Enhance the impact and reputation of our research and expertise.

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.

Goal: Secure endowed faculty positions.

Progress:

  • Creating new chairs: We have secured eight new school-owned endowed chairs through philanthropy: two Hart Professor of the Practice positions, the Rosen Family professor of the practice, the Tony & Teddie Brown associate professorship, the Bruce L. Payne associate professorship, the McLain Foundation associate professorship, the Cumber Family professorship and the Fleishman professorship. We also received the school’s first university professorship – the McMahon professorship – from Duke University. This brings the total to 23 chairs owned by the school, increasing the number of chairs by 65% in four years. These new chairs are paying off quickly in terms of our ability to hire.
  • Filling endowed chairs: Since the start of the strategic plan, we have hired and filled six endowed chairs, five of which are new to the school, and four of these are newly funded since the start of the strategic plan.

Next Steps:

Next year we are poised to hire another new chair, identify matching donors for the Duke Endowment matches and continue to raise funds for endowed chairs.

Implemented

Goal: Find new sources for pilot/seed funding – research productivity.

Research grant portfolio, shows rise in 2021 from 20193 year average.

Progress:

  • We have raised enough flexible funds to support the faculty pilot fund for at least the next five years. Over the last three years, we have given out $143,200 in research pilot funds, which have resulted in $4.2 million in external grants.
  • Our pilot funding program and our investment in a Director of Research Opportunities position resulted in an increase of the number of submitted research grants from 166 ($39 million) to 201 ($66 million) per year. Overall, our research grant portfolio has increased its three-year average of $15.9 million for the period ending in 2019 to $16.9 million for the period ending in 2021.
  • Given the recent submissions, we expect additional growth in research grant activity. We will continue to seek sources to fund faculty and PhD research.
Implemented

Goal: Increase capacity for research distribution.

Quilt that says "the Arc of Justice from here to equality". Images like Black Lives Matter, Lincoln, cotton fields. WUNC and Ways & Means logo

Progress:

  • We created and filled a new Associate Dean for Communications and Marketing position.
  • We increased collaboration with Duke Government Relations and University Communications, which has helped distribute our research more broadly.
  • Our participation in policy and news briefings has grown substantially. Sanford faculty have participated in 35 online University media briefings since the pandemic began.
  • We are reaching larger audiences with news about faculty research.
  • We increased our social media presence and our podcasts. Our social media following has grown, with the most growth in our YouTube (43% growth last year) and LinkedIn (29% growth last year) channels. Sanford produced 18 episodes (four more than last year) of Policy 360 (9,283 downloads) and released 12 episodes (two seasons) of Ways & Means (19,370 downloads) last year alone. These efforts increased media appearances for our faculty and thrust faculty into national policy discussions. Last year alone, Sanford-related media clips (mentions in news articles) were up 65% (10,677). Op-eds, commentaries, and blog posts went up 20% (237), and media interviews increased more than 40% (245).
  • In July 2021, with Duke Web Services, we launched a new website as a pioneering enterprise platform – the first for the entire university

Next Steps:

We will continue to increase Sanford’s reputation and policy impact by growing event reach, media presence and policy interactions.

Bar that reflects 75% progress

Goal: Build strength in key programmatic areas, such as health policy, cybersecurity and technology policy.

Progress: Health Policy

  • We hired Kate Bundorf, tenured Jay Pearson and added Nathan Boucher as Sanford faculty.
  • We maintained top-10 ranking by US News & World Report.
  • We created an MPP concentration in health policy. Of MPP students pursuing a concentration, 13% are focused on health policy.
  • Together with the Margolis Center for Health Policy, we are creating a new undergraduate certificate program in health policy.

Next Steps:

Growing our faculty to partner with the Margolis Center and Duke’s strategic priorities in health policy, and by so doing, becoming a center of excellence for the study of the policies of the intersection between climate, environment, and health.

We are increasing graduate student financial aid dedicated to health policy. We are planning to build more interest in the MPP health policy concentration and reach new students.

Bar that reflects 75% progress

Progress: Cybersecurity and Tech Policy

  • Our footprint in tech policy is on a steep upwards trajectory. Through collaborating across campus, we have built tremendous course offerings in privacy, cyber and tech policy in less than two years. Events include many policymakers.
  • Students across campus are engaged in research and a “Cyber Cup” competition.
  • We are premiering a new national competition next spring that is sponsored, and will have a $25,000 prize.
  • We hired the Steed Family Professor, David Hoffman. We are hiring a new professor this year.
  • We are building new executive offerings.
  • We created an MPP concentration in technology policy, which has increased student interest. We created a curated list of courses for interested students. Currently 18 students are concentrating in technology policy (approximately 8% of MPP students; 15% of MPPs pursuing a concentration.)
  • We established a Tech Policy Lab, which contains multiple programs that engage students from public policy and across campus.
  • We created and launched the Debugger podcast hosted by veteran journalist Bob Sullivan.

