Emerson welcomes the acting dean of the School of Communication

Dr Brent Smith. Photo credit: Twitter

Dr. Brent Smithformer chair of the marketing communications department, is acting dean of the School of Communications following the departure of former dean Raul Reis in June.

Reis accepted a position as dean of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in March. Within two months, Emerson announced Smith as his successor. Smith officially took office on July 1.

“Dr. Smith is an accomplished scholar, educator, consultant, and entrepreneur with expertise in strategy, analysis, ethics, global business, and marketing training,” President William Gilligan wrote in the initial e-transcript from college on May 6. “[He] is well placed to continue the important work of the School of Communication.

Before joining Emerson in the fall of 2019, Smith was a full professor of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, devoting 15 years of her life to the institution. He served as the acting associate director of the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics and developed the university’s Master of Science in Marketing program.

At Emerson, Smith served as chair of the marketing communications department and as a full-time professor for three years. During his tenure at the college, Smith developed over 20 courses in undergraduate, graduate, international, and online programs and fostered several educational innovations.

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Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in German and economics from Xavier University of Louisiana, an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from Tulane University, and a doctorate in marketing and strategy and organizational science. from Drexel University.

As Acting Dean, Smith will collaborate with department chairs and faculty in the School of Communication, working to strengthen new and existing programs and initiatives, including the newly launched majors in Health and Social Change and Media Psychology.

“I think good leadership is important at every stage in the life of an institution…I have become very familiar with the people, the key programs, the priorities of the institution, and I believe I can contribute what we need right now,” Smith said. “I think [I can] also help reset us as we all come back to what this in-person experience will mean to us as students, as faculty, and as staff.

Smith hopes to “reset and re-familiarize” relationships between students, staff, and faculty, and foster a community of collaborators with “not just passions, but strengths for what they do.”

“When I came on as president, I think I did a pretty good job of making it work outside of our silos,” Smith said. “I want to do it school-wide now… When we come out of our homes, come out of our silos and come in with each other, that’s where our best happens.”

It plans to enrich the student experience through initiatives such as the Dean’s Scholarship Program or affiliated professional organizations including the American Marketing Association and the Public Relations Student Society of America. Another priority is to “elevate and celebrate” the work of faculty members with respect to scholarship.

“I think we’re doing a pretty good job of recognizing teaching,” Smith said. “It’s probably a secret to many here and beyond that Emerson’s School of Communication has some truly top-notch scholars, and I want to make sure the world knows it.”


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