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Chelsea Smith

Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education

Office: 3070
Phone: (757) 221-4424
Email: [[csmith12]]
Areas of Expertise: Black women in Higher Education, Graduate Education, Graduate Students, STEM Education, Social Justice Education


Dr. Chelsea Smith is a scholar-leader with a passion for enhancing education for underrepresented stakeholders. Her teaching, mentorship, and scholarship centers on supporting the experiences of Black women and graduate students on college campuses. These interests and passions are catalyzed by her identities and experiences as a first-generation Black woman at historically White institutions as a student, educator, and administrator. Dr. Smith considers herself a scholar-practitioner who is committed to making tangible change in the education landscape supported by relevant scholarship. She has been involved in two National Science Foundation studies centered around broadening participation of Black and African American undergraduate and graduate students in STEM. She has also taught a variety of courses related to higher education and leadership.

Prior to joining the faculty at W&M, Dr. Smith served as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Professional Development in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University, where she supported graduate student professional development, holistic wellness, and equity efforts. She is also actively involved in ASHE CEP-MPP, ACPA PAN, and AERA Division J. Dr. Smith has experience in a variety of teaching, research and practitioner positions including admissions, learning communities, peer mentorship, and graduate student support. She has also worked with a number of nonprofit and pre-college programs to support high school and college students.


Ph.D. in Education Leadership, Policy and Human Development, North Carolina State University, 2023
M.Ed. in Student Affairs, Iowa State University, 2018
Graduate Certificate in Education for Social Justice, Iowa State University, 2018
B.A. in History, University of Georgia, 2013

Activities and Honors

ASHE CEP-MPP Co-Chair (2023-2025)

Southern Region Education Board Doctoral Scholar (2018)

Innovator of the Year, Iowa State University Learning Communities (2018)

Selected Publications

Gayles, J.G., & Smith, C.T. (2023). Retaining each other: The power of community for African American women undergraduate in STEM. In S. Fries-Britt & B.Turner-Kelly (Eds.), Black Women Navigating the Doctoral Journey (pp. 16-34). Routledge.

Falter, M., Arenas, A. A., Maples, G. W., Smith, C. T., Lamb, L. J., Anderson, M. G., … Wafa, N. Z. (2022). Making Room for Zoom in Focus Group Methods: Opportunities and Challenges for Novice Researchers (During and Beyond COVID-19). Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(1).

McTier Jr, T. S., Smith, C. T., Smith, G., Hodges, A., & Bah, S. (2020). Full-time students with part-time benefits: How being denied on-campus housing affects college students with criminal records. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 24(4), 947-972.

Download full CV.