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

Recognizing Lubiano & Malone, and Honoring Ray Gavins at Annual Cook Dinner

February 23, 2017

Dear Faculty and Staff,
 
On Tuesday evening this week, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Samuel DuBois Cook Society. This is an organization dedicated to recognizing, honoring, and affirming the presence of African American students, faculty, and staff at Duke University--for the betterment of relations between persons of all backgrounds. This was a particularly special evening where Professor Whaneema Lubiano (AAAS) and Professor of the Practice David Malone (Education) were honored with the Cook Society's Inaugural Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award.

Inaugural Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Awards

The Gavins Award is an enduring tribute to historian Raymond Gavins, who at the time of his death in May 2016, was the most senior African American faculty member at Duke. Ray joined Duke's History Department in 1971 in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, and fresh from becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. For perspective, this was only 10 years after Duke's Board of Trustees voted to desegregate graduate and professionals schools, and only eight years after the first five African American students were admitted to Duke. A distinguished scholar who contributed much to the historiography of the Civil Rights Movement, Ray pioneered successful pathways for black faculty and students here at Duke and touched the lives of many. Ray's longtime friend and colleague William Chafe recalled his gentleness of spirit, his quiet courage, confidence and his persistence. In a career that spanned 45 years, Ray's impact at Duke and beyond cannot be overstated.
 
Professor Lubiano, who often shared students with Ray, spoke about how meaningful it was to students to discover Black American history from a black man and a scholar of his caliber. Professor Malone also had personal memories to share, as Ray was one of the first faculty members he came to know at Duke.

Wahneema Lubiano, Associate Professor, African & African American Studies

Wahneema's research and teaching interests include Black American literature, black cultural studies, literary theory, semiotics, black popular culture, and feminist studies. She is the editor of and contributor to The House That Race Built and has been published in Cultural Critique, Social Text, New American Literary History, Callaloo, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and other journals. She teaches a graduate seminar entitled “Teaching Race, Teaching Gender,” that is legendary, drawing students from several university departments, and other universities (NCCU, UNC, NC State) to attend. She regularly helps student activists to make Duke a better place for learning and living, and regular serves as advisor, mentor, and teacher as well as friend and colleague.
 
One of her students said: "There is no other faculty member who I know of at Duke who embodies the spirit of Professor Raymond Gavins more fully than Wahneema Lubiano. Her humility and fierce devotion to her students and to her sense of justice inform her teaching, her thinking and her daily life practices, permeating all of her interactions. She is an inspiration to all of us who are lucky enough to be challenged to take on our tired ways of thinking, to restructure and reorient our teaching practices toward creating and holding space for those who are most vulnerable.

David Malone, Professor of the Practice, Program in Education, Director of the Duke Service-Learning Program

David joined the Duke faculty in 1984 after serving for many years as a school psychologist and as a middle school teacher. He teaches undergraduate courses which focus on K-12 education, psychology, and social equity issues that arise in the schooling process. David has been active in the Cook Society since its inception, and served for several years as co-convenor. For the past 30 years, he has been part of a collaborative effort at Duke to infuse experiential learning into the curriculum by developing community-based learning experiences for Duke undergraduates. He has been involved with the creation of engaged-learning initiatives such as DukeEngage, Duke Immerse, and the Duke Service-Learning Program. Currently, as Director of Duke Service-Learning, David works closely with colleagues at Duke and in the Durham public schools to connect academic learning with community service experiences. He helped develop Partners for Success, a program in which Duke students help children who require assistance in reading, math, and academic learning strategies. Duke offers more than 65 service-learning course sections that engage about 1,200 Duke students each year in community-based learning and service. David and colleagues regularly present aspects of their work at regional and national conferences on community engagement.
 
His nominator wrote: “David IS Duke. He represents the best of a faculty member in scholarship, teaching, and service: his scholarship informs his teaching, his teaching is meaningfully related to his scholarship, and his service is connected to the intellectual issues he is most passionate about.
 
Please join me in congratulating Wahneema and David on their recognition and read more on DukeToday.
 
Cordially,
 
Valerie S. Ashby
Dean, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Celebrating 50 Years of Black Faculty Scholarship


Cook Society Award Winners: Professor of the Practice David Malone (Education), President Richard Brodhead, Pratt graduate student Juan Ramirez, Trinity undergraduate student Henry Washington, Trinity Technology Services Dean Ed Gomes, Professor Wahneema Lubiano (AAAS), FMD staff member Leonidas Nelson