2023 Progress Update - Sanford Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In 2020, Sanford developed and shared a Collective Action Plan with the goal to create a community that embraces all of its members and educates leaders who are prepared to engage policy problems through a structural racism and inequality lens.

Sanford's plan is informed by Duke University's work to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Read more about Duke’s efforts to advance racial equity at Duke.

To this end, our school provides:

  • strong DEI leadership, including a new Associate Dean and Director;
  • a Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion made of diverse faculty and staff;
  • a wellness coordinator to support students.

This page provides progress and examples from individual units in key areas:

  • Representation
  • Curriculum
  • Publications & Research
  • Outreach & Partnerships
  • Community Climate
  • Training
  • Programming

Acronyms and meanings in this report:

BIPOC - Black, Indigenous and People of Color

DEI – Diversity, equity and inclusion

HBCU – Historically black college or university

FG/LI - First-Generation, Low-Income

LGBTQIA+ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and More

Low SES - individuals with low educational achievement and/or low household income

Commitments: Representation

  • Diversify the composition of our community, including faculty, staff, students.
  • Create a dashboard of key metrics of hiring: total number of positions opened, total number of positions filled, total number of positions filled by BIPOC and other underrepresented minorities.
  • Increase the overall diversity of the board of visitors, and strengthen diversity of leadership volunteers and donors who support the work of the school.
  • Utilize vendors and caterers of color and minority-owned businesses.
  • Target a balanced number of bipartisan speakers to encourage intellectual and viewpoint diversity.

Examples of Progress: Representation

Fundraising to support graduate financial aid

In fiscal year 2022, Sanford secured $6.225 million for endowed graduate financial aid. The school continues to explore donor interest in providing stipend support for graduate and graduate professional students. By making this broadly available to students who have applied, we are making it possible for a more diverse group of students to join the school.

Recruitment and hiring guide for staff

Sanford HR established a recruitment protocol in summer 2020 in which open staff positions, job levels 10 and higher, are consistently posted in diverse HR job boards and have diverse search committee memberships across the school.

NCCU-Duke Internship Connection

Zenobia Dowdy smiling
Zenobia Dowdy, one of 17 NCCU Interns at Duke in the summer of 2022

Zenobia Dowdy, one of 17 NCCU Interns at Duke in the summer of 2022

Sanford welcomed Zenobia Dowdy, one of 17 NC Central University interns immersed in Duke’s campus this past summer. Through this university program, NCCU communications students works with communications teams across Duke, engaging in writing, social media, design and production. The internship helps to connect with potential future employers, including Duke. Dowdy contributed to Sanford communications as a key team member, writing alumni profiles, posting media clips and assisting the team on projects. At the end of her internship, Dowdy secured her dream placement with WRAL Radio, Programming and Promotions. Here is more about Dowdy, featured as a Humans of Duke Sanford this summer.


Diversity Action Alliance

In July 2020, a steering committee of senior communications leaders at Duke was formed to guide the university’s engagement with the Diversity Action Alliance, a global coalition of public relations and communications industry associations and leaders who were working to accelerate progress of meaningful and tangible achievements in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession. Several members of Sanford’s communications team volunteered as leaders on subcommittees, including the Talent Recruitment committee to create a more diverse communications workforce at Duke and the Mentorship committee to create a mentorship process for Duke communicators. Work continues for the Diversity Action Alliance. 

Alumni events

In FY 22, Sanford delivered or partnered with Duke Alumni to provide 36 alumni events that reached over 3,600 alumni. Sanford is committed to presenting a diverse group of faculty and alumni as speakers and panelists. Forty-one percent of speakers and panelist were from underrepresented groups in FY 22.

Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship

The Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program works with federal agencies to advocate for the benefits of having a diverse set of national security fellows participate in the program. The fellowship enjoys diversity in the composition of its annual cohort, and the participating agencies acknowledge and support our advocacy.

Students smiling
MIDP Cohort, 2022

AGS Undergraduate Diversity

AGS also seeks to embody demographic diversity both in the speakers brought to campus and the participants who join in AGS activities. The AGS Undergraduate Council has designated a DEI Coordinator to assist the Director in outreach efforts to better involve underrepresented minorities at Duke and learn about what AGS has to offer.

