New Day, New Season for 'Office Hours'

Discussion of religious archaeology starts a new season of faculty broadcasts

Mark Anthony Neal prepares for a 2009 Office Hours broadcast.
Mark Anthony Neal prepares for a 2009 Office Hours broadcast.

"Office Hours," Duke University's online program featuring live
conversations with its faculty, is moving to noon on Thursdays this year. It
previously appeared on Fridays.

Its new season kicks off Sept. 1 with a discussion on Biblical archaeology with
Carol and Eric Meyers. Upcoming guests include Sanford Dean Bruce Kuniholm and
engineering graduate student Jonathan Kuniholm discussing the 9/11 anniversary
(Sept. 8), Nicholas School Professor Robert Jackson on the environmental debate about "fracking" (Sept. 15) and Duke Chapel
Dean Samuel Wells on responses to violence (Sept. 29). A longer schedule is available
on the "Office Hours" website and through the program's mailing list

"We want to see whether Thursdays will be more convenient for
viewers," said David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and
communications, whose office produces the show on Duke's Ustream channel. The program can also be seen on Duke Today. "Thursday is also when we
distribute 'The Week at Duke' newsletter to Duke's faculty and staff, so this
will alert them to shows that might interest them."

The Office of News and Communications (ONC) launched "Office Hours" two
years ago and, since then, has worked with Duke Media Services to produce 65
shows featuring more than 80 Duke faculty, alumni, staff and students on
camera. Viewers have joined the conversation by e-mail, Twitter and Facebook,
submitting questions from as far away as Haiti and Indonesia. Bloggers and
others who cover higher education have also taken note, with one writing,
"Who needs television when you can actually demonstrate the expertise of
your faculty to the world?"

From the start, Duke's Alumni Association has
promoted Office Hours as a way for alumni to reconnect with the university and
share their own expertise on diverse subjects. Recorded programs appear on the
university's Duke on Demand website.

"'Office Hours' has found an audience both on campus and more
widely," said ONC's James Todd, who hosts many of the discussions. "Some
episodes have been featured on local televisions stations such as NBC17 and
WRAL, and they've been quoted in other local news sources. For our discussion
tomorrow with the Meyers, we've already received questions from Canada,
Australia and Israel."