A Week in the Life

Documenting Diversity
March 31, 2004

It's been an unusually warm autumn on the Duke campus. In the last week of October, some spring bulbs are confused and begin to send up shoots. Leaves are falling, but not in the usual colorful rush of wind and rain. It is nearly seventy degrees this Monday morning as Mariana Carrera, a senior from Wellesley, Massachusetts, leaves her house on Buchanan Boulevard and walks to the East Campus bus stop for a ride to the Sanford Institute of Public Policy. Today there's another case study in international law to be examined with the help of political science professor Robert Keohane. Carrera's major research paper for Keohane this term is on the role that diamonds play in fueling conflicts in Africa.

Carrera: University Scholar with international interests

 Carrera: University Scholar with international interests. Les Todd

 
Ellsworth: back to

 Ellsworth: back to "normal life" after bone-graft surgery. Paul O. Boisvert

Monday

Carrera, whose parents are Peruvian immigrants, has always had a fascination with international affairs. She's spent two summers as an intern in South America, and in the spring of 2003, she studied in France. Her internships and study abroad are funded, in part, by Duke's University Scholars Program, which also provides full tuition for her four years here. The program was started with a $20-million grant from the Gates foundation. (Duke trustee Melinda French Gates '86, M.B.A. '87 and her husband, Bill Gates, are on the foundation's board.) Though Carrera considered Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, she says the University Scholars' finalist weekend at Duke sealed the deal. "The vitality and intellectual activity at the annual University Scholars Seminar--both among the graduate and undergraduate students--made me want to be a part of that," she says.

What Carrera witnessed on her initial visit to Durham has continued to hold true. "We don't have classes or required events, but lots of optional activities," she says. "Sometimes it's a guest lecturer or a dinner with faculty where students present their current work." The University Scholars program is based on the notion that very high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds will inspire one another and the campus at large.

"The graduate students are great mentors," Carrera says, "always open to helping the undergrads think about our future plans--grad school or whatever."

As Mariana Carrera arrives at the Sanford Institute for her morning class, some 700 miles away from the Duke campus, seventeen-year-old Avery Ellsworth is already in the middle of Law 2, his favorite course, taught by headmaster David Wilson at the Long Trail School in Dorset, Vermont. Ellsworth had a successful hip replacement last summer at Duke Medical Center through an innovative surgery known as a free vascularized fibular graft. The procedure, performed by surgeon James Urbaniak, Virginia Flowers Baker Professor of orthopedic surgery, involved removing a four-inch portion of Ellsworth's fibula (the smaller leg bone between knee and ankle) and grafting it into his hip. As a result of a skiing injury, Ellsworth had been suffering from avascular necrosis, a condition caused by inadequate blood flow to the ball joint, located where the leg attaches to the hip. Left untreated, avascular necrosis will cause the bone to die and, eventually, the hip joint will collapse.

Ellsworth could have been a candidate for an artificial hip replacement. But, because he's so young and because the artificial joints wear out in fifteen to twenty years, he likely would have had to have several hip replacements over his lifetime. As Urbaniak explains, "In most surgical procedures, if you can perform reconstructions using the patient's own tissue, the results will be better. The body will eventually reject all foreign implants. For me, the significance of the procedure is that it represents the future of reconstructive surgery, because we are using the patient's tissue to reconstruct diseased or damaged joints."

Ellsworth was Urbaniak's 2,000th patient to undergo the procedure. Only a handful of surgeons perform the operation in fewer than a dozen hospitals worldwide. All were trained by Urbaniak.

For Avery Ellsworth, on this crisp October morning in his native New England, it's just back to "normal life." He says he's down to one crutch, "and the hip feels solid--it's coming along." Only six weeks after the surgery, he was driving. "Standard transmission," he says proudly. And skiing is "most definitely" in his future. He'll only come back to Duke this summer--for a final checkup with Urbaniak on the anniversary of his surgery.

