Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and has been at Winthrop since 1990. In addition to being a professor of political science, he is a member of the African-American Studies Committee, faculty advisor to Winthrop's Socialist Student Union, and coordinator of the William J. Blough Undergraduate Essay Contest, which is sponsored by the Department of Political Science every spring. Most of Smith’s research deals with desegregation, education policy, and urban politics. He also does research on antiwar movements and writes about the many problems involved in the use of the term social capital. Smith served as an expert witness for the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the 1999 trial of the reactivated Swann (Charlotte school desegregation) case. He is the author of Boom for Whom?: Desegregation, Education, and Development in Charlotte, which was published in 2004 by the State University of New York Press. His other scholarly publications have appeared in many journals and edited books, including: North Carolina Law Review; Politics & Society; Perspectives on Politics; Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis; Journal of Urban Affairs; Robert Putnam and Social Capital: Critical Perspectives on Civic Engagement; Race, Neighborhoods, and the Misuse of Social Capital; Changing Urban Education; and Charlotte, NC: The Global Evolution of a Contemporary "New South”"City.
Smith received Winthrop's Distinguished Professor Award in 2009.