Announcing Derek Smith as HERC’s New Executive Director

 Marketing Director   September 1, 2021  News

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Derek Smith as Executive Director. Smith takes on this role during a year of increased attention on workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and changing workplace policies largely driven by the COVID pandemic. Smith’s extensive DEI and human resources (HR) experience, data management background, and relationship-building skills will contribute greatly to HERC’s mission, especially as the organization continues to evolve in its role as a leader in advancing DEI in the higher education workforce.

“Derek brings considerable knowledge and skills and is a tremendous addition to the HERC team,” said Ruth Molina, HERC Governance Board Chair and New England HERC Director. “We are confident in his ability to steer us into a new era of transformation, partnership, and leadership.” 

Prior to joining HERC, Smith was a Senior Consultant on HR Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Sawgrass Group, Inc. He worked with management to design and execute data-informed diversity/inclusion programs, policies, and guidelines to attract, retain, and advance a highly skilled and talented diverse workforce. At the University of Pittsburgh, he started as a Senior Compensation Project Consulting Administrator, then became the Assistance Vice Chancellor, overseeing human resources for the full employee lifecycle. He held leadership and management roles at the University of Missouri System, Kansas State University, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Smith has a Ph.D. in Workforce Development & Organizational Leadership from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, an M.B.A. in Human Resources from the University of Phoenix, an M.Sc. in Curriculum Instruction from the University of Wisconsin, and a B.A. in History from Hampton University. He also has several professional HR certifications, including Leadership Architect and Six Sigma. Smith, as both administrative staff and a doctoral student at UNLV, is the two-time recipient of the UNLV Alliance of Professionals of African Heritage Outstanding Graduate Students Award.

As executive director, Smith will be responsible for the overall leadership for the consortium, serve as the steward of the consortium’s collective vision, and drive the organization toward the fulfillment of its mission. Priority projects include developing a strategic plan for thoughtful and sustainable growth of the consortium and leading large-scale change management initiatives.

“Higher education has often been the great equalizer for marginalized groups of people everywhere. The mission of HERC is strongly aligned with my own ideas about increasing opportunities in the world,” said Smith of HERC’s mission and his role as Executive Director. “We can help leaders in higher education make meaningful improvements to create an equitable and inclusive workplace.”

ABOUT THE HIGHER EDUCATION RECRUITMENT CONSORTIUM: The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) is a nonprofit consortium committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the higher education workforce. With over 700 colleges, universities, hospitals, research labs, government agencies, and related organizations, HERC works to ensure member institutions are sites of belonging, where all faculty and staff can thrive. HERC provides resources, networking, and outreach programs to attract, hire, and retain a diverse and qualified workforce.

CONTACT: Marcia Silva, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium,, 650-417-3193