A Conversation on the Future of the Faculty

To mark the Academic Council's 50th anniversary, faculty will look to the university's future

If you are looking for one statistic to describe how universities have changed over the past five decades, you could start here: In 1962 Duke University had zero centers and institutes in its various schools.  Five decades later, the university counts 78 centers, 45 programs, seven signature institutes and 14 other institutes.

How this happened and what it means for the future of the university and the university faculty will be the subject of the first of three planned Council Conversations set as part of Thursday's Academic Council meeting. 

The council meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. in 0012 Westbrook Building. (For a full agenda of the meeting, click here.)

The discussion will be led by Tom Nechyba, director of the Social Sciences Research Institute and professor of Economics, Warren Grill, professor of Biomedical Engineering and Shenglan Tang, professor of Medicine and associate director for DKU and China Initiatives for the Duke Global Health Institute.  Council chair Susan Lozier will moderate this discussion.

Lozier said the conversation will focus on the "transition of a department-based institution to one where the research and teaching missions are a shared responsibility among departments, institutes and centers."

The discussion will also touch on how this institutional diversification fits in an administrative and budgetary structure traditionally based on schools and departments.  Other questions for conversation include how Duke's global initiatives challenge the university structure and "our understanding of a campus community," Lozier said. 

The three conversations were planned to highlight the council's 50th anniversary by considering how the university has changed over that time and explore how those changes will "shape the university in the decades ahead," Lozier said.

The second Council Conversation is set for the Feb. 21 council meeting and will focus on teaching and learning.  Former council chair and current Dean of Humanities Peter Burian will moderate the panel led by Ian Baucom of English, Nancy Short of the School of Nursing and Mohamed Noor of Biology.

The third event will explore the future of the professoriate at the May 9 council meeting.  Phil Costanzo of Psychology and Neuroscience will moderate and panel members will include Dennis Clements of Pediatrics, Anthony Kelley of Music and Helen "Sunny" Ladd of the Sanford School of Public Policy.