Walter (Woody) Powell is Jacks Family Professor of Education, and Professor of Sociology, Organizational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication at Stanford University. His interests focus on the processes through which ideas and practices move across organizations, and the role of networks in facilitating or hindering the transfer of ideas.
He has been faculty co-director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society since its founding in 2006. At PACS, he leads the Civic Life of Cities Lab, which studies civil society organizations in the SF Bay Area, Seattle, Shenzhen, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, and Vienna. He was the 2019 recipient of the School of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. He has received honorary degrees from Uppsala University, Copenhagen Business School, and Aalto University, and is an international member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and The British Academy. He has served on the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council since 2000. He was an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute from 2001-13 and continues involvement with SFI today. With Bob Gibbons (MIT), he has led the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) summer institute on Organizations and their Effectiveness since 2016. For the academic year 2022-23, he is the interim director of CASBS.