In Brief: March-April 2009

April 1, 2009
  • Srinivas Aravamudan, professor of English and director of the Franklin Institute, has been appointed dean of humanities in Arts & Sciences, replacing N. Gregson Davis, Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in Classical Studies. Aravamudan specializes in eighteenth-century British and French literature and postcolonial literature and theory. 
  • Duke engineer and physicist Stefano Curtarolo has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in recognition of his discovery of novel combinations of elements in the field of nanotechnology. The award is the highest honor given to young scientists by the federal government, granting $1 million in research support over five years. Curtarolo, who joined the Duke faculty in 2003, received the award during a December ceremony at the White House.
  • Head football coach David Cutcliffe signed a two-year extension in December that pushes his current contract through the 2015 season. Hired in 2007, Cutcliffe guided the Blue Devils to a 4-8 record this past season, equaling the victory total from Duke's previous four seasons combined. Duke saw an increase of 60 percent in season ticket sales for 2008 and had four home crowds of 30,000 or more fans for the first time in school history. Duke's average home attendance of 28,727 in 2008 was the largest since 1994.
  • John Hope Franklin, the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of history, has had a park named in his honor. The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, located in Franklin's hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, commemorates the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot that devastated black homes and businesses in one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history. Franklin's father was a survivor of the riot.
  • History professor Kristen Neuschel, who concentrates on late medieval and early modern Europe, will take the helm at the university's Thompson Writing Program. Associate professor of English Joseph Harris had headed the program, which offers writing classes and provides guidance to students, since its creation in 1999.
  • Christopher Schroeder, Charles S. Murphy Professor of law and public policy studies, and Arti Rai, Elvin R. Latty Professor of law, assisted the Obama-Biden transition team in the months following the November election. Schroeder was a member of a team that examined the operations of the Department of Justice. Rai served as a member of a team that looked at technology issues for the Department of Commerce. Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who read at Obama's inauguration, also has Duke ties: She was once a student of President Richard H. Brodhead when he was a dean at Yale and wrote a poem that he delivered at that university's baccalaureate seven years ago. 
  • The board of trustees approved a master's degree program with the goal of educating future leaders in fields that address global health challenges. The new Master of Science in Global Health degree, to be offered through the Graduate School and administered by the Duke Global Health Institute, replaces the certificate in global health.
  • Duke Chapel's original Aeolian organ, installed in 1932, has returned from sabbatical. A twenty-month reconditioning process, which involved the replacement of leather parts and the cleaning and repair of 7,000 pipes, has been completed. The organ was dedicated during a concert in early February in honor of Kathleen Upton Byrns McClendon '80 and her husband, Aubrey McClendon '81, who were active in chapel activities while undergraduates and who supported the project. y Duke Medicine has joined with Belvoir Media Group to produce Duke Medicine HealthNews, a nationally distributed publication that provides physician perspectives on medical advances in the news. The subscription-based monthly newsletter is edited by Dan Blazer, J.P. Gibbons Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke.