Burke Robinson has been an adjunct faculty member at Stanford for more than 20 years. He teaches a graduate course each spring, The Art and Science of Decision Making, in the Sustainability Science and Practice Program, School of Sustainability.

When we make high-quality decisions, we improve the probability of outcomes we want. By combining the art of qualitative framing and structuring with the science of quantitative modeling and analysis, we then have pragmatic ways to: collaborate with stakeholders, identify relevant issues, craft an inspirational vision, develop creative and viable alternatives, assess unbiased probabilistic information, clarify tangible and intangible preferences, build appropriate risk/reward models, evaluate decisions across a broad range of uncertain scenarios, analyze key sensitivities, appraise further information, and ensure commitment to implementation plans.

Common-sense rules and decision-making tools provide the essential focus, discipline, and passion we need for clarity of action on significant decisions – from personal choices to organizational decisions about business strategies or public policies. Decision case studies highlight insights about energy economics, mine remediation, ocean resource preservation, bison brucellosis mitigation, nuclear waste storage, hurricane seeding, electric power production, environmental risk management, litigation risk, R&D innovations, venture capital investments, and oil & gas options trading.

Our normative approach prescribes how decisions should be made from a logical basis of deliberative reasoning when we face a dynamic, complex, and uncertain future world. Lectures include examples of real decisions being made in private and public, business, nonprofit, and government organizations. Group exercises, interactive demonstrations, and "war stories" drawn from decades of decision consulting experience illustrate insights from using state-of-the-art methods of decision analysis.
Presentations from strategy projects by professional management consultants and skilled practitioners of decision analysis provide a rich resource of both business and public policy applications.

Burke is also an avid Stanford sports fan and supporter of the many scholar-athletes on campus. As a Decision Coach, he advises and mentors students and others as they make significant life decisions about undergraduate majors, graduate programs, internships, career jobs, entrepreneurial ventures, and professional sports opportunities.

For more information and his CV, please see his personal website

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, ChangeX

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Certified trainer, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Association for Psychological Type (1992 - Present)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Dr. Robinson has a long-standing interest in crisis decision making, a subject that appears increasingly relevant as unintended consequences occur more frequently in a rapidly changing world. His dissertation on Crisis Decision Analysis identified concepts, processes, and tools that still have relevance today for crisis leadership strategies to improve preparedness and crisis management operations to improve responsiveness.

2022-23 Courses