Education & Human Development

Interdisciplinary Themes

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

Led by the Social Science Research Institute

Achieving positive life outcomes depends on a complex, interconnected set of experiences and circumstances including the resources of the community, social and family supports, health and education as well as cultural and historical factors. Bass Connections in Education & Human Development engages students and faculty in interdisciplinary research that explores that full range of factors contributing to valued life outcomes across the lifespan, including health, social and familial connections, happiness, income and employment.

Being situated in the American South, we also recognize that history continues to impact the life experiences of children born here, particularly those living in rural areas, minority households and low socioeconomic status households. We encourage a broad exploration of the factors that contribute to human development, with a focus on our local community but also extending beyond and engaging with our interconnected world.

Education & Human Development Project Teams

El Sistema chart.

This project team will seek to understand how unique El Sistema USA organizations are defining social change through music. Read more about Defining Social Change through Music with El Sistema USA (2020-2021) »

Durham Performing Arts Center event.

This project team will examine how trauma affects students’ experience of academic work at Duke and how classes can be taught, and academic programs be administered, in order to cultivate an environment in which survivors of trauma can thrive. Read more about Developing Best Practices for Trauma-informed Teaching and Learning (2020-2021) »


This project team will conduct an evaluation of the Scholar Academy for Latinxs United for Diversity (SALUD) program that will assess the effectiveness of the curriculum and the program’s acceptability and feasibility. Read more about Expanding Latinx Representation in Health and STEM Careers: Evaluation of SALUD (2020-2021) »

EEG exam demonstration.

This multiyear project team will help strengthen healthcare provider mastery of epilepsy treatment in Uganda through culturally sensitive and sustainable interventions. Read more about Healthcare Provider Education to Reduce Epilepsy Care Disparities in Uganda (2020-2021) »


This project will investigate the impacts of collaborative learning on course-related behaviors and enthusiasm for course content in undergraduate STEM classrooms at Duke University. Read more about Impacts of Collaborative Learning in STEM (2020-2021) »

Human Knot.

This project team will address two major causes of the gender gap in STEM by planning and running a series of free workshops for middle school girls, designed to improve their math identity. Read more about Improving Girls’ Math Identity through Problem-solving and Mentorship (2020-2021) »


This project brings together Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and students, Y.O.G.A. for Youth NC and community educational partners to analyze the effects of a regular yoga and meditation practice on students’ mindfulness, emotional regulation, self-esteem, stress response, resilience, physical... Read more about Mindfulness in Human Development (2020-2021) »


This project aims to combine scientific and practical knowledge to inform North Carolina’s Early Childhood Councils on how the state can achieve and track its policy goals. Read more about North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan: Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2020-2021) »


This project team will implement the Nurturing Emerging Talent mode of instruction to students in kindergarten through second grade and assess how this model contributes to higher achievement outcomes, particularly for students from racial minority or socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Read more about Nurturing Emerging Talent in K-2 Students (2020-2021) »

Peer Coaches logo.

This project team will develop and pilot an innovative way to improve the mental health of students using peer health coaches, students trained to deliver support via text messaging using virtual avatars. Read more about Peer Coaches: Improving Mental Health Treatment for College Students (2020-2021) »


This project team will collect and analyze social network data that can help illuminate how sociality and social cohesion develop among young children. Read more about Social Network Dynamics and Social Development among Preschoolers (2020-2021) »


This project team will study the benefits and limitations of a University-assisted Community Schools model, focusing on ways that universities can mobilize their resources to support Durham Public Schools (DPS) and the most pressing needs of DPS partner institutions. Read more about Strengthening Partnerships between Durham Public Schools and Local Universities (2020-2021) »

Education & Human Development Courses

Other Undergraduate Courses

I&E 262: The 21st Century Student: Open Knowledge and Education Innovation

Instructor: Aria Chernik

According to 20th-century progressive educator Paulo Freire, education has the potential to be a great liberator or a systematic oppressor. Freire developed a critical pedagogy of liberation, but his efforts to provide widespread access to knowledge and transform the power imbalance between... Read more about The 21st Century Student: Open Knowledge and Education Innovation »

PUBPOL 290S-04: Social Entrepreneurship and the Arts

Spring 2020
Instructor: Katie Wyatt

This course will train interested students in creative social entrepreneurship, allowing students to explore their innovative idea in the arts and social change. Read more about Social Entrepreneurship and the Arts »

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

PUBPOL 590S-06: The Politics of Education

Fall 2020
Instructor: Stanley Litow

This class will focus on the state of public education in America and the potential ways of addressing the challenges of improving student achievement. Read more about The Politics of Education »