Rob Urstein is a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches courses on innovation in higher education. An experienced academic leader, Urstein has more than 25 years of professional experience managing academic programs and teaching, advising, and coaching high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and executives. He collaborates on research projects and serves as a governing board member of the College Transition Collaborative, which brings together pioneering social psychologists, education researchers, and higher education practitioners to create learning environments that produce more equitable higher education outcomes.
In addition to his teaching and research, Urstein is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Entangled Ventures, and a Senior Strategist at Entangled Solutions, where he works on projects to equitably transition society to a knowledge economy.
Urstein spent more than twelve years in leadership roles at Stanford, including three years as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Dean of Freshmen, and Director of Undergraduate Advising and Research, where he was responsible for the transition of new undergraduates to Stanford; academic advising; undergraduate research programs, and academic policy and progress. At the Graduate School of Business, Urstein served for eight years as Assistant Dean, leading the PhD Program, and for two years as Managing Director of Global Innovation Programs, where he managed a portfolio of on campus and international programs focused on leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He has taught MBA students since 2008. Prior to Stanford, Urstein spent ten years teaching and coaching in an independent high school, and in 2000-01 he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Oslo, Norway, working for the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Education. He has been at Stanford since 2004.
Lecturer, Graduate School of Business
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Governing Board Member, College Transition Collaborative (2016 - Present)
PhD, University of Iowa
MA, University of Iowa
BA, Claremont McKenna College
Teaching a lay theory before college narrows achievement gaps at scale
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2016; 113 (24): E3341-E3348
Previous experiments have shown that college students benefit when they understand that challenges in the transition to college are common and improvable and, thus, that early struggles need not portend a permanent lack of belonging or potential. Could such an approach-called a lay theory intervention-be effective before college matriculation? Could this strategy reduce a portion of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic achievement gaps for entire institutions? Three double-blind experiments tested this possibility. Ninety percent of first-year college students from three institutions were randomly assigned to complete single-session, online lay theory or control materials before matriculation (n > 9,500). The lay theory interventions raised first-year full-time college enrollment among students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds exiting a high-performing charter high school network or entering a public flagship university (experiments 1 and 2) and, at a selective private university, raised disadvantaged students' cumulative first-year grade point average (experiment 3). These gains correspond to 31-40% reductions of the raw (unadjusted) institutional achievement gaps between students from disadvantaged and nondisadvantaged backgrounds at those institutions. Further, follow-up surveys suggest that the interventions improved disadvantaged students' overall college experiences, promoting use of student support services and the development of friendship networks and mentor relationships. This research therefore provides a basis for further tests of the generalizability of preparatory lay theories interventions and of their potential to reduce social inequality and improve other major life transitions.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1524360113
View details for Web of Science ID 000377948800007
View details for PubMedID 27247409