Beyond Our Borders | College of Communication & Information | Kent State University

Beyond Our Borders

College Names First Director of Global Initiatives to Grow High-Impact Programs Here and Abroad

The Kent State University College of Communication and Information (CCI) has named Stephanie Smith its director of global initiatives as part of its professional-in-residence program. Smith will continue to teach in both the Schools of Communication Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication as part of her college appointment.

This newly-created college-wide position was formed to consult and advise CCI Dean Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., and other college leadership on high-impact global initiatives, including study abroad programs, internships abroad, domestic study programs and expanded global curricula across CCI, as well as to increase the diversity of global experiences for students, faculty and staff.

Smith will chair the new CCI Global Initiatives Committee (GIC) which includes representatives from all four schools within the college. Committee members are charged with:

  • Identifying and recommending global ventures, partnerships and collaborations across CCI, across Kent State and with external partners;
  • Developing best-practice procedures for CCI/faculty-led study abroad programs, including objectives like:
    • A consistent, streamlined process for submitting new proposals for GIC review and CCI approval at least one term in advance for "returning" study abroad proposals and two terms in advance of a new study abroad program;
    • Study abroad assessments that go beyond standard student evaluations;
    • Consistency in the number of faculty who accompany study abroad programs;
    • A handbook of CCI study abroad procedures for students and faculty;
    • More consistent marketing practices for CCI study abroad programs; and
  • Improving CCI scholarship processes.

Smith brings extensive international experience to this role having retired from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after nearly 30 years of service in 2011. As a Senior Intelligence Service executive, she was the first woman to be named “Director of Support,” where she reported directly to the Director of the CIA for hiring, security, global logistics, facility support, finance, acquisitions and medical services worldwide.

While working for the CIA, Smith was the first civilian and CIA senior executive selected to serve as the Deputy Director of the United States Navy’s Shore Readiness Division. She was also selected to serve as the first CIA Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department. During this appointment, she co-founded the Counterterrorism Communications Center.

Her work has been lauded at both the local and national levels. She received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s Director’s Award, the CIA Certificate of Distinction, 20 CIA Exceptional Performance Awards and a U.S. Navy Special Act Award. The Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) honored Smith with the William D. Taylor Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.

Smith began teaching as an assistant professor in JMC in 2012. For the past four years, she has taught and developed courses in JMC and the School of Communication Studies (COMM). These courses include Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Case Studies, Public Affairs, Crisis Communication, Communication in a Global Society, Communication and Transnational Trend Analysis and Communication and Terrorism.

Recently, Smith led a group of 19 students to study abroad in China for 16 days as part of the CCI Sichuan University Immersion Program. The first program of its kind at Kent State University, both graduate and undergraduate students from throughout the college were selected to participate as Sichuan Scholars.

Smith also sits on the JMC Professional Advisory Board, the Kent State University Foundation Board, the Kent State University Libraries National Advisory Board and the Community Advisory Board of the Kent State University Trumbull Campus. She is a member of the Central Intelligence Retirees Association and volunteers at a local hospital.