Alumni Spotlight

Jane Binger, EdD ’82

How the GSE changed my life

I grew up in San José in the 1960s. My mother was an anesthesiologist and my father was a dentist. Hard work, learning, and caring for others were key family values. 

I earned a BS from Stanford, an MS at the University of California, San Francisco, and an EdD in Administration and Policy Analysis at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. The strategies I learned and the relationships I developed while at the GSE changed my life trajectory and taught me how to think critically, conduct rigorous analysis, and create solutions to thorny issues with confidence. 

Several pivotal incidents come to mind as I reflect on my GSE experience: Lewis Mayhew and Greg Jackson demanding that we develop more rigorous thinking and analytical skills; Ed Bridges coaching me to devise a more provocative conclusion to my dissertation; Mike Kirst telling us to start with a phone call to assess a situation when my introverted self would never do this; Ray Bacchetti, who didn’t tolerate students skipping his seminar, saying, “I hope you at least got married or something.” (Yes, I had!) 

I blush to recall being in the first trimester of pregnancy and vomiting in the office of my adviser, Mike Garet. He gamely ignored my plight while role-playing how to answer potential questions during my dissertation defense. I am grateful for the support of these faculty and my peers; especially Jane Marcus, Charlotte Hanna and David Murphy.

The GSE expanded my worldview and encouraged me to leverage my uniqueness. It prepared me to communicate with the brilliant and highly educated with ease; to use premier resources; to create and execute strategies and programs in billion-dollar healthcare organizations; to contribute to national coalitions and councils; to steward million-dollar donors; to hire As instead of Cs; to support the gold-bar people I want in my life, and to coach other leaders to achieve new solutions to difficult challenges.

The GSE administration and faculty are citizens of the world. I have tried to make a small contribution to this world as well. I am forever grateful to the GSE, its leaders, faculty and staff.

Jane Binger earned her EdD in Administration and Policy Analysis in 1982. She is chief learning and strategy officer at DeepTok and senior adviser at the Center of Excellence in Diversity in Medical Education at the Stanford School of Medicine.