Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to the mission of the Sanford School of Public Policy.  As a leader among institutions specializing in public policy studies, Sanford has a responsibility to address tough questions and to engage a highly diverse population of faculty, students, and staff in its mission to effectively do so.

About the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Following in the path of the Duke University Diversity Task Force (DTF), the Sanford School’s Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CDEI) works to set an agenda for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at Sanford.  This agenda focuses on a range of areas, including school structure and environment, faculty, staff and student recruitment and retention, and education.


The Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was started in 2015 by then Dean Kelly Brownell, and consists of two faculty co-chairs, a dedicated fellow, and a member body of students, staff, and faculty. The CDEI has sought to help Sanford be a place where regardless of your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, country of origin, immigration status, class, or religion, you can feel free to be your whole and authentic self.


The CDEI’s work has spanned the entirety of Sanford--from admissions to alumni, curriculum to social life--and has consisted of trainings, lectures, group discussions, forums, film screenings, surveys, lunch & learns, and a myriad of other events and activities.

The CDEI regularly collaborates with other Sanford groups like the Intercultural Exchange Committee, Bridging Communities, Policy in Living Color, Sanford Women in Policy, Sanford PRIDE, and the People’s Policy Alliance on programmatic efforts. 



Sanford's Dean, Judith Kelley, was the first recipient of the Brownell-Whetten Diversity and Inclusion Award for her commitment to inclusion. At the time, Kelley was serving as Sanford's Senior Associate Dean. Kelley had been an active supporter of the school’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and had worked to ensure that the faculty recruitment process incorporates efforts to consider diverse candidates.


Featured Video

Creating Inclusive Community at Duke

Shandiin Herrera PPS'19 received the 2019 Terry Sanford Leadership Award for her work to create an inclusive community for Native students at Duke. Herrera grew up on the Navajo Nation. She says she found Sanford to be an especially welcoming place on campus.