Deserai Crow, PhD

Program Director, Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs
Interim Co-Director, Center for Community Safety and Resilience


Email Address:

Primary Phone: 303-315-0146

Office Hours: By appointment




Professor Deserai Crow researches local and state-level policy. Her work assesses environmental policy and disaster or crisis policies, including stakeholder participation and influence, information sources used, and policy outcomes in developing policies. Her work often focuses on natural disaster recovery and risk mitigation in local communities.

Dr. Crow’s natural hazards work includes a study of community wildfire recovery decision-making after Colorado’s Marshall Fire in 2021, another that focuses on flood recovery and policy learning in the aftermath of the 2013 floods in Colorado, both funded by the National Science Foundation. A current National Science Foundation-funded project looks at environmental justice outcomes associated with oil and gas decision-making in Colorado’s local governments. She is also working on a National Science Foundation project to understand COVID-19 risk perceptions, behaviors, and state policies. Dr. Crow also studies narratives associated with public policy issues within electoral politics. 

Prior to her academic work, she worked as a broadcast journalist and for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Crow is also the Director of the PhD in Public Affairs program at the School of Public Affairs and is also the director for the Master of Public Administration concentrations in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (EMHS) and Disasters, Hazards, and Emergency Management (DHEM). Dr. Crow earned her PhD from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in Environmental Policy. She also holds a Master of Public Administration from the CU Denver School of Public Affairs.

Areas of Expertise

environmental policy, disaster policy, environmental justice, public health policy, natural hazards, state policymaking, local government

Education, Licensure & Certifications

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Policy
Duke University

Master of Public Administration
University of Colorado Denver

Bachelor of Science in Journalism
University of Colorado Boulder

Curriculum Vitae



  • 2021 Distinguished Honor Award for the faculty or staff member whose pandemic efforts led to outstanding service or research achievements of marked statewide or national significance, University of Colorado Denver
  • 2021 Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Work Award, University of Colorado Denver
  • 2021 Excellence in Faculty Research Award, University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs


School of Public Affairs

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street


Denver, CO 80204


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