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Special Memo From the Dean

March 11, 2020

Dear Pratt Community,

As the world confronts the COVID-19 virus, we are all facing many changes to our everyday lives, and the prospect of a spring semester that is very different than what we had expected.

The announcement from President Price about precautions Duke University is taking to protect the health and safety of our community brings with it significant changes to our usual operations.

At Pratt, we will resume both graduate-level and undergraduate engineering courses on March 23 in an online format. Please look for more information soon. For all of our students, know we will do everything we can to keep you connected, engaged and informed so that you can continue your engineering studies successfully and finish out the semester strong. We are here to help you.

Our research enterprise (including laboratories and shared resources such as SMIF), student support services, and other business and support functions will remain operational. We anticipate that most faculty and staff will be working their normal schedules, in accordance with Duke guidelines (see FAQs).

Graduate student researchers and post-doctoral fellows who have been traveling for Spring Break may plan to return to campus to resume their research. However, please review and follow Duke’s guidelines for reporting symptoms and self-quarantining after travel. Graduate students who are only taking classes do not need to return to campus, as all classes will be online.

Please note that these policies, particularly regarding access to campus facilities, are subject to change on short notice. For the latest information and updates from Duke University, visit

We will reach out soon with more details for specific groups. Points of contact for the Pratt leadership team include:

  • Undergraduate Education: Jeff Glass, Linda Franzoni, Lupita McMillian, and Department Undergraduate Studies Directors
  • Master’s Education: Jeff Glass, Brad Fox, Deb Wojcik, and Department Master’s Studies Directors
  • PhD Education: Jennifer West and Department Graduate Studies Directors
  • Research: George Truskey and Department Chairs
  • Administration and Staff: Susan Bonifield
  • IT/Support for online course delivery: Jim Daigle (with Duke OIT and Learning Innovation)

The coming weeks will certainly present new challenges for us all, but Duke Engineers have never turned away from a challenge. I encourage everyone to be patient, kind and supportive of one another as we navigate through the upcoming weeks together, keeping our minds on the ultimate goals of our work and studies, and our hopes for our community.

I also welcome your thoughts and ideas for how we can support you over the weeks ahead. Please reach out to our team at, or to your department chair, academic program leader or supervisor at any time.

Ravi V. Bellamkonda
Vinik Dean of Engineering