GSU veteran takes on more active role

Can you imagine how strenuous working under President Frank G. Pogue day in and day out can be? Long hours, tons of meetings, not to mention the lack of student and faculty interaction. These are just a few of the commitments and sacrifices of working in the president’s office at Grambling State University. 

Stalwart scholar Ellen D. Smiley has left her role of as executive assistant to the president to become the dean of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College and coordinator of Military Science. She also works with the Dual Enrollment Program. 

Having worked for the university for 22 years, Dr. Smiley has served the campus in various other roles, including assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, assistant dean of the Honors College, director of the Honors College and coordinator of the National Student Exchange Program. She remains as associate professor of Education and teaching in the doctoral program. 

When asked what she will miss most about working in the president’s office, her response was not one typically heard.

“Wow, I don’t know how to say this. I don’t think I will.

“I’m out and about more because I’m teaching my classes and recruiting for the Honors College.

“I see the faculty again and I love the faculty,” Dr. Smiley said. “Nothing against that particular group of people and administration, but I don’t think I will miss what I was doing in the presidents office.” 

Being among students and faculty she sees as a definite plus. Seeing more people means she is back in the core of academics. With the Honors College, she is able to associate with all faculty members and communicate with undergraduate and graduate students on a daily basis.  

“It’s not that I have less to do. I probably have more to do now, but this is what the university is all about,” Smiley said. “Here I’m with my students, and I’m with all students. Not just students in the Honors College, but students I see every day.”

There are more things to look forward to in regards to the Honors College, said Smiley. One prominent change being implementing is making the Honors College more visible to the campus. 

“Some of the greatest people who have graduated from this university were members of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College,” she noted, saying past leaders, including former Student Government Association President Jonathan Allen and former Miss Grambling State University Geralka “Gerri” Jackson, were both members. 

“Our students are born leaders, and we plan to put them out there more. We also plan to encourage other students to be involved so that they can become members.”

It’s strongly encouraged that nonstudent members take seminar courses being offered in the Honors College. 

Smiley also made it known that the freshman seminar course is back under the jurisdiction of Dr. Steve A. Favors, which is a way for freshmen to hear from one of the history-makers at GSU.

The Honors College has several activities in the near future, including partnering with the Office of Service Learning for a convocation on Sept. 17 featuring speaker Joe Horn and Honors College inductions in October. 

Dr. Smiley is excited about the changes that have taken place at Grambling State University. Her role at the university has always been needed, no matter what position she was filling. 

Her excitement and love for students and faculty surpass  many professionals. She says her new position in the Honors College ensures that she will continue to be overjoyed and passionate at the university. 

“To me this is living, this is what the university is all about,” she said.

Dr. Smiley believes that the essence of the university is within academics, and she intends to highlight students who go above and beyond to excel at GSU and succeed after graduation.