Get to Know CBA Dean Dayle M. Smith

Dayle M. Smith, Ph.D. started as dean of LMU’s College of Business Administration on June 1, 2018. She previously served as dean of the David D. Reh School of Business at Clarkson University in upstate New York. During her tenure at Clarkson, she led efforts that included growing a diverse faculty, developing new programs, merging two business schools, and fundraising for the naming of the business school, student startups, scholarships and faculty positions.

Prior to Clarkson, Smith was on the faculty at USC and Georgetown University, and spent 20 years at the University of San Francisco as a professor of leadership and organizational behavior. She was a Fulbright senior scholar in 2010-11 and has taught in Asia and Europe. Let’s learn a little more about the CBA’s new leader:

What was most appealing about becoming dean of LMU’s College of Business Administration?

Three major facets attracted me to LMU and the CBA in particular: 1) The president’s vision related to innovation, imagination and interdisciplinarity. These three tenets aligned with my own values and beliefs regarding business education—that we can create an ecosystem that serves as a true playground for the mind and playspace for the imagination, bringing together stakeholders who use their creativity to reimagine business as the solution to the world’s most pressing challenges; 2) returning to Jesuit education and an institution that focuses on educating the whole person, preparing men and women for others, a commitment to ethics and social responsibility, and the model of “teacher-scholars” where faculty are deeply passionate about teaching and learning as well as pursuing research and generating new knowledge to advance fields; and 3) location, location, location—leading a business school in the heart of Silicon Beach, in a city that embraces diversity of culture, skill and thought, and a gateway to the Pacific.

What are you most proud of in your career (so far)?

I take the greatest pride in the success of students I’ve taught in the first part of my career and, more recently, in the work I did in Hong Kong as part of a Fulbright team who helped develop interdisciplinary core curriculum through a four-year project that fundamentally shifted higher education in Hong Kong’s tertiary institutions to reflect less “sage on the stage” and more creative pedagogy to achieve learning outcomes. Additionally, I take pride in the work I did in my last institution to bring an interdisciplinary innovation hub to fruition that merged disciplines to develop entrepreneurial mindsets, skillsets and experience in all students.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

That while I have no musical talent per se and can’t carry a tune, I can put together a great party mix spanning the musical interests of different generations. I’m also a sports fanatic and can occasionally spend an entire weekend watching televised sports (professional and NCAA) lamenting that I got nothing done…and I have to admit to being a “Lexulous” addict.

Where do you see the CBA in five years?

I envision the CBA to be a college of business that continues to soar in the rankings because of the distinctiveness of our programs, the contributions our faculty and students make in impacting the global business landscape, and the graduation attributes of our students. I’d like us to be known for outstanding faculty developing student’s “creative confidence;” the agility of our curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences to educate our students with “just in time” knowledge, skills and abilities; and, bringing to the business community these characteristics along with a work ethic and integrity second to none.

If you didn’t work in higher education, what would you be doing?

Running a family business or a food and travel critic for The New York Times.

What’s your favorite movie?

Toss up between the original Star Wars Trilogy and the Harry Potter films.

What do you enjoy doing on weekends?

Exploring new neighborhoods and restaurants; cycling or walking on the bike path along the ocean; experimental cooking; occasional binge TV habits, and ending the weekend with a glass of wine (pinot noir, preferred) while watching the sunset off my deck.

What were you like as a freshman in college?

Way too concerned with becoming a sophomore and graduating as fast I could; a bit nerdy; and excited to be on my own and independent.

What excites you most about being back in LA?

The sports teams, the beaches (and weather), the diversity and all of the options of a major metropolitan city.

What does LMU offer that no other SoCal school offers?

A Jesuit education with engaged faculty on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

What’s your favorite travel destination and why?

Easy. Hong Kong for so many reasons: vibrant culture; exotic feel; foodie heaven from the street food of dai pai dongs to the most artistic and elegant dishes served up in some of the most beautiful venues in the world; gateway to other exotic locales throughout Southeast Asia such as Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, as well as quick trips across the border to Mainland China or Macau; MTR and other public transportation that makes it so easy to experience the dense parts of the city with its cacophony of sights, sounds and flavors as well as the lesser known destinations of quiet beaches, Buddhist temples, and historical ruins from the past.

What are some challenges facing business professionals today? Your solutions?

The sheer pace of change (technological, economical, environmental, sociological) is fundamentally shifting the business landscape, and creating urgency around how we educate the next generation of business leaders. The challenges run the gamut from new technologies impacting labor markets to the agility required in assessing and adapting to new markets, business models and staying globally competitive. The ability to adapt, innovate and pivot will be critical skills that differentiate businesses and their leaders and employees. Additionally, we have to pay attention to the greatest challenges facing the planet and business’ role in being part of the solution. The United Nations work around sustainable development goals point to a strong need for educators to prepare the next generation of business leaders to work in interdisciplinary ways to be an integral part of the solution. Our graduates will have to apply what they learn with an entrepreneurial perspective in managing constant change. The very best leaders will do this with a a triple bottom line orientation in repairing the world: focused on people, planet and profitability.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I am truly excited to be at LMU and look forward to working with students and faculty to “collectively” write this next chapter for the CBA and take the college to its next level of excellence!

Click here to learn more about Dean Smith. She can be reached at