Back on campus, Mariana Carrera is now making her way from Bob Keohane's class to the Social Sciences Building on the main quad, where she'll check in with economics professor Pat Bajari. Carrera, who is majoring in economics and political science, works as Bajari's research assistant on a project examining the relationship between labor-union activities and the price index in certain U.S. cities from 1985 to 2003. But her true passion--the coursework that has inspired her the most this fall--is working on documentary films under Gary Hawkins, a visiting instructor in public-policy studies and the Duke Program in Film/Digital/Video.

Her assignment is the production of a ten-minute video documenting the daily life of the Orellanas, a Salvadoran family that recently launched a restaurant on Roxboro Road in northern Durham. The family sublets space in a combination gas station and convenience store that's owned by a native of India.

"Right now, the business isn't going too well," Carrera says. "To make ends meet, the mother and father work cleaning jobs from five p.m. to one a.m., and their daughters work the restaurant in the evenings."

Carrera is fond of the Orellanas' specialty--pupusas, corn tortillas stuffed with melted mozzarella and Salvadoran cheeses. "And I love the fried plantains and beans," she says. However, the gas-station owner (who happens to be vegetarian) thinks that the family should change the menu to chicken wings and hot dogs--popular items at another convenience store run by a relative in Smithfield.

"It's a very rich human experience," says Carrera, who says she was surprised by the growing blend of cultures in Durham. Her only concern about the project is that she has so much great footage and will have a hard time editing it down to ten minutes.

She will videotape the family today and again on Friday night, which happens to be Halloween. In the meantime, she'll go to a pre-Halloween party for University Scholars at director Victoria Lodewick's house, where the group will eat pumpkin pie and play Scrabble. "The other nights, I'll be editing my footage or working in the library, and I'll get home between midnight and two a.m.," Carrera says.

Engineering professor Brady: photonics will change 'what it means to be someplace 'what we've learned to make urban schools better

 Engineering professor Brady: photonics will change "what it means to be someplace". Photo: Les Todd

 
 


Tuesday

Building Bridges of Light

At 10:00 a.m., David Brady, director of Duke's new Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications Systems, is giving a tour of the lab in his temporary, off-campus headquarters. Here, faculty members and graduate students in engineering have been developing a "mouse wand"--a device that will allow the user to sketch on a computer in three dimensions by simply waving the wand in the air. While this experimental equipment is still novel, it is nothing compared to the future applications of optical technology that Brady has come to Duke's Pratt School of Engineering to explore. His field is known as photonics--"the melding of light with electronics to manage and transmit information," as Kristina Johnson, dean of the Pratt School, has described it.

Photonics, which promises to bridge the gap between humans and computers by means of light rather than wires, is at a stage of development similar to the status of electronics in the 1950s, when the transistor came along, Brady says.

The mouse wand is a first step. One small step. What comes next, Brady suggests, is a giant leap. "Try to imagine a whole room that could record, analyze, and transmit everything that is happening in it, including all human activity." It may sound like the Jetsons' cartoon kitchen, but such intelligent sensing systems are one of Brady's primary research interests.

"Eventually there will be no need for people to be chained to computers," he says. "When you point and wave your arms around, the sensor or a robot (which can be in another room or another part of the planet) will follow you. We are literally changing what it means to be someplace. Eventually, by means of this technology, you can be anywhere."

On a typical day, Brady, who is the Addy Family Professor of electrical and computer engineering, as well as Fitzpatrick Center director, will meet with engineering students and colleagues while also keeping an eye via webcam on the construction of the Pratt School's new 322,000-square-foot Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS). CIEMAS is a $97-million project that represents a profound leap forward for engineering at Duke. The building--located in the middle of what was once Science Drive, at the nexus of the Medical Center, the Divinity School, Perkins Library, and the new Genomics Research complex, just up the hill--serves as a dramatic metaphor for Duke's interdisciplinary approach to engineering and applied sciences. The Fitzpatrick Center will occupy 120,000 square feet of the CIEMAS complex and will include labs and offices. Established with a gift of $25 million from Michael Fitzpatrick '70 and Patty Fitzpatrick '69, the Fitzpatrick Center is aiming to advance photonics as an information science, which, according to one industry analyst, has potential sales in opto-electronic equipment alone of some $34 billion by 2006.

