Director of Academic Engagement, Humanities
-- Duke University
Jules Odendahl-James became the first Director of Academic Engagement, Humanities in May 2014 after nine previous years at Duke, teaching first in the Thompson Writing Program (courses like Performance Criticism, Documenting Death, Crime Scene Imagination, and Verbatim/Verboten: Documentary Theater & Film) and most recently as the resident dramaturg and visiting lecturer in the Department of Theater Studies. She is a professional theater artist who has been making work in the Triangle since 1997 with companies such as Playmakers Repertory Company, Manbites Dog Theater, Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and Skydive Productions. She has also been the advisor to Duke’s “Me Too Monologues” since 2011.
Her first experience as an undergraduate academic advisor was at UNC, where she worked with students as they navigated curricular requirements with an eye toward building their own unique intellectual experience and values to carry into a variety of post-college callings. For the past several years at Duke, she has mentored students from first year to senior year about the unique challenges and opportunities they face as they decide what kind of central role the performing arts will play in their post-Duke life. Her own educational and professional path has been shaped by an ability to see objects and experiences in their complex relationships to other objects and experiences. An ability to take both a macro- and micro- perspective makes her particularly adept at helping Duke students see connections across their many fields of interest: personal, intellectual, social and civic. She is excited to collaborate with students on developing strong habits of work as they navigate the wealth of opportunities and innovation happening in the arts and humanities on this campus.