Robert B. Smith, PhD

Robert Smith

Title: Provost Emeritus
Location:  Hemet, California, United States

An award-winning educator with more than 40 years of professional experience, Dr. Smith is highly regarded for his work leading Weber State University to new standards of teaching, particularly in the area of collaborative and experiential learning. “By involving students heavily in learning rather than the more familiar lecture approach to teaching, it allows students to become more engaged in their studies thus leading to far greater academic successes,” he explains of his progressive approach. Dr. Smith’s philosophy overhauled the university’s mission and standards and placed a strong emphasis on the outcomes of education. Furthermore, he exhibited leadership in integrating women into academia. He first joined the faculty in 1981 as the vice president of academic affairs. After 12 years, he became provost and then assistant to the president three years later. In total, Dr. Smith committed himself to the university for 17 years before retiring in 1998.

His demonstrated expertise comes from a blend of his experience with Weber State University, his prior experience and his education. Previously, he came to prominence in a number of positions with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, including professor and founding dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, and assistant professor of chemistry. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Wheaton College, a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and an honorary doctorate of humanities from Weber State University.

Dr. Smith feels that he has been successful in his career because his work ethic and skills aligned nicely with the shared missions of the faculties he has been involved with. Outside of his administration work, he was afforded opportunities to impact higher education industry-wide. Notably, he was chairman of the Commission on Colleges of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, during which time he encouraged numerous institutions to focus less on institutional resources and more on learning outcomes. He was also a director of the Academic Leadership Institute of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In addition, Dr. Smith held memberships with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, and Phi Kappa Phi. In recognition of his professional promise in his career, Dr. Smith was awarded a graduate fellowship by the National Science Foundation.

As he looks to the future, Dr. Smith intends to continue enjoying his retirement through his favorite hobbies, which include ongoing research as the leading local historian of Idyllwild, CA, and its surrounding mountains, adding to the three books and numerous articles he has published on the subject.

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