As a program of the Graduate School, GLS coordinates with faculty and administrators from across the Duke campus in order to create LS seminars and study away opportunities, implement and adjust program policies, facilitate program procedures, and support students as they make their way on their academic journeys -- in other words, to do all that is necessary to develop and maintain a world-class Graduate Liberal Studies program. These are the people who make Duke GLS happen.



Donna Zapf, PhD

  • Provides academic and policy advising for GLS students; teaches GLS seminars
  • Serves on master’s examination committees
  • Develops and oversees policies and procedures in GLS

As the director of Graduate Liberal Studies, Donna Zapf oversees all aspects of the program, participating in both administration and academics.  With Kent Wicker she created the GLS Core Course in interdisciplinary studies, and has developed and taught a number of GLS seminars.  Her background is in musicology and her teaching interests have focused on interdisciplinary and contextual approaches to the histories and theories of the fine and performing arts.  Her research and critical writing is concerned with contemporary music and the visual arts.  Prior to her appointment at Duke, she was the director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program and a Senior Lecturer in the School for the Contemporary Arts, both at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.  She holds a PhD in Musicology from the University of Victoria, Canada.



Kent Wicker, PhD
Assistant Director

  • Provides student academic advising and support; teaches the GLS Core Course, "The Self in the World"
  • Serves on master's examination committees
  • Develops academic policies and procedures

Kent Wicker's focus in the program is academics, which includes providing student academic supportmaintaining academic standards, serving on master's project committees and developing policies and procedures.  With Donna Zapf, he created the GLS Core Course in interdisciplinary studies; he also serves as GLS Writing Consultant.  Dr. Wicker has served on the board of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs, and led several workshop sessions at the annual convention.  He holds a BS in International Relations from Georgetown and a PhD in English from Duke, and has worked both inside and outside academia as a writer and editor.  His academic interests include class, gender and place in American and post-colonial literatures, and the historical development of the novel.  He lives with his wife near the Eno River, where he hikes, bikes and involuntarily feeds a growing herd of deer. 


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Lisa Robinson Bailey
Program Coordinator

  • Prepares and administers GLS administrative and scholarship budgets and expenditures
  • Coordinates GLS study away programs
  • Oversees public relations efforts and social media
  • Maintains the GLS website and produces program videos and other visual content

Lisa Robinson Bailey is an alumna of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program (AM 2007). She holds a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 2007-2011, she was the assistant director of the A.B. Duke Memorial Scholarship Program in the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows. Prior to joining the GLS staff in 2014, Lisa spent three years as a human subjects specialist in the Office of Research Support at Duke. In her pre-Duke life, she was the production director at the North Carolina Writers’ Network.


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Dink Suddaby
Staff Assistant

  • DGSA (Director of Graduate Studies Assistant) for GLS and works closely with the program's director to interpret and implement academic policies and procedures of The Graduate School
  • Works with the director on course planning, scheduling, and student advising; coordinates and plans GLS social events and activities
  • Manages and schedules appointments with the director and assistant director of the GLS program

Dink Suddaby is likely the first voice you'll hear when you call the Graduate Liberal Studies office.   Before joining GLS in 1996, she was secretary for the Office of Admissions at Duke Divinity School.  She celebrates her 31-year anniversary with Duke University in September 2016.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, Jamie, and dog,Tucker, to Emerald Isle, NC, where "my soul lives."  Dink enjoys gardening and is also an avid Bald Eagle lover and makes annual trips to the Richmond, VA area to enjoy seeing numerous pairs of Bald Eagles along the James River who have made a phenomenal recovery from near-extinction in the early 1960s.