Linda A. Smith, Ph.D., professor and associate chair in the department of clinical laboratory sciences (CLS) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, today was named a Piper Professor of 2007 by The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
“Dr. Smith’s outstanding record as a teacher and mentor brings honor to her department and school,” said Marilyn S. Harrington, Ph.D., dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences at the Health Science Center. “She is a cornerstone faculty member of our clinical laboratory sciences program and for the entire school. She has developed a national reputation for the graduate programs we offer in CLS.”
Service to the profession and students
Dr. Smith, the graduate program director in the CLS department, joined the Health Science Center in 1980. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Virginia University and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. She holds the certification Clinical Laboratory Scientist (NCA), and recently concluded a six-year term as chair of the National Credentialing Agency (NCA) for the Laboratory Personnel Examination Council, which develops certification examinations for CLS and other laboratory professionals. She also served on the board of the NCA.
In addition to receiving the Health Science Center Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, she has been recognized at the state and national level for her accomplishments in the field of education.
Impact beyond the classroom
“Linda’s excellence is reflected in the fact that she is not only an exemplary teacher, but she is a lifelong mentor to graduates,” said Shirlyn McKenzie, Ph.D., professor and chair of the CLS department. “The impact she makes on students is lasting. They return to her for advice on graduate school, their careers and professional issues for years after graduation. When I asked one of our graduates to write a letter of support for her promotion, the student wrote, ‘She has provided a strong role model for me and has given me a standard of excellence by which to compare all my future accomplishments. No other professor of mine has had as much of an impact on my life.’”
“CLS students are educated by a group of outstanding faculty in the CLS department and excellent clinical practicum instructors,” Dr. Smith said. “I am just one part of the equation. I have benefited from excellent faculty role models and from my students, who have helped me learn the ‘art’ of teaching. I am honored to be included among the distinguished teachers at the Health Science Center and across the state who have received this award.”
Health Science Center’s finest
Dr. Smith is the 12th Health Science Center faculty member to be selected as a Piper Professor, which includes a $5,000 honorarium. The previous honorees and the years of their selection are:
• Carlos Pestana, M.D., Ph.D., surgery, 1972
• John Preece, D.D.S., M.S.D., dental diagnostic science, 1978
• Robert Huff, M.D., obstetrics and gynecology, 1980
• Terry Mikiten, Ph.D., graduate dean’s office/physiology, 1985
• Joyce Schwartz, M.D., pathology, 1992
• Linda Johnson, Ph.D., cellular and structural biology, 1995
• Nanette Clare, M.D., medical dean’s office/pathology, 1998
• D. Michael Foulds, M.D., pediatrics, 2000
• Mary Vaughan, Ph.D., cellular and structural biology, 2002
• Craig Witz, M.D., obstetrics and gynecology, 2004
• Frank Weaker, Ph.D., cellular and structural biology, 2006
About the award
The Piper Professor Award brings recognition to outstanding achievement in the teaching profession in colleges and universities throughout Texas. The program was established by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation in 1958. Fifteen awards are given annually to the “well-rounded, outgoing teacher, devoted to the profession, who has made a special impact on students and the community.”
The The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $536 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care industry in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.