Joyya P. Smith has been named vice president for diversity, access & inclusion, effective September 18. Smith will develop an overarching vision for diversity, access and inclusion at Suffolk University and will marshal the talents and energy of leaders throughout campus to provide substantive resources and compelling programming for students, staff, faculty, and alumni.  

Smith’s appointment to this newly created role fulfills a key recommendation of the Diversity Task Force’s May 2017 report and advances the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence.  

“Joyya brings a wealth of experience supporting students and preparing them for success, most recently in her role as director of the University’s Center for Academic Access & Opportunity,” said Acting President Marisa Kelly. “It was very important to appoint someone to this position who could hit the ground running. Joyya will be able to do so because she has already forged productive relationships with people in offices across campus that are critical to our ability to move forward in achieving our diversity goals, including the Center for Teaching & Scholarly Excellence, Student Affairs, the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, and Human Resources.”

Smith will continue to provide leadership to the Center for Academic Access & Opportunity, including overseeing the Ronald E. McNair post-baccalaureate achievement program, the Upward Bound program, and the Veterans Upward Bound program. She sees her new role as a natural progression of the center’s efforts to fulfill Suffolk’s founding mission of providing access and support to those historically underrepresented and underserved in higher education.

“We teach our students to be good citizens as well as good scholars,” said Smith. “Suffolk’s focus on diversity and inclusion means we also include faculty and staff in that mission. We have a compassionate community that finds strength in our differences. I am excited to create awareness and provide opportunities for everyone to find support, become advocates, learn, and go back and teach.”  
Before coming to Suffolk in the fall of 2016 Smith worked at Georgia Southern University as director of Educational Opportunity Programs. She has also taught at a number of colleges and universities in Georgia.

Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Georgia Southern University, a Masters of Education in Higher Education/Student Services from Georgia Southern University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Argosy University/Atlanta.