Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has appointed Ellen Smiley as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective immediately.
In his first major administrative restructuring move, the president said he chose Smiley because she has a strong academic background and she has a GSU commitment and heart.
“Dr. Smiley brings a wealth of talent to academic affairs and she has been involved with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation process and almost every area that involves academic affairs,” said Gallot. “She has served as faculty, president of the GSU Faculty Senate and continues to enjoy relationships with faculty leadership and faculty representatives, which is critical to the university.”
Smiley, dean of the institution’s Earl Lester Cole Honors College, lead the college’s development to become a more robust program. Gallot said she will continue in that role as a part of a concerted effort to maximize the university’s resources.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs,” said Smiley. “Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back to my alma mater, but it is an honor to be a part of President Gallot’s team.”
Gallot said Smiley’s years of service as a symbol of her commitment and willingness to strive for sustainability and longevity at Grambling State University. “ Dr. Smiley has been here and she has a better feel for talented people within a certain area because she is familiar with the employees skills,” said Gallot. “This advantage allows Smiley to quickly notice, suggest or make improvements because she has analyzed skill sets of faculty, staff and students and will be able to match people in the most beneficial areas to increase effectiveness and efficiency in departments where employees are being underutilized.”
Smiley said she was thrilled to hear Gallot had been appointed president, and she’s even happier she will work closely with him as provost.
“I have listened to President Gallot’s plans for Grambling State University and truly believe that he is the best leader for our university at this time in history,” she said. “The combination of a dedicated faculty, precocious students, devoted staff and an energized president is the perfect recipe for success.”
Smiley graduated from Grambling with a bachelor’s degree in arts in radio and television communication, now a department known as mass communication. She earned a master’s in teaching social science at GSU and went on to earn a doctorate in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her dissertation was titled “An Empirical Investigation of the Perceived Stress Factors of Female Administrators at Selected Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”
She started working at GSU in 1991 as an assistant program coordinator with the honors college and rose to become the director and then the dean. She has been an active academician, organizing a number of conferences and workshops, leading or participating with several personnel searches. She has served as executive assistant to the president and as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Smiley is married to Rory L. Bedford, who directs GSU’s service-learning program and teaches philosophy, sociology, and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a student at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University. Smiley succeeds Janet Guyden, who has returned to the classroom.