Nurkin will lead the Hart leadership program starting July 1
Hart Associate Professor of Practice Andrew Nurkin will become the new director of the Hart Leadership Program (HLP) on July 1, Dean Judith Kelley announced today. Nurkin succeeds Gunther Peck, who led the program since 2018.
Sanford Dean Judith Kelley recognized Nurkin as incoming manager and Peck for his leadership of HLP.
“The Hart Leadership Program is a signature part of Sanford directly related to our mission to prepare students for a life of leadership, civic engagement, and public service. Andrew has the knowledge and skills in experiential learning and leadership development that make him a wonderful program leader. Gunther’s leadership has been essential in significantly expanding HLP, from courses to community partners to faculty positions. I am grateful for Andrew and Gunther’s leadership,” she said.
Last fall, HLP recruited new faculty members Nurkin and associate professor of practice Alexandra Zagbayou.
“Both colleagues are deeply committed to the core values of the Hart Leadership Program, combining life-changing community engagement and research with in-house leadership development work,” Peck said. “I know the Hart Leadership Program will continue to thrive through the inspiring leadership practices of Andrew and Alexandra, and I’m sure Andrew will do a fantastic job as the new Hart Leadership Program Director.”
Nurkin’s academic and experiential background includes time spent in Duke in Hart Leadership Program courses in conjunction with Founding Director Bruce Payne. Prior to joining Duke in his faculty role, he directed public programs in the humanities, arts, and civic engagement for the Free Library of Philadelphia, one of the nation’s largest public library systems. He also served as executive director of a national nonprofit that builds civic leadership skills across generations and led civic engagement programs at Princeton University.
A renowned poet, effective community organizer and tireless program builder in Princeton and Philadelphia, Nurkin is a national leader in reinventing civic, political and artistic engagement for a prosperous future. Nurkin holds a master’s degree in poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a master’s degree in theology from Yale Divinity School, and an undergraduate degree in English from Duke University.
“Through innovative teaching and thoughtful community engagement, the Hart Leadership Program has inspired generations of Sanford students to pursue worthwhile public goals. I am grateful to Gunther, who has built on this legacy with urgent new programs on democracy and political engagement, and I look forward to continuing to support our students as they learn and practice ethical leadership for life. public,” Nurkin said.
Under Peck’s leadership, HLP has experienced significant program expansion and innovation, as well as the development of new community partnerships. Under his leadership, the number of students taking HLP courses doubled, as well as students conducting community-based research and project-based learning. The numbers reflect a sustained effort to expand courses such as “Women as Leaders,” as well as new undergraduate scholarships such as the Political Engagement Project (PEP) with its new core class, the Democracy Lab. .
As part of the creation of PEP and the continued expansion of the Service Opportunity Leadership Program (SOL), HLP has also developed recent collaborations with community partners including Democracy NC, El Centro Hispano, El Pueblo, Forward Justice, and North Carolina Asian American Together (NCAAT), North Carolina for Clean Elections, You Can Vote, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Peck said another point of pride has been HLP’s expansion of social justice and racial equity into the program — which has improved the program overall.
“Since becoming director of Hart, I have worked hard to embed social justice and racial equity into our curriculum and which we teach and support. We have benefited from an extraordinary group of students of color who have chosen to make Hart their intellectual and experiential home. We now have a more diverse cohort of students, including many first-generation students as well as students with multiple citizenship homes,” Peck said.
“I really enjoyed learning by doing at the Hart Leadership Program. Our faculty, students, community partners and staff have each exemplified essential elements of what public leadership looks like in practice,” he said.
After July 1, Gunther will continue to teach at Sanford and will help Duke establish curricular and community collaborations between the University and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte through a grant from the Duke Endowment.