When asked what he would like students to know about him, Dr. James Dufek, professor of Mass Communication, said, “I love my wife and I love my children.” He also gave this advice, “Never underestimate the value of hard work.” These two quotes say a lot about a hard-working and family-oriented man.
Dr. Dufek graduated from Mt. Marty College in Yankton, S. D., in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business administration/mass communication and a minor in theology. Two years later, he received his master’s degree in radio/television/film and minored in theatre production at the University of South Dakota. In 1992, he earned his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois-Carbondale (SIU) majoring in journalism/mass communication with a minor in television.
When Dufek was a graduate assistant at the University of South Dakota, he taught a freshmen media class. When he completed his degree, he was offered the opportunity to teach the class full time. When Dufek later was invited to teach at Southeast, he says “The job just seemed to fit.” He has been teaching at Southeast for 25 years. He traditionally teaches classes in television directing, video production, converging media and mass communication and society. Being so heavily involved in the media field means his classroom style is somewhat different. Students say he is relaxed in the classroom and intense in the control room, which goes well with his philosophy of “Talk some, work a lot.”
Dr. Dufek’s main hobby is baking bread from scratch, his specialty being cinnamon and caramel rolls. He also enjoys reading and his favorite book is “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee, which he says is the greatest book ever. He also enjoyed “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. His dream vacation would be a return visit to County Clare, Ireland, the homeland of his maternal grandfather and family.
Dufek says, “I’d move there tomorrow if my wife would let me!” He says he does plan to go to Europe next and visit Spain, Italy and France.
With his nose to the grindstone and his heart with his family, Jim Dufek teaches students who have the same fascination with media that he had when he was in school. He says he will continue to mold the students into the generation’s next great directors and producers. Even if we are not in the media field, we should remember his words of advice, “Never underestimate the value of hard work.”