Trinity Diversity Advisory Committee

In December 2015, Dean Valerie Ashby constituted the Trinity Diversity Advisory Committee to aid the school is creating an ethos of belonging and inclusion in our classrooms, in our laboratories and libraries, and in our social lives as Duke community members.

Committee Members

  • John Blackshear, Academic Dean
  • Guy-Uriel Charles, Professor in the Duke Law School, founding director of the Duke Center on Law, Race and Politics
  • Leo Ching, Associate Professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
  • Edward Gomes, Senior Associate Dean of Trinity Technology Services
  • Wesley Hogan, Director of the Center for Documentary Studies
  • Calvin Howell, Professor of Physics, Director of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory
  • Janie Long, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
  • Jacqueline Looney, Senior Associate Dean for the Duke Graduate School
  • Claudia Milian, Associate Professor of Romance Studies and Director of the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South
  • Mark Anthony Neal, Professor of African & African American Studies, host of the Left of Black series, founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Enterpreneurship
  • Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History
  • Ben Reese, Vice President of the Office for Institutional Equity
  • Suzanne Shanahan, Associate Research Professor, Kenan Institute for Ethics

Ex-Officio Members

Diversity Committee

Our Work in 2016-2017

Faculty Focus

  • New Faculty Orientation - Held in August 2016, included Implicit Bias Training
  • Diversity & STEM Pathways Director - John Blackshear - appointed by Dean Arlie Petters
  • Teaching for Equity - year-long workshop/training series - 2nd cohort supported by Provost Kornbluth & Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
    • Assessment from 1st cohort
      • More than 90 percent have a deeper understanding of how racial dynamics impact classroom culture in general, and how these dynamics impact Duke University culture
      • More than 80 percent gained a greater awareness of the experiences students are having in classrooms at Duke University
      • More than 90 percent will use the strategies they have learned
      • More than 90 percent said the program has made me a better teacher

Student Focus

  • Bus Ad Campaign - Belonging @ Duke
  • First-Year Student Programming Through Dorms - Lead is John Blackshear
  • Hosted U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrrera, November 17 - organized by Latino/a Studies in the Global South (Claudia Milian)
  • Asian American Studies - continuing work to determine what might address the needs of our Asian American students.
    • Two external reviewers to come to campus - focus group, discussion of short term/long term solutions - Oct. 5-7.  Leo Ching leading this effort.
  • Hosted Hidden Figures author Margot Shetterly on Nov. 10.
  • Supported 74 students to attend a January 14th showing of Hidden Figures with six women and Black faculty members, and to engage in a discussion afterwards. In conversations afterwards students asked multiple questions such as: why did it take 60 years to tell this story? What other stories haven’t been told? What has changed for women/minorities/women minorities in science? Has anything changed? What pushed NASA to employ black women? Would it have happened if national security wasn’t the issue? How true is the story vs what Hollywood wanted to present? The feedback from the faculty members was overwhelmingly positive. 
  • Communications challenge - need coherent packaging of population segmented curriculum such as Asian American studies, Jewish Studies, African American Studies, etc.
  • Addressing the needs of Duke's Indigenous Student Population - explore partnering with UNC-Chapel Hill
  • University Course - focus on race - Lead is Sandy Darity - Read DukeToday article.


Our Work in the 2015/2016 Academic Year

  • Trinity College will sponsor a University Course on the topic of difference, race and inequality.
    • Planned for Spring 2017, to be convened by Dean Ashby and Sandy Darity, the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy
  • Trinity reaffirms its ongoing commitment to increasing the diversity of our faculty as an investment in academic excellence. Implicit Bias Training is now required for all faculty search committees. We also plan to create an orientation for all new faculty members that will include this type of training.
  • Trinity will expand the availability of Implicit Bias Training to other faculty and staff groups.
    • More than 90 faculty and staff reporting to the dean have completed Implicit Bias Training.
  • Trinity will lead and sponsor opportunities for ongoing smaller conversations with faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni.
    • Established Trinity Student Diversity Advisory Committee in spring 2016, will continue meetings into the fall of 2017
  • The Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences will establish an advisory committee on diversity and inclusion, to convene at the start of the spring semester.

What We're Reading

The following references are of readings shared among the Trinity Diversity Advisory Committee during the course of our discussions.

Online Articles


The Intimacies of Four Continents, Lisa Lowe, Duke University Press, 2015


Belonging@Duke is a visual campaign aimed at encouraging our students and faculty to value diversity and to practice behaviors of inclusiveness.