Smith named assistant provost of diversity initiatives

Will continue to serve in role at DBBS


Rochelle Smith, director of diversity, summer programs and community outreach for the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS), has been appointed assistant provost of diversity initiatives at Washington University in St. Louis. She will continue to serve in her role in DBBS.

In her new appointment, Smith supports faculty and student diversity recruitment in all STEM areas and leads the Washington University Diversity Pipeline Consortium-STEM. Smith also directs the university’s partnership with Leadership Alliance, a consortium of higher education institutions that encourage and mentor underrepresented students to pursue graduate school and research careers.

“Rochelle brings a strong background of leading and supporting diversity initiatives to this position,” said Provost Holden Thorp. “Her experiences with students and faculty will allow the university to multiply our efforts around these critical issues.”

As part of the partnership with the Leadership Alliance, Smith is responsible for directing a cross-discipline summer research program for undergraduates from other institutions around the country. She also coordinates the Professional Leadership Academy and Network (PLAN) program, a leadership development initiative for professional administrators at Washington University.

“Rochelle’s ability to build productive relationships across our campuses is a key asset for this role,” said Adrienne Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law. “She has a real talent for connecting students with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. Her skill set will enhance important university recruitment efforts.”

Smith has been with Washington University since 1999. She started as an administrator in Student Educational Services, which then became Cornerstone: The Center For Advanced Learning.

She was promoted to learning resource specialist for Cornerstone in 2001. In this role, she managed the TRIO program, a federally funded initiative for students from low-income, first generation college backgrounds. Smith helped to develop the TRIO Leadership program at the university as well as many other programs at Cornerstone.

From 2001-08, Smith served as the Black Premedical Society adviser. In 2006, Smith moved to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, to become director of diversity for DBBS. She is responsible for managing the division’s two summer research programs, the Biomedical Research Apprenticeship Program and The Amgen Scholars Program. She also directs recruitment and retention efforts for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in the biomedical sciences. In addition, Smith also administers the Young Scientist Program.

Smith earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Chicago State University and a master of science degree in Applied Health Behaviors Research from Washington University School of Medicine. ​