Tip: Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f to find keywords in the page

Duke University and the Duke University Health System are vibrant, complex communities of individuals pursuing a wide range of scholarly, educational, and clinical activities.  We find strength in the diversity of our pursuits, and one of our signature strengths is that Duke encourages and supports connections across a wide range of individuals and activities.  Our vision and values statements are the fundamental building blocks for our success as a world-renowned university and a leading national academic health center committed to advancing health together.  As a research university and academic medical center, we follow a wide range of laws and regulations.   Given the differing governance structures for our faculty, staff and students, it is important to have shared principles of conduct that underscore our values, and that emphasize and explain the concepts that apply across individuals with Duke affiliation everywhere.

The statements herein aim to concisely express the purpose, direction, drivers and character of our institution that are reflected by many of our documents, including the Duke Values,  institutional policies, the Duke Faculty Handbook, the Standards of Conduct & Performance/Corrective Action Policy, Duke Health Integrity in Action, and the Duke Community Standard.  Some aspects of our day-to-day activities are also guided by professional codes of conduct and professionalism statements, which are consistent with Duke’s values and expectations.  Values in Action is intended to curate information in an accessible manner, and further complements and strengthens any local values statements adopted by units that may be reflective of their individual work cultures and missions.

Duke’s Values in Action is intended to strengthen our community by ensuring that we are good citizens to each other, to those we serve, to the Durham community, and to individuals in all of the wider groups with which we interact on behalf of Duke.  This is a statement of our responsibilities that ensures we perform to the best of our abilities, act with integrity, and comply with applicable laws, rules, regulations, professional and accreditation standards and Duke policies and procedures. 

Duke’s Values in Action presents the principles that guide our work, research, study and volunteer activities on behalf of Duke.  Our ability to provide the very best of education, healthcare, research and community engagement depends upon the commitment of each one of us toward these shared ideals for a supportive workplace environment, positive interactions with others, and stewardship of our resources. 

Academic, Healthcare and Workplace Environment

Community, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Duke aspires to create a community built on innovation, creativity, collaboration, and belonging, and free from harassment, discrimination and unwelcome conduct. Our collective success and the achievement of excellence depends on our commitment to infuse diversity and equity into every aspect of our teaching, research, learning, patient care and community engagement.

Professionalism and Duty of Care

We improve our knowledge, work and community by conscientiously applying our time and talents, and demonstrate and practice genuine concern and respect for others. We encourage questions, dialogue, and challenges, holding individuals and organizations accountable for their actions and decisions.

Physical Facilities and Workplace Environment

Duke believes in providing everyone with the facilities and surrounding environment that enable our academic, research, healthcare, administration and community engagement activities.  We ensure classrooms, offices, laboratories, residence halls, patient care areas, and common spaces are physically safe, welcoming to all, appropriately accessible.

Interacting and Doing Business with Others

Open Expression

One of Duke’s most cherished values is unfettered debate and deliberation, granting wide freedom of expression to those in our campus and workplace community. With that freedom comes the responsibility to foster scholarly discourse, not offer a platform for polemics, and to ensure ideas are tested, challenged, defended and debated in a way that advances knowledge, rather than obscures or impedes it.

Faculty and Scholarship

To achieve our mission and meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, Duke strives to create a climate of collaboration, creativity, and innovation within and across disciplines.

Students and Scholarship

Duke expects and supports students to maintain high expectations for scholarship and conduct, and supports them in reaching their highest potential.

Human Resources and Employee Engagement

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Patient Care

We strive to serve our patients in a way that achieves excellence, is free from bias, discrimination and mistreatment, and that maintains the highest ethical standards. We address instances of harassment and discrimination between our patients and their healthcare providers.

Scientific Integrity, Sponsor Relations, and Performing Research

At Duke, we conduct sponsored research and other funded program work as a trusted steward of the resources, in accordance with agreements, and in a way that can be replicated and/or reproduced.  Responsible conduct of research principles, promote ongoing discussion and examination of research procedures, collaborator relationships and ethical considerations in the research culture.  Duke believes in and supports scientific excellence and a culture of rigor, reproducibility, and continuous improvement in our practices. 

Donor Engagement and Fundraising

Every gift to Duke – large or small – plays a role in pushing us forward.  Philanthropy enables research, financial aid, recruitment and funding for new ideas and programs.  Every relationship with a donor or potential donor must be built upon fairness, trust and transparency. 

Business Practices

We are all stewards of Duke’s resources and reputation and we strive to conduct all business discussions, activities and decisions fairly and with appropriate transparency.  Seek advice when expectations are not clear or when we question what is “right” or “allowed.”

Dual Interest and Outside Activities

Outside activities are a valuable means for professional and civic engagement with the community.  Avoid or manage real or perceived conflicts of interest in all aspects of business, patient care, research, time commitment, and governance.    Avoid activities, pursuits or financial interests that are not compatible, in reality or perception, with our responsibilities.  Do not use our positions of influence or authority to secure personal advantage or gain.

International Activities

Duke’s international reach, reputation and aspirations require a community that is mindful of laws and regulations that stipulate the way in which business can be conducted outside the United States and how research activities can be shared with collaborators, students and employees who are not citizens of the United States.

Sportsmanship and Athletic Competition

Duke Athletics aims to engage the mind, to elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University.  Athletic competition at Duke demands the highest level of standards and performance, working with others as a team, adherence to codes of fairness and sportsmanship and compliance with ACC and NCAA regulations.

Public Relations and Communications

Duke supports professional and responsible use of communication platforms to connect with our stakeholders and community.

Political Activity and Engagement with Government Officials

As a non-profit, tax-exempt entity, Duke must abide by federal and state laws prohibiting the use of its facilities, funds, services, personnel or other resources to benefit political organizations, or to support or oppose individuals or organizations campaigning for public office.

Visitor Interactions

Duke welcomes visitors to our campus, workplace and facilities to participate in healthcare, scholarly activities, events, research, volunteerism, and to visit our gardens, museums and historic architecture. Duke is a place to study, tour, marvel, celebrate, heal, and give back.

Community Citizenship and Engagement

Duke faculty, staff, students and clinicians are an important part of the communities beyond our campus.  Duke encourages purposeful partnerships and affiliations with our neighbors in the region through service and volunteerism, charitable activities and financial contributions.  Duke also encourages meaningful engagement with our alumni, parents and friends through education, connections and communications.

Protecting Information and Assets

Financial Stewardship

Duke’s relationships with our donors, students, sponsors and community partners assume that we will be responsible stewards of our financial resources.  This requires individuals to engage in careful planning, use and conservation of financial resources.

Data Protection, Privacy and Confidentiality

Duke faculty, staff, students, patients, collaborators and research subjects entrust us with their personal and confidential information.  We balance the free exchange of information with the need to protect sensitive or regulated information and to ensure information is available for authorized use.  We keep information confidential and use it only with permission and for its intended purposes.

Safeguarding Assets

Duke facilities, equipment, data and financial resources help us deliver on our mission, achieve our goals and support our daily activities.  Duke entrusts each of us with protecting our financial, physical, intellectual and electronic property from unauthorized access, theft, misappropriation and damage.

Environmental Stewardship

Duke is committed to educating and empowering our community to create a more sustainable future through social, economic and environmental change.  We endeavor to be responsible stewards of energy and transportation resources in support of carbon neutrality and holistic sustainability for the campus.

Ask Questions and Share Concerns

Illegal, immoral or fraudulent actions are never in keeping with our Values, and are always causes for concern.  You can be part of the solution by asking questions when something does not seem right, or by reporting when you witness or are asked to participate in actions that are not consistent with our values or policies.  Whether you use anonymous, confidential or other reporting channels, we want you to please tell someone if there is a problem.  If you are comfortable doing so, ask your supervisor, department head, academic dean, residence advisor or ombudsman for advice. If you prefer, the Speak Up line is available to you as an online form or by calling 800.826.8109 to discuss your question or report your concern.  The toll-free number and the online form are confidential, and anonymous if you choose.  This service is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.  A third party professionally staffs and administers the toll-free line and refers the information to the appropriate office for follow-up and action.  Other Duke resources that provide confidential consultation include CAPS, PAS, Women’s Center, Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the student ombuds and faculty ombuds programs, campus clergy and Duke Health clergy.

Staff, faculty, students, patients, trainees, volunteers and visiting scholars may also directly contact Duke’s Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance, the Office for Institutional Equity, Duke Human Resources or Duke University Health System Compliance Office.  These resources are available during normal business hours for confidential advice and consultation.

If you are concerned about a Duke student’s behavior or health, resources and assistance are available through the DukeReach program.  Similarly, Duke’s Personal Assistance Service is available to eligible faculty, staff and their family members.  Its staff of licensed professionals offer assessment, short-term counseling and referrals at no charge to help resolve a range of personal, work and family problems.

Finally, illegal actions are never in keeping with our values, and are always cause for concern.  If you observe or otherwise learn of any criminal offense or suspected criminal activity, please immediately report this directly to the Duke University Police Department (DUPD).  The DUPD can be reached via its website or by calling 911 for emergencies on campus, submitting information using the LiveSafe mobile application, or by calling 919-684-2444 for any non-emergency issues or concerns.

It takes courage to come forward.  Retaliation for reporting concerns in good faith is strictly prohibited. Retaliation may be in the form of threatening careers, discouraging others from reporting prohibited conduct or action or instructing others not to participate in an investigation.

Duke commits to conducting a fair and expeditious inquiry and to use any information to correct errors, make improvements, and ensure accountability.  Should illegal activity be suspected or confirmed, Duke has a duty to report those facts to the appropriate authorities.


Duke’s policies and procedures reflect our values and our expectations for the many and varied activities at Duke.  This document serves as a statement of responsibilities for all members of the Duke community to honor our institutional values, comply with our policies, and abide by legal and compliance requirements.  Our Duke community is Duke University, Duke University Health System (DUHS), and all subsidiary and affiliate entities, and its members are trustees, governing and advisory board members, officers and senior administrators, faculty, staff, students, student employees, student leaders, trainees and authorized alumni and volunteers acting on behalf of Duke.

Duke’s Values in Action provides the framework to ensure that our high standards of behavior are demonstrated consistently across our organization and that we live out our common mission, vision, and values on a daily basis, and that we perform our responsibilities to the best of our abilities and in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, professionalism and accreditation standards, and Duke policies and procedures.  We do this with the understanding that our Duke community – colleagues, students, collaborators, neighbors, patients and sponsors – depend upon the integrity of our actions.

Behaviors or actions that not are not consistent with our policies, institutional statements, and standards or with laws and regulations are expected to result in a range of consequences, sanctions or disciplinary action, which may include termination proceedings.  The consequences will be determined based upon the facts and circumstances along with the severity of the actions determined not to be consistent with these conduct expectations.

Additional Resources

Community Conduct Statements

Do you have questions? Contact us at oarc@duke.edu.

Do you have concerns to share? Please use our speak-up resources.

Discussion Starters

Values in Action Marketing and Graphic Materials