Seed Grants Help Faculty Lead the Way in Confronting Racism and Bias

March 8, 2021

Faculty-led projects aim to strengthen Duke community and contribute to anti-racism efforts


First row: Pedro Lasch, Beverly McIver, Fred Boadu, Arnetta Girardeau, John Myers, Christin Daniels, Zackary Johnson, Sarah Jean Barton; Second row: Barbara Hooper, Tomeico Faison, Charlotte Clark, Anne Derouin, Minna Ng, Billy Pizer, Christopher Sims, Michael Betts; Third row: Margory Molloy, Angela Richard-Eaglin, Don Taylor, Patricia Garrett-Peters, Charmaine Royal, Joshua Socolar, Phillip Barbeau, Anne-Maria Makhulu; Fourth row: Susan Alberts, Elaine Guevara, Nicki Washington, Xiaowei Yang, Eliana Schonberg, Aaron Colton

The Office for Faculty Advancement has awarded seed grants to 14 faculty-led projects exploring new ideas and expanding existing initiatives to promote an equitable and inclusive academic environment at Duke. The theme for this cycle was "Confronting Racism and Bias: Fostering an Inclusive Community." Faculty Advancement Seed Grants provide a financial head start for novel faculty development initiatives within academic units.

2021-22 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants

Art, Art History and Visual Studies Anti-Racist Pedagogy Forum

Lead: Pedro Lasch, Research Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Co-Lead: Beverly McIver, Professor of the Practice of Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

This forum will convene monthly during 2021-2022 for presentations and discussions of themes proposed by AAHVS graduate students, faculty and teaching staff. Themes will address one or more of the following goals: share anti-racist methodologies and strategies already in use; identify opportunities to incorporate anti-racist pedagogies into teaching practices; and identify areas in AAHVS curricula in which pedagogies and approaches to disciplinary content can be implemented or augmented.

Belonging While Black at Duke Book Club: Inclusion and Professional Advancement

Lead: Fred Boadu, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering
Co-Lead: Arnetta Girardeau, Copyright and Information Policy Consultant, Duke University Libraries

This book club aims to confront racism and bias by facilitating the exploration of inclusion and professional advancement issues faced by Black faculty and staff. “Belonging While Black at Duke” will encourage members to build bridges with each other and explore issues found in a predominantly white institution.

Breaking Research Barriers: Conversations to Ensure Racial Justice and Equity in Research Practices

Lead: John Myers, Instructor, School of Nursing
Co-Lead: Christin Daniels, Assistant Dean for Research Development, School of Nursing

The goal of this project is to raise awareness of racial justice and equity at each component of the research lifecycle by developing a streaming podcast, “Breaking Research Barriers.” This monthly podcast will consist of conversations with research leaders to elicit actionable and applied strategies to ensure racial justice and equity in clinical research.

Building Bridges in Beaufort: A Shoebox Lunch Series to Connect Faculty and BIPOC Community Leaders

Lead: Zackary Johnson, Associate Professor of Biological Oceanography and Marine Biology, Nicholas School of the Environment

This project seeks to establish new connections between the Duke University Marine Lab and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community leaders in Beaufort, NC. A monthly lunch-and-learn for all participants will be supplemented by a final all-hands meeting during Black History Month for a shared meal and storytelling. Invitees, format and assessment metrics will be refined through an initial development period.

Building an Inclusive, Anti-Racist Knowledge Community Among Faculty, Staff and Students in the New Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Lead: Sarah Jean Barton, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine
Co-Leads: Barbara Hooper, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine; Tomeico Faison, Instructor of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine; Cambey Mikush, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

This project will establish a Coalition for Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity chapter at Duke. Two graduate assistants will lead the development and implementation of the chapter, which will contribute to national efforts to create a more diverse workforce in occupational therapy and local efforts to foster interprofessional dialogue and community engagement.

Celebrating Diverse Scholars: Promising Practices for PhD Students

Lead: Charlotte Clark, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Sustainability, Nicholas School of the Environment
Co-Leads: Anne Derouin, Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing; Minna Ng, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences; Billy Pizer, Professor of Public Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy

This new course is a dedicated space for PhD students to expand their awareness of the contributions of professionals in their field who have an identity different from their own, are from a historically underrepresented identity for their field and/or engage in work on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. The course will enhance academic communities and support students and research collaborators through culturally-responsive scholarship and teaching, and will provide a space for recognition, inclusion and equity among peers.

Center for Documentary Studies Anti-Racism Instructor Preparatory Academy

Lead: Christopher Sims, Research Scientist, Center for Documentary Studies
Co-Lead: Michael Betts, II, Assistant Director of Programs, Center for Documentary Studies

The Anti-Racism Instructor Preparatory Academy will draw on expertise from the Center for Documentary Studies and its network of community partners, artists and activists. Pulling from case studies, testimonials from students and instructors, the creative energy and feedback of artists and conversations with communities, participants will develop tools to build syllabi which reflect all makers and are equipped with the skills to facilitate contentious conversations among their students ensuring their classroom and research practices are equitable and anti-racist.

