REAC Subcommittee Year 1 Updates

The following summaries describe the background, objectives, and priorities for each Subcommittee of the Racial Equity Advisory Council. As our work has evolved, one persistent question has been how we will know that the practical work of this structure has had a positive impact on the lived experiences of the staff, faculty, and students at Duke. Thus, we begin with a report from the Communications Subcommittee that contains a comprehensive communications plan with a focus on the voices of the people who create the story of Duke University and its evolution towards racial equity. The Communications report will be followed by Climate and Assessment, Education and conclude with a description of plans from the Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee whose principal deliverable is a model for measuring progress across four domains – representation, policies and practices, education, and environment.

We invite every member of the Duke community to reflect on our progress and shared learnings on this journey and on their role in advancing inclusive excellence and our shared values. While we have achieved important milestones there is still much work to be done. We welcome your engagement, your ideas, and your support for one another as we strive together to create a more equitable environment, which is vital to strengthening the education, research, and engagement missions of Duke.

Communications Subcommittee Year 1 Update


The REAC Communications Subcommittee is charged with helping to create transparency and awareness of insights gleaned from the survey and actions Duke is taking in response. This work will be done in collaboration with and support of communicators across Duke.

The current goals of the Communications Subcommittee are as follows:

  1. Increase transparency and engagement related to race and equity work on campus.
  2. Create a shared language and increase efforts to inform and involve each member of the community in racial equity work. 
  3. Create synergy and alignment and maximize capacity by highlighting the many activities occurring across Duke.

Subcommittee Working Groups

To make progress in the areas above, the subcommittee began by splitting into several working groups. The working groups met in the spring of 2022 to determine activities that will inform the ways in which REAC will communicate with and receive communications and feedback from members across the Duke community.

To help accomplish the goals listed in the previous section, the working groups have outlined the following activities and anticipated timelines for completion. The goal of the Subcommittee is to use these activities to build a guide for communicating with audiences across Duke around racial equity work.

Identifying and addressing key audiences with targeted messaging

  • Develop an understanding of existing audiences and how best to communicate with them with relevant channels and messages (fall 2022).

Capturing personal stories and experiences

  • Solicit personal experiences and stories to inform the work of REAC (including alumni) (ongoing, planned launch in fall 2022).
  • Work with communicators across Duke to amplify storytelling as a tool for improving our approaches to racial equity work (ongoing).

Connecting the work to our Duke Values

  • Pull insights and stories from groups and feedback channels across and beyond Duke to understand how Duke Values are reflected in lived experiences at Duke (summer 2022).
  • Reflect on and define how advancing racial equity is core to each Duke Value (fall 2022).

Increasing transparency around how Duke is addressing inequities identified in the 2021 Duke DEI Climate Survey

  • In collaboration with the Climate and Assessment Subcommittee, develop and provide guidelines to unit leaders for sharing data with different audiences (ongoing).
  • Update the Racial Equity website with a progress bar and links to more detail on strategic plans and actions regarding racial equity (fall 2022).

Creating, monitoring, and responding to feedback channels

  • Build an inventory of existing channels for feedback about conduct or bias/discrimination at Duke (fall 2022).
  • Facilitate a meeting of the monitors of these feedback channels to help them understand racial equity feedback and concerns and processes for responding to feedback (spring 2023).
  • Evaluate and update language in each channel’s purpose statement to clarify whether or not the channel is an appropriate place to share insights, feedback, or concerns related to racial equity (spring 2023).

Creating and managing an editorial calendar

  • Outline four initial types of content: Leadership messages, stories about personal experiences, stories about tangible actions and change, and programming/engagement opportunities across Duke (summer 2022).
  • To keep a record of REAC-related communications efforts, create a process for submitting and sharing content with different audiences and communication channels (websites, email, social media, etc.) (summer 2022).

Next Steps

There is a large potential for synergy between the activities outlined above and the work happening in other REAC subcommittees and units across Duke. Noting this, the Communications Subcommittee will also work to pull together information from existing efforts and guidelines across the enterprise with the goal of creating a shared language and unified messaging regarding racial equity efforts at Duke. We anticipate this work will be completed by the summer of 2023.

