Get Involved with Bass Connections

About Bass Connections

Bass Connections bridges the classroom and the world beyond campus, giving undergraduate and graduate students a chance to tackle complex societal problems alongside Duke’s superb faculty. We support research teams that draw on perspectives and methods from multiple disciplines, as well as robust engagement with communities, stakeholders and decision-makers.

Faculty across Duke’s schools engage in Bass Connections at every level, from providing vital program guidance on the Faculty Advisory Council, to developing and leading project teams, engaging as course instructors and mentoring students as they take their research further. Nearly 800 faculty and staff members (such as librarians) have participated as of Spring 2020.

Participation in 2019-20.

Ninety-six percent of faculty team leaders say that they would recommend participating in Bass Connections to a colleague. Faculty report participating for a variety of reasons, including to:

  • Bass Connections team members in MadagascarStart a new research project
  • Mentor students while furthering their own research
  • Be part of something innovative
  • Be part of a multidisciplinary team and learn from other faculty members
  • Expand their professional network.

Teams result in a wide range of outputs, including peer-reviewed publications; external grant applications and awards; data collection for future use; conference presentations; public policy reports and recommendations; various prototypes and products; educational materials and trainings for community groups; and scientific models, formulas and algorithms. To learn more, read our evaluation report on the long-term impact of Bass Connections participation on faculty research, pedagogy and relationships.

Project teamProject Teams

Project teams are generally groups of five to 20 individuals, including at least two team leaders, graduate and undergraduate students, who work together to address a societal challenge through interdisciplinary research and outreach. Projects generally last nine to 12 months. Besides leading a team, faculty may opt to participate on a project team as a contributor, providing occasional guidance. Staff, graduate students, postdocs and trainees/fellows may also co-lead projects, but all projects must have at least one faculty team leader. 

Faculty may propose a project through our annual call for proposals which runs from early September to early November of each year. Faculty are invited to reach out at any time to discuss potential project team ideas. We will occasionally consider off-cycle proposals for projects addressing emerging or time-sensitive issues of strategic importance.

Bass Connections course participantsCourses and Summer Programs

Around 50 semester-long courses are affiliated with Bass Connections, each infused with interdisciplinary, team-based learning. Faculty who currently teach a course that aligns with this model are invited to reach out to us to discuss how we might spotlight the course. Faculty who are interested in integrating collaborative projects into a course can find resources and example syllabi in our Collaborative Project Courses: Course Design Resource Center and can participate in our Collaborative Project Courses Faculty Fellows Program

Four summer programs offer additional opportunities for faculty to get involved as project sponsors, clients or leaders.

More Information

To learn more and get involved, please contact Laura Howes, Director, or any of our theme leaders. Additional information for faculty team leaders is available in our Team Resources section.