Global MIDP Program

The Master in International Development Policy (MIDP) program maintains broad geographical representation in the student body. In 2020-2021, 16 countries were represented. In 2022-2023, 28 countries are represented. 

Board of Visitors

Sanford Development & Alumni Relations is working closely with the Board of Visitors Nomination and Membership Committee to identify and recruit diverse board prospects. Board diversity has increased from 11% in FY21 to 20.6% in FY23, and the commitment continues.

Faculty/Staff Demographics

Academic Year 2022-2023       
  Count   Percentages 
Ethnicity by RaceFemaleMaleTotal FemaleMaleTotal
Hispanic/Latino011 0%1%1%
American Indian/Alaskan Native011 0%1%1%
Asian 369 2%4%6%
Black or African American 6511 4%3%7%
White5080130 33%53%86%
GRAND TOTAL5993152 39%61%100%
Academic Year 2022-2023       
  Count   Percentage 
Ethnicity by RaceFemaleMaleTotal FemaleMale Total
Hispanic/Latino9110 7%1%7%
American Indian/Alaskan Native000 0%0%0%
Asian7310 5%2%7%
Black or African American20424 15%3%18%
White712192 52%15%68%
GRAND TOTAL10729136 79%21%100%


Commitments: Curriculum

  • Develop a designation for courses that substantively address “systemic inequality & structural racism” (SI/SR).
  • Expand course offerings focusing on DEI topics.

Examples of Progress: Curriculum

DEI Course Designations

To ensure that students and faculty have incentives to learn from and with each other about structural inequality, one of Sanford’s goals was to establish criteria for designating courses that had a substantial focus on issues of structural inequality, and to publicize these courses prior to registration. The Structural Inequality (SI) Curriculum Committee met and created the criteria for the SI designation in 2021. In Fall 2022, the committee collected applications for 13 courses to be evaluated for the SI designation (for Spring 2023).

Sanford DEI Course Designations for Spring 2023

Undergraduate courses:
SoRelle, PPS264, “Public Policy, Political Power, and Social Change”
Deggans, PPS290S, “Race and Media:  Deconstructing the Influence of Race, Racism, Stereotypes, and Inclusion in Modern Media”
Antepli, PPS302, “Policy Choice as Value Conflict”
McCoy, PPS325S, “Equity in Early Childhood Programs and Policies”
Yeoman, PPS364, “The Art of the Interview”
Hollowell/Darity, PPS435/645, “Global Inequality Research”

Graduate & Undergraduate courses:
Gennetian, PPS590S “Poverty, Policy and Pandemics”
Hollowell/Darity, PPS435/645, “Global Inequality Research”

Graduate courses:
Admay, PPS816, “Applied Collaborative Policy Analysis and Communication”
(PhD only) SoRelle, PPS902, “Social Choice and the Political Economy of Policy-Making”

Expanding Adjunct Diversity

The committee also sought to diversify the pool of adjunct practitioners to teach public policy electives at both the undergraduate and graduate level. One specific action taken: the school issued a broad call for adjuncts, and connected with local HBCUs and nonprofit organizations that focus on inequality and social issues. Sanford received 18 applications (and intend to reopen the call in the spring), of which 10 were hired to teach in Spring 2023. This enabled Sanford to diversify our course offerings to include new courses on reproductive rights, structural inequality and public policy, affordable housing, and urban policy and planning, among others.

Courses on Structural Inequalities

The MPP program has a continuing goal to provide more courses about the intersection between public policymaking and structural inequalities. In the 2021-2022 academic year, all courses that count toward the core public policy ethics requirement were reviewed and each subsequently provided evidence of including this topic as part of the class. In addition, in spring semester 2023 there will be a course specifically called "Structural Inequalities and Public Policy," which the program is seeking to expand.

Global perspectives on national security policy

The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security is advancing the concept of diversity by exposing students to an international perspective on national security policymaking. The center initiated an active learning course in 2021 in which students are placed on teams such as China, Russia, and the United States, and then devise strategies for addressing an evolving set of security challenges.  Many of the students gain the perspective of other world powers, which both enhances their skills and provides them with a more diverse outlook on the study of international affairs.  About 50 students have participated in this class – National Security Simulation – over the past two years.

