Valerie Smith

Photo of Valerie Smith
Valerie A. Smith
Dean of the College
403 West College

Valerie Smith is the senior officer responsible for Princeton's undergraduate academic program. All matters relating to the curriculum, academic advising, academic regulations and scholastic standing fall under her aegis. Dean Smith also oversees the Offices of Admission and Undergraduate Financial Aid, the Registrar, the Office of International Programs, the Program in Teacher Preparation, the Princeton Writing Program, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, the Freshman Scholars Institute, Health Professions Advising, the Community-Based Learning Initiative, undergraduate research and the residential colleges.

The founding director of the Center for African American Studies, Dean Smith is the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and a professor in English and African American studies. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia and is a specialist in African American literature and culture. 

She is the author of numerous essays and articles as well as three books: Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative; Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings; and Toni Morrison: Writing the Moral Imagination.


When classes are in session, Dean Smith holds weekly office hours for Princeton students. Students are encouraged to schedule via WASS or by contacting her executive assistant; all other appointments can be requested by emailing or calling her executive assistant, Carla Hailey Penn, 8-7484.

The dean does not have funds to disburse for individual or group projects, nor is she able to offer advice about where such funding can be obtained.