Comments Sought in Regular Review of Director Ranjana Khanna

A university committee is seeking comments as part of a regular performance review of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (the FHI) director, Ranjana Khanna. Regular reviews of institute directors are to be conducted in the penultimate year of their term by a committee formed by the provost in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Academic Council. Such a committee has been appointed to review Khanna, who was appointed for a first term as director in January 2018.

Members of the review committee are:

  • Harris Solomon, Fred W. Shaffer Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology (chair)
  • Jeffrey Baker, Professor of Pediatrics
  • James Chappel, Gilhuly Family Assoc Professor of History
  • Polly Ha, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity
  • Jennifer Nash, Jean Fox O’Barr Women’s Studies Distinguished Professor
  • Joseph Winters, Alexander F. Hehmeyer Associate Professor of Religious Studies and African and African American Studies

An important part of the review process is the solicitation and consideration of comments from the university’s many constituencies. Comments on performance and suggestions for the future are important to the committee’s work.

The charge to the committee poses several questions for the review, including Khanna’s effectiveness in the following areas:

  • Ability to provide intellectual and organizational leadership for an institute intended to engage, support and invigorate the humanities and interpretive social science communities at Duke
  • Ability to develop and foster successful interdisciplinary collaborations with leadership from departments, schools and other units across campus that have a humanistic or interpretive social science dimension, or that have the potential to benefit from engagement with such a dimension)
  • Effectiveness in engaging faculty from multiple schools and departments in the work of the FHI – we are interested in learning why some faculty do engage with FHI while others do not
  • Effectiveness in mentoring faculty leaders and pivotal senior and research staff who are responsible for directing key and emerging initiatives in the FHI
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion and excellence through leadership in hiring practices, faculty engagement, the forging of strategic priorities, and the mentoring of staff members
  • Administrative competencies regarding effective management of the FHI budget and staff
  • Effectiveness in engaging students—both undergraduate and graduate students—in FHI activities and programs
  • Overall effectiveness as the leader of a nimble, diverse organization

The committee invites you to share your thoughts by email or letter. Communication should include the nature of your interactions with Director Khanna so that the committee can understand the context of the comments as fully as possible. The committee will discuss responses, and a summary will be included in the written report to the provost.

The committee would appreciate receiving comments by April 14, 2022.

Ways to respond:

Information collected will be compiled in a report, without attribution, which will be submitted to the provost, the vice provost of interdisciplinary studies, and the dean of humanities at the conclusion of the review. Responses will be kept confidential. While a list of those from whom feedback is received will be part of the record, it will be in an appendix of the report which will not be shared. No comments or observations will be attributed to any individual in any report of the committee.