Interim Report on the Undergraduate Experience at Duke University

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Beginning in March 2007, the Provost’s office met with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to discuss the findings and recommendations of the Campus Culture Initiative Task Force Report. These meetings informed the administration of a range of perceptions of social life at Duke, a range of views on the proposed recommendations, what different constituencies see of value in the Duke undergraduate experience, and thoughts about what can be improved and how to achieve that improvement.

Duke places a priority on building a sense of community among students, faculty and staff, creating opportunities to focus on issues of difference and respect, race and gender, and the processes by which students develop values and learn to act in ways that are consistent with those values. The discussions revealed the importance of space – housing, dining and social – to achieving these aspirations for the Duke experience. They also showed that additional attention needs to be given to formal and informal ways in which students and faculty interact; a process for exploring these issues is being developed separately.

This document is intended to frame discussions with students, faculty, staff, and alumni during the 2007 fall semester. Over the next two months, the Provost and/or Dean of Undergraduate Education will lead open forums with the quads on West Campus, the neighborhoods on East Campus, and with students living off campus. These discussions will focus on concrete options. The following questions are designed to begin these conversations, focusing on options for housing, dining, and social spaces.

  • There are about 2800 beds on West Campus and 1700 sophomores, and the current policy is that all sophomores must live on West. Recent thinking about Central Campus is that it would be designed principally for seniors. Should this model be reconsidered in a way that allows for the option that both campuses can support interclass living?
  • What housing model best optimizes the experience of independent students and students wishing to live in selectives, theme houses, and blocks on the West and Central campuses? What additional theme houses are of interest to students?
  • What are the appropriate expectations for serving the larger Duke community for groups that are allocated space?
  • What combination of venues – from those emphasizing individual convenience (i.e., “grab-and-go” options) to those emphasizing community connections (i.e., “sit down and eat”) – should comprise the dining options on the West and Central campuses?








Duke University. Office of the Provost (2007). Interim Report on the Undergraduate Experience at Duke University. Retrieved from