When strangers learn that Dr. Elizabeth Smith lives on a farm with dairy goats, free range chickens, a horse, a pig, three cats, three dogs, a donkey and 200,000 bees, their reactions are usually positive—especially when the goats make an appearance on campus.
Smith is passionate about raising animals with her husband, Eddie, and her children, Sam, Lily and Maizie. The family’s dairy goats are particularly popular with students during events such as Spring Day.
The coordinator of Reinhardt’s secondary mathematics education program and Reinhardt professor since 2004 grew up on Lake Ontario in upstate New York and received her Master of Science in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University.
Smith knows that while people love her goats, many tend to be less enthusiastic about learning math.
“When I meet new people out in the world they always ask, ‘What do you do?’ When I say I am a math teacher they usually respond with either ‘oh, gross,’ or they ask me to multiply big numbers.
“They think I said I was a calculator,” said Smith. “When they ask me to multiply, I just make up any gigantic number and they seem happy with that.”
Humor aside, Smith truly wants to change the perception that math is a boring, overly complicated subject. She tries to teach her students that math can be useful every day. She also wants them to know how and when to ask for help and that “confusion is okay – frustration is bad.”
Smith has won several awards for her exemplary work on campus, including the Elizabeth Moss Bailey Faculty Mentor Award, the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher Award, the Jason Gamel Award and the Jane England Faculty Award for Excellence.
Along with mathematics, she has brought her agricultural passion to campus. Inspired by her life of agriculture on the property her family has dubbed Red Gate Farm, Smith worked with Zach White, head of groundskeeping, in 2009 to organize the Waleska Farmer’s Market, which operated every summer until 2017.
She is also an avid traveler—when she and her husband married, they both quit their jobs to backpack Europe for six months. Smith continues traveling as a professor, accompanying students on study abroad trips and mission trips across the world and United States.
In May 2020, she will lead a group of students and community members on an educational trip to Japan. For trip details and itinerary, see the following links: