Name: Kerry Smith, Ph.D.
Title: Professor of Computing
Education: Ph.D. 1996 Auburn University; M.A. 1992 Miami University; B.A. 1990 Franklin College
Years at Franklin College: 20 years
Campus and Community Involvement: Faculty Athletics Representative; Faculty Curriculum Committee; Teacher Education Board; Technology Planning Committee; Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (Midwest) Coach
How does the liberal arts and sciences education at Franklin benefit students in the field of computing?
“A liberal arts program is highly beneficial to students in any major. Students that major in computing need to be able to think critically, communicate clearly, be excellent problem solvers and be globally aware. All of these skills are emphasized in our liberal arts curriculum. These skills are often what sets our students apart from computing majors at other schools that focus primarily on the technical skills.”
Is there anything that you think is particularly unique about teaching at Franklin as opposed to other schools?
“Yes. Liberal arts skills are high valuable, especially when one considers how often college graduates move between different careers and types of jobs. What I think makes Franklin unique is that while the faculty and staff emphasize the liberal arts, they are also career oriented. I know from employers that have hired our graduates that we do an excellent job of preparing our students for the ever-changing skills that are necessary to succeed in their careers and in life.”
Where have your students been employed after graduation from Franklin?
“Our computing majors have been highly successful in finding employment after graduation. If fact, many of them have received multiple job offers even before they graduated. A list of some of the companies that have recently hired our computing graduates include Facebook, Eli Lilly and Company, Cummins, Angie’s List, Appriss Inc., Interactive Intelligence, Kronos, OneAmerica and MD Logistics. Most of the responsibilities our graduates have involve some sort of software development. They may start out as computer programmers but they often advance to higher level jobs such as analyst or project manager.”
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen to better prepare for college?
“Take as many college preparatory courses that are available and that you can manage. When students enter college, they want to be prepared for the rigors of college-level courses. This preparation is best handled by taking a good mix of language, science, math and, hopefully, computer science courses while they are in high school. In addition, getting involved in extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs encourages interpersonal skills that will help them succeed.”
Do you have any continuing career aspirations?
“My aspirations are the same as they were when I started teaching; I want to help as many students as I can to learn, grow and mature into outstanding young adults who are willing and capable of contributing to their careers, families and communities. Personally, there is no greater feeling of accomplishment as a college professor than to see my former students out in the real world living happy, productive and successful lives. It’s amazing how many times I see former students at off-campus events.”
If you could teach a college course in any other department, what would it be and why?
“I would enjoy teaching an introductory physics course. I am amazed at how physics can help us understand how our physical world works. We still have a lot to learn, but we are constantly improving and refining our knowledge of natural phenomena.”
What is something students would be surprised to learn about you?
“I run trail races throughout central Indiana. I caught the bug about three years ago when my wife encouraged me to run the trails in Brown County State Park. I was very hesitant at first because I was afraid of tripping over tree roots and hurting myself. Now, I run trails at least twice a week. It’s a great way to stay fit while enjoying the beauty of nature.”
For more information about what a degree from Franklin College can do for you, contact the Office of Admissions at (800) 852-0232.