Movement through Racial Healing and Justice (2021-2022)


Reckoning with racism at Duke and beyond requires a movement and transformation. Transformation expresses movement; movement is a shift in individual beliefs, behaviors and movement is a shift in relational networks. 

For instance, the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) movement in the U.S. led to the establishment of 26 campus centers and 14 community collaborations. This movement includes expanding a relational network across higher education institutions and communities. 

The Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, is leading Rx Racial HealingTM Circles (RxRHCs) to dismantle deeply rooted beliefs in racial hierarchies. RxRHCs foster empathy, encourage perspective-taking and aim to expand the circles of those willing to confront racism. Confronting racism can begin through one's initial involvement in an RxRHC and continue through further engagement in anti-racism, racial equity and justice efforts. 

Gaining knowledge of the characteristics of those who seek racial healing, the relational networks that emerge and how such networks entail further engagement can build our understanding of how RxRHCs become integral to transformation. Thus, a movement that denotes transformation within and beyond these circles may be vital to confronting racism at Duke and beyond. 

Project Description 

In this project, team members will pursue a research study with three goals to understand the phenomenon of movement within and beyond RxRHCs. 

  1. Who are RxRHC participants? Team members will explore statistical movement through descriptive and cluster analysis and identify participants’ attributes such as age, ethnic/racial identity and role (e.g., students, alumni, faculty). To date, the Duke TRHT Center has offered RxRHCs to more than 500 participants.
  2. Do participants’ relationships expand and deepen beyond the RxRHC? The team will explore relational movement through the perception of belonging and cohesion as well as network modeling.
  3. Do participants engage in and deepen their anti-racism efforts, racial equity and justice work beyond the RxRHC? The team will explore movement through participants’ description of further engagement in Duke anti-racism efforts and other racial equity and justice work. 

To improve the inferences made from this study, team members will work with the Duke Network Analysis Center (DNAC) and TRHT Center to identify the attributes and characteristics needed to identify a matched sample of non-RxRHC participants and administer survey data to compare participants and non-participants. Findings generated from this project and the use of data visualization will help foster narrative change and inform Duke’s efforts in addressing racism and in leading institutional transformation. 

Anticipated Outputs

Findings and content shared through peer-reviewed journal articles, blogs and/or other platforms as well as Duke TRHT Center website 

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this project will include 3 graduate students and 4 undergraduate students who have prior experience and knowledge of statistics and have an interest and passion for anti-racism, racial equity and justice work. The team members’ ideal composition would include students from diverse disciplines, cultural identities, experiences and backgrounds. Ideally, students would enter the project with a high degree of curiosity and openness and a strong interest in doing research that aligns with advancing the TRHT movement. 

We will introduce students to the TRHT framework and establish mentoring plans for undergraduate and graduate students based on their professional goals and interests. We aim to foster relationship building across team members and develop a model where students envision themselves as leaders in driving individual and institutional transformation. 

Students will gain experience in co-facilitating focus groups and transcription and in qualitative and quantitative data analysis. All students will learn how to use multiple methodologies in racial healing research. All undergraduate and graduate students will serve as contributors to publications and other materials produced from this project. 

A master’s-level graduate student will be selected to serve as project manager. This student will be supported and provided with experiences that align with their professional needs and interests. 

The optional summer component will begin on June 1, 2021, and last for six weeks (ending July 16, 2021). We will invite students to complete 20 hours/week and serve as Undergraduate Research Scholars. Students will complete the IRB application, complete CITI training, conduct a review of assessments related to belonging and cohesion, and gain an introduction to methods used in the social sciences (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods).


Summer 2021 – Spring 2022 

  • Summer 2021 (optional): Complete/update all CITI training for team members; seek and obtain IRB approval; conduct literature review; compete focus group protocols; identify and complete surveys; introduction to methods and coding
  • Fall 2021: Continue with literature review; data extraction for RxRHC participants; descriptive and cluster analysis of participants; data collection (RxRHC and non RxRHC participants and survey administration)
  • Spring 2022: Social network analysis; survey dissemination and focus groups; transcribe and code focus group data; analysis of descriptive analysis of survey data; data visualization; prepare publication materials, articles, etc.


Academic credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding available

Movement through Racial Healing and Justice.

Team Leaders

  • Patricia Garrett-Peters, Social Science Research Institute
  • Jane Ifekwunigwe, Social Science Research Institute
  • James Moody, Arts & Sciences-Sociology
  • Charmaine Royal, Arts & Sciences-African and African American Studies
  • Megan Stanley, Social Science Research Institute

/graduate Team Members

  • Bernard Coles IV, Sociology-PHD
  • Joseph Quinn, Sociology-PHD

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Eric Monson, Duke Libraries