In Brief: July-August 2001


• Brian Cantwell Smith, computer scientist, philosopher, and a former principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in California, has been named the first Kimberly J. Jenkins University Professor of New Technologies and Society. He has conducted research into artificial intelligence, knowledge representation, and meta-level architectures, and is increasingly focusing on foundational issues related to the philosophy of computing and human cognition. Smith will have a primary appointment in philosophy and a secondary appointment in computer science, with possible involvement in research programs at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and the law school. He is working on The Age of Significance: An Essay on the Foundations of Computation and Intentionality, a six-volume series meant to reconstruct the foundations of computation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science, forthcoming from MIT Press. The series will be released on the Web, one chapter per month during the next five years. After studying at Oberlin College, Smith earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

• Divinity School Dean L. Gregory Jones M.Div. ’85, Ph.D. ’88 has been appointed to a second five-year term. During his first term as dean, beginning in 1997, twelve members were appointed to the Divinity School faculty, and the university founded the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, an interdisciplinary program based at the Divinity School to improve care for the suffering and dying. The Divinity School has launched the Learned Clergy Initiative to help develop a new generation of strong pastors, and Pulpit & Pew, a research program to strengthen the quality of clergy and lay leaders in churches. The school has formed a partnership with Durham’s Walltown Neighborhood Ministries, a five-church coalition working to strengthen the quality of life in the Walltown community off Duke’s East Campus. Before moving to Duke, Jones was chair of the theology department at Loyola College in Baltimore.

• Gilbert Merkx, director of the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, has been appointed vice provost for international affairs. Merkx, also professor of the practice of sociology, succeeds Bruce Kuniholm, who will return to the faculty of the Sanford Institute of Public Policy. Merkx joined the University of New Mexico faculty in 1968 and was named to a full professorship in sociology in 1981. He also has held faculty appointments at Yale and Gothenburg University in Sweden. He served as editor of the Latin American Research Review.

• Alma Blount has been named director of the Hart Leadership Program at Duke’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. Blount had been a lecturer in public policy studies and director of the HLP’s Service Opportunities in Leadership Program, a leadership mentoring initiative for undergraduates. She has held leadership positions in international human-rights organizations in the United States and Central America, and is the former photo editor of The Independent newspaper in Durham. She succeeds Robert Korstad, associate professor of public policy studies and history, who will continue to teach in the program. Korstad also directs the B.N. Duke Scholars Program and will oversee a faculty initiative between the history and public policy departments.

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