Dean's Distinguished Senior Scholars Program

Outstanding faculty are at the heart of exceptional universities, and the expansion of the College of Social Science’s already strong faculty is central to our College’s goal of enhancing the quality and stature of units in the College of Social Science. The Distinguished Senior Scholar Program at Michigan State University was established in 2018, as a major College of Social Science initiative aimed at promoting an inclusive scholarly environment for exceptional senior faculty who will bring distinction to Michigan State University, substantially enhance the College of Social Science’s standing, and support the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the academy. We welcome Professor Emilie Smith, renowned senior scholar of Human Development and Family Studies as our first hire in this program.


Dr. Emilie Smith works at the cutting edge of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS). Dr. Smith is one of the most recognized scholars in this field and has served as a distinguished professor in top-ranked HDFS departments. She brings 30 years of academic experience from leading research institutions to the Dean’s Senior Scholars Program. After graduating from the Community Psychology program at Michigan State University, she worked for ten years at the University of South Carolina (USC). Following her time at USC, she worked for 4 years as a Senior Service Fellow in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control. Then she taught and researched for 11 years in the prestigious Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University. Since 2014, she has served at the University of Georgia as a Distinguished Professor, Department Head, and most recently, a Scholar in Residence at the Society for Research in Child Development Washington, D.C. She is nationally recognized as a scholar with numerous publications, grant acquisitions, and book chapters and as a leader in advocating for families and community well-being. As a university mentor, she has overseen the development of numerous students and faculty. Dr. Smith is a nationally sought out speaker and has provided keynote speeches for several organizations.