The Duke Board of Trustees formally approved the awarding of earned degrees and had an in-depth session on faculty at its quarterly meeting that concluded Saturday afternoon.
The online program also marked the last board meeting for Jack O. Bovender Jr. who has been chair since 2017 and is retiring after 14 years of service on the university’s governing body. He will be succeeded on July 1, 2021 by Laurene Sperling, who currently serves as a vice chair of the board.
The conferring of more than 5,700 degrees comes in the middle of a unique three-week graduation “season” at Duke necessitated by COVID-19 limitations on large events. The undergraduate commencement took place on May 2, and Duke’s graduate and professional schools are holding individual ceremonies through May 22.
In the board’s business meeting, President Vincent E. Price, Provost Sally Kornbluth, Executive Vice Provost Jennifer Francis, and Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement Abbas Benmamoun led a wide-ranging overview of faculty at the university, with particular focus on the recruitment, review and tenure process, diversity, faculty governance and finances. This is part of the board’s ongoing focus on strategic education and engagement, which in prior meetings has included such topics as anti-racism and equity, Duke Health and the university’s finances.
In other business, the board:
- Received preliminary reports from the three strategic forces that have met over the past year: Climate Change and Sustainability, Duke and Durham Today and Tomorrow, and Duke’s Centennial Celebration;
- Approved the university’s fiscal year 2021-22 operating and capital budgets, which include the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing but not Duke Hospital and other clinical components of the Duke University Health System;
- Recognized departing trustees Bovender, Ralph Eads, Paul Farmer, Janet Hill, Peter Kahn, and Martha Monserrate, and elected each of them Trustee Emeritus;
- Recognized Kevin White, who is retiring at the end of August after 13 years as Vice President and Director of Athletics, and elected him Vice President and Director of Athletics Emeritus, effective September 1, 2021;
- Approved a Resolution of Tribute to Carlee Goldberg (T’22) for her selection as a Truman Scholar;
- Heard updates from university leadership on progress related to Duke’s anti-racism and equity commitments and the Duke Science and Technology Initiative;
- Reviewed Duke’s COVID-19-related activities and plans for the next academic year.