenges directly facing Stanford but also engaging our larger communities. The President must provide leadership on regional issues, such as housing and transportation, national issues, such as federal research support and access to higher education, and global issues including the environment.
  • Stanford’s President must embody the spirit of the University, conveying an infectious enthusiasm for Stanford. The President should be concerned with all aspects of the student experience and engage often and directly with undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral scholars. The ideal President will be an advocate who can inspire and engage our constituents to work together and energetically support the work of the university.
  • The President must share enthusiasm for the value of all forms of discovery and must embrace the University’s long-standing traditions of interdisciplinary collaboration and pioneering innovation.
  • Stanford’s President must be comfortable with change, display humility and humor, be self-aware and continually willing to learn and grow in the role. The President must build on the strengths of the past to provide leadership as the University embarks on new endeavors, advancing its mission to create and disseminate knowledge in the 21st century.
Back to Presidential Search page