Olympia Duhart - Legal Communication & Rhetoric Visiting Scholar

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Dean Olympia Duhart engaged with Oregon Law students, faculty, and administrators in Eugene on September 10-11, 2023, as the Legal Communication & Rhetoric Visiting Scholar. She is the Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad College of Law, where she has taught legal writing and constitutional law courses since 2005. Dean Duhart is nationally recognized for her scholarship on vulnerable populations and on teaching, learning, and assessment. In 2022, she received the Legal Writing Institute’s Mary Lawrence Award for her prolific scholarship and innovative curriculum. She is admired for her leadership in the academy, as co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and through her longtime service to major legal writing organizations.

Faculty Colloquium

Dean Duhart’s presentation, “Pedagogical Caring in the Law School Classroom,” arose from her scholarship into the science of learning and her innovative teaching in constitutional law and legal writing courses. The presentation highlighted her research on pedagogical caring in higher education, drawing from legal writing experts in related areas. Dean Duhart energized a large gathering of faculty and senior administrators with concrete, creative strategies for fostering an ethic of care in law school, while enhancing rigor, by boosting students’ academic self-efficacy and well-being.  

Student Roundtable

Dean Duhart also met with a group of students to explore the topic “Creating Supportive Communities in Law School and Beyond.” She shared her experiences as a first-generation person of color in law school and the communities she helped create on her journey from news reporter and high school teacher to award-winning law professor and associate dean. Miranda Vermeer (2L) was impressed by “Dean Duhart's emphasis on the importance of self-assessment and self-care to improving both yourself and the groups of which you're a part” and left the discussion “eager to incorporate these practices” in her professional and personal life.

Additionally, Dean Duhart explained the findings of her research into effective leaders and advocates, including the importance of empathy and the cognitive benefit of taking intentional, short breaks during the writing process. Molly Hooks (3L) reported, “Dean Duhart encouraged us to make time for passions outside of the classroom, as this planned time away from school will make us better learners and advocates. It was inspiring to hear how Dean Duhart implements this approach in her work to be such an effective scholar, dean, professor, and mentor.”

Dean Duhart’s visit was made possible by support from the Association of Legal Writing Directors through its Legal Communication & Rhetoric Visiting Scholars Grant Program. Her visit also received support from the Galen Endowment for the Advancement of Legal Writing