About the Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Thomas M. Smith was appointed Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of California Riverside on July 1, 2019.
As the Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Smith serves as the chief academic and operating officer for the campus, providing academic leadership to the entire university, managing day-to-day operations of the campus, overseeing resource allocation, and serving as a member of the campus leadership team. In the chancellor’s absence, the provost serves as the chief executive officer of the University of California, Riverside. The Provost/EVC is responsible for implementation of the campus strategic plan, UCR 2020: The Path to Preeminence.
Smith, who previously served as interim vice chancellor for student affairs during 2018, joined UCR in September 2014 as dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSOE). He is a nationally recognized scholar who was recently named a 2019 Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. His work has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.
Under Smith’s leadership, the GSOE expanded and diversified the faculty and student body, having hired 20 new tenure-line faculty, of whom 70% are faculty of color. Enrollment in teacher credentialing programs has almost doubled and the school added an undergraduate major in Education, Society, and Human Development that grew into 350 students in less than two years. GSOE faculty members are strong collaborators with K-12 and community colleges across a range of programs, and Smith serves on the Riverside Unified School District Equity Task Force.
Before coming to UCR, Smith was a professor and director of graduate studies in the department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University. Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt in 2001, he conducted and managed statistical research activities at the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the National Science Foundation. Smith served as the executive director (2014-2017) and director (2010-2014) of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU), a national research and development center funded by the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education.
A first-generation college student, Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA and master’s degrees from Columbia University and The Catholic University of America. He received a doctorate in education theory and policy from Penn State University. Smith’s research focuses on policy and instructional improvement; teacher professional development; and improvement science.
Smith joins one of the most diverse higher education leadership teams in the nation and will oversee UCR’s academic units as well as campus-wide efforts and initiatives including academic personnel, undergraduate education, international affairs, and administrative resolution.