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.

The Education & Human Development theme will be sunset after 2021-2022, and will be replaced by a new theme on Race & Society in 2022-2023. 

Education & Human Development Project Teams

Math identity.

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 in Durham, designed to improve their math identity. Read more about Assessing and Improving Girls' and Women's Math Identity (2021-2022) »

Libreria Paradiso, Gijón.

This project aims to foster pride in Latinx language and culture by creating a youth and family-oriented program that focuses on celebrating the Latinx cultural heritage and maintaining the Spanish language. Read more about Celebrating Latinx Culture with a Spanish Reading Program (2021-2022) »

Recent Graduates of Cambodia’s FETP Use Their Frontline Training to Respond to COVID-19.

This project will contribute to a comprehensive analysis of microdata to shed light on the political and governance effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the developing world. Read more about COVID-19 and Household Well-being in Developing Countries (2021-2022) »

Duke University first-year medical students listen to a lecture about the brain in the Learning Hall of the Trent Semans

This project team will develop and implement seminars for students and faculty on trauma-engaged teaching and learning and will collect data to inform future efforts to better support trauma survivors in the classroom.  Read more about Developing Best Practices for Trauma-informed Teaching and Learning (2021-2022) »

DukeLine logo.

This project team will conduct a comprehensive review of existing peer mental health programs for graduate students across the U.S. in order to evaluate best practices for mental health service delivery and programming for graduate students. Read more about DukeLine: Peer Mental Health Support for Graduate Students (2021-2022) »

Wild giant otter plays with plastic bottle in the Pantanal.

This project team will develop and pilot an action-civics curriculum on ocean plastic pollution for high school students, empowering young people to engage together in meaningful civic action and focus on the problem of plastic pollution and its impacts on the ocean. Read more about Empowering Youth Civic Action on Plastic Pollution (2021-2022) »


This project seeks to examine how driver’s license reinstatement affects individuals’ employment and self-sufficiency as well as family functioning and child well-being. Read more about Justice Reform Efforts and Effects on Self-sufficiency (2021-2022) »

Movement through Racial Healing and Justice.

This project team will partner with the Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing to investigate the Center’s Rx Racial Healing Circles (RxRHCs) and further racial healing research at Duke and beyond. Read more about Movement through Racial Healing and Justice (2021-2022) »

Early Childhood Action Plan.

This project team will examine the intersections of structural racism, housing policy and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide innovative, practical and evidence-based policy solutions to improve outcomes for young children as outlined in North Carolina’s Early Childhood Action Plan. Read more about North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan: Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2021-2022) »

Children playing.

This project team will collect and analyze data that can help illuminate how sociality and social cohesion develop among young children, and what role interactions with peers and teachers in the preschool environment play in learning how to be social. Read more about Social Network Dynamics and Social Development among Preschoolers (2021-2022) »

Image courtesy of 2019-2020 project team.

Building on the work of previous teams, this project team will study the benefits and limitations of a University-assisted Community Schools (UACS) model, focusing on ways that universities can better prepare their students for engagement with public schools. Read more about Strengthening Partnerships between Durham Public Schools and Local Universities (2021-2022) »

2018-2019 team member Raisa Reed with first-grade students at Pearsontown Elementary.

This project team will build on Project Bright IDEA by enhancing teachers’ instructional practices to ensure all students have access to an assets-based, rigorous curriculum that will raise their achievement, reveal their full potential and prepare them for their future.  Read more about Wired for Learning: Enhanced Pedagogy for K-2 Teachers (2021-2022) »

Education & Human Development Courses

Gateway Courses

EHD 290S-02: Social Science Research Lab: Evaluating Healthcare Innovation

Spring 2021
Instructor: Jessica Sperling

Do you want on-the-ground experience in applied social science research? The Social Science Research Lab engages students in project-based learning in social science research principles and their real-world application. Read more about Social Science Research Lab: Evaluating Healthcare Innovation »

Other Undergraduate Courses

CHILDPOL 490S-01: Applied Collaborative Research on Early Childhood

Fall 2021
Instructor: Katie Rosanbalm

This course provides research consultation experience for advanced undergraduate students with past coursework in research methodology and/or early childhood development or policy. As part of an interdisciplinary consulting team, students will partner with an early childhood community organization... Read more about Applied Collaborative Research on Early Childhood »

HISTORY 366S: Latinx Social Movements

Fall 2021
Instructor: Cecilia Márquez

Over the course of the twentieth-century various Latino/a groups have mobilized their growing power to make demands for social justice and equality. This course will study the history of Latino/a organizing from the 1940s to the contemporary moment. Read more about Latinx Social Movements »