DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — This year there’s a new president and not just in the White House. Vincent Price recently took over as Duke University’s 10th president. He sat down with CBS North Carolina anchor Sean Maroney for a wide-ranging interview on the challenges and goals he’s looking forward to tackling.
Price’s predecessor Richard Brodhead focused on expanding financial aid and addressing health care inequities, and Price said he remains committed to that mission.
“I don’t anticipate any sharp turns in the direction for the University,” Price said. “We will be working to develop our science and technology capacities and building on our community partnerships.”
When asked whether he’s reached out to Durham city and community leaders, Price said he has.
“During the transition, I had the opportunity to meet with the mayor and city manager,” Price said. “I’d like to see those collaborations deepen and grow.”
“I’d like to be a visible president,” Price added. “Visible in the community of Durham, as well as here on campus.”
Price takes over shortly after Duke became the first private university in the South to have a union for non-tenured professors. He addressed that, and the fact that talks ended with graduate students who had said they wanted to enter into a union as well.
“We are of the firm belief that our graduate students are students, not employees, and the majority of students agreed with that point of view,” Price said. “I look forward to working with all of our faculty, unionized or otherwise, and I look forward to working with all of our students.”
“In my experience, the most important single thing that a president can do is to ensure that there is regular communication so that the needs and interests of our students and faculty are understood and recognized and we work collaboratively to advance.”
Projections put the cost of tuition at Duke University, before room and board, at $60,000 by 2020. Price addressed that, in light of student loan debt being a trillion-dollar industry in the United States.
“American higher education is at an important juncture,” Price said. “As we’re earlier in the 21st century, we have to think deeply about the system that can maintain the very high quality of education, which is the standard of excellence around the globe, maintain our research activities and develop the underlying financial models that make that possible and accessible to ordinary families.”
“That’s very much a part of my interest to coming to Duke University to address those kinds of challenges.”