Bold Beginnings

 August 3, 2022

The excitement is building. They are packing their bags, checking their passports and getting ready to learn their way around the Sanford building! Yes, before we know it, we will be welcoming students back to Sanford. This fall, we have a large returning cohort, as well as a robust and diverse incoming cohort of students from all over the world. 

This is good news indeed, because it could not be more important than now to have students in public policy. With all the challenges that our society and world are facing, good public policy analysis and leadership are urgently needed. Fortunately, Sanford is eager and ready to contribute, both with our engaged research and by educating the next generation of policy leaders.

To meet the challenges, we are looking to the future and asking: What will excellence in public policy education and research need to look like next? After 50 years of public policy at Duke, Sanford is thriving. We celebrate our 9,000-plus alumni. We thank our many alumni and friends for support faculty positions and graduate program support, and in turn, the future of public policy.

We are taking steps to ensure that our professional programs are robust and healthy, and bringing on the best scholars in our PhD program. We are working to strengthen the undergraduate Public Policy major so that it continues to be among the top choices at Duke. We will continue to engage with our alumni and friends in new ways, including the growth of Sanford Executive Education.

Most of all, we are adapting continuously. As the world shifts around us, we must shift with it. Students are ready for more flexible learning modalities and deeper engagement with the world around them. Schools of public policy are diversifying the learning opportunities to meet the need for ongoing learning throughout our lifetimes. Sanford scholars must be ready to engage with the university in facing the biggest challenges of our times: from climate change to national security, privacy to democracy, racism to health. 

With the amazing support from our alumni, and from friends including The Duke Endowment, we are well on our way! We are adapting and evolving to ensure that our vision remains vibrant, on track and that Sanford remains excellent. One student at a time, one research project at a time, Sanford makes a difference. As we have done the past 50 years, we are determined to send the best equipped students into the world to meet the challenges head on long into the future.

Thank you for your support of Sanford and our community. Onwards to a new academic year and era!


Judith Kelley
Dean and Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy and Political Science


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