University of Central Missouri: Professor Receives Excellence in Education Award

In an ever-changing world, Scott Smith, Ph.D., strives to ensure his class materials, assignments and projects are constantly evolving to keep students engaged, informed and prepared for the challenges they will face in a career field that is never static. Such attention to students’ success has contributed to the professor of marketing’s selection as the University of Central Missouri recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.

This awards program was established by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, and provides an annual opportunity to recognize college- and university-level faculty members who have excelled in their profession. The Governor’s Excellence in Education Award considers criteria such as effective teaching, effective advising, innovative course design and delivery, service to the university community, and commitment to high standards of excellence and success in nurturing student achievement. Smith was recognized for his accomplishments when the UCM Board of Governors met March 24 for its plenary session in Elliott Student Union 237B.

Smith, who has served UCM nearly two decades, is also a university alumnus, having earned a Master of Business Administration in Marketing in 2004. He completed his degree shortly after joining the faculty in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies in January 2003. Prior to his work at UCM, he served from August 1999 to December 2002 as an instructor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he also completed his Ph.D. in 2004. His higher education began at Missouri State University in Springfield, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Individuals who nominated and provided letters supporting Smith as the award recipient mentioned his willingness to support students inside and outside the classroom. In addition to being an advisor to the UCM student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), he works hard to provide hands-on experiences for students in his classroom. Most of his courses provide service learning opportunities in which students complete a marketing project such as conducting market research, data collection and analysis for a local business. Through his Experiential Course Projects, students have engaged with more than 45 clients during his tenure at UCM.

One of Smith’s colleagues, Todd McClure, Ph.D., noted the role the professor plays in preparing career-ready students. He described Smith as a gifted educator who strives to help each student achieve his or her full potential.

“He has a remarkable ability to take complex concepts and communicate them in a way that students can understand,” McClure said. “His class projects challenge students and provide them with opportunities to help local businesses advance various marketing-related initiatives. He commits countless hours to mentor students, often one-to-one, to produce a quality final product for the clients.”

His mentorship has included serving students involved in the McNair Scholars program, in addition to being an advisor on a number of Honors and master’s thesis projects.

Charles Schwepker, Ph.D., Randall and Kelly Harbert Marketing Professor at UCM, noted Smith’s willingness to assist with major events such as the annual national State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition. He also plays an instrumental role in implementing the annual AMA Distinguished Marketing Executive Day, which honors a high-level marketing professor who speaks and interacts with marketing students. This often includes UCM alumni and individuals who have worked with major corporations such as Bass Pro Shops, Hallmark, Macy’s, Sporting KC and many others.

“Realizing the need to better position our students for the future, Scott was the driving force behind the development of an advertising minor that incorporates both marketing and PR courses,” Schwepker said.

Smith also worked closely with the Management Program to develop an Events Marketing and Management major; he is currently developing a digital lab so that students will be on the cutting edge of the digital revolution; and has teamed up with a colleague to develop a study abroad trip to Europe and a Study Abroad Cruise to the Mediterranean as a way to provide students with a worldly perspective and positively impact their education.

The longtime UCM faculty member has a strong record of course creation at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has a history of course and curriculum development. This is in addition to his involvement in efforts that include redesigning the first year freshman experience, and serving as a panelist to share his expertise with groups such as the Center for Teaching and Learning, Admissions, and Career Services.

His research interest includes consumer behavior, advertising, branding strategy, and qualitative methodology, and he has provided consultation to consumer product and packaged goods companies for the past 12 years. Smith has published numerous journal articles and academic films on topics including consumer culture, brand strategy, and advertising effectiveness. This includes articles and films with topics ranging from video game advertisements to the online behavior of movie fan clubs.

In his letter to the nominating committee that thanked individuals who nominated and supported him for the award, Smith discussed what it means to teach in what he described as a “fantastic, though sometimes daunting, environment to promote student learning.” This allows students to see and experience theoretical and practical change happening daily, which they can translate into opportunities to learn.

“Education is one of the most rewarding professions that exists today,” Smith stated. “I love marketing and love helping students gain knowledge and skills in the discipline. Marketing is a very fascinating area because of its ubiquity. Every student, marketing major or not, has his or her own experiences in the marketplace…there is no reason for dry, ordinary educational experiences when each student’s perspective can illuminate what the world, and the marketplace, has to offer. Every marketplace decision, viewpoint, or experience can be enlightening and expose the student to new ideas.”

In commenting about the award, Smith said he was “blown away” to learn that he was named recipient. “There are so many great faculty on this campus and so many great people all the way around the university, to be singled out is just a real honor, and I feel very fortunate that I’m part of such a great program with colleagues that are supportive, and administration that focuses on students.”

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