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.


Dr. Anne Mitchell Whisnant

 Anne Mitchell Whisnant, 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, Anne Whisnant oversees all aspects of the program, participating in both administration and academics.  From 2002-2006, she served as Assistant Director for Communications and Program, Acting Associate DIrector, and Mellon Project Manager of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. From 2006-2016 Dr. Whisnant held positions as Deputy Secretary of the Faculty and Director of Research, Communications and Programs in the Office of Faculty Governance at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She joined GLS as director on August 15, 2019.

Dr. Whisnant is a professional historian whose teaching, research, speaking, consulting, and writing focus on public history, digital and geospatial history, and the history of the U.S. National Parks and has taught public history at UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, Eastern Carolina University, and George Mason University. Dr. Whisnant received her Ph.D. in history from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1997 and in 2006 published Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History with the University of North Carolina Press. She is scholarly adviser for Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway, an online history collection developed collaboratively with the Park Service and the UNC Libraries.  As a consultant, Dr. Whisnant has been the co-principal historian on several National Park Service projects, with two more presently underway. From 2008-12, she chaired a task force commissioned by the Organization of American Historians and the National Park Service to study historical practice within the Park Service. The resulting report, Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service, won the 2013 Excellence in Consulting Award from the National Council on Public History and is helping set a vision for future NPS historical work. 



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 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. Outside of work, she relishes time with her husband, teenaged soon, and beagle-Jack Russell-dachsund-chihauhua(?)-mix puppy and gardens unsuccessfully.


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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.