Duke Board Updated on Academic, Financial Issues at Fall Meeting

Trustees approve new master’s degree in analytical political economy

Duke University's Board of Trustees approved a new master’s degree program and received updates on a range of academic and financial matters at its first meeting of the academic year.The new master’s degree is in analytical political economy, an interdisciplinary field of growing scholarly interest where students will gain economic and mathematical modeling skills along with deep training in political science.A collaborative effort of the departments of political science and economics, the program meets a growing need for scholars with skills in an area where the two disciplines overlap. For the economics program, it will attract master’s students who are also interested in earning a Ph.D. degree in political science, while political science students will get an opportunity to improve their knowledge of economics, mathematics and statistics. Few universities offer such an advanced degree.The degree was approved by the Academic Council and other university committees in the spring of 2015. Adding new master’s degree programs has spurred some study over whether the growth is affecting academic offerings. The economics department does not intend to use the new degree to grow its already large master’s population. If the new program attracts large number of new economics students, the department says it will maintain current numbers by reducing enrollment in other master’s programs.The trustees also received a report on the university’s financial performance from the most recent fiscal year. DUMAC, Inc., which manages Duke University's endowment and other investment assets, achieved a return of 4.4 percent on the university's investments in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015. The investment returns and new gifts to the university's endowment brought its market value to $7.3 billion, its highest ever.In FY2014, DUMAC achieved a 20.2 percent return on investments. During the past 10 years, the average annual return on its long-term pool has been 9.4 percent. The university endowment is a perpetual fund, the earnings from which support faculty, financial aid for students, facilities and other academic programs.  In the most recent fiscal year, support from the endowment and other investments managed by DUMAC accounted for approximately 16 percent of the university’s total operating revenue.The trustees also received updates on a range of academic topics, including:-- Duke’s many innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. Speaking to the trustees about this were Provost Sally Kornbluth, Chancellor for Health Affairs Gene Washington, Vice Provost and Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative Eric Toone and Vice Provost for Research Larry Carin.-- Undergraduate education. The board heard from Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta, Director of DukeEngage Eric Mlyn and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag.