Royce W. Smith is named CSULB's College of the Arts dean

Published June 5, 2023

Royce W. Smith, Ph.D., has been named dean of the College of the Arts, bringing to The Beach a deep understanding of college-specific strategies and community building.

Smith’s appointment, announced by Karyn Scissum Gunn, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, is set to begin July 1.

Smith has served the past seven years as dean of the College of the Arts and Architecture and professor of contemporary art history at Montana State University. Before that, he was director of the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries at Wichita State University in Kansas. 

“The College of the Arts at The Beach has such a powerful legacy over the course of decades, preparing some of the world’s finest creatives to share their voice and vision with the world,” Smith said.  

“I am proud and humbled to serve, learn and lead alongside such an inspiring cadre of students, staff and faculty. Together, I know we will continue to elevate the visibility, vitality and importance.” 


Royce Smith COTA dean
Royce W. Smith appointed COTA dean

His expertise with college programs and collaboration with diverse faculty and staff has made Smith a respected speaker, having given lectures and presentations around the country. He also secured numerous grants and awards, curated exhibitions and international biennials, and has been published extensively. 

This summer, Smith will inaugurate his most recent invited project, “Where the Wild Things Are: The Photography of Clara DeWeese,” at Fototeca de Cuba - Cuba’s national center for contemporary photography in Havana. 

Throughout his career, Smith has demonstrated a record of outcomes-focused management, community building, and creating inclusive and immersive curricula that will “move COTA forward in new and exciting ways,” Scissum Gunn said.  

At Montana State, Smith was an executive member for the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and a representative to the school’s diversity council. He also helped design a new interdisciplinary center for the several colleges and departments, including film, animation and music technology. 

Smith earned a B.A. from Wabash College in Indiana and a master’s in English from Purdue University and received another master’s and his doctorate in contemporary art history and theory from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. 

“Dr. Smith’s experience and future-ready vision for the College of the Arts are sure to benefit us all at The Beach,” Scissum Gunn said.