The Changing of the Guard: Part II


By: Karen Kim

As Dr. Mazzarella finishes her term as director of the SCOM, Dr. Eric Fife will begin his term as director on July 1. Dr. Fife has been a professor in the SCOM since Fall 2001. He is a JMU alumnus (’90) with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and English. I had a chance to meet him and ask a few questions before the Spring 2014 semester was over.

Dr. Fife, could you share some plans for the school next semester? Are there going to be any exciting and big changes coming?

There are not any big changes that are planned yet. I do, though, look forward to encouraging discussion among faculty about the future of the department. I want to first start off by taking time to really get used to the new position and understand the new roles and responsibilities that come along with it.


What are your personal goals set as a new director?

I want to serve the school as best in a leadership role as I possibly can. To do that, I will make sure the school’s commitment to General Education remains strong. I also will help the school grow with its new graduate program that has been established recently. Lastly, I will make sure that our undergraduate program remains strong as well. I want to see our students be satisfied with their decision to commit to this school.

What are some tips for incoming SCOM students as well as graduating seniors?

For incoming students, I would recommend that they meet their major advisor as soon as they are admitted to the major. They will be able to assist in course plans throughout their college career.

For graduating seniors, I would like to say don’t give up on the ambition for their dream, although it may take some time after college to really land their dream job. It will always take hard work and effort but I hope our graduates should stay ambitious to pursue their dream career. I also believe that the school really does a great job preparing students for many career options – as portrayed by the great alumni base that we have.


As Dr. Fife said, there will not be any big changes in the school. However, as an alumnus myself now, I expect that the SCOM will have a very exciting and successful term with its new director. Go, Dukes!!