ComArtSci’s Sandi Smith Awarded University Distinguished Professor Title

Among nine other Michigan State professors, ComArtSci’s own Sandi Smith has been named a University Distinguished Professor in recognition of her achievements in the classroom, her research and the community. This recognition is among the highest honors to be awarded by MSU to a faculty member.

“I am very honored to receive this award, but as with any accomplishment, I did not achieve this on my own,” said Smith. “My colleagues and graduate students in the department of communication deserve the recognition, too.”

Along with the title, which was voted on and approved by the Board of Trustees, Smith receives an additional stipend of $5,000 per year for the next five years in order to support professional activities. Smith said she will use the stipend to fund graduate students as they work in applied areas of interpersonal and health communication research.

Smith teaches and researches on topics such as persuasion, communication theory and interpersonal communication. In the past, her research has focused on persuading individuals to carry signed and witnessed organ donor cards, encouraging college students to consume alcohol moderately, if at all, and studying how interpersonal relationships with probation and parole officers contribute to positive outcomes for women on probation and parole, among many other topics.

The award is especially meaningful to Smith as her late husband, Charles Atkin, was also honored as a University Distinguished Professor. He was the chair of the department of communication for 15 years and was also an accomplished scholar.

This is not the first time Smith has been recognized for her work. She was previously honored with the Distinguished Faculty Award at Michigan State University, has received the B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award from the International Communication Association and has received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association, among other honors.

By Kaitlin Dudlets