Duke Trustees Approve New Graduate Programs, 2018-19 Budget

The Duke University Board of Trustees on Saturday approved three new graduate degree programs -- a master’s and Ph.D. program in population health sciences, a master’s program in electrical and computer engineering at Duke and Duke Kunshan universities and a master’s program in critical Asian humanities.

In addition, the trustees approved a $2.7 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2018-19 that provides for strategic investments in financial aid, academic initiatives and building projects.

The new master’s and doctoral degree programs in population health sciences will be administered through the School of Medicine’s new Department of Population Health Sciences. The interdisciplinary field studies complex population health issues, and the new program will train students to identify the most effective ways to prevent and treat diseases and disorders and promote health.

Students in the two-year electrical and computer engineering master’s program will spend their first year at Duke Kunshan University and their second at Duke in the Pratt School of Engineering. The program, jointly managed by Duke and Duke Kunshan, will be targeted especially to students who desire an educational experience in both China and the United States.

The new master’s in critical Asian humanities will provide students with the skills needed to pursue either a doctoral or professional degree or a career in a field relating to East Asian culture and society. This degree will take advantage of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies’ faculty expertise in modern East Asian cultural studies, particularly in the fields of modern global China, Japanese empire studies and Korean borderlands.

The operating budget, which covers the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, reflects 3.6 percent growth in revenue and expenditures from FY 2017-18. The budget includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing, but excludes Duke Hospital and other clinical components of the Duke University Health System.

The trustees also approved a capital budget that includes funding to continue construction of Medical Science Research Building III, the new Pratt School of Engineering building, the Duke alumni center, the Hollows Residence Quadrangle, the renovation of Craven Residence Quadrangle, the School of Nursing/Physical Therapy education building and other facilities.

The budget includes an anticipated 11 percent increase in institutional financial aid for undergraduate students, with university support growing to $174 million.

More than half of Duke undergraduates receive financial support to attend the university, the vast majority of which is need-based aid. The average aid awarded to need-based aid recipients in the 2017-18 academic year was approximately $50,200.

Duke is among a handful of schools that maintains a need-blind admissions policy, under which the university makes admissions decisions for U.S. undergraduates based on their academic accomplishments and potential without regard to their ability to pay, and then meets all of their demonstrated financial need while they are enrolled at the university.

The trustees also approved changes related to committees and board organization following a year-long governance review. The new structure updates the number, names and roles of the board’s standing committees, and establishes a process for creating and terminating strategic task forces and revising the process for reviewing capital projects.

In other business, the board:

  • re-elected Laurene Sperling and William Hawkins as board vice chairs, for one-year terms; Jack O. Bovender Jr., who was elected last May for a two-year term, will continue as chair;
  • heard from President Vincent E. Price on the progress of the long-term planning process he initiated after taking office last year;
  • reviewed the university’s progress toward developing a strategic investment plan for science and technology research at Duke;
  • heard from Dr. Mary Klotman, dean of the Duke School of Medicine, about an in-depth review of the school’s future goals and strategic priorities. At each board meeting, the trustees get a detailed report about one of Duke’s graduate or undergraduate schools;
  • approved the awarding of degrees to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Commencement, including an address by Apple CEO Tim Cook, begins at 9 a.m. Sunday at Wallace Wade Stadium and is open to the public.