Texas Tech University

Dimitra Jackson Smith, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor for Higher Education Program
Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership

Email: dimitra.jackson@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-834-1558

Office: Education 322


Dimitra Jackson Smith is currently an Assistant Professor in the Higher Education Program at Texas Tech University. Her research broadly focuses on the education, preparation, and career exploration experiences of students in STEM. Dr. Smith’s research can be found in the Community College Review; Community College Journal of Research and Practice; Journal of Negro Education, New Directions for Institutional Research; New Directions for Higher Education to name a few. She is also the co-editor of 2 books that focus on community colleges and preparing a competent STEM workforce. She has received numerous awards for her research and scholarship from the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS). Additionally, Dr. Smith has received the 2013 Hemphill-Wells New Professor Excellence in Teaching Award from Texas Tech University and the 2012 Iowa State University STATEment Makers Award for Scholarship.  


  • 2010 - Ph.D. in Higher Education, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
    • Dissertation title: Transfer Students in STEM Majors: Gender Differences in the Socialization Factors that Influence Academic and Social Adjustment
  • 2005 - M.Ed. in Higher Education/Student Affairs, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • 2003 - B.S. in Psychology, University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, AR 

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Smith’s research agenda focuses on the education, preparation, and career exploration experiences of students in STEM, with a particular emphasis on community college students and students at minority-serving institutions.  Her research agenda consists of three distinct, interrelated strands: (a) student success in STEM fields, (b) educational pathways among traditionally underrepresented students, and (c) the role of community colleges and minority-serving institutions in student success.

Selected Publications

Jackson-Smith, D. (2015). The summer was worth it: Exploring the impacts of a STEM focused summer research program on the success of African American females. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 21(2), 87-106.

Jackson, D. L., & Laanan, F. S. (2015). Desiring to fit: Fostering the success of community college transfer students in STEM. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 39(2), 132–149.

Jackson, D. L., & Jones, S. (2014). A virtual commitment: Disability services information on public community college websites. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 27(2), 129–138.

Jones, S. J. & Jackson, D. L. (2014). Do community colleges hire their own? Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 38(1), 91–95.

Louis, D. A., Russell, S. S., Jackson, D. L., Blanchard, S. J., & Louis, S. L. (2014). Mentoring experiences of African American females successfully navigating the academy. National Journal of Urban Education and Practice, 7(3), 232–246.

Jackson, D. L. (2013). A balancing act: Impacting and initiating the success of African American female community college transfer students in STEM into the HBCU environment. The Journal of Negro Education, 82(3), 255–271.

Jackson, D. L. (2013). Making the connection: The impact of support systems on female transfer students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Community College Enterprise, 19(1), 19–33.

Jackson, D. L., Stebleton, M. & Laanan, F. S. (2013). The experience of community college faculty involved in a learning community program. Community College Review, 41(1), 3–19.

Laanan, F. S., Jackson, D. L., & Stebleton, M. J. (2013). Learning community and nonlearning community students in a midwestern community college. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 37(4), 247–261.

Book Chapters

Jackson-Smith, D., & Laanan, F. S. (accepted). Directions for Latino/a in STEM: Choosing a STEM major. In L. Rendon, & V. Kanagala (Eds.), The Latino student’s guide to STEM careers. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO Greenwood Press.

Jackson, D. L. (2014). A synthesis of the research on community colleges and universities regarding STEM success among racial and ethnic minorities. In R. T. Palmer & J. L. Luke (Eds.), STEM models of success: Programs, policies, and programs in the community college (pp. 129–146). Charlotte, NC: Information Age. Retrieved from http://www.infoagepub.com/products/STEM-Models-of-Success

Jackson, D. L., Starobin, S. S., & Laanan, F. S. (2013), The shared experiences: Facilitating successful transfer of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. In J. Marling (Ed.), Collegiate transfer: Navigating the new normal: New Directions for Higher Education, No. 162 (pp. 69–76). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Starobin, S. S., Jackson, D., Laanan, F. S. (2013). Model programs for STEM student success at minority serving two-year colleges. In R. T. Palmer, D. C. Maramba, & M. Gasman (Eds.). Fostering success of ethnic and racial minorities in STEM (pp. 59–71). New York, NY: Routledge.

Jackson, D. L.,& Laanan, F. S. (2011). The role of community colleges in educating women in science. In J. G. Gayles (Ed.), Attracting and retaining women in STEM:New Directions for Institutional Research, No. 152 (pp. 39–49). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Jackson-Smith, D., & Starobin, D. (accepted/in progress - Publication Release 2017). Implications for policy and practice: Summary of the volume and lessons for the future as it relates to CTE programs and STEM. In D. Jackson-Smith & S. Starobin (Eds.), Preparing a competent STEM workforce through community college CTE programs: New Directions for Community Colleges. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Monograph Chapter

Laanan, F. S., Jackson, D. L., & Badway, N. N. (2010). Organizational structure of leadership and dissemination within selected ATE centers. In N. Badway & F. Laanan (Eds), Student and organization learning – preparing the 21st century technician. Ames, IA: Office of Community College Research and Policy, Iowa State University. Retrieved from http://www.cclp.hs.iastate.edu/occrp/solate/ate/ATE_Monograph_Full.pdf#page=33

Books and Monographs

Jones, S. & Smith, D. J. (Eds.).(Publication release 2015). Examining the impact of community colleges on the global workforce. Charlotte, NC: IGI Global. http://www.igi-global.com/book/examining-impact-community-colleges-global/123972  

Jackson-Smith, D., & Starobin, S. (Eds.). (Publication release 2017). Preparing a competent STEM workforce through community college CTE programs:New Directions for Community Colleges. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.