Smith Named Second in Command with Provost Position

By John Stran

After searching through 60 candidates, Youngstown State University has selected Brien Smith as the new provost, effective June 6.

The provost position is the governing officer of the academic colleges, which includes the Graduate School, Honors College, the Office of International Programs and the Office of Assessment.    

Smith will be leaving his current position as the dean of the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University — a position he has held since 2012.

“I will definitely miss Indiana State University, and I am grateful to them for affording me opportunities for growth and development,” Smith said.

Prior to his dean position at Indiana State, Smith was executive director of the Networks Financial Institute at ISU from December 2012 through May 2014, and spent 23 years in varying positions at Ball State University.  

Smith believes his past experience will help him with his future provost position.

“I have a strong record of leading program innovation and development, and deep experience in strategic planning and implementation,” he said. “I believe so many of these experiences will line up well with the skills necessary to move Youngstown State forward.”

To move YSU forward, Smith intends to encourage excellence in faculty and staff while “pursuing strategies that enhance student success, fostering an inclusive campus and promoting engagement with the community in the region.”

Mike Sherman, special assistant to the president of YSU, agreed that Smith’s experience improving teaching for learning outcomes and recognizing strategically focused research will enhance the educational experience at YSU.

“Professor Smith has a depth and breadth of experience as a faculty member and faculty member leader that will complement our focus on stimulating academic excellence that enables student success and connects with the community for mutual benefit,” Sherman said.

Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Auburn University. He remained at Auburn to obtain his master’s and doctorate degrees in industrial psychology.

After college, Smith said he planned to enter the “corporate world,” but a teaching opportunity presented itself to him and he has not strayed away from academia since.

“I accepted a temporary teaching position at Ball State University to finish my research before entering the job market,” he said. “It was quite fortuitous, but I discovered that I loved teaching. Working with students is so rewarding. I get a sense I am influencing the future as I do my part in helping students succeed.”

Smith said what attracted him to YSU, leading him to apply for the provost position, was the apparent opportunity for self-growth and development at this point in his career.

“Youngstown State is a great university with gifted faculty and staff and talented students with a can-do attitude,” Smith said. “The institution has made rapid strides in the number and quality of students it attracts, the amount of funds brought to the university through grants and gifts and its growing generative relationship with the community.”

Even though it will be difficult for Smith to leave ISU, Smith said he and his wife look forward to becoming active members of the Youngstown community.