Dr. Travis C. Smith (Dr. Tee) earned a Ph.D in Educational Leadership in Higher Education at Clemson University. As a critical scholar, he chooses to focus on inquiry, practice, and pedagogy that helps disrupt oppressive systems in order to support racially minoritized students. His research agenda is centered in Black student involvement, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black education, and graduate Students of Color. Some of his previous work utilizes a variety of methodological qualitative approaches such as phenomenology, photo-elicitation, photovoice, and critical participatory action research. Dr. Tee’ s work can be found in the Journal of Student Affairs in Africa, The Bulletin, The Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, and The Journal of Student Affairs. He ultimately hopes to become a university president of an HBCU.
Dr. Tee is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of the Student Personnel in Higher Education program at the University of Florida. During his time at UF, he secured a $60,000 grant to research the experiences of Black graduate students at UF utilizing critical participatory action research, photo voice, and photo-elicitation. He has also worked to update the curriculum, diversity the student population, and strengthened the partnerships across campus.
Dr. Tee first fell in love with higher education while attending Alabama State University. There he was involved in several student organizations such as SGA, NAACP, Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and the Golden Ambassadors. These student organizations afforded him the opportunity to serve others and allowed me to grow as a student, a leader, and a Black man. In 2011, he founded Unite Inc. which is a nonprofit that promotes leadership, scholarship, and social awareness. Unite Inc., currently serves the community by connecting students to HBCUs and connecting HBCU students to opportunities. Unite Inc., allows Dr. Tee to serve his life’s purpose which is educating Black youth. To date, Unite has assisted its high school seniors in accumulating over $40.2 million in scholarships while been accepted to over 300 universities across the nation. Along similar lines, Dr. Tee leads the planning and execution of the annual Unite Inc Virtual HBCU Student Leadership Conference. This free 3-day virtual conference provides an opportunity for hundreds of HBCU student leaders to connect and engage in innovative workshops focused on leadership, personal development, career development, and social impact. Dr. Tee is also a proven fundraiser and has raised over $185,000 for the organization in the last 6 years.
Travis has received multiple accolades and awards. He has received two City of Lafayette Proclamations, Mentor of the Year by 100 Black Men of America, a UCEA Jackson Scholar Award, an SREB Doctoral Scholar Fellowship, named a member of the 50 under 50 at Alabama State University, the 2018 Clemson College of Education Award of Excellence in Service Outreach, the 2018 Alabama State University Achievement Award, named citizen of the year by the Kappa Gamma Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, name an honorary member of Chi Sigma Alpha, and 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Award for the College of Education at the University of Florida.
Research Areas of Interest
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Black Student Involvement
Black Graduate Students at Predominately White Institutions
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