Who We Are

Office of Interdisciplinary Studies

216 Allen Building | Box 90003
919-684-1964 | interdisciplinary@duke.edu

The Office of Interdisciplinary Studies provides central organization and oversight for interdisciplinary units throughout Duke University. The office helps to develop and implement policies and procedures that advance the often unique administrative, research, educational, and practice needs of interdisciplinary groups; provides leadership and central organization for Bass Connections; coordinates faculty hiring for the university-wide institutes, initiatives, and centers; and facilitates collaboration among faculty, Deans, and Directors. It also provides administrative and fiscal oversight for interdisciplinary units’ space, budget, and personnel, coordinated through the Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management.

Edward Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies

Edward Balleisen919-684-1964
216 Allen Building

Edward Balleisen has served as Duke’s Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies since 2015. In this capacity, Balleisen works with university-wide institutes and initiatives and each of Duke’s ten schools to foster collaborative, interdisciplinary research, teaching, and engagement. He also oversees Bass Connections, an innovative program that each year catalyzes dozens of interdisciplinary, problem-centered research teams involving faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. A national leader in conversations about the need to reconfigure doctoral training to foster intellectual versatility and career diversity, Balleisen is the lead co-PI on Duke’s Versatile Humanists project, funded by a Next Generation Implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As a Professor of History and Public Policy, Balleisen’s research and writing explores the historical intersections among law, business, politics, and policy in the modern United States, with a growing focus on the origins, evolution, and impacts of the modern regulatory state. He has pursued a number of collaborative projects with historians and other social scientists who study regulatory governance in industrialized and industrializing societies.

Balleisen’s most recent book is Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff (Princeton University Press, 2017), which received the Business History Conference’s 2018 Ralph Gomory Prize. In this wide-ranging history, he emphasizes the enduring connections between capitalist innovation and business fraud, as well as the vexed efforts by private organizations and state agencies to curb the worst economic deceptions. Along with Duke colleagues and collaborators Jonathan Wiener, Lori Bennear, and Kim Krawiec, Balleisen has also recently completed Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents, and Financial Crises (Cambridge University Press, 2017)—an interdisciplinary volume that examines when and how industrialized democracies reconfigure regulatory institutions in the aftermath of major crises.

Balleisen has received grants from the Mellon, Teagle, and Smith Richardson Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2018, he received the Business History Conference’s Harold Williamson Award, which recognizes excellence by a mid-career scholar. In 2019-20, he will serve as the BHC President.

Sarah Dwyer, Director of Communications

Sarah Dwyer919-684-5379
Erwin Mill C104D

Sarah collaborates with faculty, academic leadership, students, and colleagues to document and share interdisciplinary education, research, and engagement at Duke, including the Bass Connections program. Previously, Sarah worked at IntraHealth International, a global health nonprofit, where she managed communications for the organization’s largest project. Prior to moving to Durham from New York City in 2006, Sarah was the Acting Director of Development at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Sarah has an M.A. in International Studies from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a B.A. in Art History from Vassar College.

Amy Feistel, Administrative Assistant

Amy Feistel919-684-1964
216 Allen Building

Amy supports the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her primary responsibilities include scheduling and administrative duties for strategic development and implementation of interdisciplinary education and research at Duke. Amy has a varied background in project management and curriculum development. Her passion for facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration is proven by stints with the Focus Program, the former Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, and the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke. Amy earned a B.A. in Literature from Missouri State University and an M.A. in East Asian Cultural Studies from Duke. She has worked with rural communities to develop motorsport tourism events and is a licensed stage rally navigator with competition experience in China and the U.S. In her free time, Amy can be found digging in the dirt or adventuring with her daughter.

Laura Howes, Director, Bass Connections and Rubenstein Fellows Academy

Laura Howes919-684-9021
Erwin Mill C104C

Laura works collaboratively across the university to manage program design, implementation, and financing for Bass Connections and the Rubenstein Fellows Academy. Laura was previously the Director of Finance and Development at the James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and, prior to that, was a Senior Program Manager at the Partnership for Public Service, where she designed and managed leadership development and cultural change initiatives for federal agencies. Laura has a B.A. in public policy analysis and political science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an M.B.A. from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She is certified and trained in Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model, the Strength Deployment Inventory, and the DISC assessment.

