He helps advance Kresge's goals and functions by evaluating funding requests and making recommendations for financial investments in ongoing or emerging postsecondary education innovations. He manages a portfolio of grants focused on promoting college opportunity and degree completion for marginalized student groups and oftentimes funds colleges to reimagine campus activities, restructure financial aid programs, and enhance the sustainability of academic units.
He joined Kresge in 2019 after 10 years in education policy research, investigating ways city leaders develop and advance education attainment initiatives rooted in a city’s assets and suited to the needs of its people. Previously, he held positions at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, NASPA’s Research and Policy Institute and the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
Ed consulted for New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, identifying ways to manage and message its tuition-free community college pilot program and codify it in state policy. He also taught courses at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. He has served as an instructor of record at the Davidson County Correctional Facility (Nashville, Tenn.), the Workshop School of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University’s College of Education, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Smith serves on the boards of Complete College America and Grantmakers for Education, where he sits on the finance committee.
He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in education from Pennsylvania State University.