Dr. Temple Smith

Assistant Professor of Sociology
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Dr. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Hope College. She primarily teaches such courses as Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of the Family, Sociology of Happiness and Senior Seminar. In addition, she serves as the department’s internship director. Her current research explores college-aged populations and the ways poverty impairs opportunities, collegiate matriculation and academic performance. Her research connects empirical findings to influence both pedagogical practices and collegiate culture and programming. Addressing systemic educational inequities is a fundamental premise of her work. Dr. Smith is dedicated to advancing retention capacity among college students who strive to overcome vulnerable circumstances due to systemic disadvantage. She engages undergraduate students in mentoring and support relationships.

Areas of expertise

  • College matriculation— examination of barriers in the formal process of entering a university, exploring student attrition, persistence and retention
  • Race­— research efforts center on cumulative disadvantage for African Americans
  • Poverty—social determinants of cyclic economic disadvantage
  • Social stratification – examining the impact of intersectional social statuses that create cumulative advantage or disadvantage


  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2012
  • Exchange Language Studies Program (北京外国语大学), Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing China
  • B.A., English, Michigan State University, 2003


  • Commencement speaker, Hope College, 2018
  • Faculty of the year, Hope College, 2016
  • Minority fellow, National Institute of Mental Health/American Sociological Association, 2007–2012
  • Recipient of the Outstanding Research Award, Michigan State University Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, 2011
  • Recipient of the Excellence in Diversity Research Award, Michigan State University Excellence in Collegiate Education Consortium, 2011
  • Scholarship recipient, Michigan State University Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, 2010
  • Sociology scholarship recipient of the Research Enhancement Award, Michigan State University, 2010

Selected Publications

  • “Race-ethnicity and financial hardship among young adults,” with C. Broman, Journal of Race and Social Problems, forthcoming
  • “Factors impacting the sociological construct of adulthood in adults with moderate intellectual disabilities: a case study,” with V.L. Holmes, J. Finn and E.A. Horton, Journal of Education & Social Policy, in press
  • “The Korean kye: rotating savings and credit associations,” in People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration, K. Lomotey (ed.), ABC-CLIO Greenwood, 2016
  • “Psychological distress and well-being among African American graduate students,” with L. Wilkins and J. Kerr, Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, 7, 2015
  • “Agents of socialization,” visual sociology group project assignment published in TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, American Sociological Association, 2015
  • Film Review: I’m Just Anneke and The Family Journey: Raising Nonconforming Children,” with C. Fobes, Journal of Teaching Sociology, 40, 2012

View Dr. Temple Smith's CV

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Dr. Temple Smith

Phone Number616.395.7555

VanZoeren 258 41 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423-3698
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