August 6, 2021
Geri Smith headshot

Geri Smith, chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures since 2016, has been reappointed.

The decision follows an assessment of Smith and the department under her leadership. The process included feedback from faculty and staff from inside and outside the department.

Jeff Moore, dean of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities, said: “The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has continued to distinguish itself under Geri Smith’s leadership. The department has been strengthened with increased headcounts in several MLL majors and an overall increase in student credit hour production. The positive culture she has helped foster in the department continues to have a positive impact and I look forward to her continued success based on the goals she outlined as part of the review process.”

The committee that oversaw Smith’s five-year assessment found her to be a steadfast and empathetic leader, noting that “in all areas assessed, MLL faculty and staff showed overwhelming support for Dr. Smith’s work as chair, both across the full span of her tenure and particularly during the ongoing pandemic.”

Smith was hired as chair in 2016 to oversee the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, a large department with multiple majors, minors and certificate programs. In addition to managing 75 faculty and staff members, she maintains an active research profile with regular publications and conference papers, and she teaches courses in her field of early French literature.

Smith’s vision emphasizes building on past strengths to bolster the department’s relevance and impact through faculty and staff development, curriculum and program development, campus and community engagement, global partnerships, increased efficiency, improved equity, diversity, inclusion and transparency, and support for college and university strategic goals.

Under Smith’s tenure, the department took on the Latin American Studies program, added certificate programs in Russian and Brazilian Studies and a minor in Applied Linguistics, and added new faculty in Arabic and French and Francophone Studies. The department earned numerous internal and external awards including nearly $3 million in external funding.