University Course

What is a University Course?

A University Course is a class focused on a topic or theme that is taught by faculty from across all of Duke's undergraduate and graduate school, and is available to all students. These courses inherently create a diverse learning environment. We believe that in order to be a university, it is helpful to gather all together in one plenary for-credit learning session, where all schools are represented either by students or professors participating in the class. And in that gathering of minds, we deliberate on a topic that is of important to all of us.

One of the most important elements of the University Course is reflection on key social issues and the ways in which interdisciplinary perspectives can be brought to bear on these issues. The first such course was offered in the spring of 2012.

Spring 2017

Course title: Race and Higher Education
Course Number: Arts&SCI 390 -01, cross listings: PubPol 290-03; AAAS 290-03; SOCIOL 390-03; ECON390-03
Curriculum Codes: CCI/EI/R/ALP/SS
Instructor Name: Dr. William Darity

The course will examine the history and the present condition of racial stratification and higher education in the American south. Beginning with the formation of universities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia under the regime of slavery, continuing into the Civil War period and Reconstruction, followed by the Jim Crow era and desegregation of southern universities, and carrying to the present moment of heightened controversy over the application of affirmative action at selective institutions, the course will cover the sweep of the evolution of higher education in the south

A key dimension of the course will include the examination of why the southern system of racial stratification was embedded in southern higher education, an ideal subject for social science research. In addition, social science research skills will be brought to bear on policies that preserve or mitigate the degree of racial segregation in southern college and universities. Documentary film as well as fictional accounts of the southern college experience will be incorporated into the class.

Spring 2015

Critical Food Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to How, What and Why We Eat
Participating faculty: Hosted by Laurie L. Patton, Dean of Arts & Sciences, led by Charles Thompson, Cultural Anthropology

Spring 2014

Shelter: Making Ourselves at Home in a Changing World
Participating faculty: Hosted by Laurie L. Patton, Dean of Arts & Sciences, led by Patrick Bayer, chair of the Department of Economics

Spring 2013

Water in a Changing World
Participating faculty: TCA&S departments of dance, art, English, history, religion, biology, religion Divinity School, Nicholas School, Schools of Medicine and Law, Pratt, Sanford School, Fuqua

Spring 2012

Food Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Why, What and How We Eat
Participating faculty: Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Law, Fuqua, Pratt, Nicholas School, TCA&S departments of biology, public policy, history, anthropology, and religion