quick exit

My second year as dean has certainly been memorable as we all worked together to deal with the effects of COVID-19 on our people, our students, our operations, our communities and our families. Sanford has a remarkable community of talented and passionate and compassionate individuals. Our faculty and staff embody the spirit of Sanford. Every person in our community gives me great hope and encouragement for the future of the Sanford.

Here is a list of 10 highlights from the past year – a sample of many accomplishments by our community:

1. We graduated more than 340 students in May (virtually)!

2. We submitted 144 grant proposals totaling about $47 million in FY20. We attracted about $22 million in research funding in FY20. 

3. Our faculty remains among the top in research productivity. In fact, a study published last month ranked Sanford in the top five of the nation’s top public policy schools in research productivity. We would be nothing without our faculty and their impressive, impactful research.

4. Our US News rankings remained high – #3 in environmental policy, #6 in public policy analysis, #6 in social policy, #7 in health policy. 

5. We directly connected with policymakers via the co-sponsored Color of Education last fall, policymaker briefings this spring, policy briefs from faculty, and via students through Policy Lab. We also amplified our research through increased media outreach through media briefings, 6,500 media mentions for Sanford faculty and research, 203 op-eds and 172 interviews that we tracked. The award-winning Ways & Means podcast aired on WUNC, and that partnership continues, also in partnership this season from Polis.

6. We had a stellar year in fundraising, with the annual fund exceeding the million dollar mark for the second time and second year in a row. From the support of alumni and friends, we raised $1,396,233 for the Sanford Annual Fund, over 90% of which went directly to support our bright and deserving students through scholarship and internship stipends.

7. Career Services helped our students in many ways, working with May graduates on career opportunities and students on internships. Career Services staff identified over 100 new remote opportunities and helped individual students find ways to convert in-person experiences to remote experiences.

8. During our distinguished lectures we hosted Dikang Moseneke, Darren Walker, Paul Farmer and Jason DeParle. Our centers and programs hosted many high-profile speakers such as Samantha Powers and Nivruti Rai. Our events team pivoted from in-person to our first Sanford virtual events in April, hosting 34 online events attracting attendees from around the world.

9. This fall, we have recruited one of the largest incoming MPP classes (80), and a new MIDP class (13 and counting as the program will begin in the spring) and welcomed 12 IMEP students and 4 incoming Ph.D. students.

10. Financially, we ended the year positively despite the challenges we face and will continue to face with the ongoing pandemic.

Public policy matters, and it matters more than ever in the midst of our response to COVID-19. The work at Sanford is making a difference in our mission 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. Thank you for your support.

Warm regards,


Judith Kelley, Dean

Years as a School
10th anniversary logo

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Sanford Goes Virtual

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In Person

January, 2020

February, 2020