Someone You Should Know: Theater professor empowers students at SDSU through the arts

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 11:11 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Helping students find their passions in the arts is Jim Wood’s main goal at South Dakota State University.

“I would not be the same human I am today without his influence,” said SDSU student Olivia Davis.

As an associate professor of theater and being a performer himself, Jim shares his personal experiences and the realities of the acting world with his students.

“Cause I think that it’s one thing for me to tell them how it is, but it’s different to give them real-life examples. So they can hear about the struggles I had in the industry, they can hear about my successes, and they can learn from that example,” said Jim.

Jim participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for 20 years and recently won their Gold Medallion award.

“Quite an honor to get that. 50th recipient to get that. It’s nice to be recognized for all the work,” said Jim.

“He is just one of those humans who treats individuals with great kindness and grace. And really does ask students to bring their best selves to the table,” said SDSU Theater and Dance Professor Melissa Hauschild-Mork.

Jim makes an effort to create an open dialogue with his students.

“For me, the most important part of being a teacher is listening. And figuring out what the students want,” said Jim.

“He’s funny, generous, kind-hearted, and wants to push you to be the best that you can be,” said Davis.

“Not telling students what they wanna do, but giving them the opportunity to figure out,” said Jim.

“I think Jim has just really created great environments for students to grow and transform in our program,” said Hauschild-Mork.

Jim hopes to find more opportunities for students to have more say in their studies and theater efforts while supporting them in discovering their own paths.

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