Our Purpose

Our founders faced challenges, but achieved their vision.

Today, we continue to strive to fulfill the school’s mission in a rapidly changing environment. Even as technology is driving progress, major policy challenges persist and new challenges are being created by technology. We are driven by the fierce urgency of several grand policy challenges: the very health of our planet, structural inequality of wealth and opportunity, systemic racism, health and education, changes to the future of work and much more. Virtually every major challenge in the world has a policy connection. The need for public policy schools has only grown. The school has achieved much success, but the world demands more.

Our purpose, therefore, is clear: To produce knowledge and leadership for the next generation of policy challenges.

At a time when technology is profoundly changing how we live, work, communicate and govern, when science is being contested and governing institutions are questioned, and when society is growing increasingly unequal, universities are being called on to deliver value and relevance to society. United as a community, the Sanford School aspires to lead in answering this call.

Our legacy and purpose in the context of today’s pressing issues have led to the 2019-2024 Strategic Priorities. These priorities emphasize the role of the school as a producer of knowledge and a provider of education to make a difference in the world.

Our mission is to improve lives and communities by researching the most pressing public policy issues and preparing students for lives of leadership, civic engagement and public service.

Grand challenges intersect with tech. 5 intersecting rings: development, energy & environment, media & democracy, security, health policy, social policy
The Grand Challenges of Policy

The Importance of Public Policy

“Public policy analysis does not limit itself to describing a public problem. It requires people to think about how to solve problems.”
- Joel Fleishman

The Grand Challenges of Policy

The Sanford School aims to address the grand challenges of policy today through research, education and engagement.