The mission of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University has several dimensions.
Toward these ends, Duke is committed to providing an extraordinary undergraduate and graduate education; to excellence in disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; to tackling the challenges of building diversity; and to innovation in global education. Whether it is through an extraordinary classroom experience on Duke’s Durham campus, a summer volunteering through Duke Engage, international study through Duke Intense or Global Study Abroad, there is something for all Duke students who wish to challenge themselves and transform the world.
One of the “Duke differences” is our ability to provide undergraduates with a wealth of opportunities to engage with faculty in mentored research. In addition to a vibrant and well-rounded curriculum, Duke students can work with a collaborative and committed faculty to advance knowledge in a wide variety of fields. I believe these academic opportunities in the Arts and Sciences, as well as engineering, the environment, and public policy, are unparalleled in institutions of higher education today. I hope that students will take full advantage of the rich educational possibilities that await them.
Laurie Patton is the dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Patton came to Duke in 2011 from Emory, where she was the Charles Howard Candler professor of religions and inaugural director of Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in the office of the Provost. While at Emory, Patton served as chair of the religion department from 2000-07, founded and co-convened the Religions and the Human Spirit Strategic Plan, and received the Emory Williams Award—Emory’s most prestigious honor for teaching—in 2005.
In her first year at Duke, Patton developed Duke’s first university-wide course, sponsored the creation of the first and only global advising program in the country, and launched an initiative in public scholarship. She has also established a grant fund to encourage collaboration and course development by faculty, and is forming several new committees to help address key opportunities and issues in student advising, online learning, diversity issues, and Duke’s educational programs in China and other parts of Asia, among others.
A graduate of Harvard (BA) and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.), Patton is an accomplished scholar and the author or editor of eight books on South Asian history, culture, and religion. In addition, she has translated the classical Sanskrit text, The Bhagavad Gita, and has published two books of poetry. She has lectured widely on interfaith issues and religion and public life, and consulted with White House offices on faith-based initiatives as well as on civic engagement. In her capacity as a scholar of culture and society she has also worked as a consultant on branding and identity for several national and international corporations.