Associate Dean for Equity, Justice, and Inclusion
Maya Smith, the College's inaugural associate dean for equity, justice and inclusion (EJI), supports programs, policies, and practices that promote EJI across the departments and centers in the College’s four divisions. She articulates the College’s EJI vision and action plan, fosters communication among various Arts & Sciences units, and provides guidance on how to adapt University EJI goals to best serve each unit. Smith connects people engaging in creative approaches to equity work with others across campus to break down silos and help build a community of practice around EJI.
Activities related to this work include updating and maintaining the College’s EJI website, constructing a repository of EJI materials, administering co-sponsorship funds for EJI-related programming, analyzing departmental EJI work, publishing a quarterly EJI newsletter, conducting annual EJI climate surveys, spearheading college-level EJI programming, convening with other EJI leads on campus, attending local and national conferences that focus on EJI, and brainstorming with individuals and departments about how to best do EJI work in specific contexts.
An associate professor of French, Smith comes to her EJI role as a sociolinguist whose scholarship broadly focuses on the intersection of racial and linguistic identity formations among marginalized groups in the Francophone African diaspora. Through a critical examination of language and multilingual practices in qualitative, ethnographic data, her book, “Senegal Abroad: Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations and Diasporic Imaginaries” (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), shows how language is key in understanding the formation of national, transnational, postcolonial, racial, and migrant identities among Senegalese in Paris, Rome, and New York. Dr. Smith's book won the Modern Language Association's 2020 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione French and Francophone Studies Prize.
Smith is the recipient of several grants, including the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty, the UW Research Royalty Fund Fellowship, the Simpson Center Society of Scholars, and the Camargo Foundation Fellowship. She completed the MA/BA program at New York University and the Institute of French Studies and received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Romance Languages and Linguistics.