Re-Imagining Doctoral Education

Re-Imagining Doctoral Education

Welcome to the website for the Provost’s strategic efforts on Re-imagining Doctoral Education (RiDE). Outlined in the 2017 university strategic plan, the priority has been developed, first, through the Ad Hoc Committee in 2017-2018, and more recently through the Implementation Committee, which was formed in April 2019. The charge of the implementation committee is to begin moving forward on select recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee, both of which had as their primary goal to consider how we can ensure that our graduates have a diversity of intellectual opportunities within and beyond their excellent disciplinary training that prepares them for successful and impactful careers both within and outside academia.

The report from the Ad Hoc Committee is available here, and updates from the Implementation Committee will be posted below.


Together Duke, the university’s 2017 strategic plan, describes several goals and avenues for broadening and deepening doctoral education. While amplifying opportunities for all graduate and professional students is a priority, our education of Ph.D. students needs particular focus because of new intellectual possibilities and a marked shift in career pathways. Across the country, these trends have fostered a growing consensus among educational thought-leaders and government funding agencies that high-level doctoral training needs reexamination.

Given Duke’s extensive innovation with regard to the undergraduate experience and the synergies between our doctoral programs and our professional degree programs, Duke is poised to lead this reexamination. The Provost’s Ad Hoc Committee on Re-imagining Doctoral Education (RiDE) examined how to balance the need to sustain disciplinary excellence with our responsibility to offer Ph.D. training that prepares students to make a difference in a wide array of professional contexts. The committee prepared an inventory of best practices for developing students’ skills in communication, leadership, and teaching and mentoring, as well as their ability to work effectively in teams, both within and across disciplines. Finally, the committee examined how best to meet the advising needs for our Ph.D. recipients. The committee’s work culminated in a final report, which outlines a set of recommendations for a now convened implementation committee to carry forward, in partnership with The Graduate School, our other schools, and our 54 Ph.D. programs.

Committee Members

Implementation Committee (2019- )

Ed Balleisen, PhD (Co-Chair), Professor, History and Public Policy, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies

Colin Duckett, PhD (Co-Chair), Instructor, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Vice Dean for Basic Science, School of Medicine


Jonnathan Singh Alvarado, Graduate Student, Neurobiology, School of Medicine

Dominika Baran, Associate Professor, English, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Michael Boyce, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, School of Medicine

Nicolas Cassar, Associate Professor, Biogeochemistry, Earth & Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment

Keisha Cutright, Associate Professor, Business Administration, Fuqua School of Business

Travis Dauwalter, Graduate Student, Sanford School of Public Policy

Claudia Gunsch, Theodore Kennedy Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement

John Klingensmith, Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, The Graduate School

Fan Li, Associate Professor, Statistical Science, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

David MacAlpine, Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, School of Medicine

Mohamed Noor, Professor, Biology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Dean of Natural Sciences (July 1, 2019), Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Hannah Ontiveros, Graduate Student, History

Georg Vanberg, Professor, Political Science and Law, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences


Amy Feistel, A.M. ’01, Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Staff

Meghan O’Neil, PhD ’18, Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Staff

Carolyn Mackman, Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Staff


Rotated off committee

Kathy Psomiades, Associate Professor, English, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Ad Hoc Committee (2017-2018)

Ed Balleisen, PhD (Co-Chair), Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies (ex officio)
Susan Lozier, PhD (Co-Chair), Nicholas School of the Environment

Daniel Lew, PhD, School of Medicine
Ashleigh Rosette, Fuqua School of Business
Adam Wax, PhD, Pratt School of Engineering
Christine Hendren, PhD, Pratt School of Engineering, CEINT, Executive Director
Alex Pfaff, Sanford School of Public Policy
Kathy Franz, PhD, Arts & Sciences, Chemistry
Kerry Haynie, PhD, Arts & Sciences, Political Science
Emily Bernhardt, PhD, Nicholas School of the Environment
Randy Maddox, Divinity School
Sara Greene, Law School
Debra Brandon, PhD, School of Nursing
Lou Brown, PhD, Forum for Scholars & Publics
Deborah Jakubs, PhD, Vice Provost for Libraries
Gennifer Weisenfeld, PhD, Arts & Sciences, Dean of Humanities
Jonnathan Singh Alvarado, PhD Student, Neurobiology
Renee Michelle Ragin, PhD Student, Literature
William Goldsmith, PhD Student, History
Lauren Lowman, PhD Student, Pratt

John Klingensmith, PhD, Graduate School (ex officio)
Christopher Nicchitta, PhD, School of Medicine (ex officio)

Carolyn Mackman, Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Staff

View the plan to read more about the initiatives planned within each of the goals.