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Sanford School of Public Policy Dean Judith Kelley has been reappointed to a second five-year term, President Vincent Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth announced today.

Kelley has served as dean of the Sanford School since 2018, a period during which the school also celebrated 50 years of public policy studies at Duke. As dean, Kelley has led the development of a new set of strategic priorities to position the school for the future. Under her leadership the school has also developed new academic programs, expanded alumni engagement, and significantly increased fundraising for endowed chairs and graduate student financial aid.

The reappointment follows a review process conducted by a faculty committee chaired by Scott Huettel, professor of psychology and neuroscience.

“Judith is a devoted leader with a remarkable enthusiasm for the work of the Sanford School,” Kornbluth said. “Through her advocacy on behalf of the school’s mission, Judith has successfully advanced a clear vision for the role of public policy research and education as drivers of positive change in the world.

“I am grateful to Scott Huettel and the review committee for their work, and confident the Sanford School will continue to thrive under Judith’s leadership,” Kornbluth added.

Woman, short hair and red glasses, bright blouse and scarf, smiling
Judith Kelley

During a time of global turmoil, Sanford has welcomed the school’s largest master of public policy (MPP) classes ever, sustained and reinvigorated the master of international development policy (MIDP) program, and invested in student wellbeing and career services to support careers in public service.

“Judith has been an outstanding steward of the Sanford School’s commitment to produce knowledge and leadership for the next generation of policy challenges,” said Price. “I look forward to continuing to work with her as we approach Duke’s second century and Sanford’s second 50 years.”   

Under Kelley’s leadership, the Sanford School has launched new academic offerings including the master of national security policy degree, executive education programs in cyber policy and corporate social responsibility, and created an undergraduate health policy certificate to be offered in collaboration with the Margolis Center for Health Policy.

The school plays a significant role in undergraduate education, with its public policy major consistently among the most popular undergraduate major programs at Duke. Sanford School programs including American Grand Strategy, the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, the Hart Leadership Program and POLIS: The Center for Politics offer specialized learning and engagement opportunities for the full Duke campus community.

The school has also expanded applied learning offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including the Policy Lab, the Citizen Experience Lab (CxLab), the Transitions Team, the Technology Policy Lab, and the Political Engagement Project Fellows program.

Kelley has spearheaded the hiring of 15 new faculty members, building the school’s strength in areas including technology policy, health, leadership, media and democracy. She has raised funds to support eight new endowed professorships, including the Joel Fleishman Distinguished Professorship of Public Policy, and has secured more than $12 million in graduate student financial aid endowments.

A native of Denmark who has lived in Australia, Germany, Ireland and China, Kelley graduated from Stanford University and received M.P.P. and Ph.D. degrees in public policy from Harvard University.  She is a renowned scholar of the role of international actors in promoting political and human rights reforms. Most recently, she wrote "Scorecard Diplomacy: Grading States to Influence Their Reputation and Behavior," (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which received an Albie Award as a top ten work on political economy in 2017.

Featured Video

Dean Kelley reflects on 50 years of public policy at Duke

Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy celebrated 50 years of public policy education and scholarship during which we looked back at history and forward to the next 50 years. Here are Dean Kelley's reflections.