EL PASO — Michael R. Smith, Ph.D., has been appointed vice provost at The University of Texas at El Paso, with responsibility for such special and strategic ventures as the development and expansion of new and existing academic programs and initiatives, public and private sector educational partnerships, and oversight of the Office of Professional and Public Programs.
He will also coordinate programs for active military and veterans, working closely with Ft. Bliss to ensure that UTEP offers enhanced educational opportunities to service members and their families.
Before joining UTEP, Smith served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and vice provost at Georgia Southern University and chaired the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina.
“We are delighted to welcome Michael Smith to UTEP,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “His extensive professional experience, in higher education and beyond, is especially well aligned with UTEP’s strategic development in both academic and research programs. We all look very much forward to working with him.”
As dean of the largest college at Georgia Southern University, Smith oversaw the development of the university’s first fully online undergraduate degree program and also implemented a data-driven enrollment management system that improved multi-pronged opportunities for student progression. In that same vein, he implemented supplemental instruction in the college and improved student success in historically difficult courses. Other notable accomplishments include the development of a highly successful public art project as well as doubling the amount of external funding secured by college faculty.
As chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina, he and his colleagues established one of the nation’s newest Ph.D. programs in the discipline.
Smith is a former police officer and holds a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. He has served as a principal or co-principal investigator on more than $2.2 million in grants and contracts over his 17-year career as a police and criminal justice researcher. He is a nationally renowned expert on racial profiling and has written extensively on this and other critical issues at the intersection of law, public policing, and policing. His most recent publications have appeared in Criminology & Public Policy, the American Journal of Public Health, and Review of Policy Research.
“We are very fortunate to have someone with Dr. Smith’s depth and breadth of experience join Academic Affairs to work closely with colleges and other units to move in focused strategic directions and both innovate and incubate programs,” said UTEP Provost Junius Gonzales. “He also fills in critically needed gaps left by recently vacated positions, and brings a track record of success from several administrative positions.”