Bass Connections Open

Interdisciplinary Themes

Bass Connections projects, courses and summer programs are aligned with the following themes:

Bass Connections Open supports interdisciplinary, team-based research projects and courses that fall outside the scope of the existing themes. This experimental channel is designed to identify percolating areas of interest not addressed by the current themes.

As part of Bass Connections Open, we also issue occasional special calls for proposals related to emerging issues of societal importance (otherwise known as a “pop-up” theme). Past pop-up themes have yielded research teams related to hurricane recovery and resilience (with a specific focus on the local impacts of Hurricane Florence); immigration; and the COVID-19 pandemic.



Bass Connections Open Project Teams

Working on math.

This project team will investigate internal and external factors that contribute to students’ math identities and increase awareness of these factors. Read more about Assessing and Improving Girls' and Women's Math Identity (2022-2023) »

Meeting in progress.

This project team will adapt the CenteringPregnancy group model, traditionally used as an outpatient service, to an inpatient antepartum service by expanding a pilot study performed in 2019-2020. Read more about Centering Pregnancy: Establishing an Inpatient Model at Duke (2022-2023) »

Health Problems Caused by Hypertension.

This project team will focus on the policy implications of a January 2022 ruling from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Read more about Closing the Gap on Health Disparity and Outcomes in Hypertension (2022-2023) »

Aerial view of downtown Durham.

This team will examine current research partnerships processes and practices at Duke and in the Durham community to consider mechanisms for enhancing the availability, success and equitable practice of these partnerships. Read more about Equitable University-Community Research Partnerships (2022-2023) »

Saving Faces Art Project by Mark Gilbert.

This project team will address the care gaps of patients with head and neck cancer by synthesizing available evidence across disability studies, theology, head and neck surgery, epidemiology and palliative care. Read more about Evaluating Faith-Based Needs of Patients With Head and Neck Cancer (2022-2023) »

Image: Interventional Radiology.

This project team will use a mixed-method approach to comprehensively characterize financial toxicity among health disparity populations of sexual and gender minority older adults, people living with dementia, people with mental health conditions and their associated caregivers. Read more about Financial Burden in Patients With Health Disparities (2022-2023) »

Holding hands.

This project team will build on cross-sector early childhood research to address the scarcity of child-focused developmental and behavioral health services and the complexities in navigating service bureaucracies. Read more about Improving Access to Behavioral and Mental Health Services for Latinx Children in NC (2022-2023) »

Multi-Nucleated Muscle Cells Grown in Culture.

This project team will establish the framework for developing an interdisciplinary laboratory space for artists at Duke and expand the repertoire of practiced-based research methods in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies to include the media and techniques from the biological... Read more about Laboratory Art in Practice: Building a Model for the Art/Science Lab at Duke (2022-2023) »

Collaborating group.

This project team aims to employ an equity-centered innovation approach to create solutions across social sectors, thereby elevating the voices of stakeholders who have traditionally been excluded from problem-solving and decision-making processes. Read more about Open Design Studio: Participatory Solutions for Human Flourishing (2022-2023) »


This project team will expand Project Vox beyond individual philosophers, highlighting philosophical ideas that arose through conversation and collaboration. Read more about Project Vox: Conducting Philosophical Research on the Margins (2022-2023) »

Pelvic diagram.

This project team will focus on developing treatments to help women manage pain and changes that occur following cancer treatment and childbirth. Read more about Promoting Sexual Function and Pelvic Health in Women's Healthcare (2022-2023) »

Patient care.

This project team will develop and implement a roadmap for goals of care conversations for patients with serious illness in Duke Health. Read more about REGAIN: Roadmap for Evaluating Goals in Advanced Illness Navigation (2022-2023) »

Dream puppet by Marina Tsaplina. Photograph by Brian Christianson (Orion Magazine, December 2021).

