Recognizing PhD Program Leadership

 March 15, 2022

Sanford’s doctoral programs – the Public Policy PhD and the UPEP PhD – are multidisciplinary treasures that help shape the futures of the some of the best policy researchers in the world. Dean Judith Kelley of the Sanford School announces leadership transitions for the doctoral programs, beginning in July 2022.

From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, Alex Pfaff will serve as the director of PhD Programs at Sanford (including the Public Policy PhD and UPEP PhD). Pfaff previously led the UPEP program. He is Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Environment. After July 1, 2023, the UPEP program, which is a joint program with the Nicholas School of the Environment, will return to NSOE leadership for the next three years.

“Alex’s work spanning economic development, energy and environment exemplifies strong field-based analysis and engagement with policy. With his past experience as director of a PhD program, he is an excellent leader for our doctoral programs during this year,” Kelley said.

Also starting July 1, 2023, Anna Gassman-Pines will become the director of the Sanford Public Policy PhD program. Gassman-Pines is WLF Bass Connections Associate Professor of Public Policy & Psychology and Neuroscience, Faculty Research Scholar of the Duke Population Research Institute, and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy.

“Anna brings an enormous passion and commitment to our PhD students. Her research demonstrates how to speak to pressing policy issues affecting families and children. I am thrilled that she will be leading our PhD program into the future, starting in 2023,” Kelley said.

Pfaff and Gassman-Pines will succeed Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, who led both PhD programs over the past several years. Pattanayak is Oak Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy, Director of Graduate Studies for the University Program in Environmental Policy, Professor of Public Policy, Economics, and Environmental Science and Policy, Research Professor of Global Health, Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center and Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative.

“I am full of gratitude for the leadership of the PhD programs by Subhrendu, who has provided true support to our growing body of doctoral students throughout the pandemic, helping Sanford hood more than 10 doctoral students since 2019, while focusing on excellence all the while,” Kelley said. “Subhrendu’s scholarship has set a high bar for our students because he combines data and methods from natural and other social sciences with economics to study policies to reduce environmental injustices and energy poverty around the world.”

Learn more about Sanford’s Public Policy PhD program.

Learn more about the UPEP PhD program.

Featured Video: Sanford Public Policy PhD