At Stanford


The Gardner Center is a research and policy center situated within the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. As such, we are privileged to access and contribute to the intellectual capacity of one of the world’s leading research institutions. Our connection to Stanford University is built on reciprocity: we work to bolster the university’s role in the fields of community-based research and youth development, and Stanford students and faculty offer us invaluable skills, knowledge, and resources to achieve our mission of effecting change to improve the lives of youth.


John W. Gardner, the man behind our mission, had deep, enduring ties to the Stanford community. Over many years, he expressed his devotion to Stanford as a student, a member of the Board of Trustees, and as a distinguished professor. In 1984, he was awarded the university’s highest honor, The Degree of Uncommon Man. In 2000, Stanford established the Gardner Center in recognition of his lifetime of public service and university citizenship.


Collaborations with Stanford Faculty. As university citizens following John Gardner’s example, Gardner Center researchers actively engage with the campus community. In addition to our faculty director, Prudence Carter, and our founding director, Milbrey McLaughlin, our staff has partnered with a diverse range of faculty members on a number of interdisciplinary projects. Recent faculty collaborators include:


Nicole Ardoin, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
Edward Haertel, Jacks Family Professor of Education, Emeritus
Michael Kahan, Associate Director, Program on Urban Studies
Michael W. Kirst, Professor of Education and Business Administration, Emeritus
Eunice Rodriguez, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Pediatrics
W. Richard Scott, Professor of Sociology,Emeritus, with courtesy appointments in the Schools of Business, Education, and Medicine
Michael S. Wald, Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law, Emeritus

Collaborations with Stanford Students.The Gardner Center is committed to providing Stanford graduate and undergraduate students with hands-on research assistantships, internships, and volunteer opportunities. We encourage students to come to the Gardner Center with questions and ideas about community-based research. A recent inquiry from a pair of students interested in delving deeply into the theories and empirical research on community-based education and afterschool programming led to the creation of a new course entitled “Community Youth Development.” Offered within the Graduate School of Education’s Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies program, the course was taught by Gardner Center research and community engagement staff and included community leaders as speakers. The Stanford students we engage with learn from practitioners and researchers in the field, deepen and ground academic concepts in real-world contexts, and contribute their own skills and knowledge to our work. The Gardner Center also prepares students to conduct community-based research as part of honors theses, research fellowships, and dissertations. Students who are interested in connecting with the Gardner Center can contact Senior Community Engagement Associate Mary Hofstedt for more information.


The Gardner Center is in a unique position to connect learning in the community to the university – and vice versa – and seeks every opportunity to build respectful, reciprocal relationships that benefit the campus and its neighbors.