Stephanie Smith Headshot

Stephanie D. Smith

School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Assistant Professor
Contact Information


Smith retired in 2011 from the United State Federal Government, after 27 years of service, 25 of them with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She also had significant executive experience in defense (U.S. Navy) and public diplomacy (Department of State). 

As a Senior Intelligence Service executive in the CIA, Smith led thousands of employees; designed and managed programs worth several billion dollars; interacted regularly with Congress; and traveled extensively, including throughout two war zones (Afghanistan and Iraq). She was selected as a member of CIA's Senior Intelligence Service in 2000 and achieved its highest rank. Smith led the largest of CIA's four directorates, the Directorate of Support, and reported directly to the Director of CIA for hiring, security, global logistics, facility support, finance, acquisitions and medical services worldwide. In this role, Smith was also accountable to Congress, the media, and the American public. 

In 2008, Smith became the first civilian and first CIA senior executive selected to serve as Deputy Director of the United States Navy's Shore Readiness Division, where she represented the Navy's $9 billion shore investment portfolio. Prior to her assignment with the U.S. Navy, Smith was selected as the first CIA Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department, where she co-founded the Department's Counterterrorism Communications Center to strengthen and integrate all United States Government counter-terrorism messaging.  

Smith's work has been recognized with several awards, honors, and distinctions. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, which is awarded exclusively for performance of outstanding services which constitute a major contribution to the mission of the Central Intelligence Agency. During her career in intelligence, she was also awarded the CIA’s Director's Award, the CIA Certificate of Distinction, 20 CIA Exceptional Performance Awards. She is also the recipient of a U.S. Navy Special Act Award.

In 2011, Smith was honored with the William D. Taylor Distinguished Alumni Award from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  

She holds a bachelor's degree in Public Relations from Kent State University and a master's degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Smith teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels at both the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Communication Studies. She also serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication of Kent State University, 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 also a member of the Central Intelligence Retirees Association.

Smith is passionate about organizational communication, leadership, organizational culture, globalism and trend forecasting. She runs a private management consultancy focused on helping organizations and leaders achieve their greatest potential in times of change, challenge, competition and turbulence. 

Courses Include:
  • Principles of Public Relations (JMC 28001)
  • Public Relations Case Studies (JMC 38002-002)
  • Public Affairs (JMC 40295-001/JMC 60195-002)
  • Crisis Communication (JMC 40295-004/JMC 60195-004)
  • Terrorism and Communication (COMM 45091/55095)



Kent State University, Harvard University


Journalism and Mass Communication


School of Journalism and Mass Communication of Kent State University's Professional Advisory Board, Central Intelligence Retirees Association


  • Distinguished Intelligence Medal, CIA’s Director's Award, CIA Certificate of Distinction, U.S. Navy Special Act Award, William D. Taylor Distinguished Alumni Award