Teaching and learning Magazine Articles

August 24, 2021


Bruce Caldwell

I began studying the writings of Friedrich A. Hayek, the social theorist and Nobel laureate in economics, back in the 1980s and quickly became hooked. My initial interest was in his insights about the limits of economic science, that when dealing with an ever-changing complex adaptive system like the economy, the sort of prediction and control we might hope to exercise over it is severely limited. In Hayek’s words:

August 23, 2021

Social studies is the lowest-priority core class, always. History is not viewed as being as central or important as math and English, and science got a huge boost with Sputnik, the growth of the U.S. space program, and now the focus on STEM areas. I’ve always somewhat begrudged the lack of attention. History teachers have always banded together in the knowledge that we provide the most important core content; after all, if you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t know where you are going.

August 23, 2021


Jed W. Atkins

A conservative student announces to the class that his experience during his first semester in Duke’s Visions of Freedom Focus program dispelled prior concerns that he would be ostracized by his fellow students and penalized by his professors on account of his political beliefs. Instead of condemnation, he encountered spirited debate within an intellectually diverse community of friends.

Rap Godz image

December 9, 2020


Corbie Hill

In the spring of 2020, JaBria Bishop built her first video game.

It was a 2D side-scroller—think Super Mario Brothers—which she believes she called Lunar Dreamscape. In it, a little girl wakes up in a lost world. Bishop’s idea for this whimsical game was for the players, too, to feel lost, so she designed it accordingly.

“I wanted the player to also feel how the little girl feels,” she says.

Duke Forest trees

December 8, 2020


Scott Huler

The forest works on a different time scale.

Duke Forest, 7,000 acres in six divisions sprawled across Durham, Orange, and Alamance counties, where hardwoods tower and even Highway15-501 becomes a distant rush that actually might be a river, or the wind in the pines. When life speeds up, the forest slows it down.

September 26, 2020


Andy Read

It was the end of sophomore year in college, and I was looking for an interesting way to spend the summer and earn a little money. I stumbled across an ad for a summer job at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto that sounded fascinating—reconstructing the skeleton of a sixty-foot fin whale that had stranded the previous summer in Nova Scotia. I knew nothing about whales, but the concept of marine biology sounded pretty good to a kid who grew up in the middle of Canada.

September 26, 2020


David Malone

A COVID paradox: I haven’t stepped foot on Duke’s campus since March 6. Yet, in the months between the start of remote learning, this past spring, in the face of COVID-19 and the start of the fall semester, I have felt more meaningfully connected to the Duke community than at any other time during my thirty-seven years as a member of its faculty.

A graphic of numbers as in computer code

August 7, 2019

I was never supposed to teach a course on utopian and dystopian literature, especially not one in modern and contemporary American lit. I’m a nineteenth-century Americanist specializing in the classics (Hawthorne, Whitman, Melville, Stowe, Alcott)—all the stuff people hate reading in high school and then find mildly more digestible in college.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

May 15, 2019

Writing in this magazine five years ago, Caroline Bruzelius, now a professor emerita of art and art history, called herself “essentially a detective for the places and spaces of the past, for the way the world as we know it was shaped.” When, earlier this spring, a fire engulfed Notre- Dame, Bruzelius found a new role— an expert source for media, ranging from NPR to Foreign Policy.

July 18, 2014


Safa al-Saeedi

I grew up in a household where my dad has been always supportive. He always praised women for their minds and for their compassion. I never got the sense from my father that women were inferior; I never felt that I was less than my brothers. Whenever he would see an amazing woman on television, like a scholar or a scientist, he would always tell me to come and watch. My dad supported me in my travels and when I decided not to be a doctor in my career choice.

April 28, 2014

Is Duke good at risk-taking?

I think we’re pretty good; compared to most of our peers, we’re pretty risk-accepting. Schools like ours have not only an opportunity but almost an obligation to take risks, to experiment in our academic work.

Any university has to manage the power balance between central administration and the various units. How does that balance feel here?