This project team will explore ecological consciousness, disability and embodiment through the creation of an interactive, multisite puppetry installation that incorporates innovative technologies and site-specific histories, sounds and communities. Read more about Socially Engaged Art and Tech at the Intersections of Ecology, Disability and History (2022-2023) »

Bass Connections Open Courses

Gateway Courses

EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication

Spring 2022
Instructor: Michael Rizk

In this course, students work in a team to learn and apply the engineering design process to solve an open-ended, client-based problem drawn from a community partner. Read more about Engineering Design and Communication »

EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication

Fall 2021
Instructor: Multiple

In this course, students work in a team to learn and apply the engineering design process to solve an open-ended, client-based problem drawn from a community partner. Read more about Engineering Design and Communication »

Other Undergraduate Courses

CULANTH 389S: Food, Culture and Society

Fall 2021
Instructor: Luciana Fellin

This DukeImmerse course provides a broad overview of food as culture and its role in society. Exploration of the intersections between food and identity from gender, ethnic, class, religious and political identities to how people use food to develop a sense of themselves as ethical beings. The... Read more about Food, Culture and Society »

ECE 495-08: Introduction to Robotics

Fall 2021
Instructor: Siobhan Oca

This introductory course is a challenging introduction to basic concepts used broadly in robotics and is valuable for students who wish to work in the area.  Read more about Introduction to Robotics »

HISTORY 235: Drugs, Chemicals and Health

Fall 2021
Instructor: Evan Hepler-Smith

This course asks how we might think historically about synthetic chemicals, natural alternatives and the benefits and hazards they pose to human health, society and environments. Read more about Drugs, Chemicals and Health »

I&E 252: Learning to Fail

Fall 2021
Instructor: Amanda Starling Gould

Most people spend their lives afraid of failing. Yet, many of the world’s most successful people failed numerous times on their paths toward success. The underlying question of this class is if failing is as antithetical to learning as we’re taught to believe. To explore this question, we will test... Read more about Learning to Fail »

I&E 290-03: Innovation, Product and Design

Fall 2021
Instructor: Edward Timke and Megan Kelly Deyncourt

Through this exploratory course, students will foster a learning mindset by expanding their self-awareness and enhancing their teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. Read more about Innovation, Product and Design »

I&E 295S-01: Arts Entrepreneurship

Spring 2022
Instructor: Douglas Green, John Supko

In this course, small teams of students from different fields will work together on an arts-based entrepreneurial project. The goal of the course is to create a business plan and launch ventures in areas of the arts. Read more about Arts Entrepreneurship »

PHIL 204: The Modern Canon: Listening to Neglected Voices

Fall 2021
Instructor: Andrew Janiak

Why are some philosophers from history famous and others unknown?Students will learn about the creation of the "canon" during the 17th and 18th centuries. They will also learn how to research and write about neglected figures from the philosophical past. Read more about The Modern Canon: Listening to Neglected Voices »

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

I&E 510: Social Innovation Practicum

Spring 2022
Instructor: Matt Nash, Paul Bloom

In the Social Innovation Practicum, students learn about and support the design, development, assessment and scaling of innovative, sustainable approaches to addressing critical social and environmental problems in Durham and around the world. Read more about Social Innovation Practicum »

I&E 590-02: New Ventures Clinic-Healthcare

Fall 2020
Instructor: Rob Hallford, Sharlini Sankaran

The New Ventures Clinic - Healthcare is an opportunity for students to work on commercialization plans for technologies developed at Duke University, in particular in the areas of therapeutics (pharmaceuticals), diagnostics and medical devices. Read more about New Ventures Clinic-Healthcare »

ISS 315-01: Mapping History with Geographic Information Systems

Fall 2021
Instructor: Ed Triplett

This is a beginner/intermediate Geographic Information System (GIS) course designed to help students learn how to investigate history spatially. The course will emphasize perspectives, procedures and tools that are relevant to applications of GIS in Art History and Humanistic disciplines. Read more about Mapping History with Geographic Information Systems »

PUBPOL 590-03: Well-being Economics

Spring 2022
Instructor: Dirk Philipsen

How do we build an economy that prioritizes human welfare over economic growth? How do we serve ecological, economic and social goals within corresponding constraints? How do we understand and evaluate progress? Read more about Well-being Economics »

Graduate Courses

NURSING 484-001: Interprofessional Care of the Critically Ill Patient across the Lifespan 

Spring 2022
Instructor: Lisa S Lewis, Margory A Molloy, Christina Rae Leonard

This course will help students design and provide holistic, evidence-based nursing care to individuals with complex health problems across the lifespan and across care settings. Students collaborate with members of the health care team to plan, implement and evaluate the care provided to... Read more about Interprofessional Care of the Critically Ill Patient across the Lifespan   »

PUBPOL 830-11: The Role of the Federal Reserve in Community Development

Spring 2022
Instructor: Pope McCorkle

This seminar will explore how the nation’s central bank works to solve critical community development challenges facing the country, including expanding the supply of affordable housing, increasing small business lending and reducing inequality, while introducing master’s students to potential... Read more about The Role of the Federal Reserve in Community Development »