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Associate Director of SLED; LEAD Program Head and Pedagogy and Research

Diane Friedlaender, Ph.D.



Diane Friedlaender is Associate Director of SLED. She heads the Leadership and Social Change (LEAD) program and supports SLED’s commitment to holistic and integrative pedagogy and formative research.  Diane is committed to infusing humanity into our educational systems and explores holistic ways to support students’ development across social-emotional, creative, spiritual, physical and cognitive dimensions. As the head of the LEAD program, Diane is committed to supporting students’ introspection and self knowledge as a crucial component of their leadership development, so they can bring themselves with authenticity to any leadership role. At Stanford since 2004, Diane previously led qualitative case study education research at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), documenting educational change processes and highlighting the kinds of educational spaces in which students, particularly low-income, and students of color flourish. She also has years of experience documented the power of arts integration as a tool for social justice in schools that serve low-income communities of color. As part of her commitment to holistic educational experiences, Diane co-created and led an elementary school mindfulness program and helped found a K-8 school. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from UC San Diego, and a Ph.D. in education policy from UCLA.


Ph.D., Education, UCLA; B.A., Anthropology, UCSD

Research and Professional Interests

Equity, justice, community and belonging issues in education, leadership for social and environmental change, education as a liberatory practice, integrative learning through the arts and embodied practice as a path to deeper understanding.

Personal Interests

Poetry, art-making, nature, contemplative and embodied practices, meaningful relationships, community and belonging.

Courses Taught

LEAD 101: Leading at Stanford and Beyond: Skills for Changemaking and Community Building, LEAD 103/WELLNESS 123, Living on Purpose, LEAD 104/LIFE 104, Tools for Meaningful Communities, LIFE 101: Tools for a Meaningful Life