Jan. 21, 2021

Inspiring Teacher: Jess Jung, associate professor of directing and Theatre NDSU artistic director


Jess Jung, top row center, teaches a variety of theatre courses. She prioritizes teamwork and compassion in the classroom.

Jess Jung is an accomplished director who loves to share her talents and expertise with NDSU students.

“My students make teaching at NDSU special,” Jung said. “The students I teach are theatre majors, theatre minors and non-theatre majors who are brave enough to come play. Each year, I'm delighted by their dedication to the art, their creativity and their commitment to each other.”

Jung teaches a variety of courses, ranging from Advanced Acting, Storytelling and Acting Shakespeare to Directing I, II and III, Theatre History and World Film.

“For me, teaching is about leadership and mentorship,” Jung said. “In the classroom, it is important to meet students where they are in their educational journey in order to help them succeed academically. Outside of the classroom, it is important to provide support and advice as students look towards their future.”

Prior to the pandemic, her door was often open for students to stop by. Now, she’s turned to more innovative means to stay connected. She created "Care and Share" events, informal Zoom get-togethers where students share the small things that bring them joy.

That caring and compassion comes through in Jung’s teaching.

“As a theatre practitioner, I view each of my classes as an ensemble, or a team with a common goal,” she said. The only way we will reach that goal is to work diligently, and sometimes vulnerably, together. I put time and effort into creating a classroom that is a safe and fun environment for students to connect and explore.”

The bottom line for Jung is a simple one – she tries her best to have a lasting impact.

“I take great pride in the continued relationship I have with my theatre alumni,” she said. “From them sending YouTube videos that relate to theatre history, to asking me for professional advice, to even asking me to officiate their wedding, alumni remind me how important and wonderful my job is. I love more than anything to see and hear how they are thriving in the real world because when they make a difference, in a small way I have, too.”

Jung earned her bachelor’s degree at Augsburg College and her Master of Fine Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Her directing credits include the Hangar Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Forum Theatre, Adventure Theatre MTC, Mead Theatre Lab, the Inkwell and Walden Theatre. Her dramaturgy credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Young Playwrights' Theatre. Jung is a recipient of the Drama League Directors Project Fellowship.

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