Jessi L. Smith, Ph.D.

Headshot of Jessi Smith.

Jessi L. Smith, Ph.D.

Professor, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Research Integrity Officer
Main Hall 405

Diversity Initiatives

Dr. Jessi Smith’s life’s work is dedicated to studying motivation and diversity science using social psychological theories and methods. Her research examines how stereotypes, biased structures, and systems disrupt or support the motivational experiences of people with marginalized and minoritized identities, and uses an intersectional approach to test hypotheses from both the target’s perspective and the perceiver’s perspective at different levels of analyses (and keeping in mind different forms of power and oppression). Dr. Smith’s work specializes in gendered experiences and structures especially as they manifest for people who are also mothers, Native Americans, and/or from Latinx communities. Some of her most recent work has focused on motivational and diversity factors within cis-white-male-dominated research spaces (e.g., STEM fields) and the ways in which we can change situations and systems to improve the experiences of students and faculty. She is also currently reading, writing, thinking, and considering ways we can use feminist social psychological methods and theories to inform changes that will help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and social unrest on academic scholars, especially those who are caregiving and or are marginalized or minoritized.

Dr. Smith’s team has developed several measurement tools that are useful for understanding EDI concepts as a predictor, process, and outcome which can be used for assessment and evaluation as well. These include the “Diversity Fatigue” measure (Smith et al., 2021), the “Subjective Science Attitude Change Measures” (Deemer et al., 2014), and the “Domain Identification measure”(Smith & White, 2001). Dr. Smith considers herself a social justice researcher and activist who uses the tools and theories of social psychology to improve the lived experiences of the historically and currently oppressed. This ranges from trying to hold the culture of science accountable to holding policy makers and stakeholders accountable and drawing attention to evolving practices that silence or otherwise limit someone’s full authentic participation because of their identity. Through the Center for Student Research at UCCS, Dr. Smith is committed to the mission to support UCCS first generation, ethnic minority, women, and other underserved students and faculty mentors in their research goals. She is partnering with others on campus to help ensure we keep the NCFDD membership for UCCS faculty and graduate students as it is a mentoring initiative devoted to faculty diversity.


Interviewed in April 2017 in the Washington Post on women, bias, and the March for Science

Highlighted as an Amy Poehler Smart Girl in 2015

ADVANCE work that led to winning the 2015 CUPA-HR Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award

Allen, J. M., Smith, J. L., & Ransdell, L. (2019). Missing or Seizing the Opportunity? The Effect of an Opportunity Hire on Job Offers to Science Faculty Candidates. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal. 38, 160-177. doi: 10.1108/EDI-09-2017-0201 (Winner of the 2020 Literati Award of Excellence from Emerald Publishing)

Thoman, D. B., Muragishi, G. A. & Smith, J. L. (2017). Research Microcultures as Socialization Contexts for Underrepresented Science Students. Psychological Science. 28(6), 760-773. doi: 10.1177/0956797617694865 (featured in psychological science news)

Handley, I.M., Brown, E., Moss-Racusin, C.A., Smith, J.L. (2015). The quality of evidence revealing subtle gender biases in science is in the eye of the beholder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (43), 13201-13206. Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510649112 (featured in Science News)

Smith, J. L., & Huntoon, M. (2014). Women without Bragging Rights: An Experimental Investigation on Facilitating Women’s Self-Promotion via Misattribution. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38, 447-459. doi: 10.1177/0361684313515840. (featured in American Public Media’s Market Place, National Public Radio’s The Take Away. Huffington Post and HuffPostLive)