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Faculty Discuss Plans to Strengthen Campus Communities

The final month of the academic year is an especially busy time on campus. It’s hard enough to keep up with everything that needs to get done, let alone find time for anything else. Yet on a recent weekday, around 20 faculty members managed to gather in person for a lunch discussion on their Faculty Advancement Seed Grants.

“We love working on this program,” said Sherilynn Black, associate vice provost for faculty advancement. “Our goal is to build community among the faculty, and however we can make that happen, we want to help.” 

Seed grant recipients from several schools discussed their plans to build academic networks and strengthen faculty communities at Duke.

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A person addresses a small crowd
Tara Chandrasekhar talks about her seed grant project, “Increasing Neurodiversity Competency of Faculty at Duke.”

Leaders and collaborators of the 14 seed grants for 2023-24 come from five schools. Attending the kick-off luncheon were Ann BrewsterLou BrownNicolette CagleTara ChandrasekharMarika CoffmanLeslie DigbySophia EnríquezLaura FlorandHeather KingKara McGeeAlma SolisKristen StephensTim StraumanMalinda Teague and Augustus Wendell

Several members of the previous cohort were on hand to provide advice and perspectives. Yue JiangAnna NelsonMaggie Regan, and Cristina Salvador — as well as Nicolette Cagle, whose seed grants spanned both years — spoke about their successes and challenges and took questions on topics from scheduling hacks to outreach methods.

Black said she has heard from numerous deans about the difference these faculty-led initiatives have made.

Support from the Office for Faculty Advancement includes funding as well as practical measures. Black emphasized that faculty leaders are part of a cohort that will meet quarterly for virtual sessions. She and Jennifer Goins, senior program coordinator, will also provide helpful resources and field questions throughout the year.

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A woman talks into a mic
Jennifer Goins speaks to the awardees about logistics for the seed grant program, while Sherilynn Black looks on.

Additional leaders and collaborators of the 2023-24 grants who were unable to attend include Doug BoyerMichael CaryGeraldine DawsonBill FickJehanne GheithSusan GowerElaine GuevaraBrian HareVickey KeathleyAmie KochSneha MantriJacquelyn McMillian-BohlerMegan OakesShitong QiaoAlex Zhang and Leah Zullig.

Main image: Sophia Enríquez talks about her seed grant project, “Local Listening Series.”