Smith addresses 500 at AACC inauguration

April 28, 1995|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Using her inauguration speech to set goals, Dr. Martha A. Smith yesterday called on the students and faculty of Anne Arundel Community College to "turn the leadership process inside out."

In a short talk before about 500 faculty and visitors in the David S. Jenkins gymnasium, Dr. Smith urged a "shift from a system which prepares knowers to a system which prepares learners."

Developing people who continue learning, she said, "is a very different objective than preparing people who can remember information or systematically repeat skills. . . . This is where faculty need to shift their role from being sages on stages to guides on the side."

That task requires a lot from a school's faculty, she said.

"Leaders . . . are learning all the time," she said. "They learn by listening, they squint with their ears. In a learning community, the only real leadership and the only real change that is meaningful and lasting comes from inside out."

Dr. Smith, 46, became the fifth president of the 18,000-student college in August after the retirement of Thomas E. Florestano. She was president of Dundalk Community College in Baltimore County from 1987 until last year.

Since arriving, Dr. Smith has been working with the faculty to develop a vision and goal for the institution that includes putting students first.

In keeping with that theme, students were the first to greet Dr. Smith at the ceremony, beginning with a procession of flower-bearing youngsters from the college's Child Development Center.

John B. Anderson and Timothy A. Mariner, the college's oldest student and youngest graduate, also wished Dr. Smith luck at her new job.

"We are glad you are here with us, Dr. Smith," said Mr. Anderson, who, at age 101, takes physical education classes at the school. "I anticipate an excellent and outstanding future with you at the helm and on the treadmill."

"I'm confident that the college and the community recognizes your efforts," said Timothy, who graduated last year at age 11. "I only hope you will receive the support of the county and state. I wish you success, for your success is our success."

But in her speech, Dr. Smith said the college's success depends on everyone striving to be better.

"Our standards of excellence will keep moving upward. We will never arrive," she said. "We will always be improving upon the last measure of success."

Dr. Smith graduated from what then was Slippery Rock State College in Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She earned a master's degree in educational psychology at the University of Hawaii and a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Northern Colorado.

From 1977 to 1981, she was vice president for student affairs and dean of students at the College of Saint Teresa in Minnesota.

She joined Dundalk Community College as dean of students in 1982.

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