Introducing….Dr. Sims

Christy-Dale Sims has joined us as a part of the SCOM department and said, “I’m grateful for how both students and faculty have welcomed me!” Read on to hear more about her experiences with JMU and how she went caving for the first time in Harrisonburg!

Dr. Sims caving

August 2013- Caving in an yet-unnamed cave in VA

 What surprised you the most about JMU students so far?

I work with mostly first year students, and a pleasant surprise has been their enthusiasm for JMU itself- everyone is excited to not only be in college, but to be HERE for college. I appreciate how quickly they make friends with one another in class, despite coming from all majors, all parts of campus, and having very different interests.

 What are you looking forward to most here at JMU?

I’m excited for JMU’s commitment to excellence in the classroom, and pursuing the resources available here to achieve it. I certainly don’t mind being on such a beautiful campus!

 If you could teach a class in any area, what would it be and why?

I’m a rhetorician interested in how collective remembering shapes our understanding of and interactions about race, nation, and gender. Based on those interests, I’d love to teach an advocacy class about how social differences such as race, gender, ability, class, age, and other differences have affected our messages/rhetoric about who belongs in the national community, both past and present. I believe that calling out those common messages that many people overlook helps people see how everyday discourses shape our world, and how by changing them, we can create positive social change. I’d probably call it something along the lines of Advocacy and Discourses of Difference.

 What is your favorite aspect of the JMU culture?

The JMU culture is very supportive of faculty members as teachers, not only as researchers, an environment I enjoy. It’s also great to be in a place where people are genuinely interested in your life outside of the office.

 Did you find any fun places around Harrisonburg? 

August 2013-Dr. Sims climbing Old Rag

August 2013-Dr. Sims climbing Old Rag


I’m a big fan of the outdoors, and like to spend as much time as I can adventuring and am fortunate that the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding area has so much to offer! I am a rock climber, but I am branching out and recently went caving. I had the good fortune to be invited to helped survey and photograph a wild cave that had only been discovered the day before! My first caving trip found me underground for 12 hours, exploring a cave where no one else had ever been before, helping map and photograph it for further exploration. It was an exciting—and muddy!—experience that I hope to have again.  Above ground, I’ve also been spending time in Shenandoah National Forest, where I’ve hiked Old Rag Mountain and am seeking out sections of the Appalachian Trail, and I recently visited the New Rover gorge in WV for some very scenic rock climbing!



Dr. Sims is excited to be here at JMU and will definitely help mold the freshman into passionate members of the JMU community.

Stay tuned for two more faculty introductions tomorrow!