"Just yesterday I visited professor Allan Johnson in radiology," Brady says. "We talked about what we are doing in this lab and kicked some ideas around. Professor Johnson is interested in adding optical probes to the suite of technologies that radiology uses to probe structure from molecular to macroscopic scales. We discussed how Fitzpatrick Center capabilities might be integrated in his efforts."

In the nascent field known as biophotonics, where light waves are used to collect and deliver information for medical purposes, there are already real-time, three-dimensional imaging technologies in development that, potentially, will be able to detect specific molecules in a given tissue. Such "microstructural" imaging, Brady says, may help physicians understand and recognize something as complex as the way a gene's coded information operates in a single human cell. Other noninvasive, optically based chemical sensors will be able to measure oxygen density in the blood, monitor glucose, and even detect cancer--all without harming or invading the tissue being examined.

 

"The integration of engineering and medicine is a natural here at Duke," Brady says, and with that, the lab tour is over. He heads downstairs to check in with colleagues.

Graduate student Prater: activist and environmentalist at Nicholas School

 Graduate student Prater: activist and environmentalist at Nicholas School. Photo: Les Todd

 
 

Green Blue Devil

Meanwhile, back on campus and just down the street from the Pratt construction site, Ben Prater, a second-year graduate student in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, finishes his class on conservation biology with professors Stuart Pimm and Norman Christensen in time for a conference call with representatives of a range of environmental organizations from around the country. The group is strategizing about H.R. 1904, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, coming up for a Senate vote at the end of the week. The bill is aimed at protecting communities from catastrophic fire by removing excessive trees and brush that have accumulated because foresters have attempted to control and prevent the natural occurrence of forest fires for decades.

"In my opinion the bill caters too much to the timber industry rather than communities," says Prater. The conference callers agree that Senator Elizabeth Hanford Dole '58 is already "a lost cause," but they discuss how to get North Carolina's other senator, John Edwards, to cast his vote against the legislation.

Such national advocacy work is heady stuff for a young man who had expected to begin teaching environmental science in a local high school after finishing his undergraduate degree at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. That all changed after Prater had the opportunity, in his senior year, to hear Nicholas School Dean William H. Schlesinger speak at Catawba. (Duke and Catawba have a common link in philanthropists Fred J. Stanback '50 and Alice Stanback '53. The Stanbacks helped Catawba create a 200-acre nature preserve within the Salisbury town limits and also established the Stanback Conservation Internship Program at Duke.)

Prater and his roommate, John Gust, were so impressed with what they heard from Schlesinger about the Nicholas School that Gust immediately applied to Duke's forestry program and was accepted. Not to be outdone, Prater then applied and was selected for the Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) program. Between his first and second years at Duke, Prater landed a Stanback Internship working for the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, which, in turn, led him to become a state delegate for the National Forest Protection Alliance.

Prater and Gust--still roommates--are also active in the Duke University Greening Initiative, an organization launched by two undergraduates "to integrate environmental stewardship into every facet of life at Duke University." Prater has been working with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). "The LEED standards measure everything from site impact--the footprint of a building--to air quality, to the use of local or imported resources in building materials, to energy inputs and outputs," he says.

Tonight, the North Carolina Chapter of the USGBC will assemble on campus to hear Prater's critique of the LEED standards. "LEED has a point system that doesn't translate well to something as complex as a university campus," he says. "I'd like to see Duke lead the nation in setting appropriate environmental standards for universities in the same way that this country ought to lead the way in conservation."

Prater shoulders his backpack and heads confidently into the meeting, prepared to advocate for a new set of university-specific standards that can accommodate the scale and scope of institutions like Duke.

