Will Duke open in the fall? And what will the university look like ten years from now? Those are some of the questions that will be addressed by two new interdisciplinary strategy teams that will advise the Duke’s leadership on navigating through the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Vincent E. Price announced Tuesday.
“The Duke community has responded to this crisis in an extraordinary way, with creativity, commitment and courage,” Price said. “Now as we move from emergency management to recovery, the fact is that we simply don’t know when we will be able to reopen, or in what form. Even with that uncertainty, it is also clear that when we do get back to business, it will not be business as usual.”
Price added that the university’s leadership team has been meeting daily to both review current issues and begin planning for a range of academic, operational and financial options that may have to be implemented depending on local and national conditions.
The two new strategy groups – Team 2021 and Team 2030 – will devise a structure for addressing the shorter-term issues facing the university as it prepares for the traditional start of the new academic year in August, as well as longer-term challenges and opportunities that come about as a result of COVID-19. Both teams will consult and coordinate with the President’s Cabinet, the Academic Council, standing university bodies like the Academic Programs Committee and the University Priorities Committee, faculty, staff and outside experts.
Team 2021 is charged with coordinating and synthesizing recommendations for essential changes in Duke’s academic programs and other activities that will be necessary to maintain core academic and research excellence in Fiscal Year 2020-21. It will be chaired by Executive Vice Provost Jennifer Francis and Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh and has a coordinating committee made up of leaders from key Duke academic, program and support areas.
The team will be responsible for developing a range of options for modifying practices, procedures and personnel under scenarios ranging from a complete return of students, faculty and staff with appropriate safety measures, to a delayed or staggered return, to a continued shutdown of all campus activity.
“I have specifically asked Team 2021 to recognize and seek to mitigate adverse impacts on low-income students, engage the faculty to the greatest extent possible and align with Duke’s overarching strategic framework, Toward our Second Century,” Price said, “as well as identify modifications that could be sustained or refined in the future.” In a nod towards current realities, Team 2021 will also assume that, under any scenario, a majority of Duke’s international students may be unable to return campus in the near future. The team will make a preliminary report by June 1 and deliver final recommendations by August 30.
Team 2030, meanwhile, will focus on identifying and recommending long-term strategic opportunities for Duke. “We fully expect that the impact of this crisis will be broad and deep, not just for Duke, but indeed for all of higher education,” Price said. “Thus, we need to ask – and answer – the question, what sort of institution do we wish to be?”
Provost Sally Kornbluth will chair Team 2030, whose coordinating committee will include the deans of Duke’s 10 schools, along with Kerry Haynie, Professor of Political Science and current chair of the Academic Council, Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. A. Eugene Washington, and Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III.
“We will need to navigate unprecedented financial challenges thoughtfully and with firm resolve, both to secure for the future the resources needed to carry out our core academic, research and health care missions and to capitalize on Duke’s historic agility and innovative spirit to secure a true leadership role in defining higher education for the 21st century,” added Price
Price has directed Team 2030 to focus on identifying central areas of activity for Duke that warrant high priority for financial and other resources, those that might be ended or redirected, and novel areas of activity that stand to bring highest distinction in line with the university’s missions and values.
Like Team 2021, Team 2030’s recommendations will be aligned with the university’s strategic framework, will assume that resources will be severely restricted, and will be grounded in a recognition of the centrality of Duke’s faculty to the academic mission, ongoing commitments to diversity and inclusion, and an increased need for student financial aid.
Team 2030 will provide a preliminary update to Price by August 30 and will deliver a final report by December 31.