Dr. Buffy Smith

Meet the Dean

Get to Know Dr. Smith

Since 2004 Dr. Smith has been a professor at St. Thomas and she is eager to share strategies on how to build a strong sense of belonging as a Tommie and thrive in college.

About Dean Smith

Buffy Smith, Ph.D. is a sociologist, educator, and consultant. She earned her B.A. in Sociology at Marquette University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the dean of Dougherty Family College and professor of Sociology at the University of St. Thomas. She joined St. Thomas faculty in 2004. Dr. Smith earned tenure in 2010 and was promoted to full professor in 2016. She chaired the Sociology department before being appointed the founding associate dean of academics at the Dougherty Family College in 2016. Dr. Smith’s research shaped the educational model of the Dougherty Family College. Her primary research interests include examining racial and class disparities within the higher education system. She is a national expert on policy issues dealing with mentoring, access, retention, equity, and diversity in higher education. She has over 18 years of experience researching how colleges and universities can assist underrepresented students with understanding and navigating the institutional culture of higher education in order to achieve academic success.

Dr. Smith has received several awards and grants that recognize her research on diversity issues in higher education. Dr. Smith’s publications have been featured in research and practice oriented journals such as African –American Research Perspectives and Equity & Excellence in Education. In addition, she is the author of the book, Mentoring At-Risk Students through the Hidden Curriculum of Higher Education.