Office of the Dean
Valerie S. Ashby, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity College

Memo from the Dean - 9/11/2016 - Fall Arts & Sciences Council Address

September 12, 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff,
Thursday, September 8, I had the privilege of presenting the Dean’s Address to A&S Council. For those who of you who could not attend, I want to take a moment to briefly frame the coming year.
Strategic Planning
In the coming year we will continue work on our three strategic themes: Excellence, Leadership & Mentoring, and Diversity. We will also delve more deeply into departmental strategic plans developed over the last year and a half. This work proceeds in parallel with the university’s broader strategic planning process led by Provost Sally Kornbluth.
Humanities Division
Divisional Dean Gennifer Weisenfeld is leading efforts to strengthen university messaging about the humanities and working directly with undergraduate admissions on the recruitment of students to humanities fields. She is partnering with FHI and the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies in efforts that will bring more support for humanities proposal development and training opportunities for humanities doctoral students.
Social Sciences Division
Divisional Dean Linda Burton will convene Duke Scholars this year working in the thematic areas of race, inequality and health disparities; Africanist studies; and Mid-Eastern Studies. Her goal is to increase reputational strength in these areas of deep research strength. She plans to invest heavily in supporting faculty in winning research funding; and to cultivate faculty recognition and leadership in professional societies.
Natural Sciences
Divisional Dean Dan Kiehart is partnering with Vice Provost Larry Carin on the Quantitative Initiative to invest in faculty across the sciences and Medical School in order to build a cross-cutting cadre of faculty who can lead in quantitative analysis. He will oversee implementation of a donor gift aimed at upgrading our imaging capabilities on campus. And he will oversee another gift aimed at increasing the number of women who choose computer science (CS) or electrical and computer engineering (ECE) as their career path, a new curriculum in mobile computing and computing systems, and an emphasis on graduate student skills in CS and ECE. He will also continue to work on addressing critical infrastructure needs for teaching and laboratory space, experimental capabilities and collision spaces in the natural sciences.
Academic Affairs
Mathematical physicist Arlie Petters is now leading the Office of Academic Affairs. This year he looks to strengthen the role of directors of undergraduate studies, increase research opportunities for students in the humanities and social sciences, explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) pathways, and improve support and opportunities for non-STEM majors taking STEM courses. He plans to launch a vibrant new undergraduate research journal, to begin the transition to make many academic affairs processes paperless, and to support academic advising.
Chris Clarke now heads our fundraising efforts as Senior Assistant Vice President for Trinity College and the Graduate School. He is leading efforts to resource the needs of Trinity College post campaign. As you recall, we are now in the final year of the DukeForward campaign.
New Curriculum
With more than two years of discussion and revision, a vote will take place in A&S Council this year on a thoughtful renewal of our undergraduate curriculum. This is an important moment for us as a university—one where we seek to keep the best of Curriculum 2000 and open ourselves to new innovations and possibilities. After 16 years, it is time for us to transform our curriculum knowing that it will shape our departments, faculty and students in the years to come. It is not trivial to make such a change, I know. But we all recognize that our students today are very different from those in the year 2000. They have literally grown up with technology and social media as a seamless part of their lives. Duke is already a leader in undergraduate education, and that makes it even more exciting to see what we are going to create together for our new curriculum.
I encourage you to read the address in more detail here:
Valerie S. Ashby
Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences