Graduate Academy 2020-21 Courses

Winter 2020-21 Course List by Area


Innovation Co-Lab

The Innovation Co-Lab offers a variety of short courses designed to expose participants to the fundamental philosophies, tools, and technologies used in software development and responsive website development, among other topics. Courses can be selected a la carte or organized into tracks to facilitate deep dives.

Communication & Pedagogy

Best Practices in Mentoring


Mentoring can be defined as both formal and informal practices that help emerging professionals learn and grow. This course offers a reflective space for doctoral students who are both mentors and mentees, working in a range of settings (PhD program, lab, teaching, collaborative research team), and in mentoring relationships with varying degrees of formality (from departmental or school peer mentoring programs to more ad hoc connections).

The mentoring relationship between mentor and mentee is frequently romanticized in the academy. As a result, we often heap expectations on a hierarchical relationship with one key advisor or mentor. We might also succumb to the myth that mentoring is an inborn talent, rather than a set of skills we learn and improve upon over time. And because doctoral students see themselves as mentees first, they tend to undervalue their own abilities to mentor peers, colleagues, or undergraduates.

This short course combines reflective and skills-based training modules to help you be more effective, as both a mentor and mentee. We will cover topics such as setting expectations and boundaries, framing goals, mentoring across differences (racial, cultural, etc.), using feedback constructively, and empowering others to learn and grow. By focusing on and honing best practices in mentoring, you will be more effective – not just at mentoring others, but also in understanding what your own professional needs are, who best can meet them, and how to ask for what you need. Finally, mentoring is everywhere: by honing skills in active listening, coaching, and other competencies, you will also sharpen skills that are highly transferable to sectors beyond the academy.

This course is led by Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, PhD, Director of Interdisciplinary Advising & Engagement, Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies

GS990 Section 08; offered January 4 – 15 (two-week course), MWF 10:15am – 11:45am EST

Qualifies for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit.

Communicating Research to Non-experts: Science/Research Communication


Scientists speak and think differently from non-scientists, often to their own great frustration when they try to communicate effectively with media, policymakers and the general public. Why do we struggle to communicate, and what can we do to ease the problem? If we want to be ambassadors for science, we’re going to have to brush up on the language and culture of the non-science community.

This course will present both the theory and practice of effective science communication in written, oral, visual and social media channels. Topics include the empirical benefits of communicating science; development of speaking, writing, and storytelling practices for diverse audiences; answering difficult, controversial, and critical questions; and tweeting, blogging, and presenting research to engage non-scientists, including potential funders and policy makers.

The course is led by Karl Bates and Jory Weintraub. Karl is a science journalist and Director of Research Communications at Duke’s University Communications Office. Jory is a biologist (PhD in Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill) who has focused his career on science communication, education and outreach.

GS990 Section 04; offered January 4 – 15 (two-week course), MWF 1:45 – 4:15pm EST

Qualifies for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit.



Engaging and partnering with community members and entities in research, sometimes in the form of research practice partnership (RPP), can be a powerful mechanism for ensuring research is appropriately situated within context and for utilizing research for social change. However, these concepts and processes are highly complex, and often quite challenging, both in theory and in practice. This session will interrogate the meaning of “community-engaged research” and related terms, explore the ways in which they can be relevant and meaningful for both researchers and community entities, address the ethical considerations and logistical problems that often arise, and consider recommendations for enacting best practices. Throughout this session, we will apply our knowledge through active learning by developing a community-engaged research design.

The course will be taught by Jessica Sperling of the Social Science Research Institute.

GS990 Section 06; offered January 4 – 15 (two-week course), MWF 10am – 12:30pm EST

Qualifies for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit.

Interdisciplinary Project Management


Project management is a set of techniques that can be applied in any industry or setting to make projects more successful. Project management can be used to guide small, simple projects as well as complex, team-based projects that bring together individuals from different fields and involve multiple stakeholders.

In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of project management, from defining a project’s scope and creating a project plan to managing resources, roles, and workflow. Along the way, you will learn strategies for effective communication, organization, and team motivation, and you will be introduced to tools that can help you set achievable project goals, establish healthy group norms, organize your project’s materials and processes, and troubleshoot common issues.

While this course will focus specifically on strategies for managing interdisciplinary project teams within a university setting, the skills you learn can be broadly applied to individual and team projects across fields and environments, from completing a dissertation, to managing a research lab, to leading projects in academic, non-profit, and corporate settings. This is a foundational course and as such, will not cover highly technical forms of project management. The course will be led by Laura Howes, Director, Bass Connections, along with Liz Milewicz, Head of Digital Scholarship & Publishing Services, Duke Libraries, Sophia Lafferty-Hess, Senior Research Data Management Consultant, Duke Libraries, and Jory Weintraub, Science Communication Program Director, Duke Science & Society.

GS990 Section 01; offered December 7 – 18 (two-week course), MWF 11am – 12:30pm EST

Qualifies for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit.

Online Teaching

This course prepares graduate students to enter new positions as TAs, Instructors of Record, and future academic innovators with an understanding of the state of digital teaching and learning in higher education. Students will examine teaching tools, compare pedagogical approaches, discover emerging trends, and debate future implications with multiple perspectives on these issues. They will also develop an online course, design a syllabus, create a short lecture video, and launch a professional social media presence for their ongoing job application portfolios and for furthering their pedagogical experience.

Students will explore a range of digital pedagogies, including flexible teaching, online instruction, and blended/hybrid classes. Working together in collaborative teams, they will engage in conversations on these topics with guest speakers and through active learning activities in Zoom breakout sessions. Join to begin creating a dynamic virtual learning experience and brainstorm innovative solutions to re-envision student engagement, projects, and assessment design.

The course will be led by Sophia Stone, EdD, Senior Consultant with Learning Innovation.

GS990 Section 02; offered January 11 – 15 (one-week course), Daily 1:45 – 4:15pm EST

Planning and Publishing Digital Projects

This course will introduce key aspects of modern academic publishing and its implications for planning and publishing digital projects. Topics covered include practical tips for authors such as assessing value and impact and ensuring discoverability, as well as broader considerations of the scholarly communication landscape, such as how dissemination and use of research intersects with publishing business models and copyright law. Students will also hear from and discuss these questions with different actors in the academic publishing field, as a way of understanding practical applications of course topics as well as potential career paths. As a central activity and outcome of this course, students will apply what they’ve learned to developing an actionable, concrete plan for further development of a digital project they are already working on or would like to initiate.

The course is led by Liz Milewicz, Head of Duke Libraries Digital Scholarship & Publishing Services, and Dave Hansen, Associate University Librarian for Research, Collections, & Scholarly Communication.

GS990 Section 03; offered January 4 – 15 (two-week course), MWF 12:30 – 2pm EST

Business and Entrepreneurship

Leading Teams

The purpose of this short course is to explore research-based insights about how to make diverse teams perform well and how to lead with self-awareness. A great deal of research and professional life involves working in teams, and yet, many people find teamwork difficult–it requires coordination, there’s always a weak link, and one’s contribution doesn’t always seem to be recognized. The difficulty in coordinating with others and even maintaining motivation has only increased in recent times with the threat of COVID-19. In addition to being generally useful for understanding interpersonal dynamics at work, we hope the lessons from this course will help students cope with the stress and uncertainty of this unprecedented time. This short course is led by Jessica Paek, a PhD candidate in the Fuqua School of Business.

GS990 Section 07; offered December 7 – 11 (one-week course), Daily 8:30-11am EST

Qualifies for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit.

Interpretive Research Methods


This course will provide an introduction to qualitative research methods, examining their uses – when they are appropriate, what unique strengths they offer, what challenges they can introduce, and what ethical considerations factor into crafting a qualitative protocol. It will cover gathering qualitative data using both primary (interviews, focus groups, participant observation), and secondary sources, and managing such data during and after their collection. The course will also examine what is involved in coding qualitative data, including how coding schema are developed and applied, how coding can be done in ways that are consistent and replicable, and how to use NVivo software in coding. Finally, we will consider reporting findings, including how a qualitative researcher assesses what their materials teach them and how they can compile and present those findings to make their case, as well as how to respond to criticisms of both the qualitative approach in general and the particular findings of a given project.

The course will be led by Alexandra Cooper, Megan Gray, Jessica Sperling, and Whitney Welsh of the Social Science Research Institute .

GS990 Section 05; offered December 7 – 18 (two-week course), MWF 10:15am – 12:45pm EST

GS990 Section 09; offered January 4 – 15 (two-week course), TTh 1:45pm – 4:15pm EST

Qualifies for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit.