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Paul W. Baerman

2103 Fountain Ridge | Chapel Hill, NC 27517 USA |  | +1 919 360-0963


Since the 1980s I’ve been writing and ghostwriting speeches, articles, op-eds, reviews, essays, plays, columns, booklets, and web sites. Along the way I held full-time industry and university positions in marketing and marketing communications, financial analysis, executive speechwriting, and operations. An actor, musician, and interlocutor, I try to be sensitive to nuance, diction, and rhythm: I’m a storyteller in love with style.

These days I’m also a stay-at-home dad. Someone had to do it.


DUKE UNIVERSITY, Durham, NC, 1989-1996, 1998-2009

Marketing Director, Duke Corporate Education, 2005-2009:  oversee marketing communications, media relations, web site development, conference participation, publications, rankings, and social media, supporting business development and client relationships across four continents and several international offices for a $60M nonprofit.

Executive Speechwriter, 1999-2005:  As Special Assistant to the President, craft 160 speeches per year ranging from 2 to 25 minutes, many related to a capital campaign.  Draft letters, columns, op-eds, and remarks for other senior administrators and the chairman of the board.  Represent president’s office on the College and University Consortium on Investor Responsibility, the joint Duke-UNC Robertson Scholars Collaboration Fund, Alcohol Task Force, LGBT Task Force, and other committees.

  • Wrote detailed reports on the financing of technology transfer; the history of campus race relations; and the nationwide movement on socially responsible investment, drafting policies for the board.
  • “Five Things the U.S. Needs to Learn from Canada,” an address to the Canadian Club of Ottawa, received international media coverage.
  • Scripted the inauguration ceremony of the incoming president and the celebration of the outgoing president, including a 7-minute video.

Assistant Director, Auxiliaries Finance Office, 1998-1999: coordinate $100M budgeting process and financial reviews for seven units, overseeing accounts receivable and capital expenditures.  Prepare presentations for use by vice president.

  • Analyzed privatization initiatives for campus stores, preparing 15-year forecasts using a complex risk analysis model of my design.

General Manager, Office Products & Services, 1995-1996: Optimized use of capital and operating funds by managing convenience copiers, in-plant and retail copy centers, and coin-ops. Oversaw $4.8M budget with staff of 26.

  • Discovered and recovered $50,000 in cumulative vendor overbillings.

Manager, Custom Publishing, 1993‑1995: Implement university‑wide digital network printing using on-demand technology.

Manager, Reprographics Services, 1991‑1993:  Oversee centralized copying services for university community, handling 20,000 projects and 32M impressions per year.

Director, National Collegiate Software, 1989‑1991:  As principal investigator of FIPSE grant at Duke University Press, publish peer-reviewed, faculty‑authored software for teaching and research.


Chief Financial Officer, 1996-1998: Manage accounting, payroll, billing, taxes, capital equipment financing, bids and estimates, and human resources for high-tech startup.  Write proposals, government contracts, technical reports, and marketing communications.

SELF-EMPLOYED, 1985-present

As a freelance writer, write feature articles, pamphlets, essays and reviews for Duke Magazine, UNC Endeavors, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Duke University Libraries, The College Store magazine, the Raleigh News & Observer, and others on topics including music, ethics, the publishing industry, warehouse automation, education of the gifted, and local history.  Compose plays, essays, poems, and stories, publishing a DVD entitled Dramas to Provoke Generosity (Turnip, 2010) and producing full-length play The Whistler in Cincinnati, 2012.

As a consultant, built a ten-year cashflow forecast model for the American School of Singapore, and helped an engineering education firm, a curriculum developer, a radiologist, a law student in a speech contest, and a U.S. senatorial candidate improve their marketing communications.

NORTHERN TELECOM, Research Triangle Park, NC

Technical Publications Supervisor, 1985‑1988:  Develop and control market segmentation database, automating bulk mailings on behalf of $8B manufacturer.  Elicited 45% response rate for subscription renewals; consolidated the marketing messages of seven product lines.


M.B.A.:  Fuqua School of Business, Duke University (1990).

M.A. (ABD) in English Language, Literature, and Research:  University of Virginia (1981).  DuPont Fellow, Governor’s Fellow. Languages:  French, German. Taught Shakespeare, Modern American Literature, and composition.

B.A. in English, Summa Cum Laude with Highest Departmental Distinction:  University of Rochester (1979).  Wilson Fellow, junior Phi Beta Kappa.



North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship for Playwrighting

Page Crafter’s Prize for Non-fiction. On the Same Page Literary Festival Competition (Ashe County, NC, 2011).

Writer-in-Residence, Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities (Southern Pines, NC, 2010-2011 et al.).

First place for poetry, Seventh Biennial Greensboro Awards (Writers’

Group of the Triad, 2010). “Delicate and well-crafted…each poem with its own distinctive diction and its own effortlessly realized form.”

Prizes for Poetry and Fiction, Jefferson Society Literary Contest, (University of Virginia, 1982, 1984).

R.B. Hull Prize for “the best work in English composition”; C.E. Caldwell Prize for “the greatest proficiency in the Department of English” (University of Rochester, 1979).

Annual Playwrighting Contest Award (Utica College, 1978).


Aliénor board of trustees, 2010-2016.

Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship panel, 2012 et al.



Following the Joy: What’s the Big Deal About Entrepreneurship?” Duke Magazine 98:5 (September-October 2012), p. 40-47.

“The Problem of Giftedness.” Duke Magazine 97:5 (September-October 2011).

“Band finds its ‘cultural center’ here: Younger Freelon’s group offers lyrics and lessons.”  Raleigh, N.C. News and Observer: The Durham News (May 13, 2009).

“String Theory.”  Duke Magazine 93:5 (September-October 2007).

“Signature Hancock.”  Duke Magazine 90:2 (March-April 2004), p. 42-47.

“No One Knew What the Patron Was Seeking at That Height:  The Eternal Mystery of Answer Person.”  Duke University Libraries 16:3 (Spring/Summer 2003), p. 12-15.

“The Paperless Warehouse.”  The College Store (March-April 2003), p. 28-33 [with Brian Buttram].

“Publishing, Not Perishing.” Duke Magazine 89:4 (May-June, 2003), p. 48-54.

“Tommy, Over the Top.”  Endeavors XIX: 3 (Spring 2003), p. 7-9.

“Four on the Floor:  A Musical Life.”  Duke Magazine 88:1 (November-December 2001), p. 48-51, 63.

“What Was the Question Again?   Thirty-Five Years of the Examined Life.” Duke Magazine 84:2 (January-February 1998), p. 37-39.

“Giving Voice to the Campus Conscience:  Students Against Sweatshops.”  Duke Magazine 84:6 (September-October 1998, p. 2-7.


A Brief Life of Elon Clark.  Duke University and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (Durham, NC):  2004.


“Hate Speech, Love Speech,” Duke University Chronicle (October 23, 1998).

“Dreaming in Rich Text Format,” Duke University Chronicle (September 25, 1998).

“Layoffs Represent Failure of Company, Not Individual Employee,” Duke University Chronicle (February 6, 1998).

“Solitary Spider Gave Companionship, Taught Lesson on Mortality,” Duke University Chronicle (November 25, 1997)

“Even Among Convicts, ‘Seeds of Enlightenment’ Can Take Root,” Duke University Chronicle (September 5, 1997).

“Productivity Ideology Translates into Haggard Lifestyle,” Duke University Chronicle (April 23, 1997).

“Toilet Handiwork Offers Pride, Shows Diversity of Skills,” Duke University Chronicle (April 3, 1997).

“Plight of Mentally Ill Patient Provides Few Solutions,” Duke University Chronicle (February 20, 1997).

“Bow Ties:  Vestigial Elitism or Mark of a Tranquil Mind?” Duke University Chronicle (November 7, 1996).

“Hurricane Prompts Thoughts about Human Finitude,” Duke University Chronicle (September 26, 1996).

“Wall Street May Know Everything, But Not about Ants,” Duke University Chronicle (June 6, 1996).

“Watercolors Reveal Lessons for International Relations,” Duke University Chronicle (March 7, 1996).

“Eat When You’re Hungry:  Words for Life in the Fast Lane,” Duke University Chronicle (December 5, 1995).

“DUMC Tree of Hope: A Good Deed in a Naughty World,” Duke University Chronicle (November 21, 1995).

“Lost Youth: Vietnam Revisited by One Who Wasn’t There,” Duke University Chronicle (November 7, 1995).

“Support Your Local Militia:  Carry a Concealed Weapon,” Duke University Chronicle (October 10, 1995).

“Vegetarianism:  The Grass is as Flesh, Some Folks Say,” Duke University Chronicle (September 26, 1995).

“Animal Shelters: The Final Refuge for Ravaged Pets,” Duke University Chronicle (August 30, 1995).

DVD & Video

Dramas to Provoke Generosity (Turnip Video, 2010).  Writer, actor, director. Six short comedies* filmed in a “black box” used by religious fellowships and churches to facilitate conversations about philanthropy.

Ambitions Realized: A Nod to Nan (Duke University, 2004).  Scriptwriter.

Edited Article

Richard M. Burton, Jorgen Lauridsen, Borge Obel, “The Impact of Organizational Climate and Strategic Fit on Firm Performance.” Human Resource Management 43:1 (Spring 2004), p. 67-82.


A Taxing Weekend* (3-minute comedy, April 2001).

Ad Astra (3-minute children’s comedy, February 2009).

Are We There Yet? (30-minute pageant / drama /comedy, December 2018). Alleluia—whatever that means. A baby is born at the intersection of clocktime and godtime, but only the donkey gets to speak in verse.

ATM: Redistribution (3-minute comedy, November 2011).

Barber to the Stars* (5-minute dramatic monologue, April 2003).

Bride Zero (3-minute drama, November 2012).

Call Tackling* (5-minute comedy, March 2005).

Camelot Club (10-minute comedy collaboration, Greensboro City Arts, NC (August 2011).

Chickens: A Romance (10-minute radio play, March 2012).

Circle Dance (one-act play, 2015).

Conversation Piece (12-minute drama, Directors’ Laboratory, Greensboro Playwrights Forum, September 2011).

The Curious Case of Ida Tarbell (15-minute play, 2020).  The muckraker who took down Standard Oil argues against woman suffrage.

The First Circle* (5-minute comedy, January 2004).

Forever Human (15-minute play, 2016).The Fox and the Hedgehog (15-minute drama, 2012. No productions).

Free Love (5-minute comedy, March 2011).

Frosty the Snowperson (5-minute monologue, 2014).

Gunplay: The Rifle Report (15-minute monologue filmed in live performance at Carrboro Arts Center, 2015;

He Said, He Said (5-minute comedy, May 2009).

His Other Name is Jesus (30-minute pageant-comedy-drama, December 2019).  Herod’s cat must choose between loyalty and doing the right thing before the Holy Family can embark on the Freedom Road.

iPray (3 minute comedy, August 2011).

The Jesus Christ Philanthropic Consultancy* (3-minute dramatic monologue, April 2002).

Ladies of the Pack (15-minute dramedy, November 2014).

The Lollipop Resolution (3 minute comedy, March 2010).

Mission: Possible (5-minute monologue, January 2012).

Murphey School Radio Show (variety show skits and jingles, November 2011).

New Blood (15-minute drama, 2013)

The Next Big Thing (10-minute comedy, no productions).

The Psychic (3-minute dramatic monologue, February 2010; March 2012).

The Rainbow Project (10-minute comedy, February 2011).

Rainbow Round the Moon (15-minute dramedy, 2012).

Rendezvous on Park Place (30-minute drama, April 1978).

The Seven Hundred Percent Solution (5-minute comedy, February 2008).

Shibboleth (3-minute drama).

Sharp Tongue (10-minute monologue, 2019). North Carolina’s first female Supreme Court chief justice twists a state senator’s arm to vote against the ERA.

Thinking the Unthinkable (3-minute comedy, April 2010).

The Universe and Stuff (5-minute monologue, March 2007).

The Vision Thing* (3-minute drama, March 2003).

When People Say ‘Love’ (30-minute pageant-drama-comedy, December 2017). Greed and apathy are the human way, according to Lion–yet people might be more complicated than he thinks. Could it be that every king has a lost innocence and every beggar the ability to say Yes?

The Whistler (full-length drama). Public staged reading January 2011; full production May 17-June 3, 2012, both in Cincinnati). Staged reading of excerpts at The Arts Center (Carrboro, NC), Burning Coal Theatre (Raleigh, NC), and Common Ground Theater (Durham, NC) as part of Love! Sex! Violence! Laughter! A Sampling of North Carolina Playwrights, (produced by PlayGround, a Theatre Co-operative), January 2011. In 1965, the best whistler in the world meets a washed-up jazz musician who teaches him the rest of what he needed to know.


Bill Bamberger and Cathy Davidson, “Closing:  The Life and Death of an American Factory.”  Duke Magazine 85:1(November-December 1998), p. 53-54.

Sharon Cameron, “Beautiful Work:  A Meditation on Pain.”  Duke Magazine 87:1 (November-December 2000).

Reynolds Price, “Noble Norfleet.”  Duke Magazine 88:6 (September-October 2002), p. 21.

Melissa Malouf, “It Had to Be You.”  Duke Magazine 83:6 (September-October 1997), p. 54-55.

Henry Petroski, “Remaking the World:  Adventures in Engineering.”  Duke Magazine 84:4 (May-June 1998), p. 54.

Reynolds Price, “A Perfect Friend.” Duke Magazine 87:4 (May-June 2001).

Richard Zimler, “Hunting Midnight.”  Duke Magazine 89:6 (September-October 2003), p. 53.