Dr. Roland B. Smith, Jr. is the Founder and CEO of the Roland B. Smith, Jr. (RBSJ) Consulting LLC, which he formed in 2021 after retiring from Rice University as Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and Adjunct Professor of Sociology. At Rice he also taught ethnographic research methods and mentored students while serving on the Graduate Council and Institutional Review Board. Additionally, Dr. Smith oversaw the development of Rice’s Multicultural Center and was the principal investigator/coordinator for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program at Rice, preparing undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds for Ph.D. studies. He came to Rice from the University of Notre Dame, where he served as executive assistant to the president, concurrent associate professor of sociology and founding director of the Center for Educational Opportunity, which included the Upward Bound, McNair, and Educational Talent Search programs. Early in his career, he served as a research intern in the United States Senate, and years later as a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Congressional Commission, which was chaired by Mrs. Coretta Scott King.
He served as chair of the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) Black Caucus and facilitated the Caucus’ evolution as a freestanding organization, becoming the charter president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. He was in the first cohort of Black Caucus Graduate Student Award winners in 1987 and has been a Leadership and Mentoring Institute faculty member since 2003. In 2020, AABHE renamed its Leadership Award the Roland B. Smith, Jr, Leadership Award with Dr. Smith as the first recipient. Additional awards received include the Rice University Blueprint for Excellence Legacy Award, the Award of Excellence from Bowie State University, and the Alumni Award from the Harvard Alumni Association.
Dr. Smith continues to serve on the AABHE board in an Ex. Officio role of Past President and chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee. He is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc, where he serves as 1st Vice President of the Education and Charities Foundation of Houston. He is a member 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston and serves the 100 BM of America’s Higher Education Sub-committee. Dr. Smith served as board chair of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education. In Texas, he was a board member and Life Member of the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education.
His past community service included board chair of the Education Foundation of Harris County and board chair of the LifeGift Organ Donation Center. Giving back to his alma maters, he served on the Bowie State University Board of Visitors, the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Alumni Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors for the Harvard Alumni Association, where he co-chaired the Graduate Schools Committee.
Born in Washington, DC, Dr. Smith holds a BA degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Bowie State University, a MPA degree from Indiana University and an EdD degree from Harvard University, where he was elected to the Harvard Educational Review and served as a teaching fellow.