Smither Named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

May 10, 2012

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Bob Smither
Professor of Psychology Robert Smither has been named dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Smither, a notable campus leader and faculty member in the Department of Psychology, has been acting as interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences since 2011. During his yearlong tenure, he was responsible for managerial duties including oversight of curriculum, faculty recruitment, evaluation, development, and strategic planning. When national discourse came to focus on the topic of a liberal arts education’s value, Smither spearheaded the organization of a forum to provide faculty members an environment to freely discuss their views on the topic.

“The questioning of the value of a liberal arts degree is a fad,” Smither said. “When we look at successful leaders in business and other fields, we see those who are very accomplished have a liberal arts background. Being well educated is never going to go out of style.”

In addition to interim dean, Smither has previously held the positions of director of the Master of Liberal Studies Program, dean of the Hamilton Holt School, and director of the Hamilton Holt School organizational behavior and psychology programs.

“Since my arrival at Rollins, I've appreciated the trust and confidence that faculty, staff, and students have shown in Bob Smither's leadership,” said Carol Bresnahan, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “I share those feelings. I have appreciated working with Bob since last summer, look forward to continuous collaboration with him, and am delighted that he was the search committee's unanimous recommendation.”

Smither earned a doctorate in personality psychology, specializing in the study of human nature, from the Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in educational psychology from San Francisco State University. He completed his undergraduate work at Indiana University. Prior to joining the faculty at Rollins, he was adjunct assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at Georgetown University

Smither’s academic research focuses on personality theory and assessment. He is the author of several books and more than two dozen papers and chapters that analyze similarities and differences in personality, cultural, educational, and organizational psychology. His current book in progress, titled Seeds of Self-Destruction: The Psychology of Political Sex Scandals, investigates psychological factors and personality characteristics that prompt politicians to enter into extramarital affairs and lead them to believe they can hide their behavior from the public.  More information on his book and research can be found at his blog.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Rollins, Smither is a member of the Hamilton Holt School Board of Advisors. Outside of Rollins, he serves as the conference chair and president-elect of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs and is a member of both Sons of the American Revolution and the Syrian-Lebanese-American Club of Orlando.

By Justin Braun

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