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Dr. Matthew Smith Scoops SOC Director Position
By Twange Kasoma
The position of director of the School of Communication, which was advertised last fall, has finally been filled by Dr. Matthew Smith.
Smith, who is concluding his tenure as professor of communication and director of cinema studies at Wittenberg University, a liberal arts institution in Springfield, Ohio, officially assumes the SOC directorship in the fall, following the School’s move into its new home. He will be taking over from Dr. Matthew Turner who has been serving as the interim director.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am to be joining the program next fall,” Smith said.
Smith said he would schedule time prior to his arrival to hear from all faculty regarding what they would like him “to be thinking about” as he prepares to take up his new position.
As far as his academic credentials go, Smith holds a doctorate in communication and a master’s in English from Ohio University. He also has a bachelor's degree in English from West Liberty State College.
Smith, who has been at Wittenberg University for over a decade, has taught courses in American television history, television criticism, media literacy and media law. He has also taught a popular course on graphic novels and led a summer field study to Comic-Con International in San Diego each summer.
Prior to being director of cinema studies at Wittenberg University, Smith served as chair for the communication department for eight years. His accomplishments in that role included co-founding the Integrated Media Corps, an on-campus practicum experience, and the Communication and Business Leadership Experience, a cross-disciplinary leadership development program. He also helped shepherd interdisciplinary minors in journalism and cinema studies into the curriculum.
In 2009, Wittenberg’s Alumni Association recognized Smith with its Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest award for teaching.
Smith has published nine books. A number of them have been in collaboration with Dr. Randy Duncan of Henderson State University and these include, “The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture”, which is a textbook for the comics studies classroom and was published by Continuum in 2009 and “Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods” published by Routledge in 2012. The latter was nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Educational/Academic Work. Smith’s latest book is also in collaboration with Duncan.
Smith is however not the only academic in the family. His wife, Susan, holds a master’s degree in communication and teaches public speaking and interpersonal communication at Clark State Community College.
The Smiths have twin sons, Trevor and Kent, who are in eighth grade. As a family, they share weekly viewings of “Agent Carter” and “The Flash”. Smith adds that his “TV partners abandon him whenever he tunes into his other viewing pleasure, “The Walking Dead”.”