Susan Sturm is the founding director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School. Her work focuses on inequality, discrimination, affirmative action, and the role education can play in creating a more inclusive world. At Columbia, Sturm is the chair of the Davis Polk Leadership Initiative, a cross-disciplinary effort to prepare students to succeed as leaders in a wide range of sectors. She is the principal investigator for two Ford Foundation grants for projects designed to increase access to postsecondary education for immigrants, veterans, and communities affected by incarceration.
Sturm has written and spoken extensively about affirmative action programs in higher education and filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the University of Texas in a case challenging its race-conscious admissions process. In 2017, she co-authored a report called Leading with Conviction, which sought to explain how some people emerge from prison as community leaders. She previously completed a major study on diversity for the Yale Law Journal, which had implications for the entire legal profession. Sturm is a past recipient of Columbia University’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.