R. Drew Smith
R. Drew Smith is Director of the Center for Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL and is Scholar-in-Residence at the Leadership Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Both a social scientist and clergyman, Dr. Smith has initiated and directed a number of projects related to religion and public life, including the Public Influences of African-American Churches Project and the Faith Communities and Urban Families Project. These Projects have collected research data on political involvements, community development activities, and outreach ministries of African-American churches in numerous parts of the United States. The Projects have also convened seminars, conferences, and roundtables that have brought clergy, policy makers, and community leaders together to discuss matters pertaining to the church’s public mission and ministry. In addition to his own work on religion and public life, Dr. Smith has served on the advisory boards of other academic and nongovernmental organizations concerned with religion and public life, including the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, the Institute for Church Administration and Management, Calvin College’s Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, and Notre Dame University’s Center for the Study of Latino Religion.
Dr. Smith has taught at Indiana University, Butler University, Case Western Reserve University, and New York Theological Seminary. He has also served as a Research Fellow, including current appointments with the Virginia Humanities Foundation/University of Virginia and with the University of South Africa. He has been actively involved in international community development and youth leadership development, initially as an executive staff person at Operation Crossroads Africa during the 1980s. He has traveled widely in Africa and Latin America, with his Africa involvements taking him to seventeen African countries since the mid-1980s. Moreover, he served in 2005 as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and in 2009 as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon. He has also lectured in many international venues, including Brazil, Ghana, and Lesotho, and he lectured in Israel in spring of 2007 as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. In addition, as a Baptist clergyman, he has ministered in a number of parish, prison, and campus ministry contexts.
Dr. Smith earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Indiana University, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. He has published widely on religion and public life, having written numerous articles and chapters, and edited various books including New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America (Duke University Press, 2003); Long March Ahead: African American Churches and Public Policy in Post-Civil Rights America (Duke University Press, 2004); and Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa (Baylor University Press, 2006). He is also co-editor of Black Churches and Local Politics: Clergy Influence, Organizational Partnerships, and Civic Empowerment (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), and is guest editor of the March 2010 and the March 2008 issue of Review of Faith and International Affairs, the former focusing on African church responses to African conflict situations and the latter focusing on African American churches and U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa. He is completing an edited volume on black churches and civil rights beyond the southern movement (under contract with State University of New York Press), and is authoring a book on black clergy and contemporary activism (under contract with Columbia University Press).
Dr. Smith has received many honors and awards for his academic leadership, including selection in 2002 as an Emerging Leaders Fellow by a Duke University/University of Cape Town program on Leadership and Public Values, and selection in 2008 for an Indiana Governor’s Black Expo Leadership award.