Leadership scholars Jim and Tae Kouzes join Rice’s Doerr Institute

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Leadership scholars Jim and Tae Kouzes join Rice’s Doerr Institute

HOUSTON – (Dec. 7, 2018) – Acclaimed executive educators and husband-wife collaborators Tae and Jim Kouzes will join Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders as fellows in 2019.

A highly experienced executive coach, Tae Kouzes has expertise in advising and counseling C-suite officers and their teams, high-potential women and minority executives and managers in transition. Jim Kouzes is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker who was named one of the 10 best executive educators in the United States by the Wall Street Journal.

“Jim and Tae are a fascinating couple,” said Tom Kolditz, executive director of the Doerr Institute. “Jim is one of the most-published leadership authors of all time, and Tae’s expertise as an executive educator will be invaluable to the institute.”

The Kouzeses — whose first visit to Rice in their new roles will be on Jan. 17 — will lend their expertise and guidance to measure leader development outcomes and advance methods in which the Doerr Institute approach can be applied to other initiatives, Kolditz said. “The institute will greatly benefit from their expertise to both proliferate intellectual property internally and to share our programming with other schools,” he said.

Tae Kouzes began her coaching career in 1982, when the field was emerging, and she has been immersed in all aspects of leadership development since. She has worked across a wide spectrum of organizations, from startups to companies in the top 10 of the Fortune 500 list. Her current research and writing examine the influence of growth and fixed mindsets on leader behavior.

“The Doerr Institute for New Leaders stands alone among university programs devoted to student leadership development,” she said. “There’s nothing else like it, and I feel privileged to be of service to the dedicated staff, exceptional coaches and inspiring young students who are part of this distinguished and distinctive program.”

In addition to her work with executives, Tae Kouzes is a mentor and coach to students and young female professionals. She helps students navigate higher education and works with university graduates as they transition to the workplace, coaching on ways to develop leadership skills and advance in their careers.

“I love the concept of making leadership coaching available to university students,” she said. “The Doerr Institute’s move away from prescriptive, one-size-fits-all leadership training approaches to an emphasis on individualized guidance from certified coaches is extraordinarily refreshing and intriguing. I want to explore how the Doerr Institute approach can be applied to other leadership development initiatives.”

Jim Kouzes is the dean’s executive fellow of leadership at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, and he gives lectures on leadership around the world to corporations, governments, educational institutions and nonprofits. His professional speaking and executive development focus on research by he and co-author Barry Posner. They are best known for their seminal work “The Leadership Challenge, which was first published in 1987 and is now in its sixth edition with more than 2.5 million copies sold.

“I am passionate about evidence-based leadership, and I was ecstatic when I learned that the Doerr Institute places measurement and empirical evaluation at the heart of everything it does,” Jim Kouzes said. “There are a lot of myths about leader development, and I’d like to contribute to the dialogue about what works and what doesn’t.”

He also co-developed the widely used Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), a questionnaire assessing leader behavior that over 500,000 leaders and 3 million observers have completed. In addition to his research and writing, he is an experienced executive who served as president, CEO and chairman of the Tom Peters Company from 1988 to 2000, directed the Executive Development Center at Santa Clara University from 1981 to 1987 and founded the Joint Center for Human Services Development at San Jose State University, which he directed from 1972 until 1980.

“We know that the best leaders are the best learners, and I hope to be able to offer guidance on ways in which these new leaders can develop their confidence and competence — not only while they are attending Rice University but also when they are applying themselves in the workplace,” he said.

The appointment has Jim Kouzes feeling a bit nostalgic.

“The journey that led me to where I am today began in Texas 51 years ago when I was training for the United States Peace Corps,” he said. “It was during my service that I felt a calling that offered the chance to teach and the opportunity to serve. I feel the same sense of excitement and purpose that I did back then. It’s a great joy to be joining up with these young pioneers as they blaze new trails and set out on exciting adventures, and I’m proud to be associated with such an extraordinary group of people.”

Rice established the Doerr Institute in 2015 with significant support from alumni John and Ann Doerr. The institute’s mission is to “elevate the leadership capacity of Rice students across the university.” It is the country’s first professional leadership development program offered at no cost to all undergraduate and graduate students and is the only leadership institute that provides individualized guidance from credentialed coaches for college students.


For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

Related materials:

Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders: https://doerrinstitute.rice.edu

Follow the Doerr Institute via Twitter @DoerrInstitute.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.