ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
ssistant Professor of Social Science Robin Fife has done several things in her life. She's traveled countless miles for social service projects through Tusculum College's Center for Civic Advancement and its earlier Service-Learning programs. She's lived all across the United States. She's married and raised a family. And she's heard all the Barney Fife references and jokes anyone is likely to think of, so if you have the idea you can hit her with a new one, just nip it, nip it in the bud!
Today the cheerful educator/social activist, who bears no similarities to Mayberry's famous deputy beyond a shared surname, keeps her office in Rankin Hall and teaches in the classroom. But for Robin, almost anywhere can become a classroom. She's done some of her best teaching on the dusty grounds of an Arizona Indian Reservation, in the gritty small-town streets of a financially depressed West Virginia mining community, and in the ruined shell of Louisiana homes battered by Hurricane Katrina, "mucking out" rotting debris. She's a very hands-on kind of teacher.
She was born in Japan. Her parents came from Fairfax, Va., but Robin has lived not only in Virginia and, obviously, Tennessee, but also Utah, Montana and California. She met her husband, Jim, in Salt Lake City.
She and her husband came to Greeneville due to professional opportunity. She learned of Tusculum College through information in a packet supplied to the newcomer Fifes by the local Chamber of Commerce. She liked the Civic Arts mission of the College and also the faculty governance structure. She also was attracted to the Graduate and Professional Studies program of Tusculum College, and enrolled to earn her Master's degree in education.
One of her teachers was Dr. Marianne Reiff, who was part of the faculty along with her husband, John. Today the Reiffs live in Massachusetts. At Tusculum they were heavily involved in the civically conscious side of the College through the Service-Learning program and the Hobbie Center. Dr. Reiff helped build in Robin a desire to work at Tusculum College in a similar way, and paved the way for Robin to begin her work at the College as Assistant Director of the Service-Learning Center.
In her years so far at Tusculum, Robin has come to most enjoy seeing students become involved in work that improves their communities and world, and to watch them experiencing the personal satisfaction that comes from seeing something they have done make a positive difference for someone else.
Robin has made about 35 service trips to locations ranging from Arizona to Caretta, West Virginia, while at Tusculum College. These trips have helped her bond with her students and also provided those students a chance for a broader learning experience than they would have had through classroom work alone.
QUOTE: Her favorite quote comes from Gandhi: "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
MOVIE: Among her favorite movies is "The Color Purple."
BOOKS: A favorite book is Thomas Moore's "Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life."