The Bass Society Seminar on Teaching Excellence highlights successful teaching strategies through expert-led, interactive sessions. Bass Society of Fellows are Duke faculty who have each been recognized for excellence in teaching undergraduates and have a distinguished record of scholarship. A Bass Fellow leads each seminar session, outlining an aspect of their successful teaching strategies.

Space is limited, and registration is required. Junior faculty are encouraged to attend. Lunch is provided for registrants. For any questions, contact the Student-Faculty Engagement Office at

Spring 2024 Seminar Sessions

Combining Teaching and Research
led by Gary Bennett, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences with an introduction from Provost Alec Gallimore
Monday, January 22nd, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm      
Rubenstein Arts Center, Ruby Lounge 

Extending the Classroom
led by Peter Feaver, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
Tuesday, February 13th, 12:00 pm  - 1:15 pm  
Rubenstein Library, Breedlove Conference Room, Room 349 

If we are serious about Duke’s mission in cultivating a community of life-long learners, then we must recognize that most of that learning for most of the rest of their life will happen outside the classroom.  Duke’s Program in American Grand Strategy takes that insight seriously and tries to construct learning opportunities that are based outside the classroom and in venues that involve intergenerational learning (including involving alums).  When it works, it is great, but it is hard to pull off and easy to get wrong – and Peter Feaver will share examples of both types of outcomes.

Controversy in the Classroom
led by Rebecca Stein, Ph.D.,  Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Wednesday, March 6th, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm  
Brodhead Center, Bolton Family Tower Room

What are best practices for teaching controversial subjects in our undergraduate classrooms?  How does one foster a rich and open space for learning on difficult subjects, while remaining sensitive to the range of student viewpoints and lived experiences?  What strategies might we employ that maximize student exploration and listening, while minimizing classroom polarization?  Rebecca Stein will lead this open discussion drawing on more than two decades of teaching on Palestine and Israel.  This session will also involve a group conversation in which participants will share strategies from their own classroom experiences.