President Richard Brodhead, an expert in English, is gearing up to face off against a wordsmith of another kind.
This Thursday, Brodhead will appear as a guest on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Although Stephen Colbert might deliver jabs at Duke, Brodhead plans to focus the conversation on the humanities. At least he plans to try.
Brodhead said he was asked to appear on the show to discuss a recent report on K-12 education prepared by the national Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, which he co-chaired. The report, which found that not enough people see the importance in a humanities education, has received a lot of attention since it was released in June.
"I presume (Colbert's) asked me on there to talk about the report," Brodhead said. "But as you know, he doesn't totally stick to any topic."
Comedy Central contacted Brodhead soon after he appeared on PBS NewsHour, alongside actor and commission member John Lithgow, in June.
When asked if he's ready to take on a person who has a penchant for argument on national television, Brodhead said, "I've spent my whole life dealing with people who like to rebut things."
He added that he isn't sure if the appearance will boost his popularity with students, but the opportunity came at a good time—just a few days before the new freshman class heads to Durham.
"It's a good chance to show off Duke," he said.
The episode will air on Comedy Central on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 11:30 p.m. EST.