Stanford — Former Director

Mitchell Stevens

Mitchell L. Stevens is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Organizational Behavior and Sociology at Stanford University and served as SCANCOR director from 2010-2017. His previous appointments include New York University (2003-2009) and Hamilton College (1996-2003).  He received his PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 1996.

In 2010 Mitchell Stevens assumed the SCANCOR Directorship.  His first task was to reaffirm the collaboration between SCANCOR and Stanford’s Graduate School of Education by shepherding the construction of a new home for SCANCOR in the lobby level of CERAS.  The Board commissioned San Francisco architecture firm MKThink to design a facility that eloquently recognizes the harmony of Scandinavian and North American modernism.

Stevens has longstanding interests in the management of individualism in human-service organizations, and in the role of quantification in organizational decision-making. With Wendy Nelson Espeland, he has written on the evolution of measurement as a peculiarly important social form (2008, 1998). 

His first book, Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement(Princeton, 2001), is an organizational analysis of the rise of a controversial and now global educational phenomenon.

Over the last decade Stevens has turned his attention to the study of universities, contributing to a renaissance of social-science inquiry into higher education in Europe and North America. His second book, Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites (Harvard, 2007) assesses the consequences of the quantification of youthful accomplishment for the organization of American culture generally.  Professional recognitions of Creating a Class include the Pierre Bourdieu Award of the American Sociological Association’s Education Section.