In addition to rolling out the activities outlined above, the Communications Subcommittee will also work with the REAC Senior Program Coordinator (Hailey Mason) to update the Duke Racial Equity Website (formerly to reflect the evolution of priorities, recommendations, and initiatives across REAC subcommittees.

Climate and Assessment Subcommittee Year 1 Update


The Climate and Assessment (C&A) Subcommittee held the primary charge of assisting units with the roll-out and contextualization of the data from the 2021 Duke Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Climate Survey. The co-chairs of the subcommittee (Merlise Clyde and Sherilynn Black), in collaboration with David Jamieson-Drake, worked extensively with REAC co-chairs Kim Hewitt and Abbas Benmamoun to provide local and central support to units and leaders across the institution as they received access to the survey data.

On January 4, 2022, the C&A Subcommittee collaborated with the Office for Faculty Advancement to hold a full-day retreat for academic leaders to engage in a ‘deep dive’ with the institutional climate data. The retreat included sessions on a range of topics related to the practical needs relating to data access (e.g. navigating Tableau) and on the contextual complexity of working with identity-based climate data (e.g. understanding how the lived experience of different identity groups will shape data outcomes). The retreat served as a launch for many of the local efforts in academic units across the institution. A second retreat, led by the Office for Institutional Equity and supported by members of the C&A Subcommittee, was held on February 10, 2022, and focused on the specific needs of leaders of administrative units. The C&A Subcommittee also collaborated in hosting 4 post-retreat sessions to allow for longitudinal engagement with leaders as they continued work in their local units. The group also met with ECAC to gain additional insight and discuss collaborative efforts for future studies and committee work.

Subcommittee Working Groups

The C&A Subcommittee divided its work into three focused areas: Institutional Data Landscape, Data Deep Dive, and Providing Context and Scope. Summaries for each Working Group include:

Group 1 — Landscape Working Group  

Members: Jeff Ferranti, John Klingensmith, Raphael Valdivia, Jessica Sperling, Molly Weeks, Rebecca Redmond, and David Jamieson-Drake

The Landscape Working Group, led by David Jamieson Drake, has completed an initial assessment of available data from the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) documenting how the data relate to DEI priority areas per REAC (diversity of leadership, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, staff and vendors; pay equity of faculty and staff;  promotion equity of regular rank faculty and staff;  climate for faculty, students, and staff), what is measured, who collects that data, and status of collection/reporting (monthly, annual, etc). The working group plans to identify what additional data and analyses are conducted by individual schools and units and perform a gap analysis in conjunction with a cross-REAC working group to identify what additional data should be collected by Duke to inform and measure DEI efforts.  The working group will also include a summary of the existing instruments that are available for local units to assess different data points. Recommendations include 1) developing web pages to document data sources centrally and transparently that are available within Duke and bear on DEI priority efforts, and 2) making validated instruments available to unit leaders for local use.

Primary deliverable: Initial landscape analysis of institutional data sources (complete)

Next steps: Migrate landscape analysis to website; update to include available local instruments.

Group 2 — Data Deep Dive Working Group

Members: Geeta Swamy, Tomi Akinyemiju, Arnold Tao, Edgar Virguez, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Sandy Darity, Antwan Lofton, Denise Motley, and Merlise Clyde

The Data Deep Dive working group has identified three focal points for analysis to begin in Summer 2022. The first priority is working with OIR and the Landscape WG to summarize population demographics and trends for faculty, student, and staff with data fed from OIR and central sources to 1) provide a public-facing web page to measure changes in diversity and 2) provide additional context for interpreting climate survey results (eg, are measures of satisfaction of respondents related to diversity in units?). The second priority is taking a deeper look at the survey data to see if there are issues that need immediate attention and can be addressed in the near future, as well as exploring follow-up focus groups to supplement qualitative information from the survey and inform future surveys. The third priority is to work with OIR and the Landscape WG to conduct studies on pay equity and promotion/retention for both faculty and staff. These analyses will seek to identify if there are systematic trends in pay equity, promotion, and retention with respect to underrepresentation and provide tools for unit leaders to address pay equity and related issues.

