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Chapter 3 - Duke's Enduring Themes


The events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq changed the world, dramatizing the religious, political, economic, cultural, military, and intellectual challenges that confront the rapidly globalizing, post-cold war world. These challenges have prompted nations, peoples, and institutions to consider more closely how they define themselves, and they have forced universities to frame new paradigms for research and education. Seeking to understand and thrive in this complicated new environment, Duke has increasingly focused on developing a sensitivity to, and awareness of, the fact that we operate in an interdependent world, where what were once hard and fast borders are now permeable, where individuals are part of an increasingly global community, and where problems transcend traditional boundaries. To be citizens of this world, we must be knowledgeable about issues that impact that world, such as global warming, poverty and pandemics, and conflicting cultures, and proactive in using that knowledge to make a difference.

Duke has long recognized that we cannot be a great university without being an international university. Beginning with the 1994 creation of the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, Duke has set an institutional priority on enhancing our internationalization efforts, seeking to draw smart minds from around the world as students, faculty, and stimulating research collaborators. Because the majority of research is now produced by citizens of other nations, our faculty and programs increasingly collaborate with scholars abroad. We have won federal support for more international and foreign area study centers than any other private university in the United States. All of Duke's professional schools are engaged in international activities and partnerships, and more than 500 international post-doctoral fellows carry out research at Duke annually. Similarly, we have sought to open the minds of our students to the global world they will inhabit, giving them skills with which to interact with people from other nations and cultures through Duke course work, academic study abroad, and the non-course based engagements and exposures with foreign cultures. We are proud that a higher percentage of Duke undergraduates study abroad than at comparable schools, and o ne-third of Duke graduate and professional students are international. B y increasing funding for non-US students to come to Duke, we have sought both to take advantage of international talent and to provide a more international experience for all students on our campus. I nternationalization at Duke is not a specific or discrete set of add-on activities or units; rather, it is woven into the fabric of all of our efforts to become a world-class institution, thereby better serving the world of which we are a part.

  • We must target education and research resources to address significant regional and global issues.
  • We must forge international partnerships to enhance education and research.
  • We must focus resources on the recruitment, retention, and support of talented international faculty and students.
  • We must expand and integrate study abroad experiences with students' overall academic program.

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