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UMSL Dean of Education

smithM Cecil Smith

M Cecil Smith, Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University, where he is also a professor of learning sciences and human development. Prior to his appointment at WVU, he was a tenured faculty member in educational psychology at Northern Illinois University, from 1988 to 2013. He earned the Ph.D. in educational psychology, with an emphasis in lifespan human development, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At WVU, he has established a college research office to provide support to faculty members’ grants development and acquisition. He also launched a highly successful faculty development program that provides comprehensive support for tenure track faculty members. During his tenure as associate dean, grant submissions and awards to CEHS faculty member, and faculty publications, have significantly increased. He also developed and hosts a college-wide Celebration of Scholars program which features student research presentations, faculty TED-X talks, and a distinguished speaker series.

His research and teaching interests include adult literacy acquisition, adult and adolescent development, and STEM education. Smith has edited five books on adult development and/or adult literacy, and educational psychology, including the Handbook of Research on Adult Learning and Development (Routledge, 2008), and Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning (Information Age Publishing, 2016). He is currently a co-editor of the 2020 Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education, a project of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. He also edits the journal, New Horizons in Adult and Continuing Education.

His research has been published in journals such as Learning and Individual Differences, Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Literacy Research, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Early Adolescence, Adult Basic Education & Literacy, and the Journal of Adult Development. He was Principal Investigator or Co-PI on two grants awarded from the National Science Foundation. One project studied high school students’ perceptions of their daily experiences during science instruction. The other project developed an online cognitive tutor to assist students in applied social science fields to learn and apply research methods. Smith’s work has also been funded by the American Educational Research Association, International Reading Association, the NEA Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.

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