J. Goosby Smith serves as the University’s inaugural vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer. Guided by God’s call to unite God’s people, Smith approaches her specialty areas of human diversity, inclusion, and belonging with intellectual rigor, methodological soundness, patience, a healing spirit, a love for humanity, and a good-natured sense of humor.

Before rejoining Pepperdine, where she had previously served as a faculty member in Seaver College’s Business Administration Division, as a member of the Seaver College Diversity Council, and as inaugural faculty co-chair of the university diversity council with Edna Powel,  and as an adjunct member of the Graziadio faculty, Smith served as a faculty member, assistant provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and director of the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. She also taught at California State University, Channel Islands and Butler University.

A nationally sought-after public speaker, educator, and consultant, Smith has worked with a wide range of organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic, KeyBank, the United States Navy ROTC, and the US Department of Agriculture. She is an active member of Greater St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where she formerly served as a steward, Young People’s Division director, and as a virtual education teacher. She is a member of Mensa America, Jack and Jill of America, and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, having previously served as inaugural faculty advisor and later graduate advisor for Pepperdine’s Tau Lambda chapter.

Smith earned a BS in computer science from Spelman College and an MBA and PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University. In spring of 2022, she expects to complete her MDiv from the Interdenominational Theological Center.