Dr. Robert Smith joined VFMC in 2019 as Chief Academic Officer, before also being appointed Provost of the College in 2020. In these roles he manages day-to-day operations of the college in areas of academics, admissions, student activities, and student support services.
Smith earned his doctorate in Early American History and the History of Technology from Lehigh University in 2008. His dissertation, which examined the role of government coordination of weapons production in the American Revolution was published in 2016 as Manufacturing Independence: Industrial Innovation in the American Revolution. He completed a minor doctoral field in non-profit management, and used that background to manage Pan Piec Loi, a small non-profit organization that provided secondary school and college scholarships to young men in Uganda, Africa.
Smith attended Villanova University prior to Lehigh, where he earned a masters degree in American history. He also earned a masters in education from Northwest Nazarene University where he focused on curriculum innovation and development. Smith started his education at Gwynedd-Mercy University completing separate bachelors degrees in history and business administration.
Prior to arriving at VFMC, Smith was Assistant Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northampton Community College. In that position he managed faculty, developed curriculum, oversaw several special events, and directed the college’s dual enrollment programs. Preceding his administrative position, Smith was both a full and part-time instructor at several institutions, including Harford Community College, Mercer County Community College, Peirce College, and Gwynedd-Mercy University. He started his career, however, in development as Director of Alumni Affairs at Gwynedd-Mercy University.
Smith is a Fulbright Scholar, who traveled to Russia in 2019 to exchange ideas and develop partnerships between Russian and American universities. He has also earned the Lawrence Henry Gipson Fellowship from Lehigh University and a learning fellowship from the National Endowment for Humanities.
Throughout his historical studies Smith focused his research on diplomatic and military history, presenting his findings at various conferences on topics including generalship and battle tactics in the American Revolution, development of the War Department, diplomacy in the Civil War, and the rise and fall of the Confederate Navy. He has also used his academic experience and training to speak publicly in numerous forums on topics of two-year education in American colleges, the adaptability of American higher education, and the processes for innovation in American curriculum. Smith’s current research work is focused on preparing a biography of Brigadier General Francis Nash, who led North Carolina forces in the American Revolution and was mortally wounded at the Battle of Germantown.
Smith was, and continues to be heavily involved in Scouting, having served as various times as a Cubmaster, Den Leader, and Scoutmaster. He earned the rank of Eagle and completed the Woodbadge program.