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David Smith, PhD

Director of the Center on Deafness and Research Professor, Deaf Studies


David Smith is a research professor in the Deaf studies program, and director of the Center on Deafness at the University of Tennessee. Smith earned his PhD in special education from the University of Nebraska in 2003. He began his higher education career at Fresno State as a faculty member and director of the Deaf Education program.  He came to the University of Tennessee as a center director and faculty within the deafness focus team in August 2011, Smith also has been involved in a career as an educator of deaf and hard-of-hearing children that spans over more than 20 years in a variety of settings and age groups. He brings his experience as a deaf individual, program leader, and grant writer to the Center on Deafness with great enthusiasm.

Professor Smith has taught coursework in a variety of deaf education topics including curriculum and content methods, language development, parent education, assessment, American Sign Language, deaf culture, and deaf literature. He has expertise in developing courses for online instruction in higher education.

Professional Background


Smith’s research interests are primarily classroom-related in the areas of teacher expectations on the performance of deaf children, American Sign Language use in classrooms by teachers of the deaf, and cultural practices of deaf adults in the education of deaf children, STEM education, and the evaluation of American Sign Language skills.




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Contact Information

  • A213 Jane & David Bailey Education Complex, 1126 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-329-7530
  • E-mail: