Featured teacher: Jim Skufis

James Skufis

James Skufis, 57, is the clinical coordinator for the radiography and computed tomography program. Michael Mishler | Washtenaw Voice

Jim Skufis

Clinical coordinator for radiography and computed tomography program

Employed: 12 years

Age: 57


Q: What made you want to teach at Washtenaw?

A: Well, I was a student here. I did my training in radiography here at Washtenaw. I had an excellent experience, and my instructors at the time noticed I had a gift for teaching. They asked me to continue on with my education, get a bachelor’s degree, and stay in touch with them because they thought they might have a position open for me. Lo and behold, 10 years ago, my department chair, Connie Foster, called me and said, “Would you like to teach?” I started teaching part-time and within six months, a position opened for the clinical coordinator and I couldn’t think of a better thing to do.


Q: What is your dream travel destination?

A: I’m heading there in May: I’m going to Peru. I’m the instructor that takes students to teach them forensic imaging. We go to Peru to X-ray and study mummies. (SEE RELATED STORY)


Q: How do you most like to spend your free time?

A: With my grandchildren and my wife.


Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?

A: Right now, seeing students excel and catch that spark that they understand what’s going on, and from that point on really doing well in their studies. By the end, finding good job opportunities. We’ve had a number of students that have come from our program go from X-ray to CT and then to MRI, and from there, they’ve become department managers and even directors of entire radiology departments.


Q: What is your favorite food and why?

A: My favorite food is my wife’s tortellini soup. It’s the best comfort food on a cold day.


Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: To have more confidence in myself and stick with things. When you’re young and you don’t have the experience of success, you too easily give up. That affects a lot of people, including myself. It wasn’t until I decided that I’m not going to cry and whine about things and I was just gonna stick with it that I began to accomplish things.


Q: What, in your opinion, is the biggest key to a student’s success at WCC?

A: Here at Washtenaw, I’d have to say it’s the instructors. At least in my division here, the health sciences division, the instructors are so in tune with what the students need to succeed. How they need to learn the information, how they need to incorporate it into their thinking. They’re so attuned to that, how could the students not succeed?


Q: What is your favorite kind of music to listen to?

A: I like folk music. Like Patty Griffin, Joan Shelley, The Staves, stuff like that.


Q: If you could meet any famous figure, living or dead, who and why?

A: I might think I’d like to visit Wilhelm Rankin, the guy who discovered X-ray. He’s an interesting guy, but of course my German would have to be a lot better.


Q: What have you heard in the news lately that is most concerning to you?

A: Well, current political climate has people really wound up. I’m not naming names or pointing fingers, but I think we’re gonna do much better as a country by including people rather than excluding people.



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