Strategic Goal 3: Environment of Inclusion and Support

Create an inclusive environment where students from all walks of life can have a sense of belonging and the support they need to succeed, and where diversity is valued as a strength and a means to achieving the university’s mission


The Duke Graduate School is dedicated to and benefits from a student population diverse in background, culture, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and work and life experiences. The school’s focus is not only on assembling a diverse student body, but also creating an inclusive environment in which students from all walks of life can feel like they belong at Duke and thrive once they get here.

The school has an established history of addressing the needs of students from underrepresented races and ethnicities, as well as the needs of LGBTQ students. It has achieved some success on those fronts. Its students from underrepresented groups generally graduate at the same rate and in the same amount of time as the school’s general student population. In 2015, The Graduate School was recognized by Duke’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity for its efforts in creating inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ community. In the same year, the school also received an award from the American Historical Association for two decades of success in recruiting and graduating history doctoral students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

The school recognizes, however, that there is still significant progress to be made. Duke at large understands this as well, as the university’s new academic strategic plan spoke of the need to strengthen efforts to diversify its graduate and professional schools and address issues of access and affordability.

To achieve both its own goals and the university’s goals, TGS needs to continue its efforts to recruit more students from underrepresented groups. It also should continue collaborating with units across campus to make those students an integrated part of the Duke community and provide them with the support and resources they need to succeed. Furthermore, the school recognizes that there are other groups of students at Duke who may need additional support, such as graduate student veterans, first-generation graduate school students, and students with disabilities. As the needs of various groups evolve, the school must position itself to address those needs.

Objective 3.1: Communicate the value of diversity and inclusion through training and education for faculty, staff, and students


A. Conduct implicit bias training for DGSs and faculty on an ongoing basis

B. Continue to enhance the diversity and inclusion section on the school website, providing resources for students, faculty, and staff

C. Identify national leaders in diversity and inclusion and invite them to Duke to share their perspectives with faculty and staff

D. Continue to include in RCR training relevant topics such implicit bias, Title IX, and campus climate

Key Performance Indicators

A. Have at least one TGS staff member complete “train-the-trainer” program for implicit bias through the Duke Office for Institutional Equity when that becomes available

B. Launch of expanded diversity and inclusion section on

C. Campus visits from national leaders in diversity and inclusion efforts

D. Inclusion of diversity- and inclusion-related topics in RCR training

E. Addition of significant implicit bias training in all four required RCR orientation sessions to give all TGS students meaningful, early introduction to that topic

F. Addition of implicit bias training at RCR orientation for graduate students at Duke Kunshan in consultation with DKU leadership and faculty

Objective 3.2: Foster a sense of belonging and connection across the increasingly diverse populations of students, faculty, and alumni


A. Provide programming, coursework, and counseling to support the whole student

B. Empower students with knowledge and skills to thrive in diverse environments

Key Performance Indicators

A. Annual offerings of courses and workshops

B. Evaluation of existing programming

C. Feedback from students

Objective 3.3: Promote the success of students from traditionally underrepresented groups


A. Increase enrollment of students from traditionally underrepresented groups

B. Provide students with sufficient funding to complete their graduate studies in a timely manner

C. Promote an academic and social environment where these scholars can flourish

D. Use data on student success to identify areas for improvement

Key Performance Indicators

A. Aggregate and program-specific data on the success of underrepresented groups of students, such as application, admission, matriculation, retention, completion rate, time to degree, and placement

B. Data from Duke OPTIONS about students’ professional development

C. Student participation in TGS programs


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