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Whether a UCM student wanted to take a film appreciation course just for pure enjoyment or to prepare for a career in the field by taking an advanced video production class, there is a good chance they studied under John P. Smead. The professor emeritus of mass communication devoted more than 40 years to teaching UCM students after joining the faculty in 1970.
During his tenure at UCM, Smead taught classes on film and video production, film and television history and criticism, scriptwriting and more. His personal interest in film and television history often translated into research projects, which he shared before audiences on campus and with students and professional groups across the country.
Among many film projects, in 1999 he served as producer-director of “Korea: Remembering the Forgotten War.” This was a four-part instructional video, which was produced in conjunction with the National Archives, Central Plains Division, as a companion to another four-part series he produced and directed, “Over Here, Over There: American Home Life During the Second World War.” The Veterans of Foreign Wars provided funding to distribute these award-winning videos to high schools and media centers nationwide for use in social studies and history classes.
The UCM professor was involved with a number of professional organizations such as the University Film and Video Association, Broadcast Education Association, National Communication Association, and Missouri Broadcast Educators. He also made paper presentations related to film and television at conferences in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.
Smead joined the university in 1970 after teaching at Boise State College in Boise, Idaho, and The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He earned three degrees from Michigan: bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate.