Classes, Faculty and Alumni Fill Duke in Washington Office

University's new 'embassy' is now home to a variety of events

Duke summer interns and recent grads listen to alumni speak about their experiences in Journalism. Photo by Landy Elliott.
Duke summer interns and recent grads listen to alumni speak about their experiences in Journalism. Photo by Landy Elliott.

Law Professor Donald Horowitz is in Washington, D.C., on a fellowship this semester, but his class on Comparative Constitutional Design is in Durham at Duke.  Usually this would mean a weekly trip down to Durham and back, but not this year.

Using the videoconference features available in Duke's new office in the nation's capital, Horowitz is teaching the course from Washington.

"The Duke office in Washington, D.C., is as efficient as it is convenient," said Horowitz, who is a fellow at the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy. "I have been able to have my fellowship in D.C. and continue to teach my seminar by using the office's splendid videoconference facility. The students and I both gain from [it]," Horowitz said.

It's one example of the flurry of activity in the Duke 'embassy' in D.C. since opening its doors in April of this year. The Washington office has hosted a stream of meetings and faculty visits, and the start of a new school year has brought a variety of social, scholarly and classroom events.

Duke Law has been a frequent user of the new office space. A June alumni reception featuring US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito kicked off the Law School's use of Duke in Washington's event space, and the Duke Law in D.C. semester-long academic program held its first class in the office's classroom on Sept. 7.

In addition to Horowitz's class, Professor Jim Cox is teaching the Duke Law in D.C. course, "Rethinking Regulation," in the office.  Cox has taught the course Washington for three years, but for the first time, the course is meeting in a Duke classroom.

DukeDC, the Duke alumni club in Washington which has long been active in providing engaging programming for area alumni, is using the office to strengthen existing initiatives.

The Duke Women's Forum, a formal network of Duke women in the D.C. area, has planned a fall lineup of events to be hosted in the new Duke office.  Most recently, members of the Duke Women's Forum gathered in the Duke office for a brown bag lunch featuring Jean O'Barr, the founding director of women’s studies at Duke. 

Kim Reed, Duke alumna and coordinator of the Duke Women's Forum, praised the advantageous location of Duke in Washington for their events. "The centrality and convenience of its location have made attendance much easier for our members," Reed said.

Reed added that the Duke branding of the office is a positive as well.  "The picture-covered office is like a little piece of Duke in the middle of D.C."

Duke in Washington is part of the university's Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations.  Vice President Michael Schoenfeld said that the center "reflects the wide-ranging and dynamic connections that Duke has in Washington."

"So many parts of Duke have an interest in politics and policy, especially during an election year," Schoenfeld said.  "Being able to bring together students, faculty and alumni helps advance Duke's interests in a number of different ways."

In the coming weeks, Duke in Washington will host a Women's Forum Career Advisory Network dinner on international careers; a field trip for the Ethics, Leadership, and Global Citizenship FOCUS cluster; a Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions forum on power plant emissions; and several panels organized by the Fuqua Net Impact club on "Careers in Social Impact."

Along with more formal meetings and events taking place this fall, Landy Elliott, associate director of federal relations and D.C. operations at Duke in Washington, said she encourages faculty and staff to use Duke in Washington for daily office needs as well.

"We can host board meetings and press briefings, but we also provide temporary office space, tele- and videoconferencing equipment, and a photocopier," Elliott said.  "When a faculty member comes to D.C. to testify on the Hill, we can make copies of her testimony or give her an office to make phone calls and check email afterwards."

For more information on Duke in Washington’s location, amenities, and policies, visit the Duke in Washington website.

Below, Duke Law Dean David Levi welcomes guests to a Law School open house featuring Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Photo by Jay Mallin.

dean levi at DIW