hero image
Renee Smith-Maddox - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Renee Smith-Maddox Renee Smith-Maddox

Clinical Professor of Social Work | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Dr. Smith-Maddox interests include teaching diversity, social innovation, and the capacity-building needs of nonprofit organizations






2014/01/16 Renee Smith-Maddox Washington D.C. Immersion - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Social Impact Fast Pitch



Renée Smith-Maddox is a clinical professor and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She teaches online and on-the-ground courses in the school’s Master of Social Work and Doctor of Social Work programs. She is the lead instructor for the policy advocacy and social course and serves as the school’s Diversity Liaison to the Provost. At the university level, she is Chair of the Provost’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and is co-chair of the Campus Climate Committee. She also works with the Provost’s office to develop programs and initiatives that raise awareness and provoke dialogue about campus climate issues.

As a social work educator and mentor, Dr. Smith-Maddox prepares her students to be advocates for and designers of social change. In the classroom, she creates a learning community that teaches students how to assess, analyze, and evaluate policies and programs. This learning environment also serves as a social innovation lab for students and professionals to prototype and test their ideas to solving our most complex challenges.

Prior to her appointment at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Smith-Maddox held faculty positions at the USC Rossier School of Education and the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Her experience as an education analyst with the New York City Board of Education and a teacher researcher with inquiry-based research projects laid the foundation for her interests in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Smith-Maddox has worked as an executive director with the Posse Foundation, the Los Angeles Urban League, and First Place for Youth. In this capacity, she focused on fund development and designing service delivery systems for college access programs, workforce development initiatives, and transitional services for foster care youth. She is also a professional coach and volunteers for cause-specific efforts that promote the progress individuals and organizations are making in areas such as youth development, human trafficking, and homelessness.

To reference the work of Renee Smith Maddox online, we ask that you directly quote their work where possible and attribute it to "Renee Smith Maddox, a faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work” (LINK: https://dworakpeck.usc.edu)

Education (3)

Brandeis University: Ph. D. 1994

Brandeis University: M. M. H. S. 1989

Lincoln University: B. A. 1976

Areas of Expertise (9)

Advocacy and Social Justice

Corporate Social Responsbility

Race Gender and Class in Organization Processes

Social Work Education

Social Work

Policy Evaluations

Social Innovation

Race Culture and Ethnicity

Community Organizing and Engagement

Industry Expertise (4)

Program Development



Social Services



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader

Research Articles & Publications (3)

Preservice teacher inquiry: Creating a space to dialogue about becoming a social justice educator

Teaching and Teacher Education

Lynn, Marvin, and Renée Smith-Maddox

2007 In this paper, we reflect on our experience with an experimental inquiry component within a teacher education program in a large urban city on the West Coast of the United States. This learning space, which is referred to as “Inquiry,” promotes the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge through reflection and dialogue. We highlight how this inquiry-oriented process enabled preservice teachers to reflect on and dialogue about existing ideals of social justice and equity with regard to teaching diverse learners...

view more

Using critical race theory, paulo freire’s problem-posing method, and case study research to confront race and racism in education

Qualitative Inquiry

Renée Smith-Maddox, and Daniel G. Solórzano

2002 In this article, the authors use critical race theory (CRT), Paulo Freire’s problem-posing method, and case study research to introduce an alternative instructional and pedagogical methodology in teacher education. These approaches attempt to get at deep-rooted ideologies by creating a space in a social foundations course for teacher candidates to unlearn their stereotypical knowledge of race while analyzing and theorizing what it means to teach a diverse student population. When using such a methodology, the authors recommend that teacher candidates have access to a variety of cultural immersion and field experiences in communities of color...

view more

Educational aspirations of African American eighth graders

Race, Gender and Class

Renée Smith-Maddox

2000 This study uses cross-sectional data from the 1988 National Education Longitudinal Study of Eighth Graders to explore the factors affecting the educational aspirations of African American eighth graders and the extent to which this goal-oriented variable varies by class and gender. The results indicate that a combination of family (i.e., parent's expectations, parent involvement, poverty status, and parent's education), community (i.e., discussing high school plans and careers with an adult outside of the family and participation in activities outside of school) and school measures (i.e., mathematics test scores and placement in low ability groups) have a direct effect on aspirations. These factors represent a combination of social and cultural resources that are embedded in a young adolescent's social network. Within this network the young adolescent has a variety of experiences with individuals in their family, school, and community. It is in this domain where aspirations are developed.

view more