Smith awarded Purdue’s highest undergraduate teaching honor

This year’s recipients of Purdue’s highest undergraduate teaching honor have not only bettered Boilermakers’ educations but have influenced today’s teaching environment and tomorrow’s workforce. They’re shaping the future from their classrooms. The College of Education’s Jennifer Smith, associate clinical professor of special education, is one of the five 2024 Charles B. Murphy Award winners.

Jennifer Smith holding up a sign that says, "Congratulations Murphy Award Winner". She is surrounded by various COE faculty.
Every spring, Purdue honors instructors who go above and beyond to provide exceptional educational experiences.

When Smith finished her first day of student teaching, she called her mom and said she knew it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Fifteen years of working in elementary schools and almost five years of educating at Purdue have only brightened that innate spark.

In the College, Smith has illuminated ways for future teachers to connect with students. Focusing on special education curriculums, she has prepared Boilermakers for excellence by improving courses, researching teacher-student dynamics and cofounding the Center for Research and Equipment for Assistive Technology in Education (CREATE) and the Accessible Creative Teaching and Inclusive Opportunities Now! Research Lab. Her involvement in national conferences helps her share ideas across the United States.

CREATE empowers the next generation of learners with accessible resources like software and equipment. Since its establishment, the center has inspired students to create practical solutions. The Charles B. Murphy Award is a recognition for her accomplishments — and encouragement to keep building. “Innovation is one of Purdue’s values, and students are representing that at CREATE,” Smith says. “Now we’re looking into how we can expand and capitalize on all of the amazing progress.”

Jennifer Smith sitting & speaking with one of her students.
Clinical associate professor Jennifer Smith has made many positive impacts on the university, including cofounding CREATE, which provides assistive technology.
Jennifer Smith holding up a sign that says, "Congratulations Murphy Award Winner". She is surrounded by three of her family members.
Smith supports students in every course she leads — she has taught 13 different undergraduate classes in the past five years. (Photos/Purdue University)

Source: The Persistent Pursuit: 2024 Charles B. Murphy Award winners represent five Purdue colleges, by Ava Kuhn (Purdue University, May 2, 2024)