Month: November 2016

Policy Caucus Facilitates Important Policy Engagement Conversation


The Policy Bridge convened the first Duke University Policy Caucus meeting on November 11, 2016. The motivation for the Policy Caucus stems from an increasing interest in engaged scholarship among faculty and researchers as well as increase in commitment by policy officials to use research in their decisionmaking.

The Caucus intends to develop goals and a plan of work over the next several months, with a focus on strengthening the university’s policy engagement strategies at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Participants at this first meeting discussed how policy engagement is a dynamic process that requires effective communication, relationship building, and an ongoing, two-way dialogue between individuals and organizations representing the research and policy realms. Also highlighted was the importance of including policy engagement as a component of students’ educational and professional pursuits.

Upcoming administration changes at the federal level and elsewhere in government highlight the critical importance to Duke – and universities broadly – of evaluating approaches to policy engagement and determining the optimal strategies for interacting with, learning from and informing policy and practice. Looking ahead, the Policy Caucus will provide opportunities for faculty, researchers, government relation leaders, administrators, and others to assess both opportunities for and challenges to engagement.

Participants discussed the need to further assess and understand policymakers’ demand for research and partnerships with Duke as well as to determine the capacity at Duke for responding to changes in political leadership.

At this first meeting, the Policy Caucus and Policy Bridge benefitted from the insight of of professors, research scientists, administrators, student liaisons, and others representing a range of Duke entities including the Office of the Provost, Public Affairs and Government Relations, the Sanford School, POLIS, the Science and Society Initiative, the Center for International Development, the Regeneration Next Initiative, and Scholars@Duke.

Interested in joining the Policy Caucus? Please contact the Policy Bridge.

Making State-Level Connections

The Policy Bridge is well-positioned to help reach out to the state level policy community. During the visit to Duke by the United States Comptroller General and head of the General Accountability Office, Jenni Owen leveraged connections at the state level to arrange for engagement opportunities between the North Carolina State Controller, county officials and Comptroller Gene Dodaro. These connections resulted in fruitful exchanges and created new connections between Duke and practitioners at the state and local levels.

When United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivered a public lecture at the Sanford School, the Policy Bridge invited N.C. Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry and Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry, both of whom attended the talk and one of whom joined Secretary Johnson, faculty, and students for a private dinner following the talk. These opportunities have yielded further interaction between Duke faculty and state leaders.

For a panel discussion and reception at Sanford featuring policy and practice leaders in the fight against human trafficking, the Policy Bridge provided names of key contacts within Duke and the broader community that would likely be interested in attending. The outreach resulted in enhancements to the event, including:

  • Duke Law alumna Libby M. Coles, Chairperson for the NC Human Trafficking Commission, attended the event and spoke about her organization from the podium during the Q & A.
  • Lina Nealon, founding director of Demand Abolition, a national program to combat human trafficking by focusing on the demand, attended the reception.
  • A Masters in Social Work student working with an anti-human trafficking case management program called Project FIGHT had a table at the reception.

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