Dr. Jon Smith

Professor of Communication

"SUU's Master of Arts in Professional Communication is an applied program. We help students use information and research to make informed decisions that will lead to effective message design."

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. in Mass Communication – University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1997
  • M.A. in Mass Communication – Brigham Young University, 1989
  • B.A. in Communication – Brigham Young University, 1983

Career Highlights:

  • Two-time Fulbright Scholar: Portugal in 2002, Eswatini in 2011.
  • Documentary and video producer with over 60 different film festival screenings and awards, including a "Wrangler" award from National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
  • Professor of the Year – Southern Utah University Thunderbird Awards, 2013
  • Distinguished Scholar – Southern Utah University, 2016
  • Over 20 panel presentations
  • Former local television news photographer and editor for CBS affiliate
  • Former SUU communication department chair
  • Professor with tenure granted in 1997
  • Remote camera operator for 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Study abroad director for four trips to Swaziland, Africa

In which online degree program do you teach?

M.A. – Professional Communication

  • Links to share?

    Short film produced about the history of SUU: Jon Smith Video: YouTube channel

  • Which classes do you teach online?

    COMM 6010: Applied Communication Theory

  • What do you want students in your courses to learn? What is the learning outcome or objective?

    Students should understand the process and complexities of communication messages. Communication practitioners need to carefully study and understand message design to be effective communicators.

  • Why did you start teaching?

    I want to share my passion for the effectiveness of photographic and video imagery in a media-oriented society.

  • What advice would you give to those considering this program?

    SUU's Master of Arts in Professional Communication is an applied program. We help students use information and research to make informed decisions that will lead to effective message design. This enables students to use their existing work environment and projects or start new projects and endeavors.

  • What qualities make someone particularly successful in the field in which you teach?

    Passion and commitment. Media and communication practitioners need to spend a lot of time doing what they do. The media business sometimes requires late nights and quick deadlines, but it is worth it as we make a difference helping society make informed decisions.

  • What do you think is the biggest challenge that people in the profession face today?

    Communication scholars and practitioners have the challenge of helping message consumers determine the truth and accuracy of the sender whether it be mainstream media, social media, or business or political messages.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

    Murrow: His Life and Times by A.M. Sperber

  • Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.

    I grew up in Hawaii so I have an "Aloha Spirit" approach to life—a little laid back and looking for the good in life.

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