Department Spotlight: Office of Global Strategy and Programs

This small office helps coordinate strategic global efforts that involve multiple schools and units at Duke

Christy Michels and Nora Bynum (front row, fifth and sixth from the left) from the Office of Global Strategy and Programs, gather with just a few of the people from Duke and Kunshan helping to create the new campus in Kunshan, China.

Department: Office of Global Strategy and Programs

Years at Duke: Almost one year

Who they are: The Office of Global Strategy and Programs is a center of planning, organization and support for Duke's programs that reach beyond the borders of the U.S. The office provides support, coordination and facilitation for ongoing overseas activities of students, faculty and schools and serves as the primary point of contact for major global strategic initiatives. It works closely with other offices at Duke that coordinate international activities and efforts for Duke students and faculty. Duke currently has more than 300 partnerships in 200 international locations.

What they're known for: Coordinating strategic global efforts that involve multiple schools and units at Duke, such as the campus development in Kunshan, China. The office also maintains websites with information about Duke's travel policy, an interactive map showing Duke's global presence, and administrative guidance on everything from travelling with a laptop to how to lease space abroad.

What they can do for you: Provide advice on how to set up a program or activity outside the U.S. "It can be complicated to get things done appropriately in a different country," said Nora Bynum, director of global strategy. "We look out for Duke's interest, while developing a meaningful relationship with our partners abroad."

Number of employees: Six.

Hidden department fact: Their conference room in the Allen Building has 3-foot  thick walls. "This area used to be the Bursar's office, and our conference room was the vault where all of money was held," Bynum said.

Significant achievement:  Carrying forward the work of Dr. R. Sanders Williams, former dean of the School of Medicine, and Professor Gilbert Merkx, vice provost for international affairs. Both were champions of Duke's global strategy long before the OGSP was created in July 2010. "The creation of this office shows the institutional commitment to supporting the Duke programs operating outside the U.S," said Christy Parrish Michels, senior manager of global administrative policies and procedures.

Big goal: To help Duke prepare the next generation of globally equipped leaders. "We aren't just talking about building campuses in different countries," said Greg Jones, vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs. "We want to facilitate a network of reciprocal relationships."

How they make a difference: By connecting like-minded people. Recently the School of Medicine and the Fuqua School of Business independently contacted the office for advice on registering legal partnerships with a university in Kazakhstan. "The schools were unaware of each others' activities until they both reached out to us," Michels said. The office found a lawyer who could register both schools and worked with a faculty member to provide Duke's name in the Cyrillic alphabet. "That's just an example of how we connect people who might otherwise not have known about each other's work," Michels said.