Deliverable: Laid groundwork to begin studies on population demographics and pay equity (complete)

Next steps: Begin work on retention analysis and pay equity study in Summer 2022

Group 3 — Providing Context and Scope Working Group

Members: Adrienne Stiff-Roberts, Rick Larrick, Kate Whetten, Lee Baker, Jay Pearson, Kevin Thomas, Tuere Bowles, Joyce Williams, and Sherilynn Black

The Context working group has prioritized providing support, tools and resources to local leaders to assist in their efforts as they work to understand their unit’s data. This support includes helping unit leaders consider how to begin the process of translating their data into actionable steps and how to best share the information with their constituents. Members of this working group have assisted academic and administrative leaders by addressing many questions and specific needs over the last year, including providing a number of workshops and working sessions to offer continual support. The group is currently working to develop an ‘Implementation Tool Kit’ for unit leaders to assist as they work to create successful initiatives to respond to their unit’s data while also considering the local context and lived experiences of their constituents. The tool kit will serve as a guide to help leaders think deeply and creatively about how to effectively translate their data into actions that will create longitudinal changes in the climate of their unit. The tool kit will potentially serve as an additional resource to partner with the Duke Annual Report on Racial Equity (under development in the Infrastructure and Policy subcommittee).

Deliverables: January 4 and February 10 retreats for unit leaders and 4 follow-up sessions (complete); worked collaboratively with academic and administrative leaders on unit-specific data needs.

Next steps: Continue work on Implementation Toolkit— connected to a rubric developed by the Infrastructure Committee – planned launch Fall 2022

Education Subcommittee Year 1 Update


The REAC Education Subcommittee was initially conceived of as two groups – one focused on training and educational seminars/workshops; and one focused on the curriculum (primarily for students). This subcommittee functioned individually and collaboratively with the support of the co-chairs. It quickly became apparent there was a significant amount of synergy between the groups. The co-chairs determined that merging the groups would be the most appropriate course of action. They implemented the merger in the spring of 2022. The work of this subcommittee as a cohesive unit began in earnest in spring 2022, though there was preliminary relationship building and prioritizing in the fall of 2021.

The original two groups in the REAC Education Subcommittee met individually for the first time in late fall of 2021. Each group followed a racial equity framework for its initial work by engaging in foundational relationship development. It was critical to more deeply understand the expertise of each group and explore potential focal areas. Based on the charge and priorities developed by the REAC proposal team, the groups undertook a prioritizing activity to determine first-year actions. Co-chairs analyzed the responses and notes from the meetings to develop priorities for the 2022 calendar year. There was an overwhelming majority of members from both groups who listed the mapping project as the #1 priority for the coming year. The full subcommittee (comprising the two merged groups) is now implementing this priority.

Subcommittee Working Groups

The mapping project entails creating a database of educational activities across the enterprise focused on racial equity and anti-racism work. The subcommittee had rich discussions about the importance of moving work forward while making sure we have a comprehensive understanding of previous and current work underway in the Duke community. It was ultimately decided that it was critical to be able to identify gaps and opportunities around racial equity and anti-racism work, learning, and development. This effort would be critical not only to inform resource allocation decisions and communication, but to guide community members in their involvement and accountability in those efforts.

The subcommittee split into timeline-directed working groups: 1) Content and Constituencies, 2) Instrument Development, and 3) Tool Deployment. These groups will be activated consecutively and build upon the work of one another for the completion of this project. The work of these groups is detailed in the sections below. To supplement this work, the Education Subcommittee co-chairs (Leigh-Anne Royster and Charmaine Royal) and the REAC Senior Program Coordinator (Hailey Mason) have also met with a group working on a different but complementary mapping exercise in the Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC). This group, led by fellows, has created a keyword search process by which we are able to narrow and search for existing opportunities around a wide variety of educational engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion topics and issues. The tool allows the Duke community to see trends in usage over time as well. This group will continue to partner with the PDC to support the establishment of evergreen mapping tools around DEI education for the Duke community.

Group 1 — Content and Constituencies

Members: Judy Seidenstein, Gary Bennett, Shawn Miller, Kim Manturuk, Eileen Chow, Patara Williams, and Melyssa Minto

The Content and Constituencies Working Group has begun its work and has developed the content domains and determined the groups that would respond to the instrument. The group finalized the process for the most efficient response rate to the mapping instrument.

Deliverables: Identified domains and people best suited to respond to the mapping initiative (complete)

Next steps: Continue working with the Instrument Development group to create the final tool

Group 2 — Instrument Development

Members: Ashleigh Rosette, Shruti Desai, Keisha Williams, Shawn Miller, Kim Manturuk, Spenser Darden, Grainne Fitzsimons, and Melyssa Minto

The Instrument Development working group is currently continuing the work of the first group by taking the content domains and building them into a tool for collecting information from units. We anticipate them handing over the finalized instrument to the Tool Deployment group in July 2022.

Deliverables: Finalized mapping instrument in several forms (in progress)

Next steps: Continue work with the Tool Deployment group to support their pilot of the mapping tool in collaboration with the Policy and Infrastructure Subcommittee

Group 3 – Tool Deployment

Members: Brigit Carter, Luke Powery, Troy Austin, Jane Boswick-Caffrey, Karis Boyd-Sinkler, Rebecca Rich, Eileen Chow, Nicolette Cagle, David Emmanuel Goatley, Dawna Jones, Patara Williams, and Valerie Howard

The Tool Deployment group will meet this summer to review the tool, finalize plans for dissemination and implementation, and merge the mapping tool with the assessment tool from the Policy and Infrastructure Subcommittee (see subsection titled Group 1—Duke Annual Report on Racial Equity in the Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee update). The groups will determine the final list of pilot units to receive the mapping tool and the assessment tool. The current recommended units are Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, School of Law or Fuqua School of Business, Department of Medicine, Duke Regional Hospital, and Finance and Administration. The co-chairs of the Education Subcommittee along with the REAC Senior Program Coordinator  join each working group meeting and will finalize the instrument and oversee the coordination with the Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee to initiate the pilot by fall 2022.

Deliverables: Outlined plan for tool deployment to select departments (in progress)

Next steps: Develop a follow-up plan for deployment of the mapping tool with additional units/departments

Next Steps

The mapping implementation will begin in the fall semester of 2022. The Education Subcommittee anticipates several working groups developing over the course of the semester focused on the next priorities:

  1. To produce a strategic plan and timeline with deliverables across 1, 3, and 5 years engaging the Duke goals around Racial Equity
  2. Explore ways to make our curricula equitable and inclusive of diverse voices and perspectives and determine ways to engage each school to reimagine its curriculum in terms of racial equity.

In addition to the next priorities, as listed in the activities above, the Education Subcommittee is collaborating with the Policy and Infrastructure Subcommittee to pilot the “assessment of unit growth” in conjunction with the “mapping project”. The Education co-chairs developed the evaluation quadrant of the assessment tool to complement the activities of the mapping activity. This will streamline information collection in the fall and allow both committees to maximize the understanding of racial equity work across the Duke community.

Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee Year 1 Update


The original charge of the Infrastructure and Policy subcommittee was to examine the capacity and structural support for strategic initiatives to advance racial equity, importantly recruitment and retention, professional growth and advancement, and to review institutional policies and practices that address equity and are connected to accountability structures. This subcommittee was also to be focused on the levers that influence and sustain systemic change and work to identify ways that the institution can align its stated commitments to equity to its actual work and support of the lived experience of each member of the campus community. This work would include identifying gaps and opportunities in the infrastructure of the institution necessary to advance the overall commitments.

Subcommittee Working Groups

As part of our work, the Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee, informed by the results of the Climate Survey, created two subgroups in the first year of the Racial Equity Advisory Council (REAC).

