Guest post by Deondra Rose, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
As an assistant professor of public policy and political science at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, I spend my time researching and teaching courses related to the ways in which politics and policy shape each other. My work focuses particularly on how lawmakers have used—or have failed to use—higher education policy to improve the life chances of marginalized groups. In my book, Citizens By Degree: Higher Education Policy and the Changing Gender Dynamics of Higher Education Policy (Oxford University Press 2018), I argue that by passing policies like need-based financial aid (i.e., Pell Grants and Perkins Loans) and the Title IX prohibition on sex discrimination in college admissions and programming, lawmakers have played an important role in shaping women’s access to higher education and the citizenship-enhancing social, economic, and political benefits that tend to accompany it. One of my new projects considers how Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have contributed to the development of African American political leaders in the United States. As distinctive educational institutions that emerged during the 19th and early 20th centuries in response to structural racism that limited African Americans’ access to higher education, they embraced a mission of investing in black Americans and empowering them as they assumed their roles as citizens.
These organizations give me the opportunity to extend the impact of my knowledge of public policy, politics, and inequality, reaching audiences that books and journal articles might miss.
These conversations have influenced my research by helping to shape the questions that I ask, the resources that I consult, and the perspectives that I bring to bear…
As the United States grapples with challenges like declining social cohesion and lackluster political participation—particularly among young citizens—civically engaged scholars can offer powerful role models for students.
Finally, I believe that as a political scientist who is committed to the cultivation of informed and empowered citizens, modeling active civic engagement is part-and-parcel of my work as a professor. As the United States grapples with challenges like declining social cohesion and lackluster political participation—particularly among young citizens—civically engaged scholars can offer powerful role models for students. Not only are our students frequently looking for ways to make a positive difference, they possess valuable knowledge and skills that could be an asset to their surrounding communities. Moreover, as colleges and universities wrestle with questions about the relevance of higher education in a changing society, it is imperative that we recognize and celebrate the important contributions that scholars make to society through civic engagement.
Photo: Durham City-County Committee on Confederate Monuments at work during a public meeting in the City Council Chambers (August 2018)