Commitments: Publications & Research

  • Set targets to increase publications and research, such as numbers of publications, pilot research programs, etc. that focuses on structural racism and other issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Develop a “mentoring toolkit” to train senior faculty in the resources available to support junior faculty (both regular-rank and tenure-line), especially junior faculty from underrepresented groups.
  • Establish new relationships with faculty across Duke, prioritizing faculty whose teaching focuses on issues of systemic inequality, leading for diversity, and community-engaged practice or research.
  • Develop ways and means to facilitate research and invest in dissemination of research  that focuses on structural racism and other issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Examples of Progress: Publications & Research

Equity in Research Expertise

The Center for Child and Family Policy recognizes the need to integrate equity and inclusion into research and each component of the research lifecycle. Realizing a need for expertise on staff, Dr. Whitney McCoy joined CCFP in December 2021, with part of her effort dedicated to serving as an equity in research consultant within the Center. In September 2022, CCFP launched an Equity in Research Learning Community, led by Dr. McCoy, with a focus on how to make our research more equitable with respect to race, ethnicity, and other forms of diversity at all stages from conceptualization to recruitment to data collection to analysis and reporting of findings.

Political Polarization and Civil Discourse Project

Chloe Nguyen - girl in white shirt
Chloe Nguyen

Working as a Polis RA, Chloe Nguyen (PPS ‘24) produced a research report titled “A Call to Leadership: Political Polarization and Civil Discourse at Duke University.” Nguyen’s analysis examines how Duke University can utilize social psychology research to improve civil discourse and political polarization amongst the student body. After reflecting on the importance of civil discourse and depolarization for democracy, her work defines civil discourse and outlines a pilot program for first years that can help set norms which encourage discourse, collaboration, and relationship building on campus. It also outlines a series of suggestions to improve conversations on difficult topics in lecture halls, seminars, and extracurricular programming. Overall, this work hopes to provide a framework through which educators at Duke can employ social psychology research to foster campus norms which set up future leaders to improve our democracy.

The Arc of Justice

quilt with Black lives matters, images from American history. The ARC of Justice, From Here to Equality
Arc of Justice aired nationally on public radio.

In partnership with North Carolina Public Radio/WUNC, the Sanford Ways & Means team produced The Arc of Justice: From Here to Equality, a six-part podcast series featuring the work of professor William A. “Sandy” Darity, Jr. in 2021. The series is based on the book he co-authored, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century. The series became a four-part public radio series, which was distributed nationally to NPR stations by American Public Media. To date, the series aired in several major markets including Washington, DC. The series has won three major awards: an award from the National Association of Black Journalists; a Gracie for projects produced and hosted by women; and a 2022 CASE Bronze Circle of Excellence Award for podcasts produced by higher education institutions. Listen to the podcast series.

Commitments: Outreach & Partnerships

  • New connections with local HBCUs, nonprofit organizations focusing on inequality and social justice issues, and BIPOC-led organizations.
  • Ensure websites are accessible, representative of the student body in images and stories, and clearly state Sanford’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and resources.
  • Focus on marketing efforts to increase diversity in academic programs.
  • Reach out to media to share diverse faculty and share research and scholarship that focuses on structural racism and other issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Work to identify opportunities to highlight faculty and/or alumni scholarship and research through partnerships. Promote the work of our Black, Latino and other underrepresented faculty
  • Work to develop relationships with faculty across Duke, prioritizing faculty whose teaching focuses on issues of systemic inequality, leading for diversity, and community-engaged practice or research.
  • Invite graduate and professional students to connect with HBCUs and underrepresented student groups.
  • Invite persons from underrepresented populations to be speakers in classes and events.

Examples of Progress: Outreach & Partnerships

Readying Applicants through Mentorship Pairings (RAMP)

In collaboration with Policy in Living Color, Sanford’s BIPOC MPP student organization, the Readying Applicants through Mentorship Pairings (RAMP) program aims to connect MPP applicants with current Sanford students whose background, experiences, and interests would be a good fit with the applicant. The program was implemented for the first time during the fall of 2021 for the incoming 2022 class and will continue in the current admission cycle, allowing the program to reach new applicants and gain feedback.

Participant Self-Identified Identities 
First Gen36%
Low SES42%


MPP Program HBCU Connections

The MPP program made a goal to participate in the career and professional school fairs of HBCUs in North Carolina initially and throughout in the wider South in order to expand the reach of the MPP program. While the program encourages students to gain work experience between undergraduate degree and graduate school, the desire was to increase awareness of the MPP program for the future. Over the 2020-2021 year, the program has participated in fairs and compiled contact information.

Employer Support and Resources

Sanford Career Services requested and collected 75 Diversity and Inclusion statements from Sanford core employer partners. Additionally, the office composed and distributed Recruiting Underrepresented Candidates Tips for Employers handout to employer partners to assist them in creating a thoughtful and effective strategy when recruiting underrepresented candidates.

Power and Privilege in Food Systems

Panel of 4 people in a conference.
Professor Jay Pearson (right) hosts a panel at the "Rooted in Relationship: Power and Privilege in Food Systems" event.

The World Food Policy Center, in partnership with the Sanford School and the Equitable Food Oriented Development Network, collaboratively planned and hosted the "Rooted in Relationship: Power and Privilege in Food Systems" event in April 2022. This event was the culmination of more than five years of relationship development, moving with humility, and efforts to move towards research justice as an institution. Information and resources from the event can be found on the World Food Policy Center website.

Terrorism and Challenges to Democracy

The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security has increased public engagement and outreach efforts on the domestic terrorism threat and challenges to democracy at home and abroad.  Professor David Schanzer has delivered lectures around the country on “The World Turned Upside Down: Modern Threats to Democracy” and “January 6 & Domestic Terrorism: Illiberalism in America.” He has started a Substack called “Perilous Times” that features many of these themes. In September 2022, the center sponsored a visit from the top lawyer at the Department of Justice with responsibility for domestic terrorism policy, Thomas Brzozowski.

LGBTQIA+ rights in Latin America

The Duke Center for International Development (DCID) collaborated with Latin American students at Sanford to host an event on LGBTQIA+ rights in Latin America with representatives from three Latin American countries. (Fall 2021)

Executive Education for Middle East & North Africa

DCID hosted an executive education program for civic leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

SOL Recruitment and Access

The Hart Leadership Program increased intentional outreach for SOL recruitment to offices and groups that serve BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and FG/LI students.

Alumni mentoring and speakers

Black Sanford Connects
Five Sanford alumni from a variety of industries returned to Sanford to meet with MPP students as a part of 'Black Sanford Connects.'.

The Hart Leadership Program has begun a comprehensive assessment of all HLP program alumni to develop an outreach list for mentoring and speaking opportunities.

Fostering student and alumni networks

Sanford has expanded efforts to connect alumni with student groups, like Policy in Living Color, Latin American & Caribbean Student Group, and Women in Policy, and to support events including Black Sanford Connects in April 2022.



Commitments: Community Climate

  • Make our DEI values clear in classroom environments.
  • Host opportunities for faculty and staff to interact around shared interests and goals.
  • Offer opportunities to learn more about Durham's history and communities.
  • Connect with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and affinity groups.
  • Encourage and promote students to join student groups at Sanford around their interests. Encourage and support diversity-themed student organizations.
  • Invite staff and faculty to collaborate on DEI and other community planning initiatives.
  • Offer learning community focused on equity in research.

Examples of Progress: Community Climate

Project Citizen

Students near front of White House, group shot
Project Citizen participants, 2022

Establishing a climate of inclusion, in which every member of the community feels a sense of belonging and is able to participate fully in the life of the institution, is critical to Polis, the Center for Politics. This year, Polis co-sponsored "Project Citizen," an experiential orientation program that gave 118 first-year Duke students (plus 17 undergraduate student orientation leaders) a unique opportunity to build new connections and to develop skills to become more active, global, and compassionate citizens through programming in Durham and Washington, D.C. The program engaged a diverse group of in-coming students and helped them to forge a sense of community before even setting foot into a Duke classroom.

