KNOXVILLE — David L. Smith has been named the director of the University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Public Relations.
Smith comes to UT from RBC Capital Markets, a unit of the Royal Bank of Canada, where he specialized in media and entertainment stocks, including the broadcasting and cable television industry. He was named twice to the Wall Street Journal’s All-Star research team.
Earlier in his career, Smith served on the UT journalism faculty. He has also overseen the public relations departments of Pennzoil Company and Centex Corporation, a major homebuilder, manufacturer of cement and gypsum wallboard, and general contractor.
Smith, who has already started work in his new position, replaces Dr. James A. Crook, who recently
David L. Smith
retired as director of the journalism school.
“I think we’ve got a tremendous opportunity ahead of us to create or add to a college that is renowned,” Smith said.
Change is something the college’s faculty and staff are accustomed to, Smith said, with the recent merger of the college of communications and the school of information sciences.
“That was a fairly major change,” Smith said. “There is likely to be additional restructuring during 2003, when public relations will be removed from the journalism curriculum and joined with advertising, and journalism and broadcasting will be merged. I think that’s a positive move.”
Smith said the realignments would take advantage of natural relationships among the parts of the curriculum.
“Journalism and broadcasting can do a lot of things very positively in the college,” Smith said.
“Public relations and advertising are persuasive disciplines and have a lot of synergies as well. PR will always have some affiliation with journalism, but I think an affiliation with advertising makes sense.”
Smith holds a master’s degree in communications from UT, a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and a master’s degree in economics from San Francisco State University. He has completed the course work for a Ph.D. in humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Smith says he’d like to see a cable television training center established at UT, to produce the next generation of employees in that growing communications field.
Improving the career opportunities of UT journalism graduates is also high on Smith’s list of goals.
“One thing we’ve done is to create specialized programs,” Smith said, “so that when students graduate, they may have focused on science writing, sports communications or financial and economic communications.
“They might be a bit better prepared than their peers coming out of other colleges and can ‘skip a level,’ if you will, in terms of their initial professional assignments,” Smith said.