d.school fellowship application opens: Education & health care

April 14, 2014
(Photos by Emi Kolawole)

(Photos by Emi Kolawole)

Update: We have posted answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding the fellowship and the application process. Prior to sending in a question about the application, please read this document. We will continue to update it as we receive additional questions that have not already been answered.

We’re now accepting applications for the d.school fellowship program for the academic year 2014-15. This year, we are looking for restless experts in the fields of K12 education and health care. Ideal candidates will be mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs with the potential to drive systems-level change. If you’re dedicated to improving either of these areas, read on!

What’s a d.school fellowship?

Our hands-on, project-based program is rooted in organization design and is intended to help accelerate creative leaders and their organizations. Ideally, candidates for the fellowship will have already launched an initiative in either of our two focus areas. They will also be coming to the program looking for a way to scale their impact.

Selected fellows will be eligible to receive a full-time stipend and benefits, so they may commit to the 10-month experience. Throughout the program, all fellows will have access to the resources of the d.school, Stanford University and the Silicon Valley community.

How does it work?

This intensive program includes both residency periods at the d.school, and time in the field to gain insights and test prototypes. It is anticipated that fellows will split their time evenly between these modes, but their experiences will vary depending on their projects.

Who are we looking for?

The d.school fellows are high-performers with an instinct for the edge, self-starters with an impulse for change and the savvy to make it real. To learn more about the types of people we’re looking for, read about our current cohort. You can also check out our K12 Lab Network. We are not seeking applicants outside of the education and health care spaces at this time.

Can I keep my current job during the fellowship?

Depending on the partner organization, in some cases fellows may stay on that organization’s payroll and work closely with colleagues on their fellowship project. The program requires full-time residence during Fall Quarter.


Here’s a timeline of what to expect:

Fall Quarter: Sept. 2 – Dec 6.Focus on Learning & Leading

Fellows will dive deep into organizational behavior and design through their participation in experiential d.school courses. They will also take part in weekly workshops that feature Stanford faculty and outside experts in leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, ethnography, scenario planning and more.

Winter Quarter: Jan. 5 – March 14, 2015 
Focus on Leading & Doing

Fellows rev through the design-thinking cycle (Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype & Test) to sharpen their projects and begin to prototype — either back with their employer or working independently. Fellowship events are scheduled for the periods when fellows are not in the field.

Spring Quarter: March 30 – June 18, 2015 
Focus on Doing

Using what they’ve learned during the fall and winter, fellows refine their projects and launch them into the world.

Areas of focus

K12 Education
We encourage applicants whose projects focus on one of these seven areas and are based in the United States:

  • Redesigning the Role of the Teacher: Blended, personalized, and challenge-based learning all fundamentally shift the traditional role of the teacher. How might we reinvent teacher roles, teacher training and development, and school structures to meet and shape this future?
  • Redesigning the Role of the School Leader: The challenges of contemporary school leadership require fundamental shifts in what principals and other school leaders do. How might we develop and sustain school leaders who know how to create the conditions for student-centered pedagogy and organizational creativity to thrive? We welcome proposals from exemplary school leaders and those who work with them.
  • Parent Engagement: What is the future of parent engagement and leadership in a changing educational landscape? How might parents find new avenues of engagement to stimulate district-level change?
  • New School Model Design: Imagine the Future of Grades 6-14: How might we design and prototype new school models that deeply engage students and build their design thinking, entrepreneurship, and character skills needed for life and work in the 21st Century? NOTE: We may have special opportunities for applicants who would like to develop school models that meet the Silicon Schools Fund criteria.
  • New Orgs for Educational Equity: We recognize the important role that non-school entities (non-profits, ed-tech startups, etc.) play in stimulating innovation across the ed sector. We welcome applications from organizations whose work addresses system-level inequities and addresses them in new ways.
  • Infusing Creativity in K-5 Teaching and Learning: On the heels of Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley, we are seeking fellows with projects that bring more creativity into student-facing experiences in and out of school for K-5 students. A focus on curriculum design or innovative teacher professional development would be viable here.
  • Designing Challenge-Based Learning: How might we design and lead a wave of challenge-based learning opportunities for youth?

Health care
We do not have specific areas of focus for potential health care fellows, but the program is designed for those working on systems-level change. We welcome international and U.S.-based projects.

How to apply

Why should you consider the d.school fellowship? If you have launched a program or organization aimed at transforming K12 education or health care, the fellowship gives you the space and support to rigorously pursue its impact and your own leadership potential. Rather than come in for a year, study something new, then go back and practice it, you will learn by doing throughout the year. At the d.school, we aim to unlock the potential of innovators, knowing that their innovations will follow.

What we need from you:

  • A current CV, including two potential references with their titles and relationship to you
  • A 1000-word story about who you are and what’s led you to our doorstep
  • A 500-word statement explaining your vision for the impact you want to have in the education or health care sector
  • A one-minute video on what you need to realize your potential


  • You must send all application materials to fellowships@dschool.stanford.edu by the deadline to be considered for the next round of the application process. We’ll accept the following file formats: .docx, .pdf, .mp4 and .mov.
  • When submitting your application please ensure your subject line reads the following: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME 2014-2015 d. fellows application.
  • Open-application finalists will be chosen the week of June 2. All applicants will be notified at that time. Finalist interviews will take place in early June, and fellows will be chosen shortly thereafter. The fellowship begins Sept. 2.

 – Justin Ferrell & Susie Wise

RELATED: The d.school fellowship program: Your questions answered

Share This Article


  1. Alexandra

    The d.school fellowship is quite a unique program, according to its description. I haven’t heard about anything similar. It’s wonderful that you spread the idea of applying the human-centered design approach in different fields.

    Are you going to consider applications from non USA citizens?

    Thanks a lot in advance for your answer!

  2. Deepika

    App for d-school is almost complete. Quick question: Is there a preference for sending the 1m video? The options I’m looking at are a zip file or Dropbox, and I wanted to check in to see what’s most convenient. Thanks!

    • Emi Kolawole

      Hi Deepika – You can post them on YouTube or Vimeo with a password protection, or send them to us over Dropbox or Box. Whichever is convenient. Thanks for the question!

  3. Miriam

    Only now found this opportunity. Is there a deadline for submission of the application? Is it June 2nd?

  4. Srikar Dronam

    Great opportunity – kudos to Stanford and the entire d.school team. Excited to be applying!…

  5. Daniel

    Hi, i sent and email and the autoreply said you are still accepting applications, is it right?

    • Emi Kolawole

      Hi! Thanks so much for your comment. We will be posting for applications later on in the year. Please continue to check back to the whiteboard for more details. Also, you are welcome to subscribe to our newsletter, where we share all of the stories posted here, including our callout for applications.

    • Emi Kolawole

      Thanks for your inquiry. We are still working on an application date, and we will post to the whiteboard as soon as we have one. Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter — that’s a wonderful way to stay apprised.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *