MU
Oak Leaves

September 14, 2018

Tara Smithson


Professor Tara Smithson is the newest member of the Modern Language Department. She will offers courses in French language and culture.

Photo provided


Missouri to Manchester: New French Prof in Town


Alexandria Collins


Professor Tara Smithson, Manchester’s new French educator, moved here from a small town in Missouri to spread her love of French language and culture. She knew that this was the school for her, and loves the “at home” feel that North Manchester greets her with.

Smithson loves riding her bike through campus, looking at the students walking to class and enjoying the well-known oak trees. Riding her bike also reminds her of home, and gives her that warm, cozy feeling. 

After growing up in Missouri, Smithson completed her PhD, then taught French, history of French film, and gender studies at Louisiana State University. She did not grow up speaking French, but was drawn to it for several reasons. “French is associated with love, cooking, art work, and reading,” she said. “I think there is so much to learn from the language and culture, so I wanted to learn more.”

Smithson solidified her interest by studying abroad in France. “It was a more complex place than I imagined,” she said. “It was very different, but of course I loved it.”

As a new member of the Manchester University community, she is very excited to start teaching. “This is a great opportunity to learn and create new ideas,” she said. “I think this class will be very fun, and seeing a lot of the same students will be a great time to know all of them personally, and watch them grow.” She’s looking forward to a new French program, and to also teaching the focus of the institution to her students.

What is Smithson’s favorite part about the community? “The people here are just so welcoming, pleasant, and helpful,” she said. “I love how the students are curious, brave risk takers, and I really appreciate that.”