Discourse for Democracy

Polis works to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are prepared for a diverse, global and interconnected world. Polis’s central theme is “Discourse for Democracy,” with events and activities focused on helping students, faculty, and staff to engage in meaningful conversations across differences. Recent activities included hosting a Braver Angels debate in which students grappled with whether colleges should be permitted to disinvite controversial speakers.

Duke Sanford Africa Policy Group

MIDP supported students’ creation of the Duke Sanford Africa Policy Group in 2022.

Commitments: Training

  • Promote and encourage participation in diversity, equity and inclusion training programs for faculty, staff and students.
  • Provide training on DEI during orientation and opportunities to support Sanford’s efforts throughout academic year.
  • Share resources and external opportunities for learning.
  • Discuss DEI best practices and examples at team and unit meetings.

Examples of Progress: Training

Community-Engaged Research Training

To establish and maintain a research culture that supports and encourages community-engaged research, the Center for Child and Family Policy, with support from the Duke Office for Durham and Community Affairs, developed an orientation for new Center staff to begin conversations around how to engage in equitable and respectful research. Sessions are held annually for new Center staff (launched in 2021).

Tackling Discrimination

Dr. Marion Pratt authored a “Discrimination in Hiring Practices” white paper documenting existing discrimination in US hiring practices as well as ways to mitigate it, which was distributed to Sanford employees via Sanford HR director.

Commitments: Programming

  • Ensure that speaker panels include a diverse range of people, organizations and alumni.
  • Develop event topics that span across foreign policy regions and subjects, with a focus on voices and topic areas not already well covered at Duke.
  • Create career-related events and provide support for student-generated events specifically for members of underrepresented groups.
  • Facilitate targeted networking opportunities for Sanford alumni, students, and prospective students.
  • Expand programming featuring underrepresented perspectives, and/or with a focus on racial and structural inequalities.
  • Offer workshops and discussion sessions about leading for equity and inclusion open to Sanford faculty and staff.
  • Continue student research on political disenfranchisement.

Examples of Progress: Programming

Amplifying the Voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other scholars from underrepresented groups

The Center for Child and Family Policy seeks to hear from and promote the work of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other scholars from underrepresented groups. In 2020, CCFP committed to a goal of 25 percent or more invited speakers from Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other scholars from underrepresented groups. CCFP exceeded this goal for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 (40 percent +) both academic years.

Identity in the Workplace

In collaboration with Sanford Affinity Student Organizations, Harvard Kennedy School, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy, Sanford Career Services organized a series of Identity in the Workplace alumni panels and a career fair. Marginalized Racial and Ethnic Identities, Disabilities and Neurological Variations, and First-Gen alumni were featured in these panels and student affinity groups were consulted and involved in the planning and execution of the panels. The career fair was attended by students from all schools and featured policy employers.

Color of Education Partnership

Color of education 2022. Diverse groups of people, smiling.
Color of Education 2022

Sanford has participated and volunteered at the Color of Education Summit for several years. This past fall, Sanford MPP and PhD students joined the conference, which focused on equity in education. Students networked with a wide range of educators, policymakers and other stakeholders.

SOL/Hart Fellows Access and Equity

Hart Leadership Program implemented changes to project planning and budgeting process for SOL and Hart Fellows to reduce stress, ambiguity, and barriers around funding for community placements.

Diverse Perspectives from the Media

The DeWitt Wallace Center’s event offerings show intentional focus on elevating under-represented voices within the news media. These include two event series. One of these, initiated by Center staff, featured BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ alumni and journalists: Aisha Turner, Justin Nobel, Nick Martin, Sarah Jackson, Sujata Gupta and Eileen Cheng-Yin Chow. Event titles included: “Covering Black Activism,” Who Speaks? Whose Stories? Legibility and Inclusion in Media Narratives of Asian America,” and “Public Understanding of Tribal Sovereignty.” Another speaker series, the “Information Inequalities Speaker Series” led by Professor Phil Napoli featured Nicol Turner-Lee, speaking on “Digitally Invisible: How the Internet is Creating the New Underclass”; and Christopher Ali, speaking on “The Politics of Rural Connectivity."

