Professor Smith is well known as a passionate advocate for the application of creative thinking skills to academic disciplines outside of the arts, and has lectured widely on the subject, from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto to the University of Western Cape in South Africa.
From 2006 through 2012, Toronto-born Smith, served as the President of NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada, after a career as an artist, educator, and administrator. Prior to his tenure as president of NSCAD, Smith served in a number of key academic and administrative leadership roles at the University of San Diego in California for over decade, ranging from Chair of the Department of Art to Special Assistant to the Provost.
Smith began his university studies in Business Administration and Commerce at York University and worked in the financial sector in Toronto, though ultimately chose to pursue a degree in the Arts, graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1992 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for post-graduate studies, receiving his Master of Science from the School of Architecture and Planning in 1997.
Currently, Professor Smith is the founder and Principal Investigator of the Art in Schools Initiative – a longitudinal research study and educational program launched in 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. Prof. Smith serves on a number of not-for-profit and advisory boards in Nova Scotia and South Africa, and he is the former Chair of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents, and the Director and Treasurer of the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust.