Ph.D. School Psychology - Syracuse University (1973)
M.A. Psychology - Temple University (1969)
B.A. Psychology - Syracuse University (1967)
Research Focus: Response to Intervention for Students with Learning Disabilities.
Dr. Smith is a national figure in learning disabilities. Her textbook Learning Disabilities: the Interaction of Students and their Environments (Allyn & Bacon), now in its 5th edition, was instrumental in shifting the understanding of learning disabilities from a primarily medical model to one that is ecological in nature. Over 40,000 students have used the textbook at over 200 universities. Dr. Smith’s popular parent book (over 45,000 in sales), Learning Disabilities: A to Z. A Complete Guide to Learning Disabilities from Preschool to Adulthood (The Free Press), coauthored with Lisa Strick, is often referred to as the parent’s “bible,” because of its assistance in understanding children’s learning differences and empowerment of parents to become effective advocates for appropriate education. It has been translated into four languages and was selected by the American Library Association to be one of the twenty titles in education that all libraries should hold.
Dr. Smith has been on Syracuse University’s faculty for 46 years, where she founded and directed Syracuse University’s Psychoeducational Teaching Laboratory. The laboratory serves as a clinical practicum site for graduate students in special education and school psychology. Students learn how to assess the needs of children with very puzzling learning challenges, and how to translate assessment findings into intervention plans. Under Dr. Smith’s direction, the laboratory was among the first to explore and lay out strategies for nonstandard assessment approaches, what today we call “process,” “informal,” or “dynamic” assessment. The leadership of APA’s school psychology division recommended Dr. Smith’s dynamic assessment approaches to its membership, and the laboratory has been recognized as among the four model university clinics in the nation. Dr. Smith has been a frequent national speaker, consultant to State Education departments, a resource to newspaper and magazine journalists, and a guest on television and talk radio shows. She has testified in court and consulted with the US Justice Department regarding accommodations for students with learning disabilities on the bar examination. Dr. Smith served on the advisory board of Parents Magazine, has numerous publications, and recently co-authored a chapter for Literacy Volunteers of America informing their volunteers of how to meet the tutoring needs of adult students with learning differences and another chapter intended to reform teaching practices in the Caribbean nations for students with disabilities. She is the principal investigator on a Race to the Top Stimulus Package federal grant to design a new clinically rich model for the training for secondary special educators.