Newsweek Names Duke Among America’s Greatest Workplaces for Parents and Families for 2023

Duke University is recognized for climate that respects work-life balance

Dan Buckland teaching with a baby.

Dan Buckland's experience illustrates how Duke values the work of its staff and faculty, while also recognizing the importance of their roles as parents and individuals.

Earlier this month, Buckland, a medical robotics researcher and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Duke, found himself in a challenging situation.

Assistant Professor Dan Buckland delivers a lecture on medical robotics while his infant daughter, Miriam, takes in the scene. Photo courtesy of Dan Buckland.

He had committed to delivering a guest lecture for a course organized by his Duke Robotics colleagues, but he overlooked the fact that the lecture coincided with a period when he was on parental leave to care for his infant daughter, Miriam.

With the lecture approaching, Buckland approached the course’s organizers, Duke’s Assistant Professor of the Practice Siobhan Oca and Professor Brian Mann, and suggested that he still do the lecture – and bring six-month old Miriam along.

“They were like ‘Sure, feel free to bring her,’” Buckland said.

So, in front of around 30 graduate students in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Buckland delivered a roughly 30-minute lecture in a Hudson Hall classroom with Miriam nestled up to his chest in a baby carrier.

Miriam was awake the whole time and quietly took in the scene. Students offered to hold her, but Buckland would rather them focus on the lecture.

“There was nobody who was like ‘Kids don’t belong here,” Buckland said. “Everyone understands that life happens, so we work around life.”

Buckland said he shared a photo of himself giving the lecture with Miriam on his chest on his LinkedIn page, mentioning the family-friendly culture in Duke Robotics and that there are opening for new faculty on the team. Buckland said the post drew responses from a handful of interested candidates.

Newsweek noted in its recent announcement that “employees at companies with family-friendly policies such as flexible working hours, parental leave, childcare support and eldercare assistance are less likely to feel overwhelmed with family responsibilities.”

Duke offers a rich array of family-oriented benefits helping with childcare, infertility, elder care and counseling for family concerns through the Personal Assistant Service. In recent years, Duke has expanded its parental leave benefit and increased the number of lactation spaces on campus.

Duke also offers medical plans that provide great value for employees and families and access to Duke’s world-class caregivers.

Earlier this year, Newsweek also named Duke University as one of “America’s Greatest Workplaces,” one of “America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women” and one of “America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity.”

Meanwhile, Forbes named Duke University and Duke University Health System among the “Best-In-State Employers” and “Best Employers for Women.” Duke University Health System was named among “America’s Best Large Employers.”

Send story ideas, shout-outs and photographs through our story idea form or write

Follow Working@Duke on X (Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.