Mike Smith, professor of reproductive physiology in the CAFNR Division of Animal Sciences, is the University of Missouri’s recipient of the 2013 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.
The Governor’s Award is presented annually to an outstanding faculty member from each of Missouri’s four-year higher education institutions. The award recognizes outstanding faculty members for excellence in challenging and motivating Missouri students to reach their maximum potential.
Selection criteria includes effective teaching and advising, service to the university community, commitment to high standards of excellence, and success in nurturing student achievement.
Smith came to MU in 1980 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to professor in 1990. He served as interim director of the Division of Animal Sciences from 2001 to 2006.
He earned his Ph.D. in physiology of reproduction from Texas A&M University. The long range goal of his research program is to increase reproductive efficiency in cattle. Smith and his graduate students are trying to better understand the factors affecting the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in beef cattle.
“In regard to my teaching philosophy, there is a profound difference between being a student in an animal science course and being an animal scientist,” Smith said. “An animal science student is frequently a passive observer in the classroom or laboratory; whereas, an animal scientist is a practitioner of the discipline. To be an animal scientist, you need to think like an animal scientist and do the things that animal scientists do. My goal is to assist students in becoming animal scientists and I’ve designed my courses to help accomplish this goal.”
In 1995 Smith received the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Other awards include the MU Graduate School’s Graduate Mentor Award (2008), Society for the Study of Reproduction Trainee Mentoring Award (2008), American Society of Animal Science Distinguished Teaching Award (2008), Maxine Christopher Shutz Award for Distinguished Teaching (2008), American Society of Animal Science Physiology and Endocrinology Award (2009), and USDA Regional Teaching Award (2010).