Leadership 'n Lunch: Harry Elam

April 28th at noon.

RSVP Here


Harry J. Elam, Jr. is the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities, and a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University.

Tuesday, April 28th, 12pm

Cardinal Room (Rm 101), Clubhouse, Old Union Complex

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Full Bio:

Harry J. Elam, Jr. is the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities, and a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University.


He is author of Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka and the Erroll Hill Prize-winning The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson, and co-editor of five books, African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader, Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama, The Fire This Time: African American Plays for the New Millenium,Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Performance and Popular Culture and The Methuen Drama Book of Post-Black Plays. His articles have appeared in American Theater, American Drama, Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Text, and Performance Quarterly as well as journals in Belgium, Israel, Poland, and Taiwan. He has also written essays published in several critical anthologies. Professor Elam is the former editor of Theatre Journal and is on the editorial boards of Atlantic Studies, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, andModern Drama. In 2006, Professor Elam was the winner of the Betty Jean Jones award for Outstanding Teaching from the American Theatre and Drama Society, the winner of the Excellence in Editing Award from the Association of Theatre in Higher Education and the winner of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Theatre Research. He was also inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in April 2006.


In addition to his scholarly work, he has directed professionally for over twenty years. Most notably, he directed Tod, the Boy Tod by Talvin Wilks for the Oakland Ensemble Company and for TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California. He directed Radio Golf by August Wilson, Jar the Floor by Cheryl West and Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleague, which was nominated for nine Bay Area Circle Critics Awards and was the winner of Drama-Logue Awards for Best Production, Best Design, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Direction. He has directed several other August Wilson plays, including Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, and Fences, the latter of which won eight Bay Area “Choice” Awards. In 2010, at the Roble Theatre on the Stanford campus, Professor Elam directed Rent by Jonathan Larson.


At Stanford he has been awarded six different teaching awards: The ASSU Award for Undergraduate Teaching, Small Classes (1992); the Humanities and Sciences Deans Distinguished Teaching Award (1993); the Black Community Service Center Outstanding Teacher Award (1994) (2002), The Bing Teaching Fellowship for Undergraduate Teaching (1994-1997); The Rhodes Prize for Undergraduate Teaching (1998).

Harry J. Elam, Jr. received his AB from Harvard College in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California Berkeley in 1984.

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What is Leadership n' Lunch?


  • Weekly lunch series held throughout spring based on The Leadership INITIATIVE

  • Lunch provided; 12-1 pm

  • 15 minute informative lecture and 40 minute Q & A

  • Location varies

  • Lunch series speaker, dates, and locations depend on room availability

  • Each session is limited to 20 students per session

  • CardinalSync sign-ups will open and be posted on this page the Monday of the week before the scheduled topic


Lecture Themes: INITIATIVE

  • Improvisation: How do I learn to learn to lead without a script?
  • Navigating Ethics: What is ethical leadership?
  • Inspiration: What makes a leader inspiring?
  • Teaching and Mentoring: How do I teach and mentor others?
  • Identity: How do my social identities affect my leadership?
  • Allyship: What does it mean to be an ally for others as a leader?
  • Truth seeking: How do I validate the information I learn?
  • Innovation: How do I lead in an ever-changing world?
  • Values: How do my personal values affect leadership?
  • Entrepreneurship: When and how should I take risks in my leadership?


Each of the themes ties into one of the four “Aims of Stanford University” in the SUES report:

  • Adaptive Learning (Improvisation, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship)
  • Personal and Social Responsibility (Identity, Allyship, and Values)
  • Owning Knowledge (Navigating Ethics and Truth Seeking)
  • Honing Skills and Capacities (Inspiration and Teaching & Mentoring)


Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Adopt specific skills and knowledge and apply them to current leadership practices
  • Discover different perspectives on leadership from guest speakers
  • Connect with other student leaders
  • Begin to understand how to develop a leadership template for the remainder of their college careers

Spring 2015 Speakers

  • President Hennessy
  • David Shaw
  • Aleta Hayes
  • John Powers
  • Patti Gumport
  • Jeff Chang
  • Harry Elam
  • Michael McFaul
  • Steve Loughlin
  • Sheri Sheppard