Search Begins for Next Director of Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute

Duke University is embarking on a search for the next Director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (the FHI). We seek a tenured faculty leader with the skills to nurture the FHI in its tripartite mission of scholarship, education and knowledge in the service to society, with the vision to enhance the FHI’s imprint locally as well as its broader reputation outside of Duke. This will require someone who can work effectively with a wide variety of faculty and administrators and who communicates effectively with all of the Schools’ constituencies. The ideal candidate will have the skills to successfully navigate the complexities of the humanities and interpretive social science disciplines by building bridges and partnerships towards meeting the current needs of those disciplines and helping infuse their tremendous value throughout the broader campus community. The ideal candidate will also be someone who understands the need for a university to be engaged with its multiple publics, particularly in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The job description follows this announcement.

To conduct this important search, Provost Sally Kornbluth has appointed the following committee:

Richard J. Powell (Chair)
John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History

Rey Chow
Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature

Esther Gabara
E. Blake Byrne Associate Professor of Romance Studies, and Art, Art History & Visual Studies

William Johnson
Professor of Classical Studies

The FHI is one of the University Institutes; as such, the Provost’s Office is responsible for leading the process to appoint its next Director. The FHI reports jointly to the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Dean of the Humanities (DOH) in Arts and Sciences, so the DOH office joins in leading the process. Given the broad range of outstanding internal potential candidates, the Provost has elected to conduct an internal search for the FHI Director.

Applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent along with a current CV by April 15, followed by a 1-2 page vision statement for the next phase of the FHI by April 20.

Applications may be sent to the committee by email to, or to Box 90003 or 224 Allen. The search committee, after evaluating the applications and conducting interviews, will submit their advisory recommendations to the Provost, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Dean of Humanities.


Sally Kornbluth, Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor
Edward J. Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies
Gennifer Weisenfeld, Dean of the Humanities

Director, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute

General Responsibilities:

  • Direct and provide leadership for the overall program and administration of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI).
  • Plan, direct, review and/or otherwise foster new or major interdisciplinary research, pedagogy and/or outreach initiatives across the fields of the humanities, ensuring coordination with other disciplines and divisions, departments, administrators and personnel throughout the University as appropriate; develop comprehensive annual and long range plans consistent with Franklin Humanities Institute objectives. Maintain a balanced portfolio of projects and activities that reflect the longstanding and emerging interests of Duke’s faculty in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.
  • Direct organizational communications and external relations efforts; direct the development of electronic/online and printed communications mechanisms intended to communicate the mission and programs of the Institute; cultivate relations with national and international humanities communities to enhance the FHI’s role as a leading international organization in its field.  Lead efforts to bring interested groups/individuals together under the Institute to support research and engagement around issues of humanistic inquiry.
  • Engage the Duke community in current issues in the humanities. Partner appropriately with the humanities and interpretive social science departments in Trinity College, other humanistic programs around Duke, our Institutes and Initiatives and Duke’s other schools, around joint projects.
  • Relate the importance and impact of humanistic inquiry to both local and global audiences of varying background and understanding; support collaboration and community in the humanities and develop engaged and visible community engagement initiatives.
  • Develop, manage and motivate an Advisory Board comprised of Duke faculty, senior administrators and senior Library representatives.
  • Working with senior staff, determine fiscal requirements for the Institute and prepare budgetary recommendations and budget documents; provide oversight in the monitoring, verification and reconciliation of FHI funds.
  • Direct and provide leadership in FHI development and organizational advancement efforts; with University Development, foster new relationships with prospective funders; working with senior staff, prepare grant proposals and reports to funders.
  • Direct various personnel functions including, but not limited to, hiring, performance appraisals, promotions, transfers and vacation schedules.
  • In all activities, this position holds a responsibility to nurture a university community that is accessible, diverse and committed to a culture of engagement; that welcomes talented scholars to our community that represent the full range and richness of human experience; and that recognizes diversity as a critical element in achieving excellence. This both upholds Duke’s values and honors the legacy of John Hope Franklin.