The Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia has selected Bluefield State College faculty member Dr. Michael Smith as one of five finalists for the West Virginia’s 2020 Professor of the Year. He was chosen as a finalist by the Foundation’s Board of Directors on December 16.
Dr. Smith’s passion for teaching and research was evident upon his arrival at BSC nearly 25 years ago, when he began teaching. He has authored many books, ranging in topic from Reading Simulacra: Fatal Theories for Postmodernity, which analyzes how our culture has become fatally immersed in simulation, to five regional fishing guides, drawn from his experience as an accomplished fishing guide. Additionally, his poetry has been featured in regional anthologies.
According to BSC academic Dean Janice Czarnecki, “Dr. Smith has been an engaged advisor and mentor to countless students, ensuring rigor in all of his courses. Many of his students have gone on to successful careers in media, law, and academia.” Smith, a Professor of English, serves as Director of the BSC Honors College, Chair of the Assessment Committee, and was Dean of the College’s School of Arts and Sciences.
“Most importantly, at Bluefield State we specialize in providing hope for our students,” Dr. Smith observed. “We cultivate their hope to leave the coal mines for a career that will lead to a better future for their families, hope that the time spent away from their kids in order to take classes will improve their children's lives, hope that returning to college to finally complete a degree will make a difference.”
“Hope motivates students to go to class and gives them the determination they need to graduate,” he continued. “Hope inspires some to excel and continue their education by attending law school at West Virginia University or pursuing a graduate degree in English at Marshall University, as a number of my former students have done.”
“It is a great honor to be nominated for this prestigious award,” Dr. Smith added. “This is really a tribute to the hard work and commitment to excellence of our students, our faculty, and Bluefield State College. It is gratifying to be recognized for the contributions I've made to academics at Bluefield State College over the past 25 years”
Interviews with the five Faculty Merit Foundation finalists will be conducted on January 26. The finalists will be honored at an April 7 reception and banquet in Charleston, where the 2019 Professor of the Year will be announced.