Bret Smith currently serves as Interim Dean of University College in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. In this position, he has oversight responsibility for the University’s academic enrichment programs (Honors and Scholars programs, Fellowship Advising, First Year Inquiry, Undergraduate Research), University Advising, Exploratory Studies, Undergraduate Courses and Curricula, undergraduate programs for University College, Arts NC State, the Department of Health and Exercise Studies, and the Department of Music. Professor Smith has been at NC State since the Fall of 2017 when he was hired as the Senior Associate Dean of University College. He is a Full Professor in the College of Design at NC State.
Prior to N.C. State, he served as Associate Director of the University College and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Auburn University, and as Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Architecture Design and Construction, where he oversaw undergraduate programs, curriculum development, academic advising, international programs and recruiting. During this time, he served as chair of the Auburn University Academic Advising Career Ladder Committee for two years. Professor Smith has a B.S. IED, an M.A. in English, and an M.A. In Industrial Design, all from Purdue University.
His service at Auburn includes five years as Program Chair of the nationally-ranked Industrial Design Program. Bret was the first member of the industrial design faculty to hold the Bauhaus Endowed Professorship and has been honored multiple times for his accomplishments in teaching, research, and outreach. He has directed design projects, research, and collaborative studios for a wide variety of companies including IBM, Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace, 3-M, Broan-Nutone, Mead Imaging, Tupperware Brands, Dell Incorporated, and NASA.
He is a past member of the Executive Board of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Leadership Fellow, a Southeastern Conference (SEC) Leadership Fellow, an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Leadership Fellow, a recipient of NASA’s Design Leadership Award (twice), and a recipient of the International ICSID /Philips Citation of Merit Design Award. His areas of expertise include user experience and interaction design, system design, commercial and medical equipment design, human factors, intellectual property, and design history.