The Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship

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The Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship recognizes the remarkable contributions of Dr. Nannerl Keohane during her term as President of Duke University, and the unprecedented level of collaboration she and UNC Chancellor James Moeser created between these two great institutions.  The award was created in 2004 by Chancellor Moeser and is funded by Carolina graduate Julian Robertson and his late wife, Josie, of New York (parents of Spencer Robertson ’98) and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.  The Professorship brings outstanding scholars, artists, or practitioners to the UNC and Duke campuses who will promote existing and encourage new collaborations between the two schools.

The Professorship is administered by UNC and is overseen by Carol Tresolini, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives at UNC and Noah Pickus, Associate Provost and Senior Advisor and Nannerl O. Keohane Co-director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

Initially, proposals were accepted on any topic; however, in 2016, the professorship directed its focus on proposals that allow the two universities to work together to extend their capacity in three focus areas: 1) data science, 2) entrepreneurship and innovation, and 3) the arts.  Proposals selected for funding address the three main responsibilities of the professorship:

  1. Promote inter-institutional collaboration and the enhancement of intellectual life at both universities by strengthening established collaborations or encouraging new ones;
  1. Contribute to the teaching missions of both UNC and Duke—in particular to the undergraduate curriculum—through a self-standing course or the co-teaching of one or more courses, or through a carefully planned series of guest appearances in a number of courses;
  1. Share the work of the Visiting Professor widely through public lectures or performances.

Data Science

This project will establish a new Duke-UNC summer program that incorporates features of two existing Duke initiatives and focuses on mobile application development.  The ten-week program will include a boot camp and hands-on programming.  A Keohane Visiting Professor (to be selected) will be responsible for recruiting students and teaching the summer program.


  • Stanley Ahalt, Department of Computer Science, UNC and Director, Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI);
  • Robert Calderbank, Professor of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics and Director, Information Initiative at Duke (iiD), Duke University; and
  • Tracy Futhey, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Duke University.


Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Keohane Visiting Professors Rebecca White, Jim Clifton, and Thomas Byers (plus a fourth to be selected) will expand educational opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation by advancing the two universities’ collaborative work in design and systems thinking, entrepreneurial pedagogy, entrepreneurial leadership, and regional entrepreneurial ecosystems.


  • Kip Frey, Professor of the Practice of Public Law, Director of the Program in Law & Entrepreneurship, and Interim Director, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Duke University (preceded by Professor Eric Toone); and
  • Ted Zoller, T.W. Lewis Clinical Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, UNC


The Arts

To advance existing social engagement and innovation programs at the two campuses and inspire students and faculty to consider how their work can improve the community, the professorship will support three artists whose work explores various aspects of social activism: Theaster Gates, Jace Clayton, and Nina Chanel Abney.  The resulting activities will encourage new and different approaches to using art to effect social change and will foster further opportunities for collaborations within and between Duke and UNC.


  • Emil Kang, Executive Director for the Arts, UNC; and
  • Scott Lindroth, Professor of Music and Vice Provost for the Arts, Duke University