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Here's what to know about Duke's top five recent administrative changes

<p>Clockwise from top left: Suzanne Barbour (Courtesy of Duke Today), Gary Bennett (Courtesy of Duke Photography), Jerome Lynch (Courtesy of Duke Today), A. Eugene Washington (Courtesy of Duke Today), Sally Kornbluth (Abigail Bromberger/The Chronicle)</p>

Clockwise from top left: Suzanne Barbour (Courtesy of Duke Today), Gary Bennett (Courtesy of Duke Photography), Jerome Lynch (Courtesy of Duke Today), A. Eugene Washington (Courtesy of Duke Today), Sally Kornbluth (Abigail Bromberger/The Chronicle)

Change is abound within the Duke administration. From the University side to Duke Health leadership, there have been a handful of personnel changes in the last year. 

With the arrival of several incoming administrators this semester and national searches for others already underway, The Chronicle took a look at the five biggest recent administrative shifts.

Duke’s provost

Duke’s biggest change of the guard is with its provost, the second in command to President Vincent Price. In October 2022, the University announced that Provost Sally Kornbluth would be leaving to become the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Kornbluth assumed that role on Jan. 1.

Provosts run the academic show of universities, and Kornbluth did just that as Duke’s most powerful administrator after Price. From 2014 to 2022, Kornbluth oversaw Duke’s teaching and research missions through its 10 schools as the first woman to hold the post.

Kornbluth’s impact at Duke stretched far beyond the oversight of Duke’s academic structures, though. She is responsible for the development of Duke Kunshan University, has given the green light for transformational student life initiatives including QuadEx and has worked to make the University’s faculty more diverse.

As Duke looks towards its second century, finding the right fit to execute and add to Price’s strategic framework is of top priority. The University said that it would begin a nationwide search for Kornbluth's successor in an October release. Until then, Executive Vice Provost Jennifer Francis will serve as interim provost. 

Duke Health’s president

The Duke University Health System will also undergo a leadership change this year. 

A. Eugene Washington, chancellor for health affairs and president and chief executive officer of Duke Health, will step down from his current position at the end of June. Washington is currently Duke’s second highest-paid employee. A national search for his successor is in progress. 

The success of Duke Health has historically been a major driver of the University’s financial stability. Among the University’s schools, the School of Medicine directly relies upon funding from the DUHS.

Recently, however, Duke Health’s operating performance “continues to be a challenge,” according to Vice President for Finance Rachel Satterfield at an April Academic Council meeting. Executive Vice President Daniel Ennis said in the meeting that he was confident in Duke Health’s leadership to chart the path through its financial dip.

The next chief executive will be tasked with guiding Duke Health's fiscal stability, as well as to add upon Washington’s successes in overseeing the securing of research funding for the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing. 

Dean of Trinity College

Kornbluth is not the only administrator to depart Duke for a university presidency. In August, Valerie Ashby, the University’s former dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences left to become the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Gary Bennett, who is currently vice provost for undergraduate education, was appointed by Kornbluth before her departure as Trinity College’s next dean. Bennett will assume his new role on Feb. 3.

Trinity College is the larger of the University’s two undergraduate colleges with about 80% of Duke undergraduates enrolled. It is also the home for Duke’s departments in the natural sciences, arts and humanities and social sciences. That means that Trinity’s dean is responsible for not only overseeing the education of the majority of Duke undergraduate students, but also facilitating the research efforts of over 600 faculty members. 

During his term, Bennett will oversee the construction of an entirely new Duke undergraduate curriculum — a shift of such magnitude which last happened in 2000, when Duke last revamped its undergraduate curriculum.

Bennett will be able to draw upon his experience as the leader of Duke’s Office of Undergraduate Education as his role expands to serve all involved in Trinity College. As vice provost for undergraduate education, Bennett worked to make the undergraduate experience more equitable for students. Bennett is also responsible for tying the undergraduate education experience at Duke in with Student Affairs, primarily through his work on QuadEx with Mary Pat McMahon, vice president and vice provost of student affairs.

Until Bennett’s term begins, Trinity College is led by Professor of Biology Mohamed Noor, who has stated his commitment to upholding the decisions made during Ashby’s time as dean.

Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering

While Trinity College will get its new, permanent leader later this year, students and faculty in the Pratt School of Engineering got their new dean at the beginning of 2022. 

Vinik Dean of Engineering Jerome Lynch was appointed to his position on Jan. 1, 2022, coming from the University of Michigan. At the University of Michigan, Lynch was the chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering. 

He now oversees the four departments within Pratt, which serve approximately 1,300 undergraduate students. Pratt also sponsors several graduate degree programs, serving approximately 1,500 students.

Lynch said that during his time as dean, he is committed to improving diversity efforts within Pratt, which includes increasing diversity among faculty members. Lynch said that he also wants to bolster Pratt’s commitment to tackle climate change through research. 

Lynch succeeds Ravi Bellamkonda, who left Duke after five years to become the provost of Emory University.

Dean of the Graduate School

Along with the changing leadership of Duke’s undergraduate schools, the past year saw the arrival of a new dean of the Graduate School.

Suzanne Barbour was appointed dean in September, succeeding Paula McClain. Barbour is focused on making the Graduate School a place to prepare students for a wide range of careers, not just within academia. 

Barbour's arrival comes amid increased unionization efforts among graduate students, with recent calls from the Duke Graduate Students Union for National Labor Relations Board recognition and demands for support from Duke against the rising cost of living. 

Adway S. Wadekar profile
Adway S. Wadekar | News Editor

Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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