Wendy Smith

Department of Study 
Children, Youth and Families
Contact Information
University Park
Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Curriculum Planning and Assessment
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 1994
MSW, University of California, Los Angeles, 1970
BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1968

WENDY SMITH is associate dean for faculty development and clinical associate professor at the USC School of Social Work. In her role as associate dean, Smith assists with orientation of all incoming faculty in the school’s campus-based and virtual academic centers. She provides instructional mentoring and coaching to all faculty in an effort to promote quality instruction and best practices in the classroom and online. She works with clinical and adjunct faculty on developing their scholarship and service activities in the school, the university and the community. She also serves as the school’s liaison with the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence and the Mellon Mentoring Program.

Smith is active in community organizations, serving on the boards of United Friends of the Children, an organization which serves foster youth and former foster youth, and Venice Family Clinic, where she chairs the mental health and child development subcommittee. She is a volunteer advocate with Human Rights Watch, working on juvenile justice issues and serving on the advisory committee of its Children’s Rights Division. She also sits on the board of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and is a founding member of the board of the National Foster Youth Institute. 

Smith is the author of Youth Leaving Foster Care: A Developmental, Relationship-Based Approach to Practice (Oxford University Press, 2011), which integrates multidisciplinary research to provide a new approach to working with youth who have been in the foster care system. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges foster care youth face and how their developmental paths affect their needs as they leave the system. Smith’s bio-psycho-social perspective can guide programs, policies and services that will help youth to transition successfully into adult lives. Her relationship-based approach emphasizes understanding attachment experiences and disruptions, as well as the impact of unresolved trauma and loss.

Awards and Distinction
Fellow, USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, 2014
USC Mellon Mentoring Award, Culture of Mentoring Award, 2009
George D. Nickel Award for Outstanding Services to Social Welfare, California Social Welfare Archives, 2006
Phi Beta Kappa, English Literature
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