Developing Best Practices for Trauma-informed Teaching and Learning (2021-2022)
Stress associated with trauma is likely present in every student gathering at Duke University – not only in each student organization and residence hall, but also in every classroom and laboratory. Students bring experiences of past trauma with them and also experience diverse forms of stressors and trauma while at Duke, including sexual assault. In a 2018 survey, 47.8% of Duke undergraduate women reported unwanted sexual contact since matriculating.
While in recent years Duke has invested heavily in providing high-quality mental health and support services to trauma survivors and curbing the rate of campus sexual assault, there is a need to attend carefully to how stress and trauma show up in classrooms and academic programs. Students who are trauma survivors bring essential insights and perspectives to classroom contexts but may also experience academic challenges.
This project built on work from the 2020-2021 team that explored a series of essential questions including: How does trauma affect students’ experience of academic work at Duke? How do students perceive faculty approaches to addressing trauma in the classroom? How do faculty perceive, address and engage in the way that trauma affects learning in the classroom? How might classes be taught, and academic programs be administered, in order to cultivate an environment in which survivors of trauma can thrive in their academic work?
The 2020-2021 team developed and implemented seminars and focus groups with undergraduate and Divinity School students on trauma-engaged teaching and learning and collected data to inform future efforts to better support trauma survivors in the classroom. In these discussions, the team used a broad definition of trauma that includes child abuse and sexual violence as well as stress and trauma in the context of racism, homophobia and other forms of social oppression. Finally, they developed protocols for future focus groups with medical students and faculty across institutions.
Fall 2021 – Spring 2022
Trauma-Engaged Duke seminars
Focus group protocols and datasets
This Team in the News
Devoted Team of “Trauma Champions” Envisions Changes to the University Classroom
Making the Most of Duke, Summer 2021
This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. See related teams, Developing Best Practices for Trauma-informed Teaching and Learning (2022-2023) and Developing Best Practices for Trauma-informed Teaching and Learning (2020-2021).
Image: Duke University first-year medical students listen to a lecture about the brain in the Learning Hall of the Trent Semans Center, by Jared Lazarus/Duke Photography
- Jan Holton, Divinity School
- Warren Kinghorn, Divinity School|School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
/graduate Team Members
Sarah Stone, Divinity-MDV
Hanke Johanna van Den Ende, Master of Theology
/undergraduate Team Members
Anna Greenleaf, Psychology (BS), Statistical Science (AB2)
Molly Pluenneke, Psychology (AB)
/yfaculty/staff Team Members
Stephanie Hargrove, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Noga Zerubavel, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences