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 Deserai Crow

Portrait of Lucy Dwight

Deserai Crow, PhD

Associate Professor

Lucy Dwight, PhD

Associate Professor, Clinical Teaching Track


Kelly Hupfeld, JD

Assistant Research Professor



Dr. Serena Kim

Sheila Huss, PhD

Assistant Professor, Clinical Teaching Track

Neena Jain, MD

Program Director, Center on Domestic Violence

Serena Kim, PhD
Scholar in Residence
SPA-Portrait-Faculty-Miller-Annie-08-2022-300x300Portrait of Dr. John Ronquillo 
Annie Miller, PhD
Assistant Professor, Clinical Teaching Track

John Ronquillo, PhD

Associate Professor



View doctoral student bios.



Kathleen BaileyStephanie BultemaAnna Crawford

Kathleen Bailey

Stephanie Bultema

Anna Crawford

Allegra FullertonKayla GabehartSojeong Kim
Allegra FullertonKayla GabehartSojeong Kim
Aerang NamBetsy SmithKristin Wegner

Aerang Nam

Betsy Smith

Kristin Wegner

PhD-student-Yordy-Jill-10-2021-300x300Jongeun You
Joshua Young

Jill Yordy 

Jongeun You

Josh Young

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.

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 Events

Center News