Bass Connections Inspires New Teaching, Research

June 15, 2015

Five years into a doctoral program in history, Duke graduate student Jonathon Free has learned the scholar’s life can be a marathon.

But a recent six-week Bass Connections project taught him it can be a sprint as well.

Bass Connections meshes faculty, graduate and undergraduate students of varying backgrounds and expertise levels to examine real-world issues. Free stepped briefly off the dissertation treadmill last summer to work with a Bass team evaluating the work of federal regulatory agencies—a topic that dovetailed nicely with his primary area of study, American coal mining in the 1970s.

The team did research, went to Washington, D.C., to observe a Congressional hearing and interview federal regulators, and wrote papers that will eventually be published in an upcoming text.

Free says now it was a turbo-charged experience that changed how he views the pace of scholarship.

Read Eric Ferreri’s article in Duke Today.