Michael F. Smith, professor of reproductive physiology in CAFNR’s Division of Animal Sciences, has won the Southeastern Conference’s Faculty Achievement Award for 2015, a spokesperson with SECU announced Wednesday. The award means Smith is automatically MU’s nominee for the SEC’s Professor of the Year, to be announced April 29.
The SEC academic awards are organized by The Academic Initiative of the SEC, or SECU. The purpose is to promote achievements in research and teaching at the 14 universities within the sports conference, and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among SEC university professors. The University of Missouri joined the conference July 1, 2012. The award is given to a faculty member from each SEC university.
"These 14 men and women are some of the most accomplished and influential leaders in their disciplines, and I offer each of them my sincerest congratulations," said Nicholas Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and president of the Southeastern Conference.
Smith researches ways to increase reproductive efficiency in beef and dairy cattle, which can help cattle farmers be economically successful and feed a growing world population.
He works alongside leaders in the field, such as Jerry Taylor, Curators Professor of Genetics and Animal Sciences. Recently joining the Division of Animal Sciences was Thomas Spencer, a signature hire who has an appointment in the division with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health. Spencer said he was drawn to MU’s “critical mass” of talent in animal science.
“It is a real privilege to be associated with the very best researchers in the field,” Smith said. “MU has the opportunity to be a world leader in reproductive biology and genomics involving cattle fertility issues.”
Smith started at MU as an assistant professor in 1980. Ten years later he became a full professor. He served as interim director of the Division of Animal Sciences from 2001 to 2006.
In 2013, Smith became a fellow of the American Society of Animal Science. The fellowship is one of the highest recognitions from a professional association.
In September, he was named a Curators Teaching Professor.
Smith holds a master’s and a Ph.D in reproductive physiology from Texas A&M University.