Craig R. Smith, chair of the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Cal State Long Beach, is the recipient of the campus’ 2006 Nicholas Perkins Hardeman Academic Leadership Award for his efforts as a leader at the university.
The Hardeman Award is the CSULB Academic Senate’s highest honor “to reward and acknowledge publicly significant contributions to the principle and practice of shared governance” at the university.
Perhaps most notable about his tenure at CSULB is the fact that Smith has been the chair of not one, not two, not three, but four academic departments, including communications studies, journalism and comparative literature and classics before taking on film and electronic arts. In all, he has been a department chair for 11 of his 18 years at the campus.
“It’s clear this is either someone who can’t hold a job – or someone who is really, really good,” Academic Senate Chair Margaret Merryfield joked during her presentation of the award to Smith. “Why is he so successful? Because, wherever he goes, he solves problems. He gives generously of his time, energy and expertise, he helps the faculty work through their differences and come together, and he leaves these programs better than they were before.”
Merryfield also noted Smith’s list of committee service, which she called “impressive.” Smith served on the CSULB Academic Senate for 11 years and went on to serve three years on the CSU statewide Academic Senate. But, Merryfield said, his specialty is being a department chair, and Smith accepted the award on behalf of that specialty.
“I accepted the award in the name of department chairs because I believe my service as department chair has been the most valuable to the university, and I believe that department chairs are under-appreciated on the campus for what they do,” said Smith, who joined the CSULB faculty in 1988. “So, I dedicated my acceptance of the award to them.”
Other leadership positions he has held or continues to hold include president of the Freedom of Expression Foundation since 1983; director of the CSULB Center for First Amendment Studies, which was founded in 1988; and from 1996-98, a member of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Last July, Smith received another honor when he was named to the CSU Board of Trustees as its faculty trustee by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Selected from nominees endorsed by two-thirds or more of the CSU Statewide Academic Senate, Smith is serving a two-year term as the faculty trustee, which works with the rest of the board in overseeing the 23-campus CSU system. The board adopts rules, regulations, and policies governing the CSU, and it has authority over curricular development, use of property, development of facilities, and fiscal and human resources management.
Honors and awards are nothing new to the communication studies professor. At CSULB, Smith has earned the top three faculty awards – the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, the Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Activity Award and the Outstanding Professor Award. Off campus, he has twice won the Robert O’Neil Award from the National Communication Association for outstanding scholarship on First Amendment issues. Also, he won the Outstanding Professor Award from the National Speakers Association in 2001.
Smith received his B.A. in history from UC Santa Barbara in 1966 and was awarded the Sproul Award. He earned an M.A. in communication studies from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1967. Awarded an NDEA Fellowship, he received his Ph.D. in communication studies from Pennsylvania State University in 1969.