Professor of Religion
“My responsibility as a teacher is to know my subject area and its most current research and its relevance to the contemporary culture. I must be an active scholar in order to be an effective teacher. In preparing to teach, my first question is, What is the best way I can get my students as interested in this content as I am? I utilize music, movie references, readings from literature, small group work, electronic resources, and any method possible to engage students in experimenting with the work of a scholar in my academic field.”
Dr. Smith is a native of Tennessee, but also a Navy brat who lived his young life in several states in the Southeast. After graduating from Cleveland (Tennessee) High School, he attended Florida State University as a music education major, before earning a bachelor's degree in Religion and Political Science (called Government at FSU), and then, while still at FSU, he did a year of graduate work in Religion. He met his wife of 41 years in the FSU Marching Chiefs, and they have both remained active in the Band Alumni Association, including serving on their Board of Directors. He continues to play in the Hollingsworth Winds and has played with FSC's Jazz Ensemble as well. Dr. Smith earned a Masters of Divinity and a Doctorate in Ministry from Vanderbilt Divinity School and received a Ph.D. in Theology and Personality with an Emphasis in Religious Education from the Claremont School of Theology. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served as pastor to congregations in Tennessee, Kentucky, California, Alabama, and Florida. Dr. Smith has served his academic discipline as Executive Secretary of the Religious Education Association. Dr. Smith and his wife have 2 children, both of whom are alumni of FSC, a son, Nathaniel, who lives nearby in Riverview and whose wife (also an alumna of FSC) will make them first-time grandparents later in September, and a daughter, Skye, who is a professional actress living in Los Angeles. He and his wife are vitally interested in the arts and have supported both the music and theatre programs at FSC and in Lakeland over their time here.
Ph.D., Theology and Personality with an emphasis in Religious Education School of Theology at Claremont
Doctor of Divinity, The Divinity School, Vanderbilt University
Masters of Divinity, The Divinity School, Vanderbilt University
B.A., Religion and Political Science, Florida State University
Honors and Awards
- Participant and Presenter. Oxford Round Table on Religion and Science: Shaping the Modern World. Harris Manchester College. University of Oxford. July - 2010
- Participant and Presenter. Oxford Round Table on Religion and the Politics of Peace and Conflict. Jesus college, Oxford University, Oxford, England. July - 2008
- Tapped for Omicron Delta Kappa. National Leadership Honorary. Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida - 2002
Publications or Exhibitions
2009. Everyone But Rizzo: Using the Arts to Transform Communities. Forum on Public Policy Online. Summer 2008 edition (January 2009)
2004. Article on George Herbert Betts. Christian Educators of the Twentieth Century http://www.talbot.edu
2004. Dancers Exult at the Awakening Teaching Theology and Religion 1): 20-29.
2003. Article on William Clayton Bower. Christian Educators of the Twentieth Century http://www.talbot.edu
2011. With Ruth Illman. Engaging Faith: Toward a Practical Theology of the Arts. Presentation to the Department of Religion and Philosophy, Florida Southern College. January 19.
2010. Texts of Courage: Toward a Practical Theology of the Arts.” Oxford Round Table on Religion and Science: Shaping the Modern World. Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. July.
2009. The Fabric of Her Name.” Annual Meeting of the Religious Education Association. Dallas, TX. November.