Dr. Melissa Smith has been named the 2024 Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year for Mississippi University for Women.

Each year, the Humanities Council invites award recipients to present a public lecture that highlights the role of humanities in teaching. Smith will present her lecture titled “Storytelling: The Journeys of Three Jessicas” Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, at 4 p.m.in the Gail Gunter Room at Fant Memorial Library on campus. The lecture will focus on lessons she has learned from former students.

The award is given in recognition of outstanding faculty in traditional humanities fields at institutions of higher learning around the state. Each year the Mississippi Humanities Council grants Humanities Teacher Awards to one faculty member from each state institution, including four-year universities and community colleges.

“I am grateful for this honor, especially because there are so many gifted teachers at this university,” Smith said. “People often think that teaching is a one-way communication process, with faculty imparting knowledge and students learning. But we also learn from our students. In my lecture I will talk about some things I learned from three of our graduates who all shared the same first name, yet they entered the university from very different places in life.”

Smith is a professor in the Department of Communication at The W and is the university’s Gibbons Chair of Journalism. She also will be recognized at the Humanities Council’s annual Awards Gala on March 22 in Jackson.

Smith’s area of research is political communication. She has published three books in this area. Her most recent was “Third Parties, Outsiders, and Renegades: Modern Challenges to the Two-Party System in Presidential Elections,” which was published in 2022. She frequently presents research at communication conferences, most recently at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Washington, D.C. in August.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.