The Doerr Institute for New Leaders rejects authoritative definitions of leadership and promotes how to lead without formal authority. It believes that the most useful way to define leadership is in collaboration with each new leader, in alignment with their culture of origin with the spectrum of diversity represented by their experiences and personal characteristics and with a vision of the culture in which they want to live and work.
Doerr Institute research reveals that peers and upper class students play a significant role in developing student leaders at Rice— ranked higher than faculty, mentors and other advisors. The institute seeks to train upper class and graduate students to enable them to competently develop peers as new leaders and to provide the administrative process to manage a system of development driven by peer-to-peer interaction.
Recognizing that Rice students have a special affinity for leading in flat, non-hierarchical groups and teams, the Institute employs a metrics and measurement team that assesses the efficacy, impact and success at developing leaders.