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After Building DukeEngage Into a Signature Program, Eric Mlyn Is Stepping Down

Eric Mlyn has built DukeEngage into one of the university's most popular programs.
Eric Mlyn has led DukeEngage for its first 12 years.

Eric Mlyn, who has led the DukeEngage program for its entire 12 years of existence, is stepping down as the Peter Lange Executive Director of DukeEngage and assistant vice provost for civic engagement on June 30.

DukeEngage was founded in 2007 with support from The Duke Endowment and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its mission is to empower students to address critical human needs through immersive service. By the end of this summer, more than 4,800 Duke students will have volunteered more than 1.6 million hours through DukeEngage, working with more than 600 community organizations in 46 U.S. cities and 84 nations on six continents.

Provost Sally Kornbluth noted that under Mlyn’s leadership, “DukeEngage established immersive engagement with communities as an ethos for all undergraduate students. Today, it is an integral part of the Duke undergraduate experience. We owe much to Eric for his founding vision, energy and creativity which has enabled DukeEngage to have made such an impact on students and society.” 

“It takes a truly great university to build a program like DukeEngage, with expertise and support from all parts of Duke,” Mlyn said. “We have benefited from the excellence and collaboration that are hallmarks of Duke University. It has been an honor for me to lead this program and I look forward to exploring new horizons here.”

Charlie Piot, professor of African and African-American Studies, will succeed Mlyn as the DukeEngage director. In addition to his teaching and research roles, Piot is the founder and faculty director of DukeEngage Togo, which is now in its seventh year.

Piot “will ensure that DukeEngage continues to provide innovative opportunities to connect to the academic and scholarly work of the university,” Kornbluth added.

As part of this leadership transition, DukeEngage will continue to be under the direction of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education but will also become an affiliated  program of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, whose director Suzanne Shanahan and associate director Ada Gregory will together with Piot provide strategic leadership to the program.

“I am thrilled that DukeEngage is becoming a program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics,” Shanahan said. “As long-term program directors in Ireland and New York, Ada and I look forward to working with Professor Piot and the fabulous team at DukeEngage to lead the next chapter of this invaluable undergraduate experience.”

Also, the Office of Civic Engagement and the College Advising Corps will move to the Office of Durham Affairs under vice president Stelfanie Williams, where the staff will enhance Duke’s growing array of programs to address community needs in education, transportation, housing, health care and other areas.

After a sabbatical in the fall, Mlyn will return to Duke in January 2020.