Faculty Spotlight: Josh Smith, public relations
Jul 31, 2020
Posted in: News
Josh Smith has worked as a term instructor and term assistant professor in the Robertson School's since 2015. Selected in a national search this spring, he will switch to a new position as a tenure-eligible assistant professor in the School this fall. He will also serve as the School's Director of Communications.
Tell us a little bit about the reasons that made you pursue this new path in your career.
VCU has been my home for a long time. In fact, I found instructional opportunities early in my career as a graduate teaching assistant. There, I was exposed to positive experiences found in collaborations of scholarship and instruction. That opportunity would later lead me toward a first-step career in teaching. I was hired in 2015 as a term instructor. Five years later, this new tenure-track position became available and I applied to truly immerse myself in a clear career path that blends my work in the industry with scholarship and teaching.
You have also been appointed Director of Communications for the Robertson School. Tell us about that new position and your goals.
Communication is an essential business function for any organization; our School notwithstanding. The Robertson School has so many stories to tell and I want to help get those out. The Director of Communication will act as an amplifier for all of the great stories, messages and information people should hear. I look forward to elevating our brand and reputation to a national level through that role in the coming year.
What is your teaching philosophy? Which classes will you be teaching this upcoming semester?
My teaching philosophy is directly tied to what I learned in the industry and continue to learn as a practitioner. I help my students explore the field of PR through a practical, learn-by-doing approach. I treat my students like they're already hired, and set clear expectations to help them do and be their best. As a rule, I also try to bridge the gap between the classroom and the industry for my students by partnering with community organizations and prominent industry professionals whenever possible. I've taught, and will continue to teach core classes in PR like MASC 210, MASC 333, MASC 334, MASC 335. I've also led a new study abroad experience to Vietnam, and hope to continue offering those opportunities when appropriate. I have also started teaching classes in our newly updated graduate program. Lastly, developed the capstone and signature program, Agency, and maintain a close relationship with the success of that program which is expected to grow in scope in the coming years...stay tuned!
Which area do you focus on in your scholarship?
My scholarship is focused on helping organizations bring together their many communication efforts and messaging into an efficient, integrated communication model. The demand for this kind of practical scholarship grows as organizations grow. The bigger the organization the more likely the benefit, which is why large organizations and governmental organizations will likely be on my roster. By example, I hope to help create new industry best practices to streamline communication operations while aligning goals and evaluation metrics. I'd love for my scholarship to be a part of the next iteration of the Barcelona Principles.
Tell us something personal about yourself. What hobbies and interests do you have outside of the classroom?
Fun fact, I'm a Ram to the core. I did my undergraduate, master's and just started my Ph.D. here at VCU. The climate of VCU has always felt like home to me. I hope to wear the Rodney the Ram mascot outfit for a VCU basketball game one day! Aside from that, I'm a socially active Gemini who enjoys meeting new people, traveling, and going to networking events. I'm a talker. I love spicy food, oil painting, playing the guitar and astrology. Connect with me on LinkedIn.