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Recognizing Service Toward Student Education for Citizenship

News Type College News

John Glenn College of Public Affairs Dean Trevor Brown presents the college’s Outstanding Public Service Award to Ohio State Vice Provost for Academic Programs W. Randy Smith at the Spring Pre-Commencement Ceremony.


The John Glenn College of Public Affairs presented its 2024 Outstanding Public Service Award to Ohio State Vice Provost for Academic Programs W. Randy Smith for his leadership in upholding the land-grant mission of Ohio State and other public universities across the nation.

W. Randy Smith has served the Office of Academic Affairs since 1994 after having joined the faculty in the Department of Geography in 1978.

His current work focuses on academic program development and review for the university’s 15 colleges and four regional campuses. His responsibilities include university-wide curriculum development and review; institutional and specialized accreditation; teaching and learning activities and student learning outcomes; student learning outcomes assessment; and reviews of academic centers/institutes and interdisciplinary programs.

The John Glenn Outstanding Public Service Award recognizes career contributions to public service and is presented annually to individuals who have distinguished themselves through service to the state of Ohio, their community or a philanthropic mission. 

“Randy is the consummate public servant — he is humble, and he is noble. There is no agenda in working with Randy other than the mission of the university and its students, faculty and staff,” said Glenn College Dean Trevor Brown, who presented the award to Smith at the college’s spring pre-commencement ceremony.

Smith has led the university’s efforts in creating pathways for workforce development, brokering connections with academic units on campus and employers throughout the state.

Randy is certainly the university’s most trusted emissary and the best representative of our motto, ‘education for citizenship.

Trevor Brown
Dean, John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Smith was the provost’s office lead in the restructuring of five separate colleges into one College of Arts and Sciences from 2007-2010; coordinated the university’s conversion from a quarter to semester calendar from 2009-2012; helped lead the five-year review and implementation of a new one-university undergraduate general education program, implemented in 2022; and currently is leading an effort on academic programming in workforce development.

In addition, he is heavily involved — in terms of both policy and practice — with the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s statewide initiatives on articulation and transfer among the state’s 36 two-year and four-year public colleges and universities. He currently chairs the statewide faculty committee on general education transfer, co-chairs the statewide steering committee on the Ohio Guaranteed Transfer Pathways and is a member of the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Oversight Board.

Beyond Ohio, he leads the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s Accreditation Network, serves as an institutional accreditation peer reviewer and team chair for the Higher Learning Commission, and for more than a decade has been an active member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

He received Ohio State’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1990 and was honored in 1997 as one of the initial recipients of the Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service.

As a faculty member in Ohio State’s Department of Geography, Smith specializes in urban geography, especially urban historical geography, and urban and regional systems. He received his BA (Honors), MA and PhD from York University in Toronto.