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May 15 - 17, 2024 | Syracuse, New York

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Center for Policy and Democracy

The Center for Policy and Democracy is a hub for research, teaching, and community engagement on public policy and democracy. Working across disciplines, states, and countries, we bring various perspectives to study and inform how policies and politics impact the most important issues facing democratic societies today. This research informs our unique approach to teaching public policy, showcased in the Policy Workshop Seminar and the Master of Public Policy and PhD in Public Affairs degree programs.

The deLeon Legacy

The Center on Policy and Democracy honors the legacy of Dr. Peter deLeon, a giant in the field of policy studies and policy sciences. In his work first at RAND/UCLA, then Columbia, and finally the School of Public Affairs at CU Denver, Peter pioneered several subfields of policy and authored many insightful books and articles that continue to be cited by scholars in the field. Peter mentored at least half of the students graduating from the school's PhD in Public Affairs program during the period 1990-2010 and was a generous mentor to many junior faculty members during his time at the school. We miss him dearly. 

Many thanks to Peter’s wife Linda deLeon, also a former faculty member of the school, who continues to support policy scholarship and was instrumental in the launch of the Center for Policy and Democracy through a generous gift from the Linda and Peter deLeon Fund for Policy and Democracy.


Portrait of Lucy Dwight

Deserai Crow, PhD
Associate Professor

Lucy Dwight, PhD
Associate Professor, Clinical Teaching Track


Sheila Huss, PhD
Assistant Professor, Clinical Teaching Track; Interim Co-Director, Center for Community Safety and Resilience




Alejandra Medina, PhD

Assistant Professor

Annie Miller, PhD
Associate Dean, Student Success & Strategic Initiative; Assistant Professor, Clinical Teaching Track

Pepe Sánchez, PhD

Assistant Professor


View doctoral student bios.



Kathleen Bailey Stephanie Bultema Anna Crawford
Kathleen Bailey Stephanie Bultema Anna Crawford
Allegra Fullerton Kayla Gabehart Aerang Nam
Allegra Fullerton Kayla Gabehart Aerang Nam
Betsy Smith
Joshua Young

Betsy Smith

Jill Yordy

Josh Young

Sojeong Kim
Kristin WegnerJongeun You
Sojeong Kim, PhDKristin Wegner, PhDJongeun You, PhD


Research and Resources

Ongoing research projects staffed by our affiliated faculty and students are an important part of day-to-day operations at the Center for Policy and Democracy.

We are in the process of curating a collection of publications and resources showcasing both our work and work from the previous Workshop on Policy Process Research. Please check back soon!

Teaching Policy and Democracy

The Policy Workshop Seminar

The Policy Workshop Seminar features critical analyses of policy and democracy scholarship, in-depth discussions of student research, exploration of contemporary events, and guest lectures by scholars and practitioners. 

Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program combines the analytical features of traditional MPP degrees with the emphasis on democracy and the policy process unique to CU Denver. Learn more.

PhD in Public Affairs

The PhD in Public Affairs program has a long and proud tradition of training both practitioners and future academics. Learn more.

Herrick Roth Lecture Series

The Herrick Roth Lecture Series at the School of Public Affairs was established to honor the late activist, labor leader, and founder of the Colorado Forum, Herrick Roth. Mr. Roth was deeply committed to understanding what he called “horizon issues,” which he defined as long-term public concerns that needed thoughtful reflection, discussion, and understanding in order to facilitate Colorado’s meaningful and healthy growth. Thus, the Herrick Roth Community Seminar Series on Democracy aims to support and promote discussions around issues of civic engagement, political polarization, and other complicated public policy issues amongst communities within and beyond the University of Colorado Denver.

About Herrick Roth

The Herrick Roth Community Seminar is named after and funded in honor of Herrick Roth. Roth was an educator in Denver Public Schools before serving several formal roles that advocated for labor, community, and education during the 1950s-70s, including various positions in the American Federation of Teachers for the AFL-CIO, as an elected official in both houses of the Colorado General Assembly, as an appointed labor representative on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Employment, as the labor representative and Vice Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee of the Citizens’ Conference on State Legislatures, and as a moderator on a weekly television program called “Labor’s Language.”

Featured Event

On February 28, 2028, the School of Public Affairs hosted "Freedom of Expression for Democracy: An Event with Dmitry Muratov, Russian Journalist & Nobel Peace Prize Recipient.” The event was presented by the Herrick Roth Community Seminars on Democracy, a series of the Center for Policy and Democracy at the CU Denver School of Public Affairs.


Connect with Us

We’d love to connect with you! Please contact to learn about ways to connect with us and to join our mailing list to receive periodic newsletters and announcements from the Center for Policy and Democracy.

There are many ways to support our work. You can make an online donation to the Linda and Peter deLeon Fund for Policy and Democracy, or contact CU Denver’s Advancement Office for other ways to give: or 303-315-3601.

Center News

Upcoming Events

No events currently scheduled.
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