May 22, 2024


It's Your Education

Smith named vice provost for instructional initiatives | The Source

Jennifer R. Smith, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named to the new placement of vice provost for academic initiatives, announced Beverly R. Wendland, provost and executive vice chancellor.


The appointment is successful July 1, 2021, and Smith will continue to be as dean until the conclude of the academic yr. Arts & Sciences will announce programs for figuring out candidates for the School of Arts & Sciences dean place later on this thirty day period.

“I am so pleased that Jen Smith is joining the provost’s office in a situation that is particularly timely in light of the difficulties of educating our pupils during COVID-19,” Wendland reported.

“In her part as dean in the college with the major undergraduate enrollment, and in her latest extra function on the executive committee of the Danforth Campus Tumble Preparing Committee throughout an incredible time, Jen has demonstrated her motivation to serving to our pupils comprehend their entire opportunity no issue the issues they confront. She is passionate about our students and has an countless amount of money of strength and concepts towards developing difficult, enriching instructional activities for them.”

Between her responsibilities in the provost’s business office, Smith will aim on improving equity in undergraduates’ tutorial possibilities, encounters and results deepening university student investigation experiences evaluating academic plans and fostering innovation in educational programs and methods. She will serve as a critical member of the provost’s main leadership staff, consistently advising the provost on strategic selections.

In addition, Smith will do the job intently with Laurie Maffly-Kipp, interim vice provost for graduate education and learning and dean of the Graduate College as well as the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor in the John C. Danforth Heart on Faith and Politics.

“Working with our learners, college and employees to progress the undergraduate educational mission is a privilege and a pleasure,” Smith said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to deepen interactions and construct new ones throughout the college in pursuit of a transformative and equitable training for every single undergraduate pupil.”

Smith joined the Washington University school in 2002 as an assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences soon after a yearlong lectureship appointment in Harvard University’s Division of Anthropology.

She acquired a bachelor’s degree in earth and planetary sciences, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1996, and a master’s degree in geology and a PhD in earth and environmental science in 1998 and 2001, respectively, both equally from the College of Pennsylvania.

Her analysis has centered on understanding the job the ecosystem has performed in human societies in the archaeological past, especially the place drinking water resource availability was a important situation. This function took Smith to locations these kinds of as Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Croatia, Bolivia and the Canadian Arctic.

She turned dean of the School of Arts & Sciences on July 1, 2012, and was promoted to professor of earth and planetary sciences in 2016. She was named a 2013 Eisenhower Fellow and invested her one-thirty day period fellowship in India learning about innovation in better instruction.

As dean of the Higher education of Arts & Sciences, which has extra than 4,000 learners, Smith is liable for the university’s liberal arts curriculum and supports Admissions in recruiting new students as nicely as the Career Center in planning them for existence following graduation.

She qualified prospects the undergraduate 4-year advising system with its 22 deans in the faculty and even serves as a 4-calendar year adviser to more than 60 students oversees an yearly price range of far more than $3 million and collaborates with the workplaces of the Dean of College students, the Initially Yr Center, the Center for Instructing and Learning and some others towards fostering a holistic undergraduate expertise.

Since April, Smith has served on the Fall Organizing Committee (FPC) supporting system a safe and sound return to school this semester through the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to staying on the FPC’s government committee, she co-chaired its Instructional Mission Working Group charged with guiding and supporting the change in tutorial instruction to hybrid on the web/in human being for this slide semester. And she chaired the Academic Operations subcommittee that, among other parts, was dependable for ensuring that lecture rooms are each protected and accessible for learners and school.

A emphasis on pupil good results

Underneath Smith’s management, Arts & Sciences has strengthened packages targeted on scholar achievements, such as boosting assist constructions for initial-generation or lower-income students adding an emphasis on inclusiveness to the advising program incorporating everyday living arranging into academic preparing and expanding the economic and academic aid affiliated with the To start with-Year Summer season Academic Program for incoming under-resourced pupils.

Smith has worked carefully with STEM departments and school to enhance the  foundational science curriculum and pupil working experience in classes in methods that motivate pupil persistence and boost learning results. She also oversaw the transition of College or university Creating and Overseas Plans less than the school umbrella.

She is also dependable for developing a potent neighborhood amongst Arts & Sciences directors, school and learners, which include hosting (pre-COVID-19) frequent dwelling-cooked dinners with learners and bringing her canine to campus.

She started off a treasured custom her very first 12 months as dean of asking to start with-yr pupils to create a simple phrase — a objective, desire, aspiration or expectation — on to a little sq. of cloth. Those people pieces are then assembled, hung in her place of work, and offered back to the class 4 decades afterwards at Graduation.