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Duke’s Newly Tenured Faculty Members Celebrate and Prepare for the Next Chapter

Earning tenure may feel like “getting off the hamster wheel,” says Sherilynn Black, associate vice provost for faculty advancement. It's a huge accomplishment as well as good time to step back and ask, “Now that I’ve reached this goal, what kind of faculty member do I want to be?”

Duke Faculty Advancement’s annual Newly Tenured Faculty Celebration and Leadership Retreat returned after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“Our objectives for this retreat are simple,” Provost Sally Kornbluth told the associate professors on the first evening. “They are to recognize and celebrate your career milestone of achieving tenure at Duke University; to provide networking opportunities with senior faculty mentors and colleagues; and to provide you with a unique opportunity to strategically evaluate and plan the next stage of your career progression in the core missions of teaching, research and service.”

Here are a few glimpses from the retreat, held on March 18-20 at Pinehurst Resort:

Welcome and Keynote

A keynote is delivered
Trina Jones, Jerome M. Culp Distinguished Professor of Law and chair of the Duke University Faculty Hearing Committee, addressed the newly tenured faculty at a dinner on March 18.
People smile while standing and getting food
Sally Kornbluth with Sherilynn Black; Kimberly Hewitt, vice president for institutional equity, with Ed Balleisen, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies

Advancing Your Research: Stretch Goals

A presentation is being delivered
“You are in exactly the right position to pursue stretch goals,” said Sim Sitkin, Michael W. Krzyzewski University Professor of Leadership, during his presentation. Later on, Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, director of faculty mentoring and coaching programs, described the coaching services she offers to faculty.

Opportunities to Enhance Student Engagement

Multiple speakers talk to a crowd
Left: “There are innumerable opportunities for you to engage with students,” said Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education, who presented this session with Sherilynn Black. “We prize innovation … but in this question of how we engage with our students, we can get very comfortable … [I hear] an interest in shaking things up.” Right: Anna Gassman-Pines, WLF Bass Connections Associate Professor of Public Policy, shared insights during the subsequent session on Broadening Your Scope: “I leaned on senior colleagues in Sanford on where to go for small pots of money, so I could then establish proof of concept [needed for larger grant proposals],” she said.

Broadening Your Scope: Engaging Across the University and Community

People sit at a table
Clockwise from top left: Candis Watts Smith, associate professor of political science; Timothy Lovelace, professor of law, and Xu Jiang, associate professor of business administration; Deondra Rose, associate professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, and Brenton Hoffman, James L. and Elizabeth M. Vincent Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Stacy Horner, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, and Debmalya Panigrahi, associate professor of computer science. Ed Balleisen and Anna Gassman-Pines led this session together. “Mapping what’s available to you is really important,” Balleisen said.

The Path to Full Professor

2 people stand in front of a lake and smile
Earlier in the day, Steven Cummer, William H. Younger Distinguished Professor of Engineering, took part in a panel discussion with Esther Lee, professor of theater studies. “By the time you go for [promotion to] full,” Lee told newly tenured faculty, “being a good citizen in your department is so important. [Show] that you are generous as a colleague and friend … be mindful of being a team player.” Provost Kornbluth contributed to the discussion. “In general, people come up later than they need to, not earlier,” she said. Abbas Benmamoun advised faculty to “have a conversation with the chair every year.”

Your Role in Advancing Duke Values

3 ladies smile at a table
Karin Reuter-Rice, Sophia Smith and Devon Noonan, all associate professors in the School of Nursing, enjoyed lunch together on March 19. Afterward, Erika Weinthal, chair of Academic Council and professor of environmental sciences and policy, shared her thoughts on contributing to the university's values: “I don’t see [committee work and other service] as giving my time for others, but as building a place where I am invested. It’s really about building a community of scholars, teachers and researchers,” she said. Kim Hewitt and Ed Balleisen also took part in the session.

Dinner with Faculty, Families and the John Brown Quintet

Music is played by a band
John V. Brown, vice provost for the arts, gave a short presentation on the history of jazz earlier in the day, then joined his band for the culminating event. The award-winning John Brown Quintet features the classic instrumentation of two horns in the frontline along with the rhythm section.
Cornhole is being played
Abbas Benmamoun celebrated a successful pitch and Xu Jiang looked on as Jay Pearson, associate professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, took his turn at cornhole.

Congratulations to the newly tenured faculty and thanks to all of the senior faculty and administrators who participated in this retreat.

Main image: Joined by the provost and several academic leaders and senior faculty, Duke’s newly tenured faculty members celebrated the milestone of becoming a long-term partner in the university’s future.