Renée Smith-Maddox

Clinical Associate Professor
Contact Information
City Center
Department of Study 
Social Change and Innovation
PhD, Brandeis University, 1994
MMHS, Brandeis University, 1989
BA, Lincoln University, 1976

RENEE SMITH-MADDOX serves as clinical associate professor of social work and vice chair of curriculum. She teaches online and on-campus social policy and social work practice courses for the Department of Community, Organization, and Business Innovation. She is also lead instructor for program evaluation and policy advocacy courses, co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and co-adviser for the Dean’s Leadership Scholars. At the university level, she is co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council and a member of the Campus Climate Committee.

As a social work educator and mentor, Smith-Maddox aims to arm her students with the skills and motivation to be advocates for and designers of social change. In the classroom, she creates a learning community that prepares students for assessing, analyzing, and evaluating policies and programs. This learning environment also serves as a social innovation lab that cultivates change through innovation and collaboration and examines ways to integrate advocacy into social work practice.

Her interests in teaching diversity, social innovation and the capacity-building needs of nonprofit organizations have been shaped by more than 20 years of experience in academia and nonprofit management.

Prior to her appointment at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Smith-Maddox held faculty positions at the USC Rossier School of Education and the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Her experience as an education analyst with the New York City Board of Education and a teacher researcher with inquiry-based research projects laid the foundation for her interests in applying theories of learning, teaching and engagement to experiential learning initiatives.

Smith-Maddox has worked as an executive director with The Posse Foundation, the Los Angeles Urban League and First Place For Youth. In this capacity, she focused on fund development and designing service delivery systems for college-access programs, workforce development initiatives and transitional services for foster care youth. From this work, she has come to understand the issues that nonprofits face and the sustainable creative solutions that are needed to address existing and emerging challenges.

She is also a professional coach and volunteers for cause-specific efforts that promote the progress individuals and organizations are making in areas such as human trafficking, hunger, youth development and homelessness.