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Dr. Vernon C. Smith

Dr. Vernon C. Smith

Dr. Vernon C. Smith joined American Public University System as Provost in 2016 bringing his extensive background in online learning issues and practices, including effective quality, assessment, and retention strategies. Dr. Smith was an early adopter in the use of big data for predictive modeling and teaching excellence to promote student success.

Prior to APUS, Dr. Smith was with the University of the Pacific where he served as Vice Provost of Distributed Learning and Associate Professor of Practice in the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education. At Pacific, he led digital and adult learning initiatives including oversight of the Center for Professional and Continuing Education, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and support for hybrid and in-person programs and faculty on the Sacramento and San Francisco campuses.

Previously, Dr. Smith oversaw the successful launch of a new online college: Portmont College at Mount St. Mary's, Los Angeles (now MSMU Online) through MyCollege Foundation, a Bill and Melinda Gates funded initiative where he served as the founding Chief Academic Officer and Provost. He served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rio Salado College, the largest public, online two-year community college serving over 70,000 students, 42,000 of those online during his tenure. In his over two decades of service at Rio, he served as Dean of Instruction overseeing institutional effectiveness, strategic planning, accreditation, and early-college programs. As Faculty Chair for Foreign Languages, he was a pioneer in online language courses and programs, and served as Faculty Senate President.

Dr. Smith was recently elected to the Executive Council of WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) a division of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for ELI (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) and served on the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors. He served on the membership and data working groups for Transparency by Design, a national higher education accountability initiative that included APUS as a charter institution. His research interests include high-quality, cost-effective production models for online courses, the unbundling and re-bundling of the faculty role, adjunct faculty issues, academic integrity, and teaching and learning.

Dr. Smith earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Latin American Studies and Spanish at Brigham Young University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He has a Master of Organizational Behavior from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Administration of Higher Education from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The University of Arizona.

Dr. Smith has received the Dolores Brown Award from Arizona AATSP, Administrator of the Year Hallmark Award from Phi Theta Kappa, and has been recognized for outstanding teaching, presentations, and service including the Homer Sarasohn Award for Meritorious Service.