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Rachel A. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs who teaches in the Higher Education Administration M.S.Ed. program. She has taught courses in student affairs, research methods, organizational behavior in colleges, the history of higher education, and graduate student practicum and orientation courses. Her research interests include the study of campus environments designed to facilitate student learning (such as learning communities), the first-year experience and students in transition, and higher education institutions as organizations. In particular she applies social network analysis in both perspective and method to better understand the development and outcomes of student peer relationship patterns as well as communication patterns of administrators. Her work has been published in The Journal of Higher Education, Community College Review, and The Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. She has presented research at the annual meetings of AERA, ASHE, ACPA, and NASPA.
She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in higher education from Syracuse University and her B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.