Historian Payne: researching

 Historian Payne: researching "what we've learned to make urban schools better". Photo: Jon Gardiner

 
 


Wednesday

Full Plates

Charles Payne is theoretically on leave this semester to work on a new book, tentatively titled Fragile Victories. "My intent is to figure out what we've learned in the last ten years to make urban schools better," says Payne, who is the Sally Dalton Robinson Professor of history. He also teaches in the departments of African-American studies and sociology. He says his research so far suggests that testing programs for school accountability work best when a school's infrastructure is bolstered by intensive professional development for teachers, "rather than by just pressuring them about standardized test scores." This week, the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress Report, also known as "the Nation's Report Card," are being released, and Payne is eager to examine the data for his book. But this morning he has a few other things on his plate.

Advance copies of the collection of essays he edited with Adam Green, Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism, have arrived in his Carr Building office from NYU Press. Payne retrieves one of the copies from the bookcase. "I haven't had a chance to do anything with them yet," he says, shaking his head.

The brand new collection highlights another area of his scholarship--the grassroots activism and organizing traditions of the civil- rights movement--topics that Payne says are often overlooked in high-school and college teaching. "We want to encourage teachers to go beyond King and the Kennedys to emphasize the role and importance of ordinary citizens in creating social change."

To that end, Payne is moderating an open discussion all month long on the Internet for high-school and college teachers of U.S. history survey courses. Posted on the History Matters website, this cyberspace conversation resembles the face-to-face workshops Payne has been conducting with Durham public-school teachers. The workshops are funded by the provost's office and hosted by Duke's John Hope Franklin Center. This semester he's also advising a number of graduate students and undergraduates with special projects. One in particular--an oral history project to be conducted with fourth-grade students at nearby E.K. Powe Elementary School--has Payne eager to see his student Laura Tobolowsky succeed. Along with the Powe school teachers, Tobolowsky will coach students to interview neighborhood elders about their recollections of the civil-rights movement as it played out in Durham.

Such extraordinary engagement with students and the local community, in addition to his own research interests, quickly confirms the reason for Payne's selection as a fellow in the Bass Program for Excellence in Undergraduate Education--a $40-million initiative launched with a $10-million challenge gift to Duke by trustee Anne Bass and her husband, Robert Bass, Duke parents from Fort Worth, Texas. Through the program, faculty members who are gifted teachers and scholars meet regularly to devise fresh ways to enhance the connections between undergraduate education and research at the university.

 

But Payne's work is about more than engaging undergraduates in research. To him, the community involvement of Duke faculty members and students is one of the most notable aspects of the university's culture that has evolved in recent years. "An institutional sense of social engagement is not something you find everywhere," he says, just before being interrupted by another student stopping at his open door, asking for a quick conference.

Kenan Institute's Kiss: putting ethics into practice

 Kenan Institute's Kiss: putting ethics into practice. Photo: Les Todd

 
 

Service and Scholarship

It's a short walk from Payne's office in Carr Building to the headquarters of the Kenan Institute for Ethics in West Duke Building. Here the community engagement that Charles Payne appreciates is being formalized through a new undergraduate program that combines academic knowledge, ethical inquiry, and civic leadership called Research Service-Learning (RSL). Using the catch phrase "Scholarship with a Civic Mission," RSL helps students conduct research projects in conjunction with community organizations. The program is designed to serve as a national model and will include introductory courses that address community issues in education, psychology, and human health; student field placements with a community agency; and a final course that will require each student to conduct a substantial research project that must be useful to the community partner.

"At its best," says Elizabeth Kiss, director of the Kenan Institute, "research service learning creates a serious, critical counter to sentimental do-gooder impulses." While the RSL program requires rigorous reflection and writing from the students, the work itself tends to generate humility, says Kiss. Students discover the limits of their capacities to effect dramatic social change and also how they can make a practical difference.

