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Craig Henriquez Named Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement

A long-standing member of the Duke community, Craig Henriquez has joined the Office for Faculty Advancement as associate vice provost. His Duke roots run all the way back to 1977, when he began his undergraduate degree. Forty-five years later, the professor of biomedical engineering will focus on faculty and leadership development as the latest of his many contributions to the university.

“I am profoundly grateful to Craig for agreeing to share his deep experience and expertise as a faculty and academic leader, helping us strengthen our faculty and leadership development programs and resources,” said Abbas Benmamoun, vice provost for faculty advancement. “I am sure he will be a reliable and effective partner and resource for Duke faculty and units.”

After his first week in this position, we caught up with him to pose a few questions.

Why did you agree to take on this half-time role in Faculty Advancement?

I’ve been at Duke a long time, so I’ve seen the university change in many, many ways. I’m interested in seeing where I can be of value, and where my experience can be helpful to other faculty. 

I initially contacted Abbas because I was interested in issues related to mentorship and the progression of careers post-tenure.

One of the things I was also very interested in was thinking about the creation of some sort of emeritus college. That conversation led to more conversations, and eventually I found myself agreeing to join this office.

Could you elaborate on the emeritus college idea?

The idea is that after faculty retire, or even before they start thinking about retiring, how can they stay connected to the university? There are a lot of faculty who remain here in Durham, or close by in Chapel Hill or other areas, and they want to stay connected to the university in a more formal way. 

What can we do to engage those faculty members, whether that be teaching at Duke or teaching within the community or engaged in mentorship activities? What roles can they play, and what value can they bring to the university? 

The emeritus college would be a collection of faculty that would be university-wide. One idea that I thought about was seeding projects where faculty from different disciplines might work on a particular project together. This would be a way to have groups come together within a community, which we would call a college at the university.

Apart from this new role, what else are you working on at the moment?

This fall, I’ll teach a course in computational neuroengineering. 

In my lab, there are a few projects; one is in collaboration with my colleague Nenad Bursac. We’re trying to develop a gene-based therapy for treating heart arrhythmias, using the genetic information of an ion channel that comes from bacteria. My Ph.D. student Daniel Needs is using computer models to determine the effects of the bacterial channel on the electrical activity of mammalian cells before we test in vivo.

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Craig Henriquez received his BSE in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering from Duke in 1981 and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Duke in 1988, the same year he joined the faculty. His research involves the development and use of large-scale computational models to study the flow of electrical current in excitable tissues, such as the heart and brain, in the development of new device and cell-based therapies. 

Henriquez teaches courses to both undergraduate and graduate students in biomedical engineering. He received a Bass Professorship — a recognition of his expertise in combining excellence in research and undergraduate teaching in both 2001 and 2013 — and the Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009.

Over the past 34 years, he has been a member of numerous university committees and has held several leadership positions. He was elected chair of Duke’s Academic Council and served from 2009 to 2011. He was chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from 2011 to 2014. In 2011, he was named the inaugural chair of the Bass Society of Fellows. 

Henriquez served as chair of the Engineering Faculty Council, which advises the dean on strategic planning and is charged with assessing and approving curriculum changes at the school level, from 2005 to 2006 and again from 2018 to 2021. Recently, he chaired the Faculty Compensation Committee and the Search Committee for the dean of the Graduate School.