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Dr. Kathleen Shea Smith

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Dr. Kathleen Shea Smith
Associate Provost for Academic Advising
OU Academic Advising Resource Center

Kathleen's Coaching Mindset: "I believe that coaching is a transformational mentoring dynamic that supports students in realizing their dreams of degree completion. To me, coaching is developmental advising, the most powerful and holistic advising approach. Through coaching, I am given the sacred opportunity to build lasting relationships with my students, guide their educational journeys, assist them in identifying where and how they wish to advance, and serve as their accountability partner who is fully invested in their happiness and success."

Higher Education Background:

  • Bachelor's- Psychology, Kenyon College.
  • Master's- Education, Temple University.
  • PhD- Philosophy in Higher Education, Florida State University.

Interests and Hobbies:

  • Crossfit!
  • Running.
  • Toastmasters International public speaking organization.
  • Spending time with my kids.

Top Life Defining Moments in Higher Education:


  • When I spoke with my professor, Allen Fenigstein, about needing to change my major because I failed my first Psychology exam. He smiled and coached me on how to study for college courses. His encouragement inspired me to work harder on developing better study habits.
  • When I met my two best friends, Eden and Emily my Sophomore year. We immediately connected as kindred spirits and suddenly I knew what if felt like to belong. They were also Psych majors and as soon as I met them I knew I had found my people. We are still close. 
  • I questioned if I was worthy of a doctorate, but my husband encouraged me to try out a doctoral course to test the waters. At the end of the class, my professor, Dr. Barbara Mann, expressed that she wanted me in the program and “the door would always be open until I was ready to enter”. I committed to the Ph.D. program in Higher Education Administration at Florida State two years later. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Mann for seeing qualities in me that I could not see in myself.

While in college, I experienced:

  • Difficulty building and managing successful study systems.
  • Not having a sense of belonging.
  • Financial stress.
  • Overcoming daily challenges through resiliency.