Kiss (pronounced keesh), who came to Duke in 1997 as the first chair of the Kenan Ethics Program, has just come back to her office in West Duke after several meetings on West Campus--among them, a coaching session with two seniors who are planning a half-credit house course in the spring term called "Ethics in Practice: An Intergenerational Dialogue." Participation in the course will be divided evenly between undergraduates and participants from the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement.

Before that meeting, Kiss was at the Fuqua School of Business conferring with faculty members who are involved in the school's Center for Leadership and Ethics. (The meeting was convenient; Kiss had already started her day by teaching a three-hour "Ethics and Leadership" workshop with M.B.A. students there.)

The campuswide integration of ethical inquiry is precisely what Kiss came to Duke to facilitate. With a $1.33-million gift from the Fletcher Foundation that was matched by the Nicholas Faculty Leadership Initiative, funded by Pete and Ginny Nicholas, Kiss' position has now been endowed as the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute of Ethics.

It's now about 2:30, and Kiss will finally have some "down time"--meaning she will be sitting in one place. She'll put the finishing touches on a lecture she's writing on the ethics of strategic deception in military conflicts. Then, if there's time before her dinner with freshmen in the FOCUS program she directs, she'll review a friend-of-the-court brief she's helping to prepare. The document, requested by a lawyer from Washington, D.C., who has assembled a research team of ethicists and other experts, including Kiss, is in support of an Egyptian woman who is pleading to a U.S. court for asylum here so that her daughters might be spared genital mutilation in their native country.

 

It's already been a long day, and this last task is a heavy one, but at least Kiss isn't the main presenter tonight for her freshmen. Instead, her husband, J. L. Holzgrefe, a political scientist, will talk to the FOCUS group about the book he's just edited with Robert Keohane, Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemma, the very same text Mariana Carrera is reading for her International Law course with Keohane.

Thursday

Girl with an Appetite

Team player Anthony: new athletics-academic building a greater resource for athletes

 Team player Anthony: new athletics-academic building a greater resource for athletes. Photo: Les Todd

 
 

At 8:00 a.m., it's quiet on the halls of West-Edens Link, the newest dorm on West Campus. Most students have not even begun to stir after the usual buzz of meetings, study groups, and socializing into the wee hours of this morning. But junior Katie Anthony, or "Katie B" as her friends and family call her, is already up, checking her e-mail. "It's amazing how many messages in my box are sent after midnight," she says.

While her roommate, Ellen, sleeps on, Anthony collects her gear and heads to the Great Hall for breakfast. Along the way, she picks up a Chronicle and The New York Times before getting in line to order the usual--a Blue Plate Special. "Eggs, potatoes, sausage, and oatmeal, all for $2.95. The best deal on campus."

She will spend the next hour reading the newspapers--to meet the requirements for her double major in public policy and political science and also to satisfy her keen interest in public affairs, sparked by a White House internship last summer. Anthony--who has never watched The West Wing on television--says that her primary interest in government stems from an ardent desire to end corruption and misuse of funds by elected officials.

"We have a lot of professional politicians who have learned how to get elected," she says, "but then you have to know what to do once you are in office. There is a horrible attitude of entitlement among some officials." For her part, Anthony is aiming for business school, believing that an M.B.A., combined with her public-policy training, will give her the tools she needs to bring "some business sense" to any public or nonprofit sector work she chooses.

After breakfast, Anthony goes back to the dorm to get some homework done. Her favorite course at the moment is an independent study with Norb F. Schaefer Professor of political science Allan Kornberg, for whom she is reading Working, Shirking, and Sabotage, a book on the behavior of bureaucrats.

Across campus on Research Drive, Hunt Willard, director of Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP), has just spent the first part of his morning meeting with John Michon, a division chief in the ophthalmology department. Michon is working with Willard to increase the understanding of genetics and genomics among his colleagues. The meeting is typical of Willard's schedule; ever since assuming his position in January 2003, he has kept up a blistering pace, trying to connect with all parts of the Duke campus--humanities scholars, engineering faculty members, law and policy experts, environmental scholars, divinity faculty members, business-school representatives, students at all levels, and, naturally, research scientists and physicians.

