The Bass Connections Model


To create a distinctive new model for education, predicated on collaborative and interdisciplinary inquiry, that actively engages students in the exploration of big, unanswered questions about major societal challenges


To elevate the importance of exploring societal and cultural challenges by:

  • Engaging faculty, undergraduate students, graduate/professional students and trainees in teamwork
  • Integrating disciplinary approaches and professional practice
  • Applying knowledge, research and skills in problem-solving, with engagement from community partners


  1. Students and trainees at all levels gain problem-centered expertise and team-oriented skills and then use them to pursue research across disciplines that explore societal and cultural challenges.
  2. Faculty members integrate interdisciplinary education, research and outreach to explore societal and cultural challenges within specific themes. 
  3. Themes support and administer project teams and develop curricular pathways into, through and beyond teams, fostering cohesive, problem-centered education for students and trainees.
  4. Duke administration, departments, schools and institutes make infrastructure and programmatic changes that facilitate, sustain and promote the above objectives.

Program Evaluation

An annual evaluation helps Bass Connections leadership to improve the program and to understand its impact on students, faculty and the societal issues addressed through the projects.