Duke Receives $4M to Broaden Global Perspectives in Arts & Sciences Teaching, Research

The Duke Endowment gift to target new faculty hires in Latinx, African and Asian-American studies

The former president of Costa Rica and Duke President Vincent Price discuss Latin American and Latino/a art with Romance Studies professor Esther Gabara during a visit to the exhibit she curated for the Nasher Museum of Art. Recent funding from The Duke E
Former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera and Duke President Vincent Price talks with Professor Esther Gabara during a visit to the Pop América exhibit she curated at the Nasher Museum of Art. Photo by Jared Lazarus

Duke University has received a $4 million grant to hire faculty with global perspectives and expertise, Valerie Ashby, dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, announced Wednesday.

The Duke Endowment, a private foundation based in Charlotte, awarded the funds for Trinity College to hire up to six junior-to senior-level faculty scholars with expertise in African, Asian-American and Latinx studies.

The expansion of knowledge in these areas reflects the changing demographics and cultures of the Duke student body and beyond, Ashby said. Approximately 80 percent of all Duke undergraduates are enrolled in Trinity College; the remainder are in the Pratt School of Engineering.

Professor Samuel Daly addresses students in an “Intro to African Studies” course offered through the African and African American Studies this spring.
The need for faculty with diverse perspectives is driven, in part, by Duke students who are requesting robust learning opportunities in these areas, Ashby added.

“Our students observed that while there is much opportunity for the study of culture at Duke, some perspectives are largely absent or not presented in terms of their deep interconnectedness with other parts of the world,” Ashby said. “This generous gift from The Duke Endowment will accelerate the hiring of outstanding faculty to meet the demand for these disciplines.”

Hiring faculty members in these three fields will strengthen academic departments across Trinity College and create a new network of faculty working across disciplines, leading to exciting collaborative research and deeper curricular offerings, officials said.

“The Duke Endowment was eager to support this effort to cultivate diverse perspectives on campus and enhance the academic experience for students,” said Minor Shaw, chair of The Duke Endowment’s board.

Recruitment for these positions is expected to begin immediately, with new faculty appointments beginning as soon as fall 2020.

Duke students participate on a panel about activism at the university during the inaugural Asian American Studies Program conference, which focused on Afro/Asian Connections in the Local/Global South.