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Roth Smith

Roth Smith

Assistant Professor
293 Communications Building Knoxville, TN 37996-0324

Roth Smith is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication Studies. The common thread running through his various research projects is a focus on how communication facilitates or constrains organizing processes among loosely structured collectives. This interest often takes his research beyond orthodox organizing contexts (i.e., formal employment, public service, nonprofits) to study volunteer, recreation, and disaster response groups. For instance, one research project examined a loose collective of BMX riders who built and maintained a public dirt jump course without financial backing or logistical support from local government agencies.

As a researcher specializing in qualitative methods, Roth has conducted interviews, observation, participant observation, focus groups, and photo-elicitation techniques in both conventional organizational settings, such as marketing firms, healthcare clinics, and fire departments, to more fluid contexts like Reddit communities and public leisure spaces. Overall Roth plans to investigate how the efforts of these informal collectives, whether they be contributing to public goods or helping to save lives during disasters, can be incorporated into more structured forms of organizing, such as city planning and emergency response management.


  • Ph.D. in Communication Studies from The University of Texas
  • M.A. in Communication, Technology, and Society from Clemson University
  • B.A. in Communication Studies from The University of South Carolina Upstate
  • A.A.S. in Radio and Television Broadcasting from Trident Technical College

Research Interests

  • Organizational Communication
  • Organizational Processes
  • Sport Communication in Lifestyle and Extreme Sports Collectives