Women’s Center Director Ada Gregory has moved to a new position as the executive director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management.
The office—previously led by Rick Tysor—facilitates interdisciplinary teaching and research at Duke. As the office’s new director, Gregory will be providing administrative and fiscal oversight for several institutes across the University that provide teaching, research and other related programming on a wide range of issues. The Women’s Center has yet to find a replacement.
“Unfortunately, my role will be much more administrative, so I won’t have as much direct contact with students,” Gregory wrote in an email Monday. “That’s definitely what I will miss the most.”
Susan Roth, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies, said Gregory applied for the job and was clearly the best candidate among many.
Tysor, who will now become the executive director of academic administration at Stetson University, said Gregory is highly capable of filling his position.
Although Gregory’s new position comes with many responsibilities, she hopes to continue working with the Women’s Center.
“I’m sure that my new position will be demanding, but I’ll keep up with them in whatever ways I can,” she said.
Gregory joined the Women’s Center in 2008, after more than 15 years of experience working in the criminal justice and violence prevention fields. Her list of achievements include implementing a new reporting system for gender violence, developing the Project Change pre-orientation program and spearheading the Moxie Project—a civic engagement program in New York City funded through DukeEngage.
“She is brave and compassionate about all things related to women’s rights and equity on campus,” wrote Amy Cleckler, gender violence prevention and services coordinator at the Women’s Center, in an email Sunday. “I will truly miss working for her.”
Gregory graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1992, and she received a master of arts in liberal studies in 2004. She joined the Durham Police Department in the ’90s. There, she became involved in the on-the-ground work of violence prevention against women. Her work in law enforcement would eventually lead to a career in violence prevention.
As a police officer, Gregory became increasingly aware of the lack of attention paid to issues of domestic violence and sexual assault by law enforcement.
“After answering 911 calls at all hours of the day and night, I was concerned about the ways in which domestic and sexual violence was—or often was not—addressed,” Gregory said. “I had two hours of training in the [police] academy about how to read protective orders—and that was supposed to prepare me to negotiate the complex, violent and sometimes lethal relationships to which I was called to intervene.”
Gregory’s concern led her to spearhead several landmark projects in violence prevention. She helped develop the department’s first Domestic Violence Unit, founded the Durham Violence Advisory Council and was instrumental in the implementation of the first statewide, automated victim information and notification system. After leaving the department, she continued her advocacy of gender violence prevention and women’s issues in policy, before coming to work at Duke for the Kenan Institute for Ethics as associate director. At the Women’s Center, she supervises an office which provides counseling and advocacy for nearly 150 students and delivers prevention education to more than 2,000 students each year.
“She’s a real-life wonder woman,” said senior Caroline Hall, an intern at the Women’s Center.
Many staff and interns at the Women’s Center have expressed deep admiration for Gregory and regret the loss to the Women’s Center her promotion will bring.
“I know I can speak for everybody when I say that we are so sad that she is leaving, but we’re incredibly excited to see what she will do in capacity over the interdisciplinary institutes and initiatives,” wrote Maya Flippen, junior and gender equity and leadership intern at the Women’s Center, in an email Sunday.