Group 1 — Duke Annual Report on Racial Equity (DARRE)

Members: Erica Taylor, Ed Balleisen, Shanna Fitzpatrick, Nicholas Chrapliwy, Rick Larrick, Abbas Benmamoun, Hailey Mason, and Kim Hewitt.

The purpose of the first subgroup was to identify institution-wide metrics and use them to measure progress at the local level on racial equity.  The central work of this subgroup was to surface and review models from other institutions, including some outside of higher education that could be adapted and tailored to Duke and its different units and divisions for us to discuss with the full subcommittee.   Recognizing the relative differences between academic units on the University-side, School of Medicine, DUHS, and administrative units we wanted to consider how the models could be adapted for each environment or the possibility of multiple versions tailored to the units relative to their own mission, constituencies, and structure. We also concluded that it would be critical that much of the information needed to populate the model would need to come from centralized resources in order to reduce the burden on the units.  Additionally, the subgroup recognized the importance of making determinations about at what level the information would ultimately be gathered and shared publicly.  Notably, some of the unit groupings utilized in reporting the Climate Survey results did not align best with how those units typically operate within the University.

The Subgroup has developed a proposed model inspired by a variety of approaches we considered from higher education and broader industry efforts.  This summer our Subcommittee will work with Institutional Research to run the Duke Annual Report on Racial Equity (DARRE)  for units across two to three departments in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, School of Law and/or Fuqua School of Business, Department of Medicine, one unit in the Duke University Health System, and one administrative unit.

Group 2 — Salary Equity and Advancement Opportunities

Members: Jennifer Francis, Betsy Hames, Antwan Lofton, David Bowersox, Tracy Futhey, Kim Hewitt, Hailey Mason, Abbas Benmamoun, and John Noonan.

The purpose of the second subgroup is to consider various ideas in response to the Climate Survey results on salary equity and advancement opportunities and to identify 2-3 recommendations to forward to the Racial Equity Advisory Council. Discussions in Subcommittee meetings further confirmed the complexities within faculty and staff roles, so the recommendations may differ according to scope, role, and employee group.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the 2021 Duke Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Climate Survey agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel underpaid for my work.”  See for the demographic breakdown in response to this question. Fifty-six percent of the overall respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel the criteria for advancement/promotion are clearly communicated.”  The degree to which Hispanic and Black respondents agree with the statement is much lower as you can see on the website as well.

In the January 13, 2022 meeting of the Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee, we created three breakout groups representing faculty, staff, and students and discussed the following three prompts in relation to these data:

  • Why do you think the survey results revealed that high percentages of the community reported dissatisfaction with compensation and opportunities for advancement?
  • What are the specific issues/questions we should be asking this community (faculty, staff, and students) relative to compensation and advancement?
  • How do we counter the perception that salaries are low if it is not the case and how do we address concerns about low salaries if it is the case?

Based on the discussion it was clear that there is an acute need for greater transparency and clarity about Duke’s salary setting and adjustment process and how competitive we are relative to our higher education peers for faculty and staff roles. The subgroup discussed various sources for this information and the prospective audiences. In addition, the subgroup considered other resources and evaluations that would be responsive to these data and what should be prioritized and ultimately recommended to the executive leadership (i.e., a job family study, criteria and processes for adjusting compensation, evaluation of existing professional development resources, additional programming to address advancement).   We are aware of the need for confidentiality and the ways our capacity limitations have impacted our progress in the context of a very demanding market for hiring and retaining critical employees. However, we are also critically aware of the need to demonstrate that the University is going to be proactive in response to the survey data in this space in ways that go beyond reporting on existing practices, thus the Climate and Assessment Subcommittee will conduct studies of pay equity and promotion/retention for both faculty and staff led by Merlise Clyde.

Next Steps

Identifying innovative approaches to address concerns about advancement opportunities is a priority for the Infrastructure and Policy Subcommittee as we enter year two.  We will need to coordinate across REAC Subcommittees to consider how we evaluate existing programs and what we need to do to gather information about what kind of programming is needed in order to be responsive to community members who are struggling to identify opportunities for advancement at Duke.