"My job is fifty-fifty between the medical center and the rest of campus," Willard says. "The whole purpose of the IGSP is to engage the entire institution in better understanding the coming impact of recent breakthroughs in the genetic sciences." He likens the present era to the beginning of the industrial revolution, when people could scarcely imagine the impact of power-driven machinery on everything from agriculture to manufacturing to travel. "The question for us today," says Willard, "is how do we prepare society and ourselves, as a leading research institution, to handle and contribute to the changes coming from our understanding of the human genome?"

Genomics director Willard: breakthroughs in genetics a new  industrial revolution

 Genomics director Willard: breakthroughs in genetics a new industrial revolution. Photo: Chris Hildreth

 
 

In the university's strategic plan, Duke made a commitment to become the leader at the intersection of genome sciences and policy. The IGSP, a $270-million medical-center initiative that will comprise five core research centers and three new facilities on campus, exemplifies that commitment. Willard sees his mission at Duke as urgent. "I believe this revolution is going to happen faster than we think, and our job is to engage every Duke student at every level with the human genome." What that means for freshmen is a new FOCUS course that will consider the coming changes to health care, or, as Willard puts it, "how we can move away from sick care to true health care, providing very personalized care and planning based on our ability to detect the diseases we have inherited or are protected from by our genetic makeup."

The course will grapple with how our new knowledge of the human genome sequence forces us to reckon with how closely we are linked with other life forms, "and how, when we look at the genetic similarities across races," says Willard, "we begin to see that race is much more of a social construct than a scientific fact." The course will also consider how the genetic sciences have changed law enforcement and agricultural practices, and have begun to find expression in popular culture.

Willard hosts a monthly Genome Forum Dinner for fifteen faculty members; each is asked to bring along a student. "The Genome and Popular Culture" was one recent dinner topic. This month, another group of faculty members and students considered the genetics of ovarian cancer. "It's another way for IGSP to stimulate campus-wide conversations around the ethical, legal, and scientific issues that come into play with every new breakthrough in the field," he says.

As Willard sets out on foot from his temporary offices in Research Building II down Research Drive toward the intersection with Science Drive where the CIEMAS building is going up, he moves at a brisk pace. Willard's office will relocate here when the building is completed this fall. "There is no better place to be in my field at this moment in time," Willard says. "Where else can you find a top-tier university, medical center, engineering school, and health system adjacent to a thriving biotech community at RTP--all in one of the greatest areas in the country to live?"

Now it's 3:00 on this Thursday afternoon, and Katie Anthony is racing from her poli-sci class to catch the bus for East Campus. She has field hockey practice. At the moment, Duke's field hockey team is number two in the country, and Anthony is pumped. "We can beat any team in the nation if we set our minds to it. There is not a top-five team that we haven't beaten, including Wake Forest, which is number one."

While some of her teammates may be a little the worse for wear heading into tournament season, Anthony, a reserve forward, is fresh, having been able to practice in earnest only for the last week. She has been sidelined since the beginning of her sophomore year, recovering from pulmonary valve-replacement surgery. More recently, she has been the subject of countless interviews and publicity. The press clamor came because Anthony was expected to be totally out of commission for several weeks following the surgery but was back in class after only seven days.

Born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart condition that required three surgeries before she was a year old, Anthony had nevertheless been a high-school team captain in field hockey, tennis, and basketball and a participant in the Junior Olympics. She came to Duke ready to keep up the pace, but campus physicians who examined her felt that her playing time should be restricted. Still, it was not until the beginning of her sophomore year that the heart condition began to cause problems.

"I believe everything happens for a reason," Anthony says. "I might have gone to Yale or Princeton like my older sisters did, but I came to Duke because I had this thing for Duke basketball--for Bobby Hurley and Wojo--when I was about nine." Anthony smiles broadly. "So here I am at the mecca for heart surgery in the nation just when I need it." The surgery was performed by James Jaggers, chief of pediatric cardiac surgery, working through the McGovern-Davison Children's Health Center. Andrew Wang M.D. '90 is now Anthony's cardiologist.