Mindy Miller, Manager, Special Projects

Mindy Miller919-668-1460
224 Allen Building

Mindy’s areas of responsibility include organizing and staffing senior leadership searches, reviews, and institute external reviews, and coordination of faculty hiring and joint appointments in the university-wide institutes, initiatives, and centers. She joined Duke and the Provost’s Office in 2011 after four years at CUNY’s Queens College, where she supported the Center for Teaching & Learning and Writing Across the Curriculum programs. Mindy was previously an administrator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Iowa State University and training in secondary education mathematics. Her daughter is a Wellesley College graduate now working in Duke’s Mouse Behavioral and Neuroendocrine Core Facility; Mindy lives in Carrboro with her spouse and favorite tennis, kayaking, and gardening partner.

Dorothy Nam, Staff Specialist, Bass Connections and Rubenstein Fellows Academy

Dorothy Nam.919-681-0058
Erwin Mill C104A

Dorothy’s primary tasks include finance, communication updates, evaluation and data tracking. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016 and earned degrees in Global Studies and Anthropology with a minor in Medical Anthropology. Shortly after graduating, Dorothy served as a Health Extension Agent for the Peace Corps in Senegal, where she implemented projects related to water and health sanitation and malaria prevention. Originally from Durham, Dorothy is thrilled to return to her hometown after being away for two and half years. She enjoys being outdoors, bouldering at the Triangle Rock Club and coaching her adult softball team.

Meghan O’Neil, Assistant Director, Bass Connections

Meghan O'Neil919-681-0703
Erwin Mill C104E

Meghan provides broad administrative, communications, and strategic support for Bass Connections. An enthusiastic advocate of collaboration and mentorship across disciplines, she is a 2018 graduate of Duke’s doctoral program in English and has been deeply involved with Bass Connections since its inception. As a graduate student, Meghan held leadership roles on two Bass Connections research teams, served as co-chair of the program’s Student Advisory Council, and spent a year supporting Bass Connections as an administrative intern. She has extensive experience as an instructor, researcher, and project manager and has completed leadership training through Duke’s Emerging Leaders Institute. Before coming to Duke, Meghan worked as a paralegal specialist for the United States Department of Justice and earned degrees from The University of Chicago (M.A. in the Humanities) and Georgetown University (B.A. in American Studies).

Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, Director of Interdisciplinary Advising and Engagement

Maria Wisdom.919-681-8626
Classroom Building

Maria received her B.A. from the College of William and Mary, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Victorian literature from Indiana University. After teaching at Valparaiso University as a Lilly postdoctoral fellow in the humanities, she worked as an assistant/associate professor of English at Columbia College in South Carolina. While at Columbia College, she was co-PI and co-director for a Lilly-funded faculty mentoring program, and her advising and mentoring work with students included a term as director of Columbia’s Washington Semester internship program. Prior to arriving at Duke, Maria was the executive director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she oversaw scholarship and leadership development programs for humanities faculty. Maria’s commitment to individualized professional development for academics led her to complete an ICF-approved certificate program in professional coaching from North Carolina State University. She is the author of Masked Atheism: Catholicism and the Secular Victorian Home (Ohio State University Press, 2008), and her articles on women, religion, and Victorian culture have appeared in a range of peer-reviewed journals. Her scholarship has been supported by two awards from the NEH, and she has served as a reviewer/consultant for the NEH, the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, Ohio State University Press, Wharton School of Business (MBA Writing Challenge), and several scholarly journals. Mostly recently, she has written articles on humanities graduate education for Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (2018) and MLA Profession.

Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management

2024 West Main Street | Erwin Mill | Box 104404

The Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management provides the operational support needed for Duke’s university-wide institutes, initiatives, and centers to incubate some of the university’s most exciting interdisciplinary research, engagement, and teaching activities. OIPM provides oversight and guidance in all areas of business, finance, planning, and human resources to interdisciplinary units, ensuring the most effective and efficient management of their budgets, which total approximately $77M annually.

Wayne Williamson, Interim Executive Director

Wayne Williamson.919-684-2264
Erwin Mill C111

Wayne provides administrative management and coordination of finance, budget, space and facilities planning, grant administration, and fiscal policy interpretation and dissemination for the university-wide institutes, initiatives, and centers. Previously, Wayne has held administrative and financial positions within Duke and has worked in public accounting, nonprofit, and industry. He has a B.S. in Accounting from Guilford College.

Maria Johnson, Multi-Unit Business Manager

Erwin Mill C102

Maria manages and facilitates budgeting, financial reporting, and administrative coordination for The Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Maria’s experience includes financial and administrative positions within Duke and local governmental entities. She has a B.S. in Business Management from Western Governors University North Carolina and is currently pursuing a master’s in Management and Leadership.