A Decade of Transformative Teaching

Unleashing the power of interdisciplinary, team-based and problem-focused teaching

Part of the A Decade at Duke Series
Students experience parts of downtown Durham during their Spring Breakthrough class, Finding My Voice: Writing True Stories, taught by Misha Angrist, associate professor of the practice in the Social Science Research Institute, and Barry Yeoman, Center fo

Hacking for Defense allows students to solve real-world national security challenges

Hacking for Defense student at Seymour Johnson Air Force base

Hacking for Defense™ (H4D) is an education initiative sponsored by a U.S. Government proponent, the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator at the National Defense University. Teams of 3-5 students from interdisciplinary backgrounds work together to solve real-world national security challenges provided by problem sponsors inside the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.

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Soccer Politics class

Laurent Dubois has for the last decade used global soccer as a prism through which to teach his popular class on world history, politics and culture. Called “Soccer Politics,” the class covers a huge footprint, from the reach of the British empire to the collision of culture and economics in South America, to the unusual way Dutch soccer strategy is inspired by urban design. And a class that was first offered solely in English is now taught in four languages at the same time. All students attend a weekly lecture in English and also separate into four smaller discussion groups offered in English, Italian, French and Spanish.

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Spring Breakthrough Encourages students to explore new disciplines

Students experience parts of downtown Durham during their Spring Breakthrough class, Finding My Voice: Writing True Stories, taught by Misha Angrist, associate professor of the practice in the Social Science Research Institute, and Barry Yeoman, Center fo

Spring Breakthrough is an alternative spring break experience consisting of four-day courses taught by Duke faculty. The courses, meals and materials, are free and there are no prerequisites, grades, or credits.  Spring Breakthrough courses are designed to explore intellectual interests in a fun and refreshing way, with professors and students one might not otherwise encounter. Courses are offered in a range of topics, and participants are encouraged to explore new disciplines.

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Engineering a new curriculum

First-year engineering students

While traditional engineering curricula start off with years of analytical coursework, Duke’s new First-Year Design Experience gives students opportunities to think and work like engineers from the start. Piloted with 48 students in fall 2017, the class allows first-year students to get hands-on experience working with real-world clients to design, prototype and deliver solutions while learning to communicate and collaborate effectively in teams. 

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A Look at Bass Connections Interdisiciplinary Team Projects

Bass Connections project team

Bass Connections bridges the classroom and the real world, giving students a chance to roll up their sleeves and tackle complex societal problems alongside faculty from across Duke. Working in interdisciplinary teams, graduate and undergraduate students collaborate with faculty on cutting-edge research that spans subjects, demographic groups and borders.

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Preparing graduate students for broader career options

Student examines a sample

The new Duke Summer Doctoral Academy is one of many resources around the university that help graduate students prepare for careers in academia or, increasingly, outside of it. In addition, Duke is leading an effort by top research universities to better prepare Ph.D. students for the shifting job market, in part by making data on Ph.D. programs and their graduates more widely available and better integrating that data into doctoral training.

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Center for Nursing Discovery Creates New Learning Environment

Consulting Associate Professor Kristi Coe, RNC, MSN, CPNP, teaches pediatric nurse practitioner students during a neonatal simulation at the Duke University School of Nursing.

The Center for Nursing Discovery (CND) is a state-of-the-art simulation center that provides a variety of avenues of instructional methodologies to support the Duke University School of Nursing mission. The CND serves all academic programs by providing an infrastructure in which faculty and staff can create educational programs to enhance clinical learning and model excellence in patient care delivery.

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Opening Online avenues for teaching and learning

Fall Aerial near Perkins Library, and towards Duke Chapel.

Since becoming a Coursera partner in July 2012, Duke has offered several Massive Open Online Courses and is developing additional MOOCs that span humanities, science, social science, nursing, medicine and engineering.  Duke also has engaged in pilot projects with the Gates Foundation, the American Council on Education and Coursera to explore ways MOOC courses might be used to meet a variety of educational needs.

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Duke-NUS Team LEAD

Team LEAD at Duke-NUS

Growing out of a need to bring American medical education to Singapore, TeamLEAD — which stands for Learn, Engage and Develop — exemplifies the innovative spirit of Duke-NUS Medical School.

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The Duke Kunshan Difference

Duke Kunshan campus

In creating its new campus in Kunshan, China, Duke had the rare opportunity to build a new faculty and curriculum from scratch. Since in the real world scientists integrate expertise from many disciplines, Duke Kunshan faculty and curriculum are divided into broad areas of expertise – natural sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities, rather than traditional majors or departments. Students can choose integrated majors within one of those divisions or that combine two or more of them. 

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