Humanities and Social Sciences and Writing Center Faculty


James McDougall, PhD

Office: Zone 3, 322A

Email: jmcdoug(at)scupi.cn

Biography: Dr. James McDougall received his PhD from the University of Florida and is currently serving as the director of the Humanities and Social Sciences program and the Writing Center at the Sichuan University Pittsburgh Institute and is an Associate Professor of English Language and Literature. His research interests includes: Poetry, Histories and Cultures of China-US Relations, Global Studies, Cultural Studies, and Rhetoric and Composition.

Writing Philosophy:  We live in a world of signs. From our hair to our shoes we write ourselves into the world for people to read. From the way we walk down the street to gestures we make our existence is weaved into a tapestry of meaning. The same is true for ink we put on a page or digital images on a digital web. We leave a trace meanings and intentions. Through looking at the way we write ourselves into the world, we not only learn who we are, we learn “thou art.” Learning to write well allows us to communicate, not just to express our ideas clearly and accurately, but to encounter the ideas of others and create dialogues. Writing well takes practice, effort, and care. This hard work is rewarded by the communities we enter into, the knowledge that we share, and the revealing of the kind of person that we have become.


Dr. Areum Jeong

Dr. Areum Jeong, PhD

Office: Zone 3, 320 B

Email: areum.jeong(at)scupi.cn

Biography: Areum Jeong received her PhD in Theater and Performance Studies from UCLA and MA in Performances Studies from New York University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Humanities and Writing at Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute. She researches and teaches Asian and Asian American film, literature, theater and performance.

Writing Philosophy: Writing can be viewed as a performance. This performance can take many forms—for example, it could be a solo performance or a collaborative performance. Writing also has the power to do something. It has the power to create a bridge between people of different cultures and encourage cultural exchange and understanding through words.

Emily O’Dell, PhD

Office: Zone 3, 317A

Email: emily.odell(at)scu.edu.cn

Biography: Dr. Emily Jane O’Dell received her MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University, where she studied with Pulitzer Prize winners Paula Vogel and Nilo Cruz. Her new book, The Gifts of Rumi, is being published by St. Martin’s Press. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Salon, Al Jazeera, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and Jadaliyya, and she is a global mentor for the Coalition for Women in Journalism. She has held teaching and research positions stateside at Brown, Columbia, Yale, and Harvard (where she received an award for excellence in teaching) and abroad at the American University of Beirut and Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman — where she produced, directed, and performed in the first production of Our Town in the Middle East. Readings and productions of her plays have been produced at Lincoln Center, the Public Theatre, City Center, Trinity Repertory Company, Perishable Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Brown University, and the New York Fringe Festival. Dr. O’Dell has also worked on a number of feature films and television shows, including Law and Order. In addition to her university teaching, she has directed writing projects with marginalized writers, such as The Cast, a playwriting program for at-risk high school youth in Providence, and The Writer’s Group, a poetry workshop for people with developmental disabilities. She is currently an Associate Professor in Humanities and Writing at Sichuan University – Pittsburgh Institute.

Writing Philosophy: Writing is experimentation, expression, energy. It is power and possibility. It is play. Through writing, we attempt to understand ourselves, each other, and the world. We bear witness, hold to account, truth tell. We give birth to new worlds, unveil reality, and dare to feel. Each voice: a unique way of seeing the world.



John Rhym, PhD

Office: Zone 3, 317B

Email: johnrhym(at)scupi.cn

Biography: John Rhym earned his PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where his research was on the history and aesthetics of film.  Before that, he received his MA in Cinema Studies at New York University and his BA from Wheaton College.  He is currently an Assistant Professor in Humanities and Writing at Sichuan University – Pittsburgh Institute.

Writing Philosophy: I’m interested in better understanding how forms of writing serve as forms of thinking.  That is, Twitter and the five-paragraph essay are not just neutral modes of writing that help us convey what we often assume to be our clear and immediate thoughts.  Instead, each distinct mode or medium engenders crucial norms that condition not only how we order and express our thinking but also how we stand in relation to thought.  In this way, writing is an integral part of how we understand ourselves and our world.



David Jeffrey

Office: Zone 3, 320A

Email: davidjeffrey(at)scu.edu.cn

Biography: David Jeffrey has an MA in Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa and another MA in Teaching English as a Foreign and Second Language from The University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. His main research interest is the application of Daoism to modern education through introspective diary studies.

Writing Philosophy: Writing is an enjoyable way of putting your authentic abilities, aptitudes and inclinations into words. Everybody has the potential to become a good writer. It is both a skill and an art, and it takes time and practice. Being a writer with perseverance and dedication will bring you great satisfaction. You will see your ideas shared with the world, and your words will live on for many years to come.

李玉梅 LI Yumei, PhD

Office: Zone 3, 319B

Email: yumei.li(at)scupi.cn

Biography: Yumei Li received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at the University of Houston, where she also held positions as a teaching fellow and postdoctoral fellow. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Humanities and Writing at Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute. Her teaching and research interests focus on cultural studies, global studies, teaching English as a second language, and critical inquiry in education.

Writing Philosophy:  I write to share what I have learned and always glean a better understanding of myself and the world from the writing process. Writing offers me a “third space” to connect with a larger community and to contemplate possibilities for the future.