The Board of Trustees learned about the importance of making the world smaller while it approved the University's $975 million budget for next year at its meeting last Friday.
Peter Lange, vice provost for academic and international affairs, and Pamela Gann, dean of the law school, delivered a joint report on the University's need to expand its efforts to become a truly international and world-renowned institution.
The end of the Cold War was akin to a burst dam that swept away the isolationism which had governed international relations for decades, Lange said. Increased freedom and access, however, have also brought to the surface long-dormant conflicts between and within nations, a reality with which the University community must learn to deal effectively.
"The irony here is that at one and the same time, we have both globalizing and localizing conflicts at work," Lange said. "And that creates an extremely complex environment with which we need to interact."
Lange said that the University must train students to deal with this environment.
"We need to permeate what we do at Duke with international content," he said, by increasing opportunities for study abroad and the number of international students at the University. He said that the University must also train its faculty similarly by increasing funds both for research abroad and bringing more international faculty to Duke.
"I believe firmly that internationalization is absolutely central to Duke's ability to move beyond the level it is already at and into the next tier, into that absolutely top tier of universities," Lange said.
Gann echoed Lange's comments, adding that international legal education will play a vital role in the coming years. The law school must develop world-class specialties that will draw students and faculty to the University to study these disciplines, she said. The University must expand its law school, which is very small when compared to the law schools of institutions like Harvard and Stanford.
While specialization and expansion may create a financial burden, Gann said that such action is necessary if the law school is to remain competitive on a national and international level.
"I suggest that you can only operate world-class professional schools, and if you can't do that, you might as well close it down," she said.
The Board also approved the first budget based on the University's new strategic plan. The $975 million budget marks only a 1.3 percent increase over last year's budget; it includes a 4.9 percent tuition hike for students Trinity College, the lowest increase in 25 years, and a 5.1 percent increase for students in the School of Engineering.
Despite the increasing costs of financial aid and governmental movements in Washington, D.C., to further reduce funding, the board reaffirmed its commitment to a need-blind admissions policy and to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Trustees also gave the go-ahead to the Medical Center for project definition of a $63 million ambulatory care center and $33 million children's health clinic.
IN OTHER BUSINESS: The board approved the appointment of Tallman Trask III as the new executive vice president of the University. He will take office Aug. 15, replacing Dr. Charles Putman, who will become senior vice president for research administration and policy.