Professor of the practice and Distinguished University Service Professor, Program in Education
Trained in Political Science at Northwestern University, Jean O'Barr began teaching at Duke in 1969. Her initial areas of scholarship were African politics and international affairs. In 1972, she was the first director of the Continuing Education program; working with returning women students gother involved in the American women's movement and she began teaching courses on women in politics. In 1983, O'Barr was tapped to be the founding director of Women's Studies, a position she held for 18 years, teaching both the introductory course and graduate classes. During her tenure she was the
editor of the premier journal in the field, SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 1985-1990. She left administration and began teaching full time in 2001, moving to the Program in Education before her retirement from full time teaching in 2008. O'Barr taught the Senior Seminar for Baldwin Scholars from 2007-2010; a lectureship in her honor is a part of the Baldwin Program. In addition to her scholarly activities, she is an active Unitarian, grandmother, and gardener.