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Priority 1: Research

Enhance the impact and reputation of our research and expertise

Sanford has 36 tenure-track; 28 research professors and professors of the practice; four lecturers; 11 professors emeriti, and many Duke faculty with secondary appointments in the school. The faculty members of Sanford are among the most research productive of any public policy school. With many members of National Academies, 14 distinguished professors, and a wide array of centers and programs, Sanford has outstanding research and engagement expertise.

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Sanford ranks fifth in research publication output nationwide. The recent ranking was based on research published by about 5,000 faculty members at 44 policy schools.

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Sandy Darity and co-author A. Kirsten Mullen received multiple awards for their book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century:” the inaugural ASALH book prize, the Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction and the 2021 Lillian Smith Book Award.

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Anna Gassman-Pines received the Mid-career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth and Families from the American Psychological Association.

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The National Science Foundation awarded Nicholas Carnes Alan T. Waterman Award, the U.S. government’s highest honor for an early career scientist or engineer.

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Marcos Rangel received a 2021 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, given by the Duke Graduate School  for excellence in mentoring students and junior scholars.

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The Susan E. Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award was presented to Kristin Goss, recognizing excellence in undergraduate teaching.

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Douglas A. Brook received the Richard Stubbing Award for teaching and mentoring of graduate students.

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Mallory SoRelle received the Best Paper on Public Policy Award for 2020 from the American Political Science Association for her paper, “Privatizing Financial Protection: Policy Feedback in the Credit Welfare State.”

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Professor Emeritus Sherman James had an award named after him: The Society for Epidemiologic Research announced the Sherman A. James Diverse and Inclusive Epidemiology Award.

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For the eighth year in a row, Sanford School of Public Policy Professors Helen Ladd and Charles Clotfelter were ranked in the top 100 of the most influential scholars in education.

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Don Taylor received the Distinguished Alumni Award from UNC-Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Public Health.

Read more research highlights

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New Faculty in 2020: Sara Sutherland, Mallory SoRelle, and Kate Bundorf

Sara Sutherland

2021 new faculty

New Faculty in 2021: Chris Sims, Jennifer Siegel, Andrew Nurkin, Frank Bruni, and Stephen Buckley

Center Leadership Updates

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Phil Napoli became the new Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy on July 1, 2021

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Deondra Rose became the new Director of Polis: Center for Politics on July 1, 2021

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 Eddy Malesky became the new Director of the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) on August 1, 2020

Special thanks to the following for their service and leadership.

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Bill Adair: Former Director of the Dewitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy

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Pope “Mac” McCorkle: Former Director of Polis: Center for Politics

Sanford amplified faculty research and scholarship through podcasts, news, social media, media coverage and monthly newsletters.

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Research Podcasts

ARC of Justice from Here to Equality New Series
Ways & Means Season 6: The Arc of Justice

Ways & Means

Sanford released 12 episodes of Ways & Means and also produced “Short Takes,” hosted by faculty member Deondra Rose.

In Fall 2020, Ways & Means released Season 5, focused on the 2020 election and sponsored by Polis: Center for Politics.

In Spring 2021, the team released Season 6, “The ARC of Justice,” about today’s economic inequality and the need to remedy historical injustices faced by Black Americans. Grounded in scholarship, the season brought to life the award-winning book, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” co-authored by faculty member Sandy Darity and Kirsten Mullen. The podcast season was supported by the Duke Office for Faculty Advancement, thanks to funding from The Duke Endowment, and included partnerships with Duke’s Forever Learning Institute and WUNC.

Sample Episode

POlicy 360 podcast
Policy 360: Conversations with researchers

Policy 360

Sanford produced 18 episodes (four more than last year) of Policy 360.

Sample Episode

New Books

Book: Breaking Barriers

Book: What Inclusive Instructors Do

Book: Breaking the Social Media Prism

Book: Parenting Across Cultures

Book: FRagile Democracy

Engaging the Evil Empire

Faculty in the Media

For the academic year, there were 10,677 media clips featuring the Sanford School and faculty – a 65% increase from the year before. There were 237 op-eds, commentaries and blog posts, almost a 20% increase from the year before. Sanford faculty had 245 media interviews, more than 40% up from the previous year. Here are a few sample of faculty in the media:

Bill Adair in NPR: “Election Defamation Lawsuits Open New Front In Fight Against Disinformation”


Nick Carnes in The Washington Post: “Trump didn’t bring White working-class voters to the Republican Party. The data suggest he kept them away.

Sandy Darity in The New York Times: “The True Cost of Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Lisa Gennetian in The New York Times: “Why Hunger Can Grow Even When Poverty Doesn’t

Kristin Goss in The New York Times: “How Congress Has Undermined Gun Regulators

Jay Pearson in The New York Times: “Racism’s Hidden Toll

Matthew Johnson in Marketplace: “The law that created OSHA was signed 50 years ago this week

Tim Profeta in The Washington Post: “How Biden aims to amp up the government’s fight against climate change

Judith Kelley in PRI’s The World: “2020 US Election: The World’s reporters talk election security

Duke Media Briefings

Sanford faculty participated in 27 online University media briefings, 14 on COVID-19 related topics and 13 additional media briefs on the national election, the Capitol siege, social justice and other topics.

Research E-news

11 issues of the Sanford Research & Views newsletters were distributed between August 2020 and July 2021 to the research and policy community.

Email to be added to the list of this monthly publication.

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