By ASHLIE DAVIS
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across Dr. Juilee Decker in class or simply around campus, you likely already know how agreeable and funny she is—though she’s not convinced of the latter. As I waited to meet her in the Mulberry where she hosts her unofficial Monday office hours, I was able to see her interacting with potential new students and their parents. It became clear in those brief minutes that her day-to-day enthusiasm most certainly transfers to her love of Georgetown College where she has been a member of the Art Department since 2004. She comes highly recommended by her students, and it isn’t hard to tell why.
What makes Georgetown College special for faculty?
Well, I know all of my colleagues and I get to talk with them every single day in my department and I really value that. And it’s wonderful because I feel like they’re actually my friends. And then, outside of that, I think that the faculty are, as a group, pretty collegial and the friends that you have as faculty do genuinely care about one another.
What is your favorite class to teach?
I don’t know, I really actually like teaching all of them. I like teaching Art History Survey because most of the students have not had Art History when they come to college, and so I feel like I’m opening up the discipline to them. The Curatorial Studies class is one where I feel like the students can connect with the college because we work on the archives show. And the Senior Thesis class is just great because you think “oh my gosh, this is it, this is the end for the student, but also the beginning of a new chapter.” I just really like teaching all of them and I really get to teach different classes every year which is awesome.
So what is the key to an A in one of your classes?
Attendance, reading the book and just being engaged in the class because if you do those things you will likely do well on the assignments by default, just because you’ll be prepared.
So there’s not a special cupcake or anything that will help them out?
I was just thinking like coffee! No, no. Really it’s attendance and reading the book and doing whatever the assignment requires because I think it’s fairly basic, but so many times people try to take shortcuts. And I’m not one for shortcuts.
If you could live inside any painting, which would you choose?
This is really hard…I’m going to say Constable’s “The Hay Wain.” Only because I have studied John Constable since the 90s, probably as long as you’ve been around. And I just really enjoy the visual aspect, but also the cultural aspect. It is so English that if I were living in that painting I would be living in Constable Country, which is what they actually call that area.
If you weren’t teaching, what would you do?
I would be a Civil War battlefield guide.
That is very specific, so why the Civil War?
Because I’m named after Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army. That is why my name is spelled the way that it is. And my husband and I both share an interest in Civil War history and so because it’s been the 50th anniversary of the Civil War from 2011 to 2015, we are taking Civil War battlefield trips.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
I drink decaf after 1:15 and I love a Hersey’s bar democratically divided into 12 pieces.
With a personality like this, Dr. Decker is sure to be one of your favorite teachers, so look for her when you’re signing up for next semester’s classes and don’t forget to ask her what her favorite battlefield is the next time you catch her in the Mulberry.