Blog

Blog Author:
Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs

Dear Duke Families,

As I look out my office window, I have the privilege of seeing our students walking (and rushing) by between classes, meals, meetings and study venues. So many things are apparent on the rare occasion that I get to just pause and admire the passersby. I notice that many seem either immune to the winter chill or in denial about the need to wear warmer clothes! I notice that rarely is anyone walking alone. Students travel in pairs, groups and masses! I notice that some kind of technological device is apparently welded to their ears or their palms (hopefully talking or texting with you). But, I also notice how remarkably different they are, reflecting the substantial and wonderful diversity within the Duke student body.

Blog Author:
Chris Heltne

Thumbnail Stephanie Helms Pickett was recently named as the new Director of the Duke Women's Center. We asked her a few questions about herself, and her how she plans to serve the Duke community.

Why is working in higher education important to you?

Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

I recently read the book by Daniel Bergner, “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire.” After my initial eye rolling “who but a guy can talk about female sexuality?” thoughts, I opened my mind and read.  Then I heard him in an interview say the following beautiful words.  I was so moved that I pulled over to the side of the road in order to fully attend to what he was saying.

“I sometimes think we have to be a little braver about just caring more. Caring, and being open about caring about sex, with one’s partner sounds like it should be easy, but I think often it’s not because you can fail and you can feel hurt. And so I think that candor and caring are important and might well be the root to maintaining passion.”

Departments:
Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

It really is true what they say about being a parent.  One day their little chubby hand in yours crossing the street, telling you they want to live with you forever.  And the next, packing up and going to college.  I used to think of this as such a desperately sad thing.  But I have come to understand that these are the thin places, where the sacred meets the profane.  And you don’t get one without the other.

I walk around campus now and it is teeming with beautiful faces.  And while so often we wish for the quiet of the summer, I have to admit; it’s good to see everyone again.  Once again, I am part of a tribe, a thin place.

Departments:
Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

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Once parents find out that I specialize in treating the effects of sexual assault, if they have girls, they often ask me what they should say to their daughter to keep her safe.

 

First, I will say actually you should be talking to the men and boys in your life about the daily realities of violence toward women because we will never make any progress until 50% of the population stops absorbing this problem as a way of protecting the feelings of the men in their lives.

 

Departments:
Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

“He doesn’t get points for that.”  It’s one of the most common “sheilaisms” you will hear in my office.   We quite simply live in a culture that literally awards boys points for merely NOT walking into a room and punching a woman in the face or raping her or telling her to go make him a sandwich.  How often do we get annoyed with young mothers in grocery stores for their loud children and how often when it’s a dad struggling, do we offer help or at the very least think to ourselves “oh look at that great dad babysitting his children?”  Imagine thinking a mom is babysitting her children.

Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick

 

As I celebrate my youngest child’s 18th birthday, I find myself thinking about all those mothers who will be sending their children to our campus in a matter of 4 months.  I offer thoughts that I shared with my daughter on April 5.

******

Well, Flannery….rumor has it that you, my baby, are 18 years old.  Like a branding, the memory of the first time I saw you is burned in my brain.  I laid down for a nap and poof, you are 18.

And I simply could not be more proud.

Seriously.

This year, I have struggled and struggled to figure out what to give to you.  And finally I decided the only thing or worth I can give you is this mirror of sorts.  I am going to share my experience of you.

Departments:

I’m hearing a lot of pain at work these days.

I hear anger.  I hear hurt.  I hear excuses and defensiveness and minimizing.  I definitely hear minimizing, and my personal favorite, helplessness.

We can’t do anything.

I am not going to call any one person or any one group out specifically, but I am referring to the various themed parties that occur on most if not all college campuses.

I believe we as the old people are missing a chance to invite our college students to take a developmental step forward, evolve and imagine that when they use racial and gender stereotypes for their entertainment that this hurts.  It hurts people.  Actual people.  It causes harm.  It causes pain.  It makes some of us think “is there a place for me?”  “Is there room at the table?”

Departments:

“You can’t hate someone whose story you know,” wrote a Duke sophomore woman writing of her experience with being exposed to recent immigrants during an Alternative Fall Break experience she had last semester.  What she meant was that what she learned about these families who originated in countries other than the USA was that once you know their stories, you connect and you can longer live in the comfort of ignorance.

The dreams of many a female politics/policy wonk were fulfilled this past week when Ellen Moran, former White House Communications Director and Michèle Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, visited Duke.

Moran’s talk on September 20th, cosponsored by the Baldwin Scholars Program and the Women’s Studies Department, focused on how the upcoming election is significant for women candidates and voters.

Flournoy’s lecture tonight will be on how American Grand Strategy is affected by fiscal constraints; however, I was fortunate to sit in on her ladies’ breakfast this morning in which she also discussed work-life balance, being a woman in the national security field and career trajectories.

Departments: