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June 10, 2010

La Salle Management Professor James Smither Receives Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching

Professor James Smither Receives Lindback Award

Provost Richard Nigro, Ph.D.(right), presents James Smither, Ph.D., professor of management, with the 2010 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Is it possible for an accomplished scholar to be a proficient teacher and vice versa? Apparently La Salle University's Lindback Award Committee believes the answer is "yes." In recognition of his accomplished teaching, James Smither, Ph.D., professor of management at La Salle, was named the 2010 recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University's recent Commencement ceremony.

"I was so honored when I learned I was this year's Lindback recipient," said Smither. "I've always held the previous recipients, especially my management colleagues, Steve Meisel and Marianne Gauss, in such high esteem. Looking at the list of past recipients, I am thrilled to be included their company."
Smither's nomination for the Lindback Award included accolades such as "engages students in meaningful learning activities" and "there are few people who can match his level of preparation."

Smither, of Branchburg, N.J., joined La Salle's faculty in 1992 after more than 15 years serving in corporate human resources roles for organizations such as AT&T. In addition to his teaching and scholarship, he continues to consult in human resources and leadership development for numerous companies across various industries.

A leading scholar in the field of organizational management, Smither's work has been published in many academic and professional journals, and he served as editor of the 1998 book Performance Appraisal: State-of-the-art in Practice. His book Performance Management: Putting Research into Action (co-edited by Manual London) was named the 2009 R. Wayne Pace Book of the Year from the Academy of Human Resource Development.

With his success in the corporate world and as a scholar, it is teaching that Smither finds most rewarding. "The longer I do it, the more I enjoy it," he said. "With teaching, you see a more tangible human impact—it's great to have former students tell me how they use things learned in class in the workplace."

While Smither's research focus is typically too specific of a topic to cover in his courses, he believes his research makes him a better teacher. "My work requires me to stay on top of the latest research in the field, which I can then bring to the classroom and discuss with the students," said Smither.

A 1972 La Salle graduate, Smither earned master's degrees from Seton Hall University and Montclair State University. He earned his doctoral degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 

In addition to the Lindback Award, Smither was also recently honored with La Salle's Beta Gamma Sigma Professor of the Year Award, voted on by La Salle's top business students inducted into the honor society over the past two years. He received this award at the spring induction ceremony for Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society serving business programs accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. 

With the generosity of the Christian and Mary Lindback Foundation, La Salle University has been bestowing the Distinguished Teaching Award since 1961. Smither now joins the long list of La Salle faculty to be recognized for their excellence in teaching. La Salle's recipient is selected by a committee of students, faculty, and administrative representatives who base their decision on nominations solicited from the University's full-time faculty, and both undergraduate and graduate students.