Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Sue Jolly-Smith recalls her time at MUW as a student, says students should welcome unexpected opportunities

Daysha Humphrey

Dr. Sue Jolly-Smith

Senior Writer

Dr. Sue Jolly-Smith, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, is an alumna and faculty member here at MUW. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in home economics education from MUW, and her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Mississippi State University. Dr. Jolly-Smith is originally from West Point, Miss., and has been at MUW for 10 years.

Q: What made you decide to become a faculty member here at the W?

 A: “I loved my own experiences as a student here. I prefer the small campus atmosphere and the opportunity to get to know the students. Also, I wanted to give back to a campus that had meant so much in my own professional growth.”

Q: When did you come to the W?

A: “I came to MUW as chair of the Education Department and director of Field Experience in 2005.”

Q: Why were you interested in becoming a professor in education?

A: “All my life I wanted to be a teacher. As I moved forward in my career, becoming a professor of education became a way for me to work with future educators to share what I had learned about teaching.”

Q: As dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, what makes your job interesting other than being a regular professor?

A: “No day is the same. I love being an advocate for our college and university as well as for the students and faculty. The aspect that I enjoy most about the dean’s role is that sometimes I am in a position to support and enable others to fulfill their visions and goals.”

Q: As an education professor, explain what makes individuals good school leaders.

A: “The best school leaders are usually those who were the best teachers first.  Being a successful school leader requires real dedication, working very long hours, and making very difficult decisions. Those who have been good teachers first truly understand what it is like in the classroom. Successful school leaders must have their priorities focused on the right goals. School leaders must care about the success of the individual students and teachers.”

Q: What kind of influence has the students and MUW had on your life?

A: “The students are why I value working at the “W.”  Today’s students juggle so many responsibilities and challenges in their lives, and I have such respect for those who are working hard to attain their goals. Their influence challenges me.”