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The Interim President's Biography

Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.

Interim President, Harris-Stowe State University

Dr. Dwayne Smith was appointed Interim President of Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) by HSSU Board of Regents on June 10, 2019. He previously served as the University’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Smith has more than 30 years of progressive administrative and faculty experience in higher education. He is well-versed in accreditation, enrollment management, student success, strategic planning, faculty and staff development, and obtaining external funding. Since his arrival at Harris-Stowe, Dr. Smith has successfully procured more than $12 million in external funding for various university initiatives. He successfully led the institution through five major accreditations, currently serves as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission, is the Principal Investigator of a $5 million National Science Foundation grant to substantially strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) in the state of Missouri, and serves as a Grants Reviewer for the National Science Foundation.

Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, the institution has increased its degree offering by more than 75%, established undergraduate research opportunities, added STEM degrees, and increased its yearly degree production—ranking as one of the top five institutions in Missouri in awarding undergraduate degrees to African-American students. Additionally, Harris-Stowe ranked in the top 40 in the nation in graduating African-Americans in Education and the top 50 nationally in graduating African-Americans in mathematics and statistics (out of more than 3,000 institutions nationwide). During his tenure, Harris-Stowe has been cited in national college rankings including, U.S. News and World Report, Best Regional Midwest Colleges, the Washington Monthly College Guide Rankings, the Economist College Rankings, Niche College Rankings, and Diverse Issues Annual Degree Producer Rankings. Dr. Smith has been instrumental in developing more than 20 collaborations and partnerships with Harris-Stowe and other institutions and organizations regionally and nationally.

Prior to his arrival at Harris-Stowe, Dr. Smith served as the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Avila University where he provided leadership over Student Retention, the Weekend and Evening College for adult learners, the Institutional Research Board, and Study Abroad. Dr. Smith has also served as Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Park University, was on the graduate faculty at the University of Missouri, and was an Associate Dean in the area of multicultural affairs at Truman State University where he created the university’s first Diversity Department.

Dr. Smith is a Fulbright Scholar, serves as Board Chair of the Higher Education Consortium, Chairman of the Board of NewPot Solutions Charitable Foundation, and the Missouri Commisoner of Higher Education Advisory Group. Dr. Smith is the recipient of the Chair Academy International Exemplary Leadership Award, the Missouri Association of College Personnel Richard Caple Award, and Truman State University Distinguished Service Alumni Award. His other honors include Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in America, and a member of the national honor societies, Phi Kappa Phi and Kappa Delta Pi.

Dr. Smith earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, Columbia, M.A. in Education Administration and B.S. degree in Psychology from Truman State University. He completed post-doctoral studies at Harvard University and participated in the Executive Leadership Academy for emerging University Presidents sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Academic Leadership Institute.

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