6 months at Stanford: money, arrogance, embodied virtuality and other wild contemporary conversations
Driving up "Palm Drive" to approach Stanford University is an experience that set you in a solemn aura of money, high class and California Dreaming. The sun is rising, the scenic hills appear pictoresque in the background and the majestic entry to what seems as a village, is confirmed by the immediate apparition of a church and a center square with generous public space surrounded by colonades and peaceful atrium yards with benches and cafés to sip your contemporary legitimate café latte.
One fall semester at Stanford University is not enough to enjoy the academic richness and creativity of the place but just about enough to give you a sense of it. Scancor provides a point of departure for Scandinavians wanting ot explore further their right academic environments and Stanford colleagues to link up with. Department of Communication at the University provided that academics surplus and wild ideas that made me think how we may take up the challenges of the new virtual world in an academic perspective. Professor Jeremy Bailenson’s Lab (http://vhil.stanford.edu) was a particular thrill for me: being dizzy in the virtual 360 degrees environment of passing a bridge over a canyon, seeing avatars of real people transformed from “very male” to “very female” being able to imitate yourself or somebody you would like to resemble, seeing your virtual self working out the threadmill and then feeling dedicated to continue in the real world … aso aso. I am fascinated. I was welcomed to the virtual world!
Also: this is the world of technology. Stanford is Silicon Valley. Apple, Facebook Google … they are all just around the corner from Stanford University and an integrated part of the university research and educational programs. It is felt all the way from elementary school throughout high school level. Welcome to cutting edge high tech!
So, what about CSR and sustainability? Well, Director Krista Deiglmeier at the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford Graduate School of Business certainly seems dedicated - and sufficiently funded J I say with envy - but she is an administratively employed director. It was difficult, actually impossible, to find Stanford GSB professors fully committing to the initiative and wanting to link their research tightly to the area. CSR and Social Innovation is perceived as beyond traditional disciplines and therefore not fit to support an academic career. Welcome to Stanford Graduate School of Business!
And my family? My two sons survived and learned. From measuring watt and volt in “industrial technology” and actually building a solar-powered car at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, they are now back at “sløjd” producing “bird feeding plates” and “wooden cutting boards” at Zahles Seminarieskole. Welcome to medieval pedagogies!
Professor Mette Morsing has been on a 6 month research visit to Stanford University. This is her personal thoughts on the stay in California.
Read Assistant Professor Itziar Castello's thoughts on her stay at Berkely here.