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Take 5 with Scott Smith
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Take 5 with Scott Smith
By Katie Land, news editor

Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU team presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.

“Take 5 with Scott Smith”

Scott Smith, Ph. D., is an assistant professor of social work in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Originally from Lake City, a small town in Northern Michigan, Scott has lived and pursued his education in a variety of locations across the country, from attending seminary school in St. Paul to earning his master’s degree in Chicago and doctorate in Arizona. He has been a part of the Oakland community for the past two years teaching a variety of courses, advising student organizations, and helping to shape new programs. Scott’s primary research focus is in sexual health, health disparities and international social work. He also assists with the screening process for psychiatric intake patients of the Emergency Room at Beaumont Health Systems.

1) How did you end up at Oakland?

Since I was in graduate school, I knew that my favorite place to be in academia was teaching. No matter how exhausting it can be, I always get more energy after teaching a good course. It is a life-giving activity. By buffering teaching with research, we can improve the condition of the world. I had the good fortune to come to Oakland. I have been able to contribute here and to help shape new programs that are working better than I could have hoped. This is really my dream job.

2) What are some of your techniques to engage students in social work topics?

Because social work is such an applied discipline, I work to incorporate stories from my clinical practice experience into classroom lectures. It is easier for students to understand and remember information when it is anchored in a story.

3) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always wanted to be a spy – it’s something I just can’t shake! But since the Cold War has been over, we need fewer spies. Still I was able to take some courses in my undergrad that tied in with some foreign relations topics.

4) Do you have a favorite holiday or seasonal tradition?

Thanksgiving. Any time you get permission to eat and drink gluttonously in the name of friends and family is great. It’s nice to be back in Michigan with my family.

5) What do you think is the most crucial current issue or event in your field?

I think it is important for social work as a field to carve out an identity for itself. There are a lot of mistaken perceptions out there, but our work is not just about food stamps and hugs. We tackle very serious issues for a wide cross section of people. Social work is one of the fastest growing fields in the nation and I think we need to advocate for ourselves more.



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