Our Four Strategic Priorities

In order to address the grand challenges of policy, Sanford will strengthen our work in four strategic areas for maximum impact.

  • Enhance the impact and reputation of our research and expertise
  • Broaden and reimagine our professional offerings to equip students for the future of policy
  • Deepen our undergraduate experience to inspire students to lives of service and leadership
  • Expand our lifelong engagement with our alumni and increase our engagement with stakeholders connected to our research and students

Our Strategy

Our strategy is to invest in the areas of our work that build upon our existing strengths, align with Duke’s mission and create the most opportunities for social impact. Our priorities are meaningful because they are rooted in our community and our legacy. They align with the DUKE WILL priorities to empower the boldest thinkers, transform teaching and discovery, build a renewed campus community, forge purposeful partnerships and engage our networks.

Our strategy also requires us to actively cultivate Sanford as a learning organization, a hub for experimentation and inquiry. We will set goals and action items, but also retain the ability to take advantage of opportunities that may arise. That is our approach to accomplish the work ahead.


Engagement

Gathering input from and dialogue with our many stakeholders: faculty, staff, alumni, students, donors, board members, policymakers, employers and partners

Planning

Researching and reflecting upon our legacy, our strengths, the marketplace, our role in the world, changes in the world and more; Identification of opportunities for impact and growth

Organization

Implementing our strategic priorities and continuous learning/adaptability

Impact

Measuring and communicating outcomes from our efforts that get us closer to our vision

Next-Level Engagement

Deepening our connections to our stakeholders; creation, delivery and translation of knowledge

Enhance the
impact and reputation
of our research and expertise

Need

Today’s grand challenges are rarely purely technical; most are deeply intertwined with behaviors and require policy choices. More than ever, our world needs research and evidence to inform the choices we must make. Furthermore, we need to connect our research further with policymakers

Excellence

Our faculty is among the most research productive of any public policy school. With five members of National Academies, 14 distinguished professors, and a wide array of centers and programs, we have outstanding research and engagement expertise.

Action

  • Secure endowed faculty positions
  • Find new sources for pilot/seed funding
  • Increase capacity for research distribution
  • Build strength in key programmatic areas, such as health policy, cybersecurity and technology policy
  • Enhance Sanford research in international development
  • Strengthen faculty mentoring programs
  • Invest in policy connections and deep two-way engagement
  • Facilitate research-thematic conversations, seminars
  • Spur research at the intersection of policy and technology Impact
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Impact

Hiring and supporting our faculty in core focus areas will create more opportunities for policy engagement and increase Sanford’s recognition by peers, media and policymakers. This engagement and exposure is critical for research to translate into impact.

Broaden and reimagine
our professional offerings
to equip students
for the future of policy

Need

We are educating the next generation of policy professionals in a time when the skill set needed to succeed is changing and government needs professionals more than ever. 

At the same time, where, when and how students learn is also changing, and debt makes it hard for students to enter public service.

Excellence

We have top rankings and high demand in health policy, social policy, energy and the environment, international development and security, as well as research and engagement expertise.

Actions

  • Create opportunities and find support for a talented and diverse student population
  • Launch curricular reform both within and across MPP/MIDP programs, to achieve synergies
  • Rethink MPP architecture, including flexibility and more modular options along with group projects
  • Experiment and expand hybrid and online executive/modular options and/or mid-career degree options
  • Consider new graduate degrees and/or stronger concentrations in areas such as health policy (MPPH), international development (MPP-ID), and technology (MPPT)
  • Broaden new competences in data science, analytics and governance technologies, as well as ethics of technology
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Impact

Redesigning our professional programs and making them more flexible and affordable will broaden access to our programs and diversify our student body. It will enable us to improve the quality and employment prospects of our students, empower them for success, and increase their impact.​

Deepen our
undergraduate experience
to inspire students to
lives of service and leadership

Need

We educate some of the smartest undergraduate students in the world. As technology changes, we must provide our students not only with skills, but with a truly transformative liberal arts education that challenges them on multiple dimensions of their humanity and citizenship.

Excellence

Our public policy undergraduate program is one of the best in the nation and one of the largest majors at Duke. We have been successful in challenging students to life-changing involvement with programs like the Hart Leadership Program, Duke in DC, American Grand Strategy, and Polis.

Actions

  • Tie undergraduate curriculum and events closer together for depth
  • Expand the use of technologies that promote deeper learning
  • Create more systematic opportunities for reflection
  • Create more immersive, hands-on research and engagement experiences
  • Expand elective opportunities in our core areas
  • Improve the integration of the internship experience into the major
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Impact

Enriching the undergraduate experience will lead to students who are more engaged with our research, and who are better emissaries of our mission. They will be more likely to lead lives of civic engagement, leadership and public service

Expand our lifelong
engagement with our
alumni and stakeholders

Need

As our alumni body has grown, so has our imperative to expand what it means to be a Sanford alum. New technologies and trends in lifelong learning open up new possibilities for alums to reconnect and interact with students and faculty.

Excellence

Once our students graduate, they join our strong network of over 7,000 alumni in over 100 countries, and the broader community of more than 170,000 Duke alumni around the world.

Actions

  • Engage more faculty in exchanges with alumni through events and programs
  • Find new ways to connect alumni with current students and with other alumni for networking benefits
  • Broaden the use of alumni connections for career development and connections to public service
  • Increase faculty participation in alumni events
  • Explore new channels for delivering campus-based programming to a broader audience beyond Durham
  • Engage with policymakers to help facilitate policy dialogue around key themes where Sanford has expertise
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Impact

By improving our relationship with our alums even further, we will give them more opportunities for lifelong learning and engagement with our faculty and students. Further engagement with policymakers will help move forward policy dialogue in an evidence-based manner.