Student Voices


Supportive Community

"Since this is my first semester at Sanford, the current second-year MPP students have been an invaluable resource for me in terms of encouragement, guidance, and community. During my transition into being a full-time student again, especially since being a student of color comes with its own challenges at PWIs, the small community of minority students have been welcoming and extremely supportive. It has one hundred percent shaped my experience thus far into a positive one, and I can only hope that I will be able to do the same for incoming MPPs in the future." - Brittany Gabriel MPP ‘24

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Flexible to Nuance

“When I had a medical emergency in the middle of midterms, I emailed professors asking for extensions and Professor Barnes immediately replied “take as much time as you need.” Having the additional worry of a class off my plate while I was in pain & shuffling between doctors took a lot of stress and anxiety off of me. Graduate programs should be flexible to the nuances and stresses of students’ everyday lives, not the other way around, and Professor Barnes really embodies that.” - Ryder Buttry MPP ‘23

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A Feeling of Belonging

“I came to Durham from Bangladesh for a short stay right after I had received my acceptance from Duke. However, upon arrival, I tested positive for COVID-19 and decided not to visit the campus. Not only did Mitch appreciate my prompt action to take the test for everyone's safety, but he also was incredibly generous to have a huge bag full of snacks and a Sanford bottle delivered to my doorstep. That day Mitch made me feel I belonged to the Sanford family even before I said yes to it!” - Abu Ishti MPP ‘24

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Incredibly Supported

"I have felt incredibly supported by Dr. Pearson and Mackenzie Phillips throughout my time at Sanford. Dr. Pearson consistently shows up for his students and doesn't mess around - he values genuine connections and has a talent for quickly getting to the heart of a problem. Mackenzie is possibly the most empathetic person I know. She's provided validation and understanding that has helped me navigate through some dark moments this semester. The most admirable thing about both of them is that they listen. They listen to us and actually hear us. I have found that to be hard to come by and I guarantee that will be what I remember most about my graduate school experience." - Dani Sullivan MPP ‘23

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Renewed Perspective

“I would like to credit Prof. Floyd McKissick for providing me with a renewed perspective when it comes to perpetuators of crime and their interaction with the criminal justice system. In his “Criminal Justice Issues” course, McKissick shared a personal story of how he was a victim of crime several years ago. My immediate reaction was to be upset for Prof. McKissick on his behalf. However, he shared with us the perpetuators’ background and told us that he empathized with them. He pushed the class to not only have empathy within these situations but to also have human compassion for them. That has continued to stick with me. His words have challenged me to continue to have human compassion towards those that society often show no mercy.” - Tim Lindsey MPP ‘23

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Unmatched Community

“The community environment at Sanford is something unmatched to my previous experiences. From the first day of orientation, everyone has been so welcoming and collectively encourages you to always strive for success and push the boundaries on personal and professional goals. I have particularly enjoyed having the support of administrative staff like Mitch Moste who always has an open door and uplifting chats to pull you out of weekly funks. Professors like Dr. Pearson and Dr. Bermeo have truly challenged the way I think, write, and analyze policies outside of traditional frameworks and perspectives. I continue to grow both professionally and personally as I understand how I fit in the larger context of public policy and public wellbeing.” - Matthew Vining MPP ‘24

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Sanford Leaders Say

“The Career Services team continues to model its work in the DEI space around NACE commitment to “a world that is inclusive in approach and where equal opportunities and equitable outcomes exist for all.” Since 2020, Career Services has increased collaboration with Sanford’s affinity-based student groups, received direct and actionable feedback from the MPP & MIDP student councils, and coordinated with employers to focus on highlighting their own DEI-related efforts. Career Services will continue to implement initiatives that support diversity, equity, and inclusion and contribute to an environment that encompasses communication of diverse perspectives, experiences, and realities.” - Nadia Chamberlin, Assistant Dean of Career Services & Professional Development


Diversity represents one of our most valuable assets as a society and one of the most powerful tools for solving problems.

