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Diversity and Inclusion

“Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas -- an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard.” -- From the Duke University Statement of Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Sanford School has actively embraced the call to action embedded in Duke’s statement of commitment to diversity. The dean established the Sanford School’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) in 2015, and approximately 25 committed students, staff, faculty and administrators now make up the CDI’s diverse working group.

We welcome your participation on the committee. Sign up for the committee here.

Quinton Smith joined Sanford as the CDI Fellow in 2016. He 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

Questions? E-mail Quinton Smith here.

Overview of our efforts

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.

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  • Deondra Rose and Kate Whetten smiling

    Diversity Committee Chairs

    Assistant Professor Deondra Rose (left) and Professor Kathryn Whetten lead the committee.


    The Committee on Diversity and Inclusion won a 2018 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Award from the Duke Office of Institutional Equity.


  • Community surveys and “town-hall” meetings to develop an agenda for action.
  • Co-sponsored a workshop presented by the Racial Equity Institute for students, faculty and staff.
  • Created a Safe Space in Rubenstein Hall, Room 120. Learn more about Sanford's safe space.
  • A Racial Equity Reading Group, film series, and brown-bag lunches on current issues.
  • A shared faculty reading of Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Do, followed by a meeting and discussion.
  • The Rapid Response Team to respond to events such as discriminatory acts or rhetoric.
  • A goal that the curriculum should ensure all Sanford graduates possess understanding of issues related to structural inequality and stratification of historically marginalized or oppressed groups.
  • A student led Sanford Pride group.

To find out more about the CDI's activities, download the 2017 annual report.  

The CDI has hosted 25 events this year114% student engagement with CDI's Diversity & Inclusion Climate Survey


Brownell-Whetten Diversity and Inclusion Award

This award was established in the 2016-2017 school year. The first recipient was Judith Kelley for her outstanding commitment to inclusive excellence. (At the time, Kelley was serving as Sanford Senior Associate Dean.) She has been an active supporter of the school’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and has worked to ensure that the faculty recruitment process incorporates efforts to consider diverse candidates. From left, Kate Whetten, Judith Kelley, Jay Pearson and Deondra Rose.