The interdisciplinary experience at Duke goes beyond the classroom and laboratory. Duke faculty work to translate discoveries into new products, industries and jobs, and to share insights with legislators and others involved in public policy. Duke students have many opportunities to take their knowledge beyond the classroom and apply it in service to society.
Through the establishment of centers, field sites and networks that include NGOs, industry, governmental officials and other decision-makers, university-wide institutes, initiatives and centers have expanded the number of platforms from which Duke faculty members can have an impact beyond academia.
Here are just a few examples of how Duke undergraduates, graduate students and faculty are taking an interdisciplinary approach to societal challenges:
As an undergraduate, Ray Li joined a Bass Connections team that investigated alternative curricula to better serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds in North Carolina. “We spanned many academic disciplines from public policy to computer science to neuroscience,” he says. Thirty schools are now using the team’s curriculum.
“I chose Duke because I knew I would receive excellent training in health research and have the opportunity to collaborate with scholars from a variety of disciplines,” says Courtney Caiola, a PhD student in Nursing. She worked on an interdisciplinary research project in Bangladesh to increase health workers’ usage of chlorhexidine, a low-cost intervention to reduce neonatal mortality.
Professor Subhrendu Pattanayak has appointments in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke Global Health Institute and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. As part of the interdisciplinary Duke Household Energy & Health Initiative, he investigates the links between improved household energy technologies and health and environmental effects in India.