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Syracuse University names Smith director of honors program

Danielle Taana Smith

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University announced it has selected Danielle Taana Smith to be director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program.

She was chosen after a national search and comes to Syracuse from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where she is a professor of sociology and director of the school’s honors program, according to a Syracuse University news release. Smith’s initial term of appointment is five years, with a formal review at three years.

“Danielle will further distinguish the honors program as a key component of advancing the University’s academic goals,” Karin Ruhlandt, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which houses and administers the university-wide program, said in the release.

 As director of the honors program, Smith will oversee all aspects of the program and will also hold a faculty appointment as professor in the Department of African American Studies.

Smith — whose areas of expertise include gender studies, population studies, and global health and development, among others — joined the RIT faculty in 2003, and has directed the honors program since 2009. In that capacity, she led several initiatives to advance the program and expand its impact. She also advanced measures to enhance diversity in the honors program. In 2016, Smith organized the first Honors Program Undergraduate Research Symposium. From 2008-2009, she also served as coordinator for RIT’s Urban and Community Studies Degree Program.

“In order for our students to succeed in today’s competitive, globalizing world, institutions of higher learning must ensure that they acquire core competencies and mastery of their respective fields of study,” Smith said.

Smith earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of South Carolina, an MBA from Saint Martin’s College in Washington state, and a bachelor’s degree in Russian studies from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

The Syracuse University Honors Program is named for Renée Schine Crown, a Syracuse University alumna, civic leader, and philanthropist, member of the Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, and member emerita of the university’s Board of Trustees.

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Photo credit: Syracuse University


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