Confronting Racism and Bias in Health Education Programs Using Trigger Films

Co-Leads: Margory Molloy, Associate Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing; Angela Richard-Eaglin, Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing
Collaborators: Nicole Blodgett, Assistant Professor of Nursing; Valerie Howard, Professor of Nursing; Beth Phillips, Associate Professor of Nursing; Kathy Andolsek, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, School of Medicine; Andrew Spector, Associate Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine

The goal of this project is to mitigate racism and bias-influenced outcomes in health professions education programs through interprofessional collaboration. Participation in this project can empower all faculty, instructors, and other interprofessional health professions educators (HPEs) to act as upstanders, or someone with integrity and courage who recognizes when something is wrong, acts to make it right, and hopefully prevents it from happening again. To assist in this process, the following will be developed and implemented: 1) develop an educational toolbox, including a training manual, and 2) conduct workshops using didactic education, trigger films, and simulation. Trigger films are short educational video vignettes that illustrate a specific theme and focus on social guidance themes that engage the affective domain. Newly created scenarios will present a social or practice issue intended to trigger a response by the viewer, and initiate participant reflection and discussion by highly trained facilitators. These tools will guide standardization and sustainability of a proposed educational program.

Confronting Racism and Bias: Turning the Lens Inward

Lead: Don Taylor, Director of the Social Science Research Institute and Professor of Public Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy
Co-Leads: Patricia Garrett-Peters, Research Scientist, Social Sciences Research Institute; Charmaine Royal, Professor of African and African American Studies, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences; Jessica Sperling, Evaluation and Engagement Lead, Social Science Research Institute

This project seeks to provide a holistic and comprehensive approach to confronting racism and bias by combining four unique learning experiences into a year-long integrated learning series. Designed to address participants’ understanding of racism and bias at the individual, interpersonal and institutional levels of change, the series will be piloted and assessed with faculty, staff and affiliates of Duke’s Social Science Research Institute.

Creating and Sustaining an Anti-Racist Culture in the Duke Physics Department

Lead: Joshua Socolar, Professor of Physics, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Co-Lead: Phillip Barbeau, Associate Professor of Physics, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

This project seeks to improve the department’s collective ability to recognize racism within its walls and respond to it effectively through a series of events. The events will bring department members together for education and training in developing a climate promoting anti-racist principles, and will train faculty to lead future sessions.

Decolonizing the Curriculum: Building Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Lead: Anne-Maria Makhulu, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

The Department of Cultural Anthropology will conduct a year-long effort to promote diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging across its faculty and graduate program. This work will involve reevaluating internal policies and procedures through an equity lens to ensure that all voices are heard and that everyone has the resources to work sustainably in the department. The department will offer workshops and trainings, provide fee waivers for graduate students from historically marginalized communities and rethink the graduate curriculum.

Developing Faculty Excellence in Evolutionary Anthropology: Toward Anti-Racism in Teaching and a More Inclusive Departmental Climate

Lead: Susan Alberts, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Co-Lead: Elaine Guevara, Assistant Research Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

The aim of this project is to advance faculty skills, develop an enhanced anti-racist curriculum and foster a more inclusive and equitable culture in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology. A new working group of faculty, postdocs and graduate students will develop flexible teaching modules on topics including race and scientific racism. The group will also convene a departmental forum for seminars from invited experts, reading groups and discussions about race and racism in the discipline and the academy.

Identity and Computing Lecture Series: Understanding Racism and Bias in Computing

Lead: Nicki Washington, Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Co-Lead: Xiaowei Yang, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

To provide more opportunities for Computer Science students, faculty and staff to collectively learn about racism, bias and their impact on the discipline (its environment and technology) the “Identity and Computing Lecture Series” will include a department-specific workshop and a series of invited talks from experts on various topics of identity, racism, bias and their impact in the field.

Increasing Racial Equity in the Thompson Writing Program Writing Studio

Lead: Eliana Schonberg, Associate Professor of the Practice in the Thompson Writing Program, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Co-Lead: Aaron Colton, Lecturer in the Thompson Writing Program, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Writing Studio consultants are faculty, graduate students and undergraduates who meet with Duke writers for discussions of any aspect of their writing. To deepen consultants’ knowledge of anti-racist theory and to expand their application of anti-racist pedagogy, the Writing Studio will host three scholars on race, writing centers and writing pedagogy to conduct virtual seminars with Writing Studio consultants.


Learn more about Faculty Advancement Seed Grants, view the 2020-21 recipients, and read related stories:

By Maggie Elliott