James Smith named second Murray State presidential candidate


With five years under his belt as Northern State University’s president, James Smith is hoping to fill the role as Murray State’s new president.

As a tenured professor of education and president of Northern State, Smith has years of educational experience.

His educational experience and leadership for the University has helped him place Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. on the US News and World Report’s list of best undergraduate public institutions in the Midwest for six consecutive years.

Smith has aided the school in several successes during his time as president, including academic degree expansions for undergraduate and graduate, transformation of its honors programs to one of the best in its region and concluding a comprehensive campaign of $29,200,000.

After graduating from Miami University in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Smith continued to study for his master’s degree in educational administration and a post-graduate degree in guidance and counseling at Xavier University. Finally, Smith earned his doctorates in educational leadership from Miami University.

Before becoming president of Northern State, Smith began his career in education as an elementary school teacher in Ohio in 1979, and worked his way up to multiple positions at the University level.

With experience including vice president of economic development and regional growth for Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and as dean of Firelands College for Bowling Green State in Huron, Ohio, Smith contributed significantly during his time to the University.

Smith helped in the operation of the President’s Expanded Cabinet, President’s Advisory Council, Dean’s Council and the University Library Advisory Board.

Additionally, he often served as acting president at Bowling Green State during periods when the president was away on travel. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, he voted on all majors decisions that affected day-to-day operations.

Smith is also currently involved in many boards in South Dakota, including the South Dakota Board of Regents, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Board of Directors, Northern State University Foundation Board of Directors, Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities as a South Dakota state representative.

The National Council of Professors of Educational Administration, or NCPEA, honored Smith with the Living Legend Award in 2012, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of educational administration.

The NCPEA, established in 1947, is the oldest professional society for educational leadership and policy studies, and Smith has been an active member since 1988.

He has remained involved in the society as a former executive board member, yearbook author, yearbook manuscript editor and a frequent committee member.

Smith has received other awards, including the Marcellus F. Cowdry Educator of the Year Award in 2007 and the Crystal Award for Excellence in Advertising in 2003.

His publications and research, some of which focused in detail on the effects of standardized testing on low-income and disenfranchised youth, assisted Smith in earning the Living Legend Award.

That research is only a part of a long list of other publications Smith has developed over the years, which stems from 1987.

Smith’s most recent publication, Espousing what we know as intellectuals: The future of academe, was published in 2013 and presented in 2012. The presentation was the keynote lecture for the annual meeting of the NCPEA in Kansas City, Mo.

However, this is not the only professional presentation Smith has given, who has traveled around the country to present his extensive research in the field of education.

Story by Mary Bradley, staff writer