Next Steps:

Building a world-class program in cyber and tech policy focused on the intersection with democracy, governance, and the lives of citizens. This will include new hires, program options, top research, and policy engagement. Such a program is vital to building our comprehensive strategy on democracy and governance, which comes together in a three-part thrust through Polis Center for Politics, The DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy and now this focus on technology, governance, and democracy. We are adding a tenure line hire this year in this area, which is emerging as a priority for additional investments. We have raised significant funds for and are launching an executive education program on cybersecurity. We are exploring possible curricular options that connect with Duke’s undergraduate strength in computer science and engineering. We are building out a Platform Accountability Project. We are working to increase pilot funding for research at this intersection.

Bar that reflects 75% progress

Goal: Enhance Sanford’s research in international development.

Progress:

  • We have appointed a tenure-track faculty leader of the Duke Center for International Development (DCID).
  • DCID has increased efforts to focus on research and is seeking to becoming a development hub for researchers.
  • We brought DCID into the Sanford School structure to enable greater freedom to pursue a research focus.
  • DCID researchers have won close to $400,000 in research grants and have three large proposals outstanding.
  • DCID hired an expert in communication and development to assist with research translation, in order to get research into the hands of practitioners who can best use it.
  • Through its participation in USAID-funded research consortiums, including RTAC (Research Technical Assistance Center) and LASER PULSE, DCID has promoted research of core and affiliated faculty to audiences of government and aid practitioners all over the world.  In spring of 2021, DCID is contracted to provide four webinars on ongoing research programs to RTAC faculty.
  • DCID core and hub researchers published 11 articles on development in peer-reviewed academic journals in 2021.

Next Steps:

  1. We will continue to invest in building this area.
  2. We will build on collaboration with DevLab and other research-focused units at Duke.
  3. We will develop more long-lasting partnerships with development practitioners, especially the Research Triangle Institute, to enable joint bids on large USAID proposals.
  4. We will build on and expand partnerships with external partners (e.g. Oxfam and Fort Bragg Civil Affairs Battalion) and alumni to broaden the reach of policy recommendations.
  5. We will expand opportunities to engage with professional students (MIDP and MPP) and PhD students on research opportunities, especially through studio classes, where students are able to work on development interventions over two semesters.
  6. We will develop greater infrastructure for managing reporting requirements for government contracting and grants.
Started

Goal: Strengthen faculty mentoring programs.

Progress:

We expanded our team mentoring program to include associate faculty, professors of the practice, lecturers, and research professors.

Next Steps:

We are now following up on recommendations from the faculty on how to strengthen the program further.

Implemented

Goal: Invest in policy connections and deep two-way engagement.

Darren Walker with Duke professor Jay pearson, Dean Judith kelley and the president of Duke University
(L-R) Prof. Jay Pearson; Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation; Sanford's Dean Judith Kelley, Duke's President Vincent Price.

Progress:

  • We have provided just-in-time funding to faculty who collaborate with governments in their research in cutting policy issues, like Manoj Mohanan’s work on the spread of COVID-19 in India.
  • As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, we are organizing policy conferences with policymakers and researchers to inform new research and community engagement. Our engagement strategy includes providing a sphere of public discourse for the university.
  • Our endowed lectures (Sanford, Rubenstein, Crown, Wilson lectures) have included headliners such as Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, Darren Walker, the Reverend Dr. William Barber II, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and many others. In addition, much new policy engagement has come through the classroom and a multitude of extracurricular activities, such as Policy Lab and others.
  • We piloted the new “Dean’s Salon” program that combines alumni, policymakers, influencers, philanthropists, and faculty around discussions related to policy challenges.
  • We started a new student-driven research service partnership with the City of Durham. The first project was focused on Covid-19. Students helped Durham to respond to the ongoing pandemic by working on the Durham Recovery & Renewal Task Force. Students consulted with the mayor and the county commissioner on local policy decisions that affect the lives of all Durham residents. A new project is focused on building Durham’s new First Responder Office under the leadership of Sanford alum, Ryan Smith.
  • We piloted a new program to assist newly elected policymakers. Through our Transitions Team pilot in 2020, teams of graduate and undergraduate students worked with newly-elected NC officials to help them transition into office.
  • In addition, many of our policy engagements come through the classroom and teaching. New innovations in this area include class offerings in human-centered design, based in our CXLab (Citizen Experience Lab), where students partner with local government and nonprofits on solving problems related to the delivery of services. Both students and clients report high satisfaction. We now have four adjuncts in this area.

For further examples of policy engagement through teaching see the section below, “create more immersive, hands-on research and engagement experiences.”

Next Steps:

We will continue to increase Sanford’s reputation and policy impact by growing event reach, media presence and policy interactions.

Bar that reflects 75% progress

Goal: Facilitate research-thematic conversations, seminars.

Progress:

We have supported several research seminar series in various disciplines and areas including structural inequality, media and democracy, child and family policy, and politics.

Bar that reflects 75% progress

Goal: Spur research at the intersection of policy and technology impact.

Progress:

See above under “build strength in key programmatic areas.”

Next Steps:

Continue to make investments that encourage research at the intersection of our existing policy strengths.

Active