A native of Iowa, Sally J. Kenney earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, a B.A. and M.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. From 1989-1995, she held a joint appointment in Political Science, Women's Studies, and Law at the University of Iowa. She served on the faculty at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs from 1995-2009 where she also directed the Center on Women and Public Policy. She joined Tulane University in 2010 as the first Newcomb College Endowed Chair, the executive director of the Newcomb College Institute, and a Professor of Political Science.
Her research interests include gender and judging, judicial selection, feminist social movements, women and electoral politics, the European Court of Justice, exclusionary employment policies, and pregnancy discrimination. Her latest book is Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter (2013).
She teaches Women Leading Change, the third-year course for Newcomb Scholars, as well as service learning courses on the politics of rape and domestic violence.
She has produced more than 25 teaching case studies on women and public policy and hopes to develop more. She is currently studying women state supreme court justice and advocating for more women on the bench. Her next research project is to work with women in prison, tackling the gender issues arising from mass incarceration, seeking clemency for battered women, and developing service learning courses with incarcerated women.