Dean Valerie Ashby Delivers Lecture on 'Impostor Syndrome'

Author: Nora Kenney

Dean Valerie Ashby shares steps for overcoming 'Impostor Syndrome'Dean Valerie Ashby shares steps for overcoming 'Impostor Syndrome'

Earlier in October, Valerie Sheares Ashby, dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University, addressed a packed crowd in the Jordan Auditorium in the Mendoza College of Business as the inaugural Kathleen Cannon, O.P. Distinguished Lecturer. Her topic was “impostor syndrome,” a psychological condition of self-doubt that afflicts high-achieving individuals, causing them to view their accomplishments as flukes and to fear they will be uncovered as frauds in their fields. Ashby shared how she overcame impostor syndrome through steps outlined by expert Valerie Young, and she urged the audience to adopt Young’s strategies. Without overcoming impostor syndrome, Ashby explained, students miss opportunities for leadership roles, increased research productivity, and personal fulfillment. 


Ashby’s encouragement for graduate students to tackle impostor syndrome head-on aligns with the Graduate School’s holistic approach to graduate training, which aims to foster an environment of well-being. “We know that when students are truly thriving, not just academically, but mentally and emotionally, they have greater likelihoods for success,” said Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost, and dean of the Graduate School. “Put another way, we tell graduate students that ‘your research matters’ and ‘you matter.’ So it was very powerful to attend Dean Ashby’s lecture and see so many in the audience respond to her message.” 

Dean Valerie Ashby addresses a large crowd on the topic of 'Imposter Syndrome'Dean Valerie Ashby addresses a large crowd on the topic of 'Impostor Syndrome'


More information on Ashby’s career and experience with impostor syndrome can be found in a November 2017 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education