Context and Connections

Each fall the Service-Learning Program hosts Context and Connections: an Immersive Experience for Duke Faculty in Durham, an "engaged" bus tour of Durham for new Duke faculty and those interested in deepening their own knowledge of and connections to the Durham community and in exploring connections with their teaching, research, and service. Some of our previous year photos are posted on our Facebook page.

Led by Sam Miglarese (Director of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership), Mayme Webb-Bledsoe (Neighborhood Coordinator with the DDNP), and Barbara Lau (Director of the Pauli Murray Project), the tours are designed to unearth and provoke discussion about many of Durham’s untold stories, as well as highlighting Duke’s past, present, and future involvement in the community. Several stops allow participants to explore unique Durham sites, and each tour ends in an informal lunch with community leaders downtown. Nonprofit leaders, elected officials, municipal employees, activists, small business people, and educators join us for discussion about Durham's assets and challenges, and the relationship between Duke and Durham.

Over the course of the tour, lunch, and time for reflection and conversation, participants gain a deeper sense of what makes this community tick, where their personal and scholarly interests fit in, and how they might begin to develop or strengthen authentic, reciprocal, and transformative partnerships.

“Context and Connections” is hosted by Duke Service-Learning with the support of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, the Pauli Murray Project, Trinity College’s Forum for Scholars & Publics, Cook Center on Social Equity, and Duke Office of Civic Engagement.

What Participants Say

"Thank you all for such an invigorating experience today. Always good to remind myself of what I don’t know and what I want to continue to interrogate even as I think I know it about places, spaces and communities."

"If this isn't a mandatory part of new faculty orientation, it SHOULD BE."

"I was struck by the extent of Duke's involvement with Durham..."

"I was aware of the race/class diversities in Durham on a very shallow level, but this tour helped me understand much more."

"I appreciated the honesty of the tour---hearing the ups and downs of relationships and history."

"This anti-tour really helped me understand the relationship and history between Duke and Durham and gave me many dreams and visions of how to have students become more involved..."