The Sanford School’s mission is to improve lives by researching the most pressing public policy issues and preparing students for lives of leadership, civic engagement and public service.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are among the school’s core values.

Our Vision

Our vibrant and diverse community of faculty, students and staff shares a commitment to the mission of the Sanford School. It is the nature of public policy that we draw strength from our different disciplines, perspectives and personal backgrounds, and we pride ourselves on collaboration and a strong sense of community. Moreover, we live in a diverse world, and to produce great research that matters and to empower and inspire future leaders, we embrace diversity. Each member of the Sanford community is committed to upholding these values and to ensuring that all are welcome here.

Our Commitment to Collective Action

While diversity, equity and inclusion have long been among the school’s set of core values, the Sanford School has developed a collective action plan to fight social bias, discrimination and racism. Developed in 2020, the action plan organizes our school-wide efforts and commitments and lays out metrics and timelines for implementation and transparent reporting for each commitment to fight social bias, discrimination and racism. The goal of the 2020 Collective Action Plan is to create a community that embraces all its members and educates leaders who are prepared to engage policy problems in ways that include the perspective of structural racism and inequality.




Jay A. Pearson is the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Associate Research Professor of Global Health, Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center, Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, and Affiliate Faculty Member of Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.

More about Jay Pearson

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Cassandra Boyd directs Sanford’s DEI efforts. 

 “I hope to pinpoint opportunities for others to embrace radical hope and healing, encourage others to be seen authentically —as well as see beyond themselves, see beyond the training from people who loved and nurtured them, see beyond the data, and see the light shining on everything and everyone,” she says

Read Cassandra Boyd's Humans of Duke Sanford story

Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In 2015, we founded the Sanford School’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CDEI), made of faculty and staff of the school who connect with the wider Sanford community to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

co-chairs, interim

Mallory SoRelle and Jon Abels


Abdullah Antepli, Laronda Blessing, Stephen Buckley, Nick Carnes, Sumetrice Porter


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion News and Student Blog

Advancing Racial Equity at Duke

"We are committed today and throughout the future of Duke to addressing systemic racism on our campus and setting an example for our nation and the world. Our efforts will need to be focused and sustained, with clear goals and transparency as we work toward them." - Duke President Vincent Price

Advancing Racial Equity at Duke Website

World Hijab Day Celebration

In recognition of World Hijab Day, Mennah El-Gammal MPP‘23 and Jaelyn Nixon PhD'25 worked with Sanford's Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CDEI) to host a pop-up event on February 1, 2022. They showed fellow students how to wear a hijab, talked about why it holds religious significance to many Muslim women, and why it's important to understand the hijab. Learn more by reading the event handout.

Video from Event

A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, a Public Policy major, and Documentary Studies certificate student, Quinn Smith spent a summer in Ada, Oklahoma, working with Chickasaw Nation Productions, a media production company. He worked on long-form documentaries, among other projects. 

Read Quinn's Story