Field hockey practice is over at twilight, and Anthony heads back to West Campus. She'll grab a meal at Armadillo Grill in the Bryan Center and head straight for a meeting of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee--a group that helps plan social events for athletes whose game schedules deny them a regular social life. "You know, since I have been at Duke, there has been a tremendous amount of improvement in the athletics facilities," she says. "The new watering system on our field has been great. The ball moves more smoothly and the number of injuries has declined. As a result, the team has been able to raise its game to the next level. And Schwartz-Butters, the athletic academic building, has become a great resource for athletes. We not only benefit from what the building physically has to offer--the computer lab and study areas--but from the services the people inside the building have to offer."

Anthony says she'll walk back to the dorm after the meeting, do some work for her sorority, the Tri-Delts, and get to bed by 11:00, an unusually early hour among her peers. But not before the "fourth meal of the day," she says. "Rick's Diner in the dorm is the place."

Social psychologist Chartrand: Fuqua professor with new angle on business

 Social psychologist Chartrand: Fuqua professor with new angle on business. Photo: Les Todd

 
 


Friday

The Change Agent

To keep up with student affairs vice president Larry Moneta, you have to be fast on your feet and able to hold your own during rapid-fire verbal volleys. On this Halloween morning, he's at the gym by 6:30 and in the office by 8:00 (some days it's earlier). He regularly plunges into twelve-hour-plus days that ricochet from meetings with students seeking project funding to crisis-management sessions with counseling staff to strategic planning with development officers for expanded services for undergraduates. Today, first thing, there is the groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition to the Sanord Institute of Public Policy.

His assistant color-codes his schedule so that Moneta can see at a glance how the rest of his day shapes up. Discuss academic integrity issues with other student-affairs colleagues (code blue). Explore options with campus arts groups that lack adequate performance space (code pink). Brainstorm with students about addressing self-segregation (code green). Meet with key administrators about the new student center on West Campus (code purple).

"I was hired to be a change agent, not a refiner" of existing plans and policies, says Moneta, as he gulps down a cup of coffee. And he's not at all uncomfortable with being a lightning rod for people who want to keep the status quo. "Any time there's a change where privilege is shifted from one group to another," he says, "those who lose privilege aren't happy."

Fire, before and after, Lyon County, 1992

 Vice President Moneta: moving Student Affairs beyond traditional model. Photo: Chris Hildreth

 
 

Moneta was hired in August 2001 to move student affairs beyond the traditional university model, which focused on students' lives outside the classroom (housing, Greek life, student groups, and so on). As outlined in the "Building on Excellence" strategic plan, approved by the trustees earlier that year, he was charged with nurturing "the personal and intellectual growth of students by building community in social, civic, and academic realms." That broad directive translates into far-reaching influence. Moneta is responsible for a division of the university that oversees residential life; the Career Center; student health; seven campus life organizations, including the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, the Women's Center, and the community service center; the Freeman Center for Jewish Life; Counseling and Psychological Services; and assorted student deans.

"I'm proud of the pace at which our efforts have been adapted, particularly the residential model," says Moneta. In the past year, the new West-Edens Link residence hall opened, making it possible to allot rooms on West Campus to all sophomores. The move strengthens the class unity fostered by housing all first-year students on East. In addition, full-time residence coordinators--most of them graduate students--have been hired to live in quads across campus and serve as liaisons among students, faculty members, and administrators. "The notion here was to introduce a new level of community," he says.

One of Moneta's top priorities is bringing the West Campus Student Village to fruition. Plans call for transforming space within and around the Bryan Center walkway (which he has described as "more of a conveyor belt than a destination") into a facility that will include meeting areas, support services and social space, and enhanced resources for the Career Center. The project got a jump-start last spring with a $5-million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The gift will help pay for some of the Bryan Center renovations, as well as improvements to West Union.

