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May 29, 2001

Duke gives inside, outside the academy

By Eric Rangus


Marshall Duke has taught in the psychology department for 30 years. In that time he’s written or co-written a half-dozen books, umpteen more articles and taught thousands of students.

Following a year in which he wrote his seventh book, led a search committee charged with filling a high-level administration position and added to his excellent track record of research and teaching, Duke earned the Thomas Jefferson Award for 2001.

“It was very humbling,” Duke said about being told he was to receive the Jefferson Award. “I was touched and honored by it. [Winning awards] is not something you think about.”

But Duke is certainly no stranger to them. Twice he has received the Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching (in 1984 and 1996). Only one other professor has earned that award more than once.

The Jefferson Award has been given annually since 1962 to honor an Emory faculty member or administrator for significant service to the University community. Recipi-ents are noted for their service in teaching, research and scholarship, nonacademic accomplishments with students, University advancement and development, and community service.

Duke, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Personality and Psychopathy, also is one of the core faculty of the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL). Some of his most recent work—on the effect of storytelling among family members and whether it strengthens familial bonds—has been affiliated with the center.

Duke’s research with families isn’t limited to storytelling. Last year, he and his wife Sara co-edited a book entitled, What Works With Children: Wisdom and Reflections from People Who Have Devoted Their Lives to Working With Children, a collection of essays by 40 professionals, each of whom have worked with children for more than 25 years.

Duke also is blending interdisciplinary subjects with his study of psychology. For instance, this spring he taught a seminar titled “People in Paintings,” which blended the seemingly unrelated disciplines of psychology and art history. Nonverbal communication—one of Duke’s primary interests—was written about extensively during the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century. The artists of that time period, Duke said, incorporated those theories into their work.

“If the painter wanted to produce a certain feeling in a viewer, they knew exactly what facial expression they should use, how the hand should be held,” Duke said. “We do the same thing as human beings; we produce effects on other people. Sometimes we know how we do it, sometimes we don’t.”

One of Duke’s most notable accomplishments of the past year came over and above his work in the classroom and the research lab. He chaired the search committee for a new senior vice president for Campus Life, a project that began in late spring of 2000 and culminated with the selection of John Ford in October.

“We, as faculty, a privileged to be part of a place like Emory,” Duke said. “Emory provides me with a place to live and work, and a place to grow intellectually. We shouldn’t see service or involvement in what are so-called ‘extra’ activities as ‘extra.’ It should be a part of what we do.”

The well-received results from how the search was conducted weighed on Duke’s mind when he was asked to meet with President Bill Chace and Provost Rebecca Chopp a short time ago.

“When I was called to the provost’s office, I assumed that I was going to be asked to chair another search,” Duke said. “When they told me I wasn’t, I was relieved.

“And when they said I had gotten the Jefferson Award, the pleasurable feeling was magnified,” he laughed.


Back to Emory Report May 29, 2001