What’s it like to be a DCI Fellow?

DCI: A Short Film About the Program and the Experience

What is the Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI)?

The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (the DCI) offers highly accomplished individuals from all walks of life the opportunity to come to Stanford for a yearlong residential program of personal renewal and societal engagement. The program seeks participants who are ready and eager to pause, think, explore, develop and prepare for their futures as citizens of their local, national, and global communities.

Can my spouse or life partner participate in the DCI?

Yes, the DCI welcomes the participation of spouses or life partners. For those who wish to be actively engaged in the program there is an additional fee of $30,000 and they are formally designated as DCI Partners.

What are the components of the DCI program?


The DCI will be anchored in the Stanford Center on Longevity and will embrace the incredible strengths and opportunities of the entire university. The components of the program include:

Weekly Discussion Seminars
The DCI’s Weekly Discussion Seminars include Faculty-Fellow Dialogues, an informal lunch series bringing the DCI Fellows and partners together with leading Stanford faculty to promote dialogue and discussion around a broad range of topics drawn from the rich and diversified offerings of Stanford University. The other seminar program is Focus on Transformation, an early evening reception series that brings Fellows and Partners together to share lessons learned from their life journeys, to deepen knowledge about transforming lives through the lens of different diverse disciplines and to share lessons learned by Fellows and Partners during their participation in the Institute.

Colloquia provide opportunities for deeper dives into key social and intellectual issues of our time. Occurring over one or two days, they have innovative and interactive formats and seek to engage Fellows and Partners as active contributors.

Purpose Pathways
Each Fellow undertakes a purpose pathway in one of the broad interdisciplinary areas listed below. DCI Partners may also select a purpose pathway if they wish. The pathway includes course materials, research and experiential learning and opportunities to engage Stanford students through intergenerational opportunities.

• Arts and the Humanities
• Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship
• Education, Teaching and Learning – from the classroom to the design lab and boardroom
• Energy and the Environment
• Engineering Sciences and Design
• Health and Healthcare – Innovation and Discovery, Policy, Healthcare Delivery, Clinical Practice (including Global Health • Initiatives), Bioethics
• Independent Study
• International Studies and Programs
• Social Sciences, Policy and Public Service

Intergenerational Learning and Social Networking
The program fosters occasions for Fellows and Partners to interact with undergraduate and graduate students in research, academic and service projects of shared and mutual interest. Intergenerational learning, in which both students and Fellows act as teachers and learners, is a valued feature of the DCI. In addition, Fellows form new networks that can last for lifetime.

The program gathers data that can refine the program as well as delineate life-career transitions, including how they are managed in the current workplace environment. In addition, Fellows and Partners are offered the opportunity to participate in a longitudinal study designed to evaluate the impact of the DCI on their continuing life journey by assessing various biological, physical, cognitive and social concomitants of life transitions.

All Fellows and Partners have advisors who provide guidance as needed over the course of the year in all aspects of their program including choice of courses to audit, choice of purpose pathway to pursue, introductions to faculty and programs, and planning for the next phase of their lives.

Life Journey and Transition Counseling

Fellows and Partners have the opportunity to work with faculty and other professionals as they reflect on their lives and chart their future course. They also have access to search firms in making the transition to their new endeavors beyond their DCI year.

Physical and Cognitive Health
If desired, Fellows and Partners may have a comprehensive health assessment and an individualized program designed to promote physical and cognitive well-being, including health maintenance, exercise and nutrition.

University Courses
DCI Fellows and Partners have the opportunity to participate in courses throughout the university with instructor’s permission and in line with University policy.

When does the program begin?

The 2019 academic year program will begin in September 2019 and run through August 2020.

What is the DCI program calendar?

The DCI is a 12-month on-campus program which follows the Stanford academic calendar. The 2019/20 class will begin in September 2019 and conclude in August 2020.

What would be a typical schedule for a Fellow?

