A&M System Names Island University’s Dr. Robert L. Smith Regents Professor

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Through dedication to his craft, student-centered teaching methods, and research, Dr. Robert Leonard Smith, professor of counseling and educational psychology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has been named a 2018-2019 Texas A&M University System Regents Professor. This is the highest honor bestowed upon faculty by the Texas A&M University System.

“It’s an award of all awards that is granted by a world-wide renowned University System. This is truly an honor, one that I will always cherish,” said Smith, who has served 15 years as chair of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology and close to 20 years as the doctoral program coordinator in Counselor Education at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Since joining the Island University in 2000, Smith played a significant role in the development and implementation of the award-winning Ph.D. program in Counselor Education that has graduated over 100 doctoral students, the majority being first-generation, who now serve as university professors across the U.S. and abroad.

“It took Dr. Smith less than a year to reconfigure the doctoral program into a thriving terminal degree,” said Dr. David Scott, Dean of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi College of Education and Human Development. “Due to Dr. Smith’s professional contacts and savvy recruitment, the program has remained strong for 18 years with 10 doctoral students enrolled each fall semester.”

As part of the program, doctoral students complete internships in the local community and provide behavioral and mental health services to a significant number of children, adolescents, and adults.

“Opportunities provided by the doctoral program have been life changing for both the doctoral graduates and individuals they serve,” said Smith. “It is beyond life changing, it is generation changing.”

For over 40 years, Smith has been recognized by his students for his creative teaching and mentoring, and been acknowledged by colleagues for his innovative methods. Smith is a devoted mentor for graduate students and colleagues nation-wide. He has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Mentor Award and the Counseling Vision and Innovation Award by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

 “Dr. Smith’s teaching, research, and service supports exemplary status in each area,” said Scott. “Students view Dr. Smith as a professor with wisdom and consider him their lifelong mentor.”

Smith’s impact goes beyond the classroom, extending to over 100 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, along with 12 books – making him one of the most published scholars at the Island University.  Recognized as founder of the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, he is a national/international leader in his field. He has also served as Presidents of the American Counseling Association, National Career Development Association, and the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.

Smith points to his mentoring of students as his most significant contribution.

“As professors, we are in a position of responsibility to significantly facilitate and support the growth and well-being of others, including our students,” Smith said. “The opportunity to observe their growth and well-being is my everlasting reward.”

Regents Professors maintain their title for the duration of their service within the A&M System and are presented with a stipend and certificate. Since the inception of the Regents Professor Awards Program, 20 professors from A&M-Corpus Christi have been named to the list. To view a full list of Islander awardees, visit the Regents Professors page.