Buffy Smith Inducted Into the Prestigious Marquis Who’s Who Biographical Registry

Dougherty Family College Dean Buffy Smith, PhD, has been inducted into Marquis Who’s Who. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of their current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Affiliated with the University of St. Thomas since 2004, Smith has distinguished herself as a leader in academia. Originally hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, she continually progressed through the ranks, becoming a professor in 2016. Smith served as the department chair of Sociology and Criminal Justice before being appointed the founding associate dean of academics at Dougherty Family College (DFC) in 2016. Smith’s research provided the framework that shaped the innovative educational model of DFC, which has led to impressive educational attainment outcomes. Smith was appointed interim dean in 2020. In 2022, after a national search, Smith was hired as the dean and Frey Endowed Chair of DFC.

Interim Dean of the Dougherty Family College Buffy Smith speaks to students during the Dougherty Family College commencement ceremony. Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas
Dean of Dougherty Family College Buffy Smith speaks to students during the DFC commencement ceremony. (Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas)

Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas provides scholars from underserved communities the opportunity to earn an affordable associate degree with a seamless pathway to a bachelor’s degree. Also, part of the educational model provides a unique emphasis on vocational exploration and preparation. The goal at DFC is to eliminate the educational and wealth gap between communities of privilege and underserved communities.

As the dean, Smith is responsible for the overall administrative operations of the college, including the curriculum, fundraising, community engagement, enrollment, and retention. Based on her expertise, Smith has established a professional mentor program and an alumni mentor program at DFC. Looking toward the future, she is determined to grow DFC and produce as many graduates as possible.

As a researcher, Smith has focused on racial and class disparities throughout the higher education system, as well as how to improve academic and social support services for scholars from communities that are under-resourced. As a prolific author, she has contributed numerous book chapters and articles on such topics as equity and diversity in higher education, retention, and mentoring. Smith served as a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals, including the American Sociological Review, and, in 2013, she released her first book, titled Mentoring At-Risk Students through the Hidden Curriculum of Higher Education, via Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield. In addition to her research and writing contributions, Smith is a national speaker, providing her expertise at colleges and universities, presenting in front of legislative bodies and policymakers, and other youth-serving organizations.

Leading various communitywide initiatives, Smith is presently a board member for the Westminster Forum Town Hall in Minneapolis and for the think2perform Research Institute. She also serves on the advisory board for the Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas. Furthermore, Smith has been active on the advisory board for the Rêve Academy since 2018.

Smith garnered a Bachelor of Arts in sociology with a minor in theology at Marquette University. Smith subsequently received a Master of Science in sociology and a Doctor of Philosophy in sociology with a minor in African American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Smith is involved with several higher education-related organizations; she is a member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the Association of Black Sociologists. Smith is also affiliated with Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Sigma, and Alpha Kappa Delta International Honor Society.

In addition to securing several grants to support her research, Smith received awards and recognitions for her numerous contributions to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Among them, she was honored with a First Place Award for her paper on educational problems from the Society for the Study of Social Problems in 2004, a Diversity Leadership Teaching/Research Award from the Office of Institutional Diversity at the University of St. Thomas in 2007-08, and a Diversity Milestone Award from Student Diversity and Inclusion Services at the University of St. Thomas in 2019. Moreover, Smith has been highlighted in local and national publications such as Diverse: Issues in Higher Education for her tireless efforts in academia.

About Marquis Who’s Who:
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who’s Who in America, Marquis Who’s Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion, and entertainment. Today, Who’s Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians, and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who’s Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.