Deondra Rose, director of Polis

“Yet, political polarization–and the disengagement and division that it engenders–poses a very real threat to democracy that obscures and undermines diversity’s benefits. At Polis, we have gone all-in on our theme of “Discourse for Democracy,” offering programs, events, and activities that seek to promote unity and to celebrate the rich diversity of the Sanford, Duke, and our broader intellectual community. By promoting greater understanding and facilitating opportunities to engage in transformative conversations across differences, we are working to help improve our political landscape and to foster the development of leaders who are equipped to make a difference through politics and public service.” – Deondra Rose, director of Polis


"I am grateful for the ongoing and developing relationships that we at the World Food Policy Center have been able to develop with food justice leaders both in Durham and nationally. It is through authentic relationship that we are shifting and learning-changing how we operate as individuals and as an organization- so that we can continue to evolve our role in changing the conditions that hold inequities in place." – Jen Zuckerman, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Duke World Food Policy Center

As a Center, we recognize that we cannot unlock opportunities for all children and families without working toward justice for Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other marginalized people.

Jennifer Lansford, Center for Child and Family Policy

“Over the past two years, we have focused on providing increased support for Center faculty and staff around diversity, equity and inclusion in research and scholarship. I’m excited about the initiatives we have begun and the enthusiasm our faculty and staff are bringing to this work.” – Jennifer Lansford, director of the Center for Child and Family Policy


"The AGS program supports diversity, equity and inclusion across all facets of our activities in support of our mission: preparing the next generation of strategists by studying past generations and interacting with current strategic leaders. Viewpoint DEI is a centerpiece and hallmark of the AGS program. AGS seeks to fill a niche at Duke by offering programs and approaches that no other entity at Duke provides, with a special emphasis on bringing high-quality presentations of perspectives that are of considerable importance in American public policy and political life but otherwise underrepresented at Duke." – Peter Feaver, director of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy

DEIJ commitments are not just about checklists. While we need those to provide a record of progress, the real effort is about communities that come together and humbly, patiently work toward a more just world.

Ken Rogerson, MPP Program Director

"The MPP Program's staff and students are this community. They care enough to ask again and again for change. They care enough to do work for which they personally might not see the results. Thank you is not sufficient. We will keep working toward a better program and a better world." – Ken Rogerson, MPP Program Director

"Since its creation nearly 40 years ago, DCID has focused on international development and engagement with people from around the world and mostly from the global south. Through its graduate program (MIDP) and extensive executive educations programs, more than 7,000 alumni have participated in our degree and non-degree training from more than 120 countries. This diversity has enriched DCID and the Sanford community. DCID continues to expand its representation of views and voices that have been marginalized or underrepresented in the past, including women, LGBTQIA+, indigenous, and rural residents through our events and our research. We recognize that the challenges in development require broad participation and engagement from the entire community, and that we have much to learn too." – Jon Abels, Duke Center for International Development

"Through our enhanced HR diverse recruitment efforts over the past couple of years, I believe that our community understands the value of diverse search committees and the result it has on the quality of the eventual staff hire.” 

David Arrington, Senior Associate Dean for Finance & Administration

“As the Associate Dean of Academic Programs at Sanford, I am personally much more aware of the importance of inclusive hiring, recruiting, and information dissemination processes. Relying on our old networks and contacts may be comfortable and convenient, but we miss the opportunity to hear new voices and learn from those who aren't a usual part of our community. Our DEI focus across academic programs---from recruiting new students to attracting a more diverse group of employers and practitioners---is a critical part of who we are and who want to become.” - Cory Krupp, Associate Dean of Academic Programs

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the forefront of our planning and mindset as a communications team. Since the rolling out of our commitments in 2020, we have consistently focused on DEI to help us develop content and events that help us contribute to Sanford’s aim to create a community that embraces all its members and educates leaders prepared to engage policy problems in ways that include the perspective of structural racism and inequality. Our DEI commitments are not check marks; they are our guide for our communications and behaviors as a team. Just as we believe a website is constantly evolving and improving, so is our DEI communications journey. I’m thankful to our entire team for their efforts.” – Kirsten Khire, Associate Dean of Communications & Marketing

“The Sanford Development and Alumni Relations team is committed to being the change we want to see in our profession and in the world. We have been intentional about developing career pathways for underrepresented groups and non-traditional candidates who want to work in development and alumni relations. This is foundational to building a development and alumni relations program that serves our alumni and friends and that is capable of supporting the Sanford School's outrageous ambitions.” – Josh Bond, Associate Dean of Development & Alumni Relations