Kathy Smith



Office: Kirby 320
Phone: 758-5456
Email: smithkb@wfu.edu

Areas of Expertise: American Presidency, Political Communication, Urban Politics




Kathy Smith is Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University.  She has written in the areas of executive politics and political communication.   She has co-authored The White House Speaks:  Presidential Leadership as Persuasion and The President and the Public:  Rhetoric and National Leadership.  Her book chapters and publications focus on presidential topics including:  transitions, pardons, debates, First Ladies, policy mobilization, audience selection and the representative role.  Professor Smith is the Program Director for the University owned Worrell House in London where students live and study each semester.


BA         1971, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio
MA         1973, Purdue University
PhD        1977, Purdue University


Professor, Wake Forest University, 1995-
Associate Professor, Wake Forest University, 1985-1994
Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University, 1981-1985
Assistant Professor, Memphis State University, 1976-1981
Instructor, Mississippi State University, 1976-1977






Politics 113 American Government and Politics

The goal of this course is to raise significant political questions and provide you with a framework for answering them.  This class will examine such questions as:  what does it mean to be an American, what major policy issues we are confronting in America; what is a democracy, and why do we value it; why do so few Americans choose to vote; what are the dynamics of the presidential selection process; how do Supreme Court decisions affect you and is Congress working in an effective manner?  These are only a few of the many areas that the course will cover; hopefully, you will bring up many more questions on issues that concern you about the structure and the operation of the American political system.  The ability to ask questions and individually evaluate situations may be some of the more permanent contributions of higher education to your intellectual, professional and personal life.

Politics 217  Politics and the Mass Media

Through a combination of lectures and discussions this course will raise a number of questions about the relationship between the media and politics.  We will investigate both the media’s impact upon the political system and the government’s effect on the media.  Our focus will be on studying these important relationships within the context of a democratic system.  Although the alleged power of the media has often been exaggerated, the significant influence which the media has on our values and behavior should not be ignored.  A democratic system requires a strong independent media.  A focus of this course will be on evaluating whether this democratic need is being met in America today.

Politics 220   The American Presidency

This course on the American Presidency will investigate an important sector of the American political system.  Our study will cover the Executive Branch, the White House office and the individuals who occupy the Oval Office.  Only by placing the presidency within the broader framework of the American and international political systems can we understand its operation.  Exploring relationships with domestic and foreign constituencies will define the nature of each Administration.  Additionally, to examine presidential behavior we must study the effect of the office on the person and the person on the office.

Our president operates in a democracy which provides both sources of power and significant limitations.  We will evaluate a president in relation to the requirements of a modern, democratic nation.

Politics 222   Urban Politics

The American political system is a fully interrelated system.  In order to understand one level of government or one policy issue we need to examine the various dimensions of the problem.  Urban areas provide a student of politics with a good opportunity to study political dilemmas and potentials that exist nationwide.  This course will examine both the unique features endemic to our urban setting and the items of commonality between metropolitan areas and the rest of our polity.  The dynamics of change within an urban setting will be studied closely in order to learn more about our cities and ourselves.  Issues will be raised that have defied contemporary solution.  Although the issues will not disappear, our understanding of the alternative policy choices with their attendant value premises can be usefully explored.

Comments are closed.