New Leadership at Duke’s Office of Civic Engagement

Leslie Parkins comes from UNC-Chapel Hill to join Duke's Office of Civic Engagement.
Leslie Parkins comes from UNC-Chapel Hill to join Duke's Office of Civic Engagement.

Leslie Parkins has been named assistant director of the Duke Office of Civic Engagement (DOCE), which serves as the campus hub for university collaborations with communities on pressing social challenges.

Prior to coming to Duke, Parkins was the senior program officer for service learning at the Carolina Center for Public Service at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She will work with Eric Mlyn, assistant vice provost for civic engagement and the office’s faculty advisory board to support ongoing and new efforts to assist students, faculty and staff work together to make a civic difference. 

“Leslie comes to Duke with an excellent track record in civic engagement, faculty development and campus-community partnerships,” Mlyn said. “I’m glad to have her with us right now to help us with the development of a civic action plan.” 

Parkins earned a doctorate in higher education administration from North Carolina State University in 2008, where she studied faculty involvement in service-learning pedagogy at research-intensive institutions. She brings a depth of experience in administering community-based initiatives and supporting specific scholarly interests of faculty from a variety of disciplines.

“I am grateful to be a part of this team and look forward to contributing to the work happening both on campus and in communities,” Parkins said.

Parkins’ arrival will also help with a leadership transition in the DOCE Faculty Advisory Board, Mlyn said. Robert Korstad, a professor of public policy and history and the current board chair, will step down from his term in July.

“Bob has contributed immeasurably to the evolution of the DOCE and to civic engagement efforts in general at the university over his long and engaged career at Duke,” Mlyn said. “We will miss him — but fortunately he’s not leaving Duke!”

Dr. Dennis Clements, a professor of pediatrics and community and family medicine, will serve as the next faculty board chair, Mlyn said. Clements, who also holds a doctorate and a master’s in public health, is currently the co-director of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, a senior adviser to the Duke Global Health Institute and an academic course director. Until recently, he also served on the board of the Duke Human Rights Committee.

“I feel very fortunate to have had such excellent support/advice,” Mlyn said. “At the same time, I’m very grateful for a strong lineup of new leaders as we seek to expand our work at Duke.”