Bret Smith named director of Interdisciplinary Studies

Published: August 04, 2016
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Bret Smith, interim associate dean of academic affairs and international programs in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, has been named the director of Interdisciplinary Studies and associate director of the University College as of Aug. 1.

Reporting to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Director of University College, Constance Relihan, the position will have responsibility for providing leadership, vision and administrative oversight for all aspects of the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary University Studies.

"Bret Smith's experience as a designer, educator and administrator will give him a unique perspective that will allow the University College to seize opportunities to best serve the students of Auburn University," Relihan said.

As interim associate dean of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Smith played an important role in the establishment of the first formal CADC recruitment office, elevated and streamlined student services, facilitated the development of college-wide career placement office and oversaw more than a dozen international partnerships.

Serving on the Auburn faculty for more than 30 years, Smith is a tenured professor of industrial design in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. He served from 2008-13 as the chair of the highly regarded, nationally ranked industrial design program in the School of Industrial + Graphic Design. He was selected as an SEC Leadership Fellow in 2014-15, was honored for "extreme volunteerism" by the Industrial Designers Society of America for the creation of the industrial design history website in 2012 and was the first recipient of the Bauhaus Endowed Chair in Industrial Design in 2009.

Smith is a graduate of Purdue University, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education and Industrial Technology (magna cum laude), a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Industrial Design—the terminal degree in industrial design.

"I am honored and excited to be appointed to this position," Smith said. "I see Auburn continuing to distinguish itself by strengthening its collective intellectual DNA, and the Interdisciplinary Studies program represents one avenue to do so. I am looking forward to working with faculty, students and staff to achieve new levels of success."

The Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary University Studies in the University College allows students to attain a broad education and acquire a diverse skill set unique to a profession they desire to pursue.

Smith is replacing Kathryn Flynn, who became Auburn University's senior associate athletic director for academic services May 1. She was appointed the first director of the Interdisciplinary Studies program in 2010.