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Eric Mlyn to step down after 12 years at the helm of DukeEngage

Eric Mlyn, the leader of DukeEngage for more than a decade, has stepped down. In this 2013 photo, he was addressing Academic Council about the program.
Eric Mlyn, the leader of DukeEngage for more than a decade, has stepped down. In this 2013 photo, he was addressing Academic Council about the program.

After leading the DukeEngage program for 12 years, Eric Mlyn will step down June 30 as the Peter Lange executive director of the program and assistant vice provost for civic engagement. 

In a news release, Mlyn said it has been an honor for him to lead the organization.

“It takes a truly great university to build a program like DukeEngage, with expertise and support from all parts of Duke,” he said in the releaase. “We have benefited from the excellence and collaboration that are hallmarks of Duke University.”

Mlyn, also a lecturer in the Sanford School of Public Policy, previously directed the Robertson Scholars Program, a joint merit-based undergraduate scholarship program at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

In 2007, Duke launched the DukeEngage initiative, a fully funded summer civic engagement program that has sent Duke undergraduate students to 46 U.S. cities and 84 countries. Mlyn was appointed as the executive director the same year. The program was funded by two $15 million donations from the Duke Endowment and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the release, Provost Sally Kornbluth said Mlyn has made a significant contribution in making DukeEngage an integral part of the Duke undergraduate experience. 

“We owe much to Eric for his founding vision, energy and creativity which has enabled DukeEngage to have made such an impact on students and society,” she said in the release.  

When celebrating DukeEngage’s 10th anniversary in 2017, Mlyn said in an interview with The Chronicle that he hoped the entire Duke community would “celebrate and congratulate what we’ve built together and what has become a well-recognized, signature program of the University.”

Charlie Piot, professor of cultural anthropology African and African American Studies, will succeed Mlyn as DukeEngage director. 

Piot launched and leads DukeEngage-Togo, a program where students conduct service projects such as teaching computer classes in Western African countries including Togo, Nigeria and Benin. 

DukeEngage is undergoing another leadership transition as well—it will remain under the Office of Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education but will also become an affiliated program of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, whose director Suzanne Shanahan and associate director Ada Gregory will participate in leadership.

“I am thrilled that DukeEngage is becoming a program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics,” Shanahan said in the release. “As long-term program directors in Ireland and New York, Ada and I look forward to working with Professor Piot and the fabulous team at DukeEngage to lead the next chapter of this invaluable undergraduate experience.” 

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