Portrait of Walter R. Smith, Professor Emeritus of History & Government at Corning Community College (oil painting by Thomas S. Buechner).

CCC Professor Emeritus Walter R. Smith Receives National Excellence Award

Walter R. Smith, Professor Emeritus of History & Government at Corning Community College (CCC), was selected to receive the Outstanding College Citizenship Award by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). Excellence Award nominees must distinguish themselves in three of four categories: scholarship, professional growth, professionalism, and superior service. During his esteemed 50-year career, Professor Smith excelled in all four categories.

As a historian, Professor Smith’s disciplinary content knowledge is deep and wide, yet his teaching of challenging material was accessible for students of all levels. His scholarly contributions include reviewing articles for numerous professional journals and interviewing notable scholars such as Robert Frost, Ralph Nader, and Buckminster Fuller. In addition, he was CCC’s representative to SUNY’s Faculty Council of Community Colleges and served as its Chair.

Professor Smith’s professional growth is ongoing. He was and continues to be a regular history/government faculty representative to the media on relevant issues. Whether he is asked to analyze events during an election year or assess current policies within an historical context, Professor Smith remains current in his field.

A past CCC president described Smith’s professionalism well: “Walter’s mission is to pursue academic excellence—he has no hidden agendas.” In his pursuit, Smith initiated and continues to lead the Visiting Scholar Lecture Series. Professor Smith’s file contains evidence of much superior service, including establishing the Distinguished Teaching Award for SUNY. But his most significant service was more of a daily occurrence than a highlight: Professor Smith did his job well. This achievement is corroborated by consistently strong student evaluations and appreciation from a range of colleagues across the state and the nation.

In the words of Dr. Kate Douglas, CCC President: “Innovation and commitment to excellence define Professor Smith’s ongoing career and this award is a fitting capstone acknowledging his impact on his students, his colleagues, his discipline, our college, and the region.”

NISOD is a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership (nisod.org).