Inside Higher Ed | Duke University

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Duke University

Duke University


Duke University was created in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. The Dukes, a Durham family that built a worldwide financial empire in the manufacture of tobacco products and developed electricity production in the Carolinas, long had been interested in Trinity College. Trinity traced its roots to 1838 in nearby Randolph County when local Methodist and Quaker communities opened Union Institute. The school, then named Trinity College, moved to Durham in 1892, where Benjamin Newton Duke served as a primary benefactor and link with the Duke family until his death in 1929. In December 1924, the provisions of indenture by Benjamin’s brother, James B. Duke, created the family philanthropic foundation, The Duke Endowment, which provided for the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University.

As a result of the Duke gift, Trinity underwent both physical and academic expansion. The original Durham campus became known as East Campus when it was rebuilt in stately Georgian architecture. West Campus, Gothic in style and dominated by the soaring 210-foot tower of Duke Chapel, opened in 1930. East Campus served as home of the Woman's College of Duke University until 1972, when the men's and women's undergraduate colleges merged. Both men and women undergraduates now enroll in either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. In 1995, East Campus became the home for all first-year students.

Duke maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Home of the Blue Devils, Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Mission Statement

"James B. Duke's founding Indenture of Duke University directed the members of the University to 'provide real leadership in the educational world' by choosing individuals of 'outstanding character, ability, and vision' to serve as its officers, trustees and faculty; by carefully selecting students of 'character, determination and application;' and by pursuing those areas of teaching and scholarship that would 'most help to develop our resources, increase our wisdom, and promote human happiness.'

“To these ends, the mission of Duke University is to provide a superior liberal education to undergraduate students, attending not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in their communities; to prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service by providing excellent graduate and professional education; to advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship; to promote an intellectual environment built on a commitment to free and open inquiry; to help those who suffer, cure disease, and promote health, through sophisticated medical research and thoughtful patient care; to provide wide ranging educational opportunities, on and beyond our campuses, for traditional students, active professionals and life-long learners using the power of information technologies; and to promote a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom and truth.

 “By pursuing these objectives with vision and integrity, Duke University seeks to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University; to contribute in diverse ways to the local community, the state, the nation and the world; and to attain and maintain a place of real leadership in all that we do.”

Duke employees share their stories about what they value about working at Duke University.

From retirement benefits to the school's Gothic architecture, there are many things that faculty and staff enjoy about being the world-renowned university.


Diversity Profile: Duke University

Diversity serves as one of Duke’s Guiding Principles and Core Values. Whether it’s a department hosting a diversity workshop or an individual taking steps to learn more about unconscious bias, areas across Duke are continuing to foster open, proactive dialogue to create a more inclusive campus culture.

Fostering an Inclusive EnvironmentWorking at Duke

We live, learn, and work in a world that is increasingly diverse, and it’s our diversity that adds depth, richness and excitement to the experience of being a part of the Duke community. 

As the demographic landscape continues to shift and expand on both a national and global level, so too the opportunities to expand our individual and collective knowledge, understanding and skills for working effectively with people who may have different world views, perspectives, backgrounds, values and experiences than our own. Creating a climate where everyone feels valued, respected and included is more important than ever.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

To achieve our mission and meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, Duke strives to create a climate of collaboration, creativity, and innovation within and across disciplines.  Our success depends upon the robust exchange of ideas – an exchange that flourishes best when the rich diversity of human knowledge, perspectives, and experiences is heard.  We nonetheless acknowledge that our policies and practices have often failed to ensure equality of participation within our community.  Our renewed commitment and responsibility to one another is articulated in the following statement.

Duke University Community Commitment

Because diversity is essential to fulfilling the university’s mission, Duke is committed to building an inclusive and diverse university community.  Every student, faculty, and staff member —whatever their race, gender, age, ethnicity, cultural heritage or nationality; religious or political beliefs; sexual orientation or gender identity; or socioeconomic, veteran or ability status—has the right to inclusion, respect, agency and voice in the Duke community.  Further, all members of the University community have a responsibility to uphold these values and actively foster full participation in university life.

    Diversity Party

Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion: a statement by the faculty, Provost, and President

Duke has ongoing efforts to strengthen and deepen the university’s ability to foster and support a diverse and inclusive community. A comprehensive list of these activities will be featured soon at this site, but current examples include:

Faculty Diversity Task Force

In 2014 the Academic Council appointed a Diversity Task Force (DTF) that completed its work in 2015 with a report and recommendations for the next decade of Duke’s efforts related to faculty diversity.  To act upon the DTF recommendation, in 2015 the Provost created the Faculty Diversity Task Force Implementation Committee.  Links to both reports are below.

