Emily Klein Honored with University Distinguished Service Professorship

June 29, 2018

Tim Lucas, 919/613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu

Undergrads in Energy & Environment present capstone projects to Klein.


DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University has awarded a University Distinguished Service Professorship, one of the most prestigious faculty honors the university bestows, to Emily M. Klein, professor and chair of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

University Distinguished Service Professorships recognize exceptional service to Duke as a whole, above and beyond achievements in the nominee’s own discipline or department.

It is a rare honor, as only two of these professorships exist in the entire university.

“Emily’s leadership on issues relating to education, institutional equity and community engagement spans more than two decades and has had broad and lasting impacts, particularly on two matters of great importance to the university: diversity and inclusion, and the undergraduate experience,” says Jeffrey R. Vincent, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, who nominated Klein for the honor.

As chair of the university’s Faculty Diversity Task Force Implementation Committee in 2016, Klein spearheaded efforts to put into place strategic policies and practices to strengthen Duke’s recruitment and retention of female faculty, LGBTQ faculty and faculty from other underrepresented minorities.  

She has served Duke as a member of both the Steering Committee for the Bias and Hate Task Force and the Women’s Studies Advisory Board; as a mentor in the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Minority Fellowship Program; and as a reviewer and panelist for the 2012 Women in Science and Engineering Research Symposium.

She has also served as faculty director for the Baldwin Scholars Program, which increases leadership opportunities for female undergraduates, and she co-chair of the university’s Committee on Civic Engagement, which explores ways that civic engagement can be better coordinated and institutionalized at Duke

Klein’s service to undergraduate education at Duke has included membership on the university’s Undergraduate Leadership Council, the DukeEngage Faculty Advisory Committee, the Committee to Evaluate Undergraduate Advising, the Committee to Evaluate Science Education, the Bass Fellows Evaluation Committee, and the Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary Teaching Committee.

She currently serves as co-director of undergraduate studies for the Nicholas School’s Earth and Ocean Sciences major, and, in 2000, she chaired the committee that developed the school’s bachelor of science degree in Environmental Science.

In 2006, Duke named Klein a Bass Fellow in recognition of her dedication to teaching undergraduates and her success in motivating them to excel.

In 2015, the parents of students she had mentored created an endowment in her name to support undergraduate research at the Nicholas School in conjunction with the interdisciplinary Bass Connections program.

In addition to her work in diversity and inclusion and undergraduate education, Klein has served the Duke community in numerous administrative posts, including as senior associate dean and interim dean of the Nicholas School, vice-chair of the Academic Council’s Executive Committee, and current chair of the Nicholas School’s Earth and Ocean Sciences Division.  

She joined the Duke faculty in 1989 as assistant professor of geology after completing her doctoral studies at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University. She was promoted to associate professor of geology at the Nicholas School in 1996, and full professor in 2005.