Family Letter from Dean Hale & DPAC Recap


Greetings Duke Families!

My name is Jordan Hale, and I am honored to serve as Director of New Student and Family Programs for Duke University. As I step into this role, I have a lot of people to thank. I want to start by thanking Clay Adams who has been promoted to Vice Dean of Students. Do not worry, Clay has not gone far (he still oversees our entire unit), and I am grateful he entrusts our team to serve new students and all our families. I’d also like to thank our amazing team, Grace Sullivan Zirkle and Carina Carpenter, for their work. Since this summer, Grace and Carina have stepped into their roles and done incredible work to welcome students and families to Duke. Finally, as always, I have to thank members of the DPAC, specifically or emeritus parents Dana Dudley, Penny Fleming, and Beth Gabay. Thank you all for the insight and trust to work on this amazing team.

As many of you know, Family Weekend 2021 was October 15-17. We are grateful for those who were able to attend! We were able to welcome over 1,500 families (a campus record) and host programs including faculty, students, staff, and our university President, Vincent Price. We also held our fall annual Duke Parents Advisory Council Meeting (DPAC) during Family Weekend. You can read more about it below. 

As we move toward Duke’s second century, a chance to step back, reflect, and reimagine the ways we connect are critical to our work. It is my hope that our team will do three things as we continue to help families learn, connect, and engage while connected to Duke.

  1. Enhance family communication. It has been a joy to see how Parent and Family Programs has worked to communicate with families. I hope our team can take what already exists and find additional opportunities to communicate with families.
  2. Capitalize on digital programming. COVID-19 has taught us new ways to stay connected. Our office and university are consistently looking for ways to ensure the value of programming at Duke meets the expectations of quality those who connect with our community. It is my hope we can review our operations to ensure families who want access to the Duke Family experience are able to engage. This can include attending Family Weekend, Parent and Family Orientation, or our new monthly web series.
  3. Diversify our approaches to engagement. The need to diversify our approaches means we will ask a lot of questions about our current operation. Are we representing all Duke families in our work? Do we need to think beyond parents to include other members of the Duke family? How and where can we improve in our connecting to families? Is our language inclusive of all families who connect with Duke? We hope to engage with you as we think about our work moving forward.

I cannot thank you all enough for this opportunity. I look forward to us making history together. Like I always tell our team: Take care of yourself, make history every day, and do not let anybody steal your joy. Until next time- Go Blue Devils!

Jordan Hale



One of the highlights of Family Weekend is always meeting with our Duke Parents Advisory Council (DPAC). As a reminder, the DPAC is a team of parents who provide thoughtful feedback and help our team in Student Affairs ensure the family perspective is thoughtfully considered in university decisions. Convened by Vice Dean of Student Clay Adams, the DPAC team held their first in-person meeting in over 18 months. The group got the chance to introduce themselves, greet new members, and hear from several members of the Division of Student Affairs. Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost/Vice President of Student Affairs greeted families and provided insight into the work the university had done to stay open during COVID, discussed upcoming changes to university life, and gave additional context about QuadEx, Duke’s new residential living model which will launch in August 2022. For more information about QuadEX, feel free to click here. Additionally, Vice President McMahon shared our working theme for the remainder of this academic year, restoring community. Greg Victory, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Fannie Mitchel Executive Director of the Duke Career Center, discussed the new opportunities the Career Center is providing for students via the new Duke Career Center Hub. Jordan Hale, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Parent and Family Programs shared insight into a new onboarding experience that will begin in August where all incoming students will participate in immersive orientation programs centered on community building.

The DPAC will reconvene several times virtually throughout the academic year, and plans for an in-person meeting this Spring where we will share additional updates on the progress of QuadEx and hear additional updates about the university. Thank you to our DPAC families!