Team Resource Center

One of the key goals of Bass Connections is to provide students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in teams to solve complex societal challenges.

Recognizing that Bass Connections teams offer a unique type of team experience that is distinct from both typical group-based research and in-class team projects, we have developed this resource center to help team leaders set their teams up for success.

All of these resources are optional. Teams are encouraged to adapt and modify them as needed. If you have questions about these resources, or other team resources, please contact Laura Howes at or 919-684-9021.

Your Project Was Selected – Now What?

Congratulations on the approval of your Bass Connections project! Here are some key considerations and resources to help you get organized and make a strong start.

Executive Summary: How Our Research Teams Fail and Succeed

Despite the prevalence of teams in our society, research finds that many teams fail to live up to the potential. This short article summarizes common challenges that teams of all types face and highlights five common characteristics of successful teams.

Project Syllabus Guide and Template

While Bass Connections is not a standard class, team leaders might consider creating a project syllabus to lay out the general parameters of the team’s work in the beginning.

Team Building Suggestions

Since Bass Connections teams work together closely over an extended period of time, it’s important to get to know one another – doing so can build trust and create an atmosphere of open communication that will help the team throughout the project.

Setting Team Norms

Setting norms can help teams create a set of shared expectations around how team members are expected to work together and can set the tone for a team’s culture.

Project Team Charter Template

Team charters can be a useful tool for making sure that everyone on the team understands – and is committed to – the project goals and the key principles around how the team will operate. 

Research and Technology Support Resources

Team leaders and students are likely to be juggling multiple priorities throughout the year. Luckily, there are a range of resources available to facilitate information sharing and project coordination among teams. There are also resources to help students get up to speed more quickly on basic research methods that teams may be relying upon in their work.

Engaging External Organizations and Communities

One goal of Bass Connections is to apply knowledge in service of society. There are a variety of ways that Bass Connections teams can engage external organizations and communities in their work.

Travel Guidelines

Some teams have opportunities to travel away from Duke's campus to engage with external organizations or communities, or to collect or share data or results. To ensure the safety of all team members, Duke has established guidelines and policies for travel and transportation.

Using a Project Manager to Improve Your Team

Feedback indicates that faculty and students alike find it beneficial to appoint a project manager to help organize the team. This document provides tips on how to recruit a project manager and how to structure this role.

Giving Students Opportunities to Reflect on Their Experience

Reflection can be indispensable to the learning process. We offer suggestions on formats, provide examples and include an optional template.

Resources for Graduate and Postdoc Mentors

Graduate students and postdocs can access tools to build mentoring skills and learn how to receive recognition through two awards.

Guidelines for Teamwork in Bass Connections

Kenzie Doyle, Jana Schaich Borg and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong share the team values document they created, and invite others to use or adapt it.

TEAMMATES: A Tool for Student Peer Evaluations

This free, online tool helps facilitate feedback between students working in teams for learning purposes and/or as one input into grades. The tool is flexible and includes a variety of use options, including the option of providing anonymous or open feedback.

Video: Moving from Collections to Connections: Conversations on Teamwork

This seven-minute video can help team leaders frame a conversation with their team about the benefits of working on an interdisciplinary team, as well as some of the common challenges.