David Smith

David Smith headshot

David R. Smith assumed the role of Associate Dean for Advising and Executive Director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State in September 2013. Prior to accepting this position, David worked for more than fifteen years in the Office of Student Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan.

David's professional work at Michigan involved many different responsibilities, but all focused on various aspects of undergraduate education. As Deputy Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs at Michigan, he was directly involved in helping to shape policies that enhanced and supported the undergraduate experience of the more than 17,000 students in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Some specific aspects of David's work at Michigan included developing internship opportunities for undergraduates, promoting academic integrity, counseling instructors on strategies for managing and resolving classroom concerns, helping students navigate various challenges occasionally encountered on the path to earning an undergraduate degree, serving on the student-athlete welfare committee, and providing leadership and direction to the college's academic advising program.

Through his professional career, two of his favorite roles have been serving as the academic adviser for the Individual Concentration Program (ICP) and as a lecturer in history, where he taught courses on American foreign policy and the Vietnam War. Through the Individual Concentration Program, he was able to work one-on-one with students as they designed their own educational paths. As a lecturer in history, he enjoyed engaging students in the classroom with primary documents and through lively discussions of varying perspectives on the past. Moreover, as a Global Intercultural Teaching Fellow he led numerous groups of students to Vietnam where they actively thought about how societies rebuild from war and conflict.

A former Fulbright Scholar, David recognizes the value of international education and is a strong proponent of developing cross-cultural competencies. His co-authored book, Permeable Borders, was awarded recognition by both the American Historical and Canadian Historical Associations.

A Michigan native, David earned an undergraduate degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University before completing his doctorate in history at Wayne State University in Detroit. He currently lives in State College with his wife and daughter. When not in State College, they can be found spending quiet days near the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


  • B.A., James Madison College at Mighigan State University
  • M.A. in History, Wayne State University
  • Ph.D. in History, Wayne State University

Current Position

Associate Dean for Advising and Executive Director

Contact Information

E-mail: drs46@psu.edu
Office: 102 Grange Building
Phone: 814-865-7576
Fax: 814-863-8913