While celebrating and strengthening the traditional role of universities to nurture scholarship for its many intrinsic values, the strategic plan highlights new opportunities to apply knowledge in the service of society.
The plan promotes a culture of public engagement that is interwoven with education and
research, within Arts and Sciences and across the institution. Duke's health system will advance basic biomedical research even as it develops new cures for patients. A proposed new school of public policy will promote policy debate and engagement along with ethical leadership. Engineering faculty will develop technologies to serve everyone from medical patients to planners concerned with environmental safety or national security. Faculty from the schools of divinity, medicine and nursing will help families care for loved ones, and students in Duke's law and business schools will volunteer in clinics and assist local nonprofits and small business owners. Others at Duke will focus on issues ranging from water quality to HIV/AIDS, seeking not only to gain knowledge but also to inform public debate and policy.
Duke's plan charts a bold course that brings together theory and practice. It lays out goals and strategies to strengthen the university's engagement with realworld issues, and to nurture these interactions as part of the educational process. An undergraduate who works with a Hispanic child in a local school, for instance, may improve her own Spanish language skills even as she provides a service. In Duke's new plan, such engagement with the world is seen as a natural extension of education and inquiry, what President Brodhead calls "learning to make a difference."