Joel Smith

Assistant Professor of Practice
Portrait of Joel Smith
he, him, his

As a self-described wordsmith, I’ve always been fascinated by writing as a means of connection, something that’s united my academic, work, and creative lives. In 2008, after earning a BA in English Literature from UC Berkeley and a subsequent stint in AmeriCorps NCCC, I first came to Tucson while producing A Line in the Sand, a short documentary on the nearby border town of Arivaca. I subsequently pursued an MFA in Creative Writing here at the UA, and later wrote The Parish: An AmeriCorps Story, a graphic novel about the life of volunteers in post-Katrina New Orleans. In 2015, continuing the thread of service, I earned an MPA degree focusing on local government and the nonprofit sector. That community-based perspective has since proved invaluable as I’ve become a staunch advocate for shared governance across the UA.

Looking back over the last decade, the beating heart of my professional career has been teaching and tutoring more than 1200 UA Wildcats, mostly for the UA Writing Program as well as the Writing Skills Improvement Program. In doing so, I’ve worked primarily with first-year students in small classes not unlike UNIV 101 and 301. And now that I’m a parent of two young children and a fifty-year-old desert tortoise, time truly seems more relative than ever, making me curious to see what else the 2020s have in store.