Bernice Durand
Associate Vice Chancellor Emerita
         for Diversity and Climate
Professor of Physics Emerita
University of Wisconsin-Madison
         Picture of Professor Durand


As the first Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Climate, Professor Durand provided leadership to ensure that faculty, staff and student diversity issues including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, and classroom and general campus workplace climate issues be addressed, and that search committees for non-classified staff be trained in broadening the pool of applicants and eliminating implicit bias. She co-directed a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation to the UW System designed to create more equity, flexibility and career options for faculty and academic staff. She was also a member of the leadership team of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Science Foundation to increase the participation and status of women in science.

Professor Durand played an active role in shared governance at UW-Madison, leading the 2000 chancellor search and chairing many other impactful committees including the University Committee (the executive committee of the Faculty Senate), the Athletic Board, the Diversity Plan 2008 development and oversight committees, the Library Committee, and the Letters & Science Curriculum Committee, leading the development and implementation of the university's ethnic studies requirement.

In 2002, she was awarded a special Chancellor's Recognition Award for Outstanding Leadership in Campus Diversity and received the 2002 Faculty and Staff Recognition Award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association's Cabinet 99.

Professor Durand (B.S. and Ph.D. Iowa State) is a theoretical physicist who specialized in particle theory and mathematical physics. Her research was on symmetry relations in algebra and physics, plus the phenomenology of high-energy interactions at large particle accelerators.

A recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching, Professor Durand taught courses at all levels from modern physics for nonscientists ("Physics for Poets") to a specialized course she developed for advanced graduate students in the use of topology and algebra in quantum field theory. In the mid 1990s, she used technological and pedagogical techniques in her teaching such as having her modern physics for nonscientists course shown on public television with the course work web based, one of two early versions of MOOC pioneered on campus. The course continued through three versions, was shown statewide, and in Colorado on Grassroots TV in Aspen. She enjoys giving talks on physics to service organizations, high school students, and the general public.

In Aspen, Professor Durand serves on the board of Aspen Public Radio. She is married to Professor of Physics Emeritus Loyal Durand whose three sons she helped raise. They enjoy eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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