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As Ivy+ Provost Leadership Fellows, These STEM Scholars Are Focusing on Equity

Five Duke University faculty members from four schools have been selected as Ivy+ Provost Leadership Fellows in the inaugural Institute on Inquiry, Equity and Leadership in the Academic Department.

Organized by the Ivy+ Faculty Advancement Network (FAN), the institute supports faculty leaders in examining academic routines, centering equity in policies and norms, and ultimately leading more inclusive departments. FAN is a consortium of national research universities collaborating to advance diversity and inclusion in the American professoriate.

This leadership development opportunity is part of Duke Faculty Advancement’s portfolio of programs to support faculty at critical stages of their careers and complement existing programs at the school and department level. Earlier this year, deans were invited to nominate faculty members in STEM fields who hold leadership positions in their schools.

2022-2023 Duke Ivy+ Provost Leadership Fellows

Emily Bernhardt

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Biology
Chair, Department of Biology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Nicolette Cagle

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science & Policy
Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Nicholas School of the Environment

Christine Payne

Yoh Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Director of Graduate Studies, Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Pratt School of Engineering

Gillian Sanders Schmidler

Professor in Population Health Sciences
Deputy Director of Academics, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

Justin Wright

Professor of Biology
Dean of Graduate Education, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Full Year of Collaborative Inquiry

The Duke cohort, joined by Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement Craig Henriquez, traveled to New Haven for the kickoff event at Yale from September 29 through October 1. They engaged with peers from other universities, established group norms and learned about the fundamentals of equity-minded leadership in higher education.

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A group of adults stand and smile in a group
Nicki Cagle, Christine Payne, Craig Henriquez, Justin Wright and Emily Bernhardt at Yale (not pictured: Gillian Sanders Schmidler), shared by Bernhardt on Twitter

Besides Duke, other schools taking part in the institute are Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.

During the next phase, the fellows will engage in equity-centered learning modules on six topics:

  • Service and workload
  • Searches and hiring
  • Mentoring
  • Graduate education
  • Culture and climate
  • Excellence, merit and peer review.

Each module, directed by an expert scholar, will involve a masterclass-style video, an online workshop and a debrief meeting among local cohorts.

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A conference is ongoing
Winston “Wole” Soboyejo (interim president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Anthony Wutoh (provost of Howard University) and Maurie McInnis (president of Stony Brook University) present a session titled “Controversies of the Faculty” at the kickoff. (Photo: Courtesy of FAN)

In April, all fellows will reconvene at the University of Chicago for a capstone experience. They’ll design collaborative equity projects that are aimed at yielding systemic improvements in diversity and inclusion in the American professoriate. Subject matter experts will be on hand to provide critical input.

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A group of people smile in a group
The Ivy+ Provost Leadership Fellows pose for a group photo. (Photo: Courtesy of FAN)

A Vital Partnership With Other Universities

Kiernan Mathews serves as FAN’s executive director. “I agreed to serve Duke and its peers because FAN’s board members are as eager to tackle systemic inequity as I am,” he said. “These Ivy+ Provost Leadership Fellows represent an important step — but just the first step — to transform the academy.”

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A man with a mic speaks to a crowd
The Ivy+ Provost Leadership Fellows pose for a group photo. (Photo: Courtesy of FAN)

Abbas Benmamoun, who represents Duke in his role as vice provost for faculty advancement, says that FAN is an important way for schools to learn from each other and collaborate on key initiatives.

Duke’s engagement in this work supports President Price’s strategic priorities of investing in our faculty and renewing our campus community.

Main image, left to right: Emily Bernhardt, Nicolette Cagle, Christine Payne, Gillian Sanders Schmidler and Justin Wright