“I said that we ought to help students learn about leadership through well-taught courses, courses that focused on stories, especially on history, rather than management skills or the kinds of leadership techniques advocated in the business schools. Beyond that, I said, we ought to combine serious and thoughtful learning with experience, and more particularly with experience that involved taking on responsibility.”
– Bruce Payne on how he described his vision for a leadership program to Mitch Hart
“The model we created in 1995, right here in Sanford, informed the development of the SOL program, the B.N. Duke scholars, the Robertson Scholars and eventually became one germ that helped create DukeEngage. Each is built on a foundation of student engagement and what students can take from these experiences. But it’s also about what they can contribute to organizations, individuals and communities around the world.”
– Bob Korstad on how the HLP has influenced other initiatives at Duke
During this time, the Hart Leadership Program continued to refine its take on leadership, incorporating documentary work and research service learning into its curriculum. Ethical and pedagogical interrogation, reflection, and debate have always been central to the Hart Leadership Program’s values and operations, and our highly-engaged students, faculty, staff, and alumni have all played a part in shaping the program.
Growth and Change: 2001-2021
In 2001, Alma Blount succeeded Bob as director of the Hart Leadership Program. In 2002, Tony Brown launched the Enterprising Leadership Initiative, a project incubator encouraging students to collaborate on social entrepreneurship endeavors. ELI placed a heavy emphasis on teaching, coaching and supporting the leadership development of students and alumni during their time on campus, and well into their professional careers. Students in ELI addressed problems in the community through Tony Brown’s signature leadership tactic: defining outcomes and equipping students with the necessary tools and resources. Each year during the Initiative’s long tenure, a dynamic group of students and alumni worked together on Enterprising Benefit Projects to identify a community problem and create a project to address it, with a strong emphasis on defining and creating real results. ELI launched hundreds of successful projects throughout its duration. ELI concluded with Tony Brown’s retirement from Duke in 2021, but its alumni network remains very active and Tony’s wide-reaching impacts are still felt at Duke and far beyond.
“In my alumni work, we talk about a concept of strong-hearted leadership — the kind of leadership that is not only moral-driven but compassionate and courageous. If you're doing tough things without compassion, you're ruthless. And if you have heart, and you're going to exercise courage, you have to have the kind of empathy to suffer for people that are harmed.”
– Tony Brown on the guiding principles behind his work
From 2002-2005, the Hart Leadership Program collaborated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics on a campuswide research service learning pilot project, Scholarship with a Civic Mission. This project, funded by a US Department of Education grant, successfully engaged students, and it was later sponsored by Trinity College as a program in the Office of Undergraduate Research.
LANY concluded in 2005, and in 2006 Bruce Payne resigned from Duke to become the Executive Director of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. Also in 2006, SOL restructured to center research service learning, with a full-credit gateway course in the spring, a student-designed community-based research internship connected to a social or civic topic of the students’ choosing, and a fall capstone course. Critical reflection remained a central part of the SOL pedagogy.
“It's being completely awake and aware in the midst of the thing that's unfolding. You need to be so calm that you can see the patterns. So you're not so engrossed in what's going on, that you can’t see it.”
– Alma Blount on critical reflection
In 2008, the Hart Leadership Program launched the Connect2Politics speaker series, which brought political heavy-hitters like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (then-mayor of South Bend, IN), Sen. Cory Booker (then-mayor of Newark, NJ), and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro (then-mayor of San Antonio, TX) to Duke, well before their memorable 2020 presidential runs.
In 2009, looking to revive the spirit of LANY, the Hart Leadership Program launched the Leadership and Arts Policy Internship (LAPI), which funds Public Policy majors’ summer internships in the nexus of policy and arts.
In 2018, Alma retired and was succeeded as Director of the Hart Leadership Program by historian Gunther Peck.
“Leadership involves more than mastering a checklist of skills, but requires understanding historical context and complexity and asking ambitious questions that help students and stakeholders alike assess, address, and resolve conflicts with deep historical roots.”
– Gunther Peck on leadership
In 2020, the Hart Leadership Program and POLIS: Center for Politics launched the Patman Political Engagement Project (PEP), an initiative supported through a generous donation from the Carrin M. Patman fund. PEP drew its inspiration from numerous older Hart Leadership Program initiatives and aims to involve more students in political engagement and leadership.
Looking Forward: 2022 and Beyond
In 2022, Gunther Peck stepped down as director and was succeeded by Andrew Nurkin. The Hart Leadership Program currently offers four signature initiatives: the Hart Fellowship, Service Opportunities in Leadership (SOL), the Patman Political Engagement Project (PEP), and the Leadership and Arts Policy Internship (LAPI). Hart faculty continue to teach flagship courses like “Women as Leaders,” “Ethics in an Unjust World,” “Leadership, Policy, and Change,” and “Business and Human Rights.”
Over the years, Hart Leadership Program students have consistently reported that their engagement with the Hart Leadership Program was one of their top experiences at Duke. Our students and faculty build communities that last a lifetime. We work tirelessly to enrich the undergraduate experience and to foster leadership among students from all backgrounds in all areas of study.