Dr. Howard Smith has dedicated his career to education. From beginning as a school teacher in the Shawnee Mission school district, to being named as the Superintendent of schools in Bentonville, Arkansas and the executive director of the PSU-Kansas City Metro area Outreach Center. He’s served in different capacities as various educational institutions for over four decades. Earlier this year Howard was named Pittsburg State Universities Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This follows Lynette Olson’s announcement last November that she would retire from the position at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.
Dr. Smith appearing on The Crimson and Gold Connection said recently that he was looking forward to the upcoming school year at Pitt State. He enjoys the energy and excitement that students bring to both to the campus and the city of Pittsburg. Also, that he will continue to record his In The Jungle with Howard Smith radio show at KRPS later this year. The weekly program focuses on a student and their story of why they decided to enroll at Pittsburg State.
Today Dr. Smith is well known throughout higher education, not only in Kansas but all over the Midwest. But when he was a young man he didn’t take attending college as serious as he does today. He admits that attending a university or college is not for everybody, including him early on.
But how does one person stay motivated when they move around various positions at different institutions like Dr. Smith has? He reveals that it’s the students and staff members at Pittsburg State and his devotion to education. He finds working in an educational environment rewarding, being able to work with students to help meet their educational and career challenges is what helps keeps the fire burning inside of him.
Behind every successful person is likely a strong work ethic and family support and Dr. Smith is no different. He describes himself as a “country kid raised in the city” as he comes from a family of farmers who moved to the city when he was 5-years old. Smith credits his parents for doing “the right things at work and the right things at home” to help mold into the person that he is today.
After decades of serving in various positions in education Dr. Smith’s advice for a successful career and life is simple, “Stay close to your values and continue to do the right thing.” Another piece of advice from Smith in jobs, is to be predictable. He adds, that you should “stay the path’, and that it’s likely that not everything is available for view when you are making decision in the moment.