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Bass Society Seminar on Teaching Excellence

Duke launches a new faculty-led seminar on pedagogy

“It’s not the case that you need to choose between being a great scholar and a great teacher,” notes Dean Gary G. Bennett, “In fact, I personally believe that is not the case.” The Trinity College of Arts & Sciences leader kicked off the inaugural Bass Society Seminar on Teaching Excellence in January with a conversation about “Combining Teaching and Research."

The Bass Society of Fellows introduced the new teaching seminar series – each session led by a Bass Fellow with three sessions focusing on teaching and research, extending the classroom, and navigating controversy in teaching spaces.  

Rebecca Stein leads facultu workshop on navigating difficult subjects in the classroom.
Professor Rebecca Stein

“Recognizing and seeing your students as they show up in the space is very important when teaching controversial topics," noted Rebecca Stein, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, during her talk in March. Stein led a seminar session discussing the nature of controversy in the classroom. She shared her lessons learned and the approaches she’s found conducive to learning, drawing on more than two decades of teaching on Palestine and Israel. 

Peter Feaver leads workshop on expanding the classroom
Professor Peter Feaver

Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Director of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy, reviewed his “Feaver’s Laws of Pedagogy” during his Bass Seminar session, titled "Extending the Classroom."

“Extending the classroom by active learning exercises is a lot of work,” states Feaver, “But I think the payoff is better if we want to activate and awaken student interest.”  

The Bass Seminar’s three interactive teaching sessions were attended by more than 40 faculty members. The series sparked great conversation and allowed faculty to discuss their pedagogy strategies with peers from across Duke.

The Student-Faculty Engagement Office, in collaboration with the Office of Faculty Advancement, offered these seminars. If you are interested in attending , please visit the Bass Society Seminar on Teaching Excellence page or email the Student-Faculty Engagement Office at