Faculty Profile

Naila Smith

Assistant Professor of Psychology (2016)

Contact Information


Kaufman Hall Room 174


Professor Smith’s research is in the area of developmental psychology. She studies how social and contextual factors (e.g., parent and peer relationships, classroom climate) influence academic and socio-emotional development from childhood through emerging adulthood. She focuses primarily on these developmental processes in immigrant and racial-ethnic minority populations.


  • B.S., University of the West Indies, Mona, St. Andrew, Jamaica, 2005
  • M.A., Columbia University, 2010
  • Ph.D., Fordham University, 2016

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

PSYC 460 Immig Ctxt for Human Develop
This advanced seminar will develop students’ understanding of how social and contextual forces can shape human development. It will focus on how physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development might be similar or dissimilar based on different life experiences. This course will consider development at all stages of life - childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood and adulthood. When appropriate, this course will draw on perspectives from related disciplines (e.g., history, sociology, public health). Additionally, this course will consider how social categories (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity) influence development. Finally, we will explore how knowledge gained from studying developmental processes in adulthood have been used to improve lives and inform solutions to social problems.

PSYC 500 Independent Study

Spring 2019

PSYC 155 Hum Dev: Concept thru Adolesc
This course will provide an introduction to the principles, theories, and research methods of lifespan developmental psychology from prenatal development and birth through adolescence (0 - 18 years old). It will focus on how individuals develop physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally at each stage of the early part of the lifespan — infancy, childhood, adolescence – and the role of context (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, culture, family, peers, schools, neighborhoods) in shaping development. Finally, we will explore how developmental psychology can contribute toward improving lives and inform solutions to social problems.

PSYC 211 Design of Psychological Resrch
Completion of both PSYC 210 and PSYC 211 fulfills the WID Requirement.

PSYC 500 Independent Study