Advancing the Arts & Sciences: A Strategic Vision for Trinity College
"To be excellent, we must support our distinguished faculty who are advancing the frontiers of knowledge through research. We must educate the next generation of graduate and undergraduate students so that they will have satisfying and productive lives. We must cultivate strong leadership and mentoring of visionary chairs and ensure our faculty are successful and satisfied at each stage of their academic careers. And finally, we must embrace and celebrate the full range of disciplines, histories, backgrounds, and life experiences."
— Valerie Ashby, Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Framing, Driving & Deepening Change
On July 1, 2015, Valerie S. Ashby assumed the deanship of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, marking a new chapter in the Trinity’s leadership and a new opportunity to imagine and reimagine the Arts & Sciences. To develop vision and priorities for Trinity College, she posed three fundamental questions that have become the guiding principles for our work: Why are we here? How do we behave? And what are we going to do?
Advance Excellence in Research, Teaching & Service
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences is nationally and internationally recognized as a vibrant community of scholars engaged in research, teaching, and service. We are committed to keeping our excellent humanities departments and programs strong in the years to come and cultivating Duke’s signature brand of interdisciplinarity in our undergraduate and graduate programs. We are building the Social Sciences by working in common thematic areas to enhance collaborations and by bringing visibility to what are deep areas of strength in the division. Perhaps most critically, we must invest in the sciences which have not been developed in the same way as the other divisions because of their relatively large start-up costs, laboratories, space, and specialized instrumentation.
Elevate Leadership & Mentoring Among All Faculty Ranks
Faculty are the heart of the university, and we must advance not only their research, teaching, and service, but also their personal development. Cultivating and nurturing talent is one of the best investments we can make for a thriving school. We must mentor faculty from their first days on campus so that they understand the value of excellence in research, teaching, and service. We must identify faculty and staff who have the potential for leadership, provide appropriate skills and tools needed for success, and nurture those in leadership to be intellectual ground breakers and examples for the next generation of scholars. Such professional development has both short and long term consequences for the health and continuing advancement of Trinity College.
Foster Diversity as a Basis for Innovation & Excellence
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences has clearly and consistently articulated its deep commitment to diversity as a central tenet for new ideas and creativity. To be a truly educated person, one must embrace and practice an appreciation for different disciplines, thought processes, modes of expression, backgrounds, and histories – in other words, engagement with the full range of knowledge and human experiences. We seek to develop not just an inclusive environment for faculty, students, and staff, but a collaborative community that promotes a “culture of belonging,” so that diverse perspectives not only provide value but are publicly recognized for the value they add.
Our three themes of excellence, leadership, and diversity may amount to what seems like a tall order. But they are actually all interrelated under the category of advancing the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences to that next level of exceptional achievement. We can’t be excellent without distinguished faculty who advance the frontiers of knowledge through research. We can’t be excellent without shaping the next generation of graduate and undergraduate students so that they will have satisfying and productive lives. We can’t be excellent without the strong leadership and mentoring of visionary chairs or without faculty successful and satisfied at each stage of their academic careers. And finally, we can’t be excellent without incorporating and celebrating the full range of disciplines, histories, backgrounds, and life experiences. It is, after all, finally about increasing our trajectory of excellence and being the best College we can possibly be. This work is ongoing and never finished.