Special Advisor for Talent and Leadership Development

Robert M. “Bob” Smith is special advisor to the UT president for talent and leadership development. He has served in this role since January 2017, following 18 months as interim chancellor for UT Martin.

Smith was dean of the UT Martin school of arts and sciences from 1987 to 1999, and in that period co-created the WestStar Leadership Program and served as its executive director for 10 years. From 1996 to 1999, Smith also was director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Humanities.

In 1999, he began serving as provost and later president of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania before retiring in 2012 as president emeritus. At Slippery Rock, he was credited with turning around declining enrollment and raising the academic reputation. In Smith’s last years as president, Slippery Rock received three national and two regional “Best Places To Work” accolades and hit all-time enrollment, retention, and graduation records.

In 2015, Smith returned to UT Martin to guide the university through a series of historic achievements while addressing financial, enrollment, and accreditation challenges. By the end of his term, UT Martin had created new revenue models for in-state and out-of-state students toward increased support for student progression and academic success; an enrollment strategy that included the university’s first comprehensive marketing campaign; full accreditation status by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; and achieved fundraising records.

Smith is a nationally recognized leadership development specialist who has taught in university-sponsored executive development programs across the country. He has a doctorate from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has received two national awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for teaching excellence and was selected a “First-Year Student Advocate” by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

In recognition of Smith’s service to UT Martin, the UT Board of Trustees designated him the 10th Chancellor of UT Martin and chancellor emeritus.

Smith and his wife, Ramona, live in Franklin, Tennessee.