Maya Smith to Serve as First Associate Dean for Equity, Justice, and Inclusion for the College of Arts & Sciences

Submitted by Amanda Demeter on
Photo credit: PS Roy Photography

We are proud to announce that Professor of French Dr. Maya Angela Smith has accepted the role of the College of Arts and Sciences’ first-ever Associate Dean for Equity, Justice and Inclusion (ADEJI).

From Dean Dianne Harris's announcement:

As a member of the Dean’s senior leadership team, the ADEJI reports directly to me and will be a partner in realizing a shared equity, justice, and inclusion vision, serving as a member of the college’s executive staff.

Dr. Smith is a sociolinguist and her scholarship broadly focuses on the intersection of racial and linguistic identity formations among marginalized groups in the Francophone African diaspora. Through a critical examination of language and multilingual practices in qualitative, ethnographic data, her book, Senegal Abroad: Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations and Diasporic Imaginaries (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), shows how language is key in understanding the formation of national, transnational, postcolonial, racial and migrant identities among Senegalese in Paris, Rome and New York. Dr. Smith’s book won the Modern Language Association's 2020 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione French and Francophone Studies Prize.

Dr. Smith is the recipient of several grants including the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty, the UW Research Royalty Fund Fellowship, the Simpson Center Society of Scholars, and the Camargo Foundation. She completed the MA/BA program at New York University and the Institute of French Studies and received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Romance Languages and Linguistics.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, we believe deeply that a world class education and research must be grounded in equity, justice, and inclusion from perspectives both local and global. We are committed to building that culture, starting with the people—our faculty—who conduct research and who teach our students. As our ADEJI, Dr. Smith will lead the effort to create the most equitable, just and inclusive faculty culture of any peer institution, starting with an honest equity assessment of how we recruit, hire, develop, and retain faculty. Her role will support programs, policies, and practices that promote equity, justice and inclusion across the College’s 39 departments and 18 centers and institutes and will lead with a commitment to advancing accountability in an environment that both fosters and welcomes difference, growth, and accentuates positive change.

Congratulations Professor Smith!