Duke’s approach to interdisciplinary engagement and partnerships draws on a firm commitment to public scholarship and two-way exchanges with community, government, nonprofit and industry partners.

Numerous mechanisms facilitate external partnerships. These include significant investment by some units in high-level applied research staff; convenings of key decision-makers to gain perspective on priorities for research agendas; workshops and short-courses for faculty and graduate students on the practice of policy engagement, such as translating research into white papers or opinion pieces; and assistance with arranging sabbaticals that embed faculty members in a government agency or nongovernmental organization.

Duke is seeking to expand our collaboration and engagement with North Carolina far beyond Durham. From education to collaborative research, to service, to meeting the healthcare needs of our communities, Duke is committed to advancing the prosperity of the state we call home.

In collaboration with leaders across the Durham community, Duke’s Office of Durham & Community Affairs is coordinating the university’s engagement efforts to forge purposeful partnerships with our neighbors for the greatest positive impact. These efforts are focused in five core areas: 

  • Housing affordability & infrastructure
  • Food security & nutrition
  • Early childhood & school readiness
  • College & career readiness
  • Nonprofit capacity

Different configurations of engagement, from public scholarship to community partnerships, co-created research agendas and two-way engagement with clients, take place all across campus.

The interdisciplinary experience at Duke goes beyond the classroom and laboratory. Duke faculty work to translate discoveries into new products, industries and jobs, and share insights with legislators and others involved in public policy. Students have many opportunities to engage in service learning, whether through courses or internships.

The university institutes, initiatives and centers (UICs) have expanded the number of platforms from which Duke faculty and students can make an impact beyond academia. Most Bass Connections research teams work with community partners, including nonprofits, school systems, hospitals, government agencies and private companies.

Below, we share selected opportunities for the Duke community from the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies and the UICs.

Selected Interdisciplinary Opportunities in Engagement