Eastern Kentucky University Announces Dean of the College of Education and Applied Human Sciences

Published on March 23, 2023

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) has selected Elizabeth Smith, Ph.D, as the dean of the College of Education and Applied Human Sciences (CEAHS). Smith will join EKU on July 1, 2023. Smith will lead CEAHS efforts in delivery, assessment, review of programs and courses, budget management, administering policies, procedures and supervision of college faculty and staff. 

Smith holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science, a master’s in higher education leadership and a doctorate in P-20 education policy from the University of Arkansas. 

Smith is currently the department chair for education at the University of Tulsa (TU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Smith also served as vice provost for academic initiatives and faculty affairs at TU, overseeing faculty hiring and onboarding, undergraduate curriculum and academic policies. In addition, Smith oversaw an annual budget of $10 million and her portfolio included academic support units such as academic advising, the library, education abroad and a P-8th grade school. 

Prior to joining the provost’s office, she led the TU department of education through re-accreditation, established new partnerships with local schools to improve the teacher pipeline, and created a new program in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. Smith also led the Yale National Initiative—a partnership between TU, Tulsa Public Schools and Yale University to improve teaching in high-poverty urban schools. 

Smith has examined teacher certification policy, assessment in higher education and school-university partnerships with the aim of producing research that informs policymakers and contributes to improved educational outcomes. Through her research, she has collaborated with legislators and leaders of other teacher education programs in Oklahoma to pass legislation creating state-funded scholarships to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

Smith’s professional experience includes overseeing assessment and accreditation at a private liberal arts university and developing a student leadership program at a community college. She spent 11 years at the University of Arkansas where she led a state-funded program to improve collaboration between the university and public schools in the region. Smith began her career recruiting students to attend college from low-income, first-generation and rural backgrounds. She extended this work through a federal TRiO grant program to ensure first-generation, low-income students had access to personalized college preparation.

“I am confident that Dr. Smith will provide insightful and creative leadership to the College of Education and Applied Human Sciences and look forward to welcoming her to the EKU community,” said Dr. Sara Zeigler, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.