Belhaven University has appointed Shelley Smith, Ph.D., as vice president for student development.
Since being named assistant to the president for coronavirus management on Dec. 1, 2020, Smith has made an enormous impact on the Belhaven campus, earning the respect of her peers. The university initially hired her for a short-term position because of her Ph.D. in chemistry and her project management experience in industry. Those skills have allowed Belhaven to test the entire campus weekly for COVID-19, keeping the infection rate below half percent for the semester.
Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott said, “During this time, Shelley has displayed exceptional administrative gifts, organizational outlook, problem-solving ingenuity and community-building commitment, along with steady optimism, boundless faith in Christ, high-capacity energy, warm collegiality with campus faculty and staff and deep care for individual students.”
Smith will report directly to the president and will serve as a member of the administrative team. If the university needs to test for COVID-19 in the fall, she will continue to oversee Belhaven’s COVID-19 Testing Center as well.
Parrott added, “Looking past COVID, I am charging Shelley with the priority of helping us to deepen community on campus. I’ve asked her to focus on facilitating a robust culture of quality relationships and individual care that will strengthen residential and commuter students. This is an especially vital challenge in a post-pandemic world that has trained us to become too dependent on technology for personal connections.”
Smith will be responsible for residence life, student leadership, student organizations, chapel administration, orientation, student activities, campus ministries, counseling services, mental health support programing, judicial management, dining services, residential crisis management and international student services.
Smith earned her B.S. and M.C.S. in chemistry from Mississippi College and completed post-graduate classes at The University of Southern Mississippi. She earned her Ph.D. in theoretical and quantum chemistry at Jackson State University.
For 22 years, Smith has taught in high schools, community colleges and universities in Mississippi. Before coming to Belhaven University, Smith was the research and insights technical development projects manager and product regulations supervisor at Ergon Inc. From 2014-2019, she taught chemistry and biochemistry as an associate professor at Mississippi College. She taught at Copiah-Lincoln Community College as an instructor of organic and inorganic chemistry from 2003-2014.
Smith is involved in her church, Topeka Baptist, in Topeka, Mississippi. She is the pianist, discipleship training teacher and prayer text ministry director. She plays the piano, organ, flute and piccolo. She also sings with her siblings in the gospel quartet, The Smith’s, and The Bridge Band.