Timothy D. Smith joined the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1986 after working a variety of journalism careers. He served as acting director of the School from June 1991 until 1994, when he returned to the faculty and resumed his role as adviser to the Daily Kent Stater.
Smith worked at the Akron Beacon Journal for 19 years, leaving as managing editor. He has also worked with the Columbus Dispatch, the Painesville Telegraph and United Press International.
While on leave from the University in 1991, Smith served as a law clerk for now-retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Craig Wright. He also worked in the Portage County Public Defender's Office while on professional leave in 2003, representing indigent clients in municipal and common pleas courts.
In 1996, he recieved the John S. Knight Award for excellence in the service of journalism by the Buckeye Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Smith was selected as a Fellow of the American Society of Newspaper Editors Journalism Excellence program a summer newspaper residency for journalism professors. In 2000, he was presented with the Distinguished Teaching Award by Kent State University Alumni Association.
Smith recieved his bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a law degree from the University of Akron.
Smith is a member of the American and Ohio State bar associations and a founding member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Media Law Committee of the state bar. He created the Ohio Center for Privacy and the First Amendment at Kent State.