Duke Kelley with cardboard cutout of Terry Sanford
"Even during the challenging pandemic, the state of our school has remained strong."

The Sanford School of Public Policy is among the nation’s leading public policy schools.

Sanford offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-level degrees in public policy and international development policy, as well as executive education programs. Launched in 1971 as the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs by Terry Sanford, Sanford is one of the oldest and largest public policy programs in the nation. This academic year, Sanford is celebrating 50 years of public policy education and scholarship at Duke University.

This report covers the past academic year in the leadup to the 50th anniversary, highlighting year two of Sanford’s strategic priorities highlights. 

2020-2021 brought many policy challenges front and center in a time in which many of us were in isolation. Throughout our communities, we dealt with a dangerous pandemic, a contentious election season, threats to democracy, rampant misinformation and horrible injustices due to racism and inequality. The Sanford community dealt with challenges head on, as you will see in the examples of this report. 

Sanford students, faculty and alumni are committed to making this world a better place.

50 years of public policy
This year we prepared for the '50 Years of Public Policy at Duke' celebration

What do you stand for?

During the past academic year Sanford responded to grand challenges:

Illustration of Terry Sanford. Words: Stand For Challenge

Virtual ‘Stand for’ Series engaged audiences during the pandemic. 

Featuring diverse speakers, the event series reached almost 2,500 attendees on relevant/timely topics including justice, democracy, community, equity, human rights, corporate social responsibility, racial justice and equality.

covid illustration. Logos of NY times, Times, Washington Post, NBC News and PBS News Hour

Faculty members discussed COVID-related topics in the news.

Sanford faculty participated in almost 500 media interviews and op-eds during the year.

COVID-19 media briefings brought faculty expertise to the forefront.

Sanford faculty participated in a series of Duke media briefings throughout the year in response to the pandemic.

2020-2021 Video Highlights

A New Semester - in a Pandemic

Student 'Why Vote' Challenge

Post-Election Recap

$10 Million Investment in Sanford

Thankful in 2020

Virtual MPP Tour

2021 Sanford Graduation

2021 Duke Commencement

2021 Duke Graduation

‘Stand for’ Series

Democracy - Part 1
Democracy - Part 2
Human Rights
Social Responsibility
Racial Justice

Center & Program Highlights