New associate dean tasked with academic and research role, strategic plan facilitation at K-State Olathe

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 | Written by Beth Jones


Darrin SmithOLATHE — Darrin Smith, Ph.D., has been named the associate dean of faculty, research and administration of Kansas State University Olathe, effective June 9. 

In this role, Smith will help oversee the successful implementation of the Next-Gen Strategic Plan for the campus and support the university’s imperatives.  His highest priority is to develop and oversee programming that is relevant to workforce development through innovative approaches to the changing demands of higher education.

"Smith brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our campus,” said Ben Wolfe, dean and CEO. “We look forward to working together to support our strategic plan as well as our key initiatives to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry in Greater Kansas City area and help establish research efforts in the area of food as medicine and community health.” 

He will provide leadership in the development, application and assessment of applied and interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs, with particular emphasis on transfer students and students who also are working professionals. 

Smith also will focus on establishing partnerships with community, private and public colleges in the region to further develop a pipeline to K-State's degrees for students living and working in the Greater Kansas City region. Smith, who has a history of leadership in education, will help guide new undergraduate degree completion programs and strengthen community college partnerships. 

Before coming to K-State Olathe, Smith recently served as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Avila University. He led and communicated with diverse teams to develop and execute strategic plans, help build curriculum programming, enhanced student engagement and conducted assessments to achieve established goals.  

Additionally, he managed budget evaluations for college operations, supervised a team of faculty members across 10 academic departments and oversaw recruitment and performance evaluations for faculty and staff to ensure alignment of skills and roles to enhance departmental efficacy. 

Smith was a Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the department of pharmacy and toxicology at the University of Arizona. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry (analytical) from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in chemistry from Missouri Western State University.