Community Standard

Duke has a longstanding community standard, which all students sign and Duke Diversitypledge to keep.  Duke University is a community dedicated to scholarship, leadership, and service and to the principles of honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability.

Programs and Centers

  • Office of Student Affairs
    Duke’s Office of Student Affairs serves all students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — enhancing Duke’s academic excellence with a broad set of experiences and services designed to help all students succeed at Duke, and in life.
  • Bias Response Advisory Committee
    Duke Student Affairs established a Bias Response Advisory Committee to advise the Vice President for Student Affairs on allegations of bias-related incidents that may impact the Duke community.
  • Center for Jewish Life at Duke
    The Freeman Center for Jewish Life serves as a home away from home for all those seeking to engage with the Jewish community while at Duke.
  • Center for Muslim Life at Duke
    Muslim Life at Duke is committed to enriching the lives of Muslim students and the whole campus through events and activities that cater to the spiritual, social and intellectual needs of Duke students.
  • Center for Multicultural Affairs
    The Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) empowers students and their organizations to create a vibrant and inclusive multicultural student community.
  • Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
    In his remarks at the Center’s opening in 2013, President Brodhead said that the university regrets a past history of acts of intolerance.
  • Duke University International House
    The International House provides educational services and advocacy to the international population at Duke as well as outreach to the Durham community, offering extensive cross-cultural programming and information to enhance the global mission of the university.
  • Duke Women’s Center
    The Duke University Women’s Center is dedicated to educating and empowering women at Duke to be active and engaged citizens of the world, welcoming men and women alike who are committed to gender equity and social change. The Women’s Center offers a wide range of programs and activities ranging from entrepreneurship and networking to confidential crisis support for people of all genders who are survivors of gender violence.
  • Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture
    The Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture strives to promote racial understanding, build community, and foster an appreciation for and increase knowledge of Black people, Black history, Black culture, and the vast contributions of people of the African Diaspora. The Center provides programs and services which contribute to the successful academic and personal development of Black students at Duke University and positively impact the lives of all those whom they encounter.
  • Office of Institutional Equity
    The Office for Institutional Equity provides institutional leadership in enhancing respectful, diverse and inclusive work and learning environments for the Duke Community.
  • Office of Outreach and Access
    This new office will lead programs targeting first-generation and low-income students.
  • The Washington Duke Scholars Program
    This program will improve the support for first generation and students of diverse backgrounds to take full advantage and thrive at Duke.

Training and Education

Orientation for New Students and Parents

For incoming students and their parents, orientation programs were added in order to deepen the discussion of multicultural issues.

Training for Community Members

Commemoration & Recognition Programs

  • Queering Duke History: Understanding the LGBTQ Experience at Duke and Beyond.
  • This exhibition of LGBTQ history at Duke was a part of a semester-long commemoration that included other exhibits and events.
  • Celebrating the Past, Charting the Future: Commemorating 50 years of Black Students at Duke
    This nine-month, university-wide commemoration highlighted the school’s 50th anniversary of integration.
  • Diversity Award: The Diversity Award recognizes a staff or faculty member who has demonstrated, through his or her positive interactions with others, a respect and value for differing backgrounds and points of view within the University community.


AAUP Compensation Survey Data
Duke University


Jobs at Duke University


  • Career Management Center
  • Duke University: Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s

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  • Chief Dosimetrist - Duke Raleigh Hospital - Full Time

  • Duke Raleigh Hospital offers the latest in care and technology in a patient-friendly setting. It has been an important part of Duke Health since 1998

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  • Duke Population Research Institute
  • Duke University: Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s

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Duke University Announcements

Hires and Promotions
  • Lawrence Carin

    Vice president for research

    Date Announced: August 7, 2019
  • Kimberly Hewitt

    Vice president for institutional equity

    Date Announced: June 3, 2019
  • Dean Smith

    Director, Duke University Press

    Date Announced: April 18, 2019
  • Mary Pat McMahon

    Vice provost/vice president for campus life

    Date Announced: April 12, 2019
  • David L. Kennedy

    Vice president of alumni affairs and development

    Date Announced: May 2, 2018


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