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Diversity and Inclusion

The Sanford School has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. In 2015, we founded the Sanford School’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and approximately 25 students, staff, faculty and administrators make up the CDI’s working group.

Quinton Smith organizes and facilitates the committee’s activities and forges connections between Sanford and support resources across Duke’s campus.

“We strive to make sure that 'diversity' and 'inclusion' are more than mere buzzwords and mandates. We want everyone who is a part of the Sanford community -- whether student, staff, or faculty -- to know that this is a place that acknowledges, values and celebrates its rich mélange of identities.” -  Quinton Smith, CDI Fellow

We welcome your participation in the committee. E-mail Quinton Smith.

Overview of our efforts

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  • Headshots of Sanford Assistant Professor Deondra Rose (left) and Professor Kathryn Whetten (right).

    Diversity Committee Chairs

    Assistant Professor Deondra Rose (left) and Professor Kathryn Whetten lead the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.


    Sanford's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion won a 2018 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Award from the Duke Office of Institutional Equity. Also in 2018, the Sanford School received the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Diversity Award for maintaining the highest standard in diversity through outstanding contributions in research, teaching and service.

Led by the CDI, Sanford is working to create a healthy working and learning environment. It is a three-pronged effort to address the school’s curriculum; the school’s structure and environment; and faculty, staff, and student recruitment and retention.

Sample activities:

  • Host community surveys, meetings and workshops for students, faculty and staff
  • Created a Safe Space in Rubenstein Hall, Room 120
  • Created gender-neutral restroom options
  • Host reading group, film series, and brown-bag lunches on current issues
  • Conduct shared community readings of books like Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Do and White Fragility: Why it's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
  • Created a Rapid Response Team to respond to discriminatory acts or rhetoric
  • Offer a Sanford Pride group

We are also working towards revising our curriculum in such a way that, upon graduation, all Sanford graduates understand issues related to structural inequality and stratification of historically marginalized or oppressed groups.

One Student's Story

Shandiin Herrera received the 2019 Terry Sanford Leadership Award for her work to create an inclusive community for Native students at Duke. Herrera grew up ion the Navajo Nation. Herrera says she found Sanford to be an especially welcoming place on campus. “They were proud to have me," she says. "It is because of the faculty at Sanford that I am here today, a senior at my dream school.” Watch:

Diversity and Inclusion Award
Four smiling people, one holding glass award

Faculty members honor Judith Kelley (holding award) for her commitment to diversity and inclusion.


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.