The New Exception

After the whirlwind of Larry Moneta, the environment seems a little more serene this Friday afternoon in Tanya Chartrand's office in the Wesley A. Magat Academic Center--one of the newest additions to the Fuqua School of Business. Chartrand is outside her office door, dressed in jeans and heels, plucking articles from the five-foot-high shelving unit where copies of the twenty-some papers she has written or co-written (eight more are in review) are always accessible to curious students--articles from the American Psychologist, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, among others. It might seem unlikely literature in a business school, but Chartrand is proud to be the new exception on the block.

Chartrand earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from New York University in 1999 and then joined the faculty at Ohio State University. There she continued running the studies she had begun at NYU: exploring how humans tend to be influenced by their environments in "nonconscious" ways, something she has called, "the unbearable automaticity of being."

Chartrand, who, at age thirty, is young for one so accomplished, leans back in her chair and explains. "Nonconscious goals are those goals that we tend to choose repeatedly in particular situations--so much so that these goals are eventually triggered automatically, without conscious thought or even intent, when we walk into those same environments again." Her experiments further suggest that people often have what she calls "mystery moods" that are automatically created by such nonconscious environmental stimulation. As she puts it, "If you succeed at a goal you didn't know you had, you're in a good mood and don't know why. But if you fail at one of these nonconscious goals, you may find yourself in a negative mystery mood."

Chartrand has also explored what she calls nonconscious mimicry, or the tendency of one person to mirror the behavior of another, especially if the mimic is trying to give positive reinforcement or to gain acceptance from the other person. Chartrand's work may have managerial applications in team building. The ability to provide positive reinforcement of certain consumer behaviors might also find practical application in sales and marketing. The potential of these aspects of Chartrand's findings were part of what caught the attention of Fuqua's administrators. Duke's ability to hire Chartrand away from the excellent research facilities at Ohio State was in no small measure due to the overall increase in university resources available for new faculty hires. Indeed, increasing the size of the faculty was a priority for Fuqua from the start of the campaign, and the school reached the impressive goal of increasing its faculty by a third.

"There are only eight to ten well-known social psychologists who are in business schools," says Chartrand. "Only the top business schools in the country have had the tradition of hiring people from basic disciplines such as economics and psychology, and Duke is in the top three in the world in marketing."

Though some of her former colleagues might look askance at her decision to relocate to a business school, Chartrand says she is delighted to be at a smaller, private university, where "the president even knows my name and my research."

The week is winding down, at least on the academic side. It's Halloween, and Mariana Carrera heads out to the Orellana Pupusaria to film the convenience store owner's children coming in from trick-or-treating, dressed as fairy princesses. The normally hard-boiled owner is charmed and lets children pick candy from the store racks for free. In Vermont, Avery Ellsworth is setting up an audio system in the gym so he can serve as the deejay for tonight's Halloween dance at the Long Trail School--not a bad job, because he really shouldn't put weight on his new hip by dancing.

This evening, genomics guru Hunt Willard will complete his first tour of Raleigh. He's been too busy on the Duke campus in the ten months he's been here to head over to the capital city. He and his wife, Vicki Willard, are meeting for dinner there. Meanwhile, the Senate voted yesterday on HR 1904, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The outcome was not what the Nicholas School's Ben Prater had hoped for. The bill passed by a final tally of 80-14 with 6 not voting. The bill was directed to a conference committee to work out differences between House and Senate versions.

Charles Payne, the sociologist and African-American history scholar, finally takes some time to examine the Nation's Report Card. He finds that, in reading, the results are mixed. But there have been definite gains in math scores.

Tomorrow, Katie Anthony and the Duke field hockey team will play its last ACC game of the regular season against Virginia. They will win that game and go on to finish second behind Wake Forest in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Ever enthusiastic, Anthony will cheer on her teammates from the sidelines.