Each week’s schedule includes a weekly lunchtime seminar and a weekly late afternoon seminar with all members of the DCI cohort and faculty from across the University. In addition, each Fellow participates in one or two courses that meet at various times during the week and is engaged in other academic activities that involve time commitments on a regular schedule. There are monthly evening events with speakers from Stanford and Silicon Valley and quarterly 1-2 day colloquia. Beyond these structured activities Fellows and Partners may wish to take advantage of the many opportunities at Stanford for such activities as lectures, concerts, and sports events.

What are the expectations for residency at Stanford?

Since the DCI program is full time for the winter, spring and autumn quarters, Fellows and Partners benefit the most from their participation if they are able to be on campus most days of the week during these quarters. Residency during the summer quarter is optional and depends on whether the Fellows and Partners participate in specifically designated summer programs. The seminar programs and think tanks are not held over the summer.

Is there office space for Fellows on campus?

Yes, the DCI has a community space in the heart of campus where Fellows can work and connect with one another.

What accommodations are available for individuals with disabilities?

The Diversity & Access Office assists the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI) with ensuring that its programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you need a disability-related accommodation or have questions about accessing a classroom, please contact 650-725-0326 (voice), 650-723-1216 (TTY), or email: disability.access@stanford.edu.

Please note: the Diversity and Access Office does NOT provide transportation to classes.

Campus Accessibility Maps
The Campus Access Guide is an online system of maps detailing wheelchair accessibility and other disability access information for campus venues. This project is ongoing and updates continue to occur. If any building is not listed, please contact the Diversity & Access Office for additional information.

Disability Parking
Disability parking spaces, marked in blue, are located throughout the campus. These spaces are reserved for vehicles displaying state-issued (any state) disability placards or license plates; all others will be cited.

Vehicles with disability placards or plates may also park in any other marked spaces on campus, including permit and metered spaces.

Please Note: The closest disabled parking to the Main Quad is located at the Oval. From the Oval, use the ramped path to the right of the steps to reach the arcade level.

DisGo, a complimentary golf cart shuttle service, is available to members of the Stanford community who have a disability or medical condition that make it difficult to navigate the campus. Please note that there are some limitations to the services and advanced reservation is required.

Accessible Entrances
If the main entrance to a building is not step-free, directional signage will indicate the route to the nearest accessible entrance.

Sign Language Interpreting Services & Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices, sign language and oral interpreting services for the deaf and the hearing impaired are available upon request. Please contact the Diversity & Access Office to request interpreters or assistive listening devices.

Large Print or Braille Material
Printed materials for Stanford DCI courses can be made available upon request by contacting the Diversity & Access Office.

For more information about academic-related accommodations for Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute and campus accessibility, please contact the Diversity & Access Office:

Diversity & Access Office
Stanford University
Mariposa House
585 Capistrano Way,
Stanford, CA 94305-8230
Voice: (650) 725-0326
Fax: (650) 723-1791
Email: disability.access@stanford.edu

What about housing for Fellows?

Fellows and Partners are responsible for finding their own housing.The DCI Office provides information about resources that Fellows and Partners can use in securing housing in the local area.

Is there any financial aid available for the program?

A select number of applicants whose careers have been in the public sector, including the military, public education, the arts, or related fields, may be eligible for a reduced fee.

What do I get at the end of the program?

Fellows and Partners receive a Certificate of Completion from Stanford University at the conclusion of the program.

What are the criteria to be a DCI Fellow?

We seek exceptional individuals who:

• have built a career of major accomplishments (20-30 years) and who now seek to deepen their knowledge and/or embrace new fields
• wish to undergo a personal transformation and have a significant impact on others by making an enduring difference in their communities and beyond.
• are eager to actively participate in and contribute to the unique learning environment of Stanford University

Fellows will be selected based on how their participation in the program will shape their future life journeys. A record of successful collaborative efforts will be considered along with the knowledge, skills, and accomplishments of applicants. Consideration will also be given to what future Fellows will contribute to the program and the broader global community.

How do I apply?

The application period for the 2018/2019 academic year class is closed.  Applications for the Class of 2020 (September 2020 – August 2021)  will open in September 2019.

What is the application deadline?

Applications for the Class of 2020 (September 2020 – August 2021)  will open in September 2019. Applications will be due by December 1, 2019.