About Bernard Roth


Bernie Roth is the Rodney H. Adams Professor of Engineering at Stanford University. A longtime veteran of the Stanford design scene, he first came to the Stanford Design Division faculty in 1962. He arrived from New York City, his birthplace, with a wife, two children, a proper haircut, a sports jacket and a very traditional background in Mechanical Engineering and liberal New York politics. The experience of the Vietnam-War protest movement, the Human Potential Movement, and the other social upheavals centered in San Francisco Bay area, totally changed his life as an educator. It added a missing dimension, the explicit concern for his students’ education and growth beyond simply developing their technical expertise. The only things that he seems to have lost in the transition are the clean haircut and sports jacket. His most recent activities have moved him more strongly into experiences that enhance peoples’ creative potential through the educational process. His primary intention as an educator and person is to empower his students, colleagues and friends to have fulfilling lives.

In 2003 he joined a small group of colleagues to bring more cross disciplinary collaboration into education. These discussions led to the formation of the Stanford institute nicknamed "the d.school."  Bernie brought to the d.school a wealth of experience in teaching design, an intimate knowledge of the functioning of Stanford University, and a worldwide reputation as a researcher in kinematics and robotics. Since 2005, the d.school has been the primary focus of Bernie's professional activities. 

In the 1980's, Bernie, (together with the late Rolf Faste and Doug Wilde) developed the concept of a Creativity Workshop. The Workshop was offered to students, faculty and professionals around the world. These same techniques have been made available to d.school students and are described in The Achievement Habit. He has found that these types of learning experiences enhance students’ ability to make meaningful positive difference in their own lives. He is especially pleased that his activities at the d.school have contributed to creating an environment where students and coworkers get the tools and values for realizing the enduring satisfactions that come from assisting others in the human community.

Bernie and his wife Ruth live on the Stanford campus. He is fortunate to be able to bike to work and to many other daily activities. For over thirty years he has been part of a group that rides a twenty mile bike loop each Sunday morning. He has two grown sons; Elliot lives in San Francisco, CA and Steven lives in Novato, CA.