Randall D. Smith, Ph.D.

“My students know that while I hold them to a high standard, I will work closely with them to provide them with engaging experiences throughout their time at Franklin College and assist them in landing exciting learning opportunities.”


Department Chair; Professor of Political Science

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois – Chicago, IL
  • M.A., University of Illinois – Springfield, IL
  • B.A., Quincy University – Quincy, IL

Year Joined Franklin



U.S. presidency, U.S. Congress, international relations, and political institutions
I am intrigued by the battle over the control of American foreign policy between the president and Congress. My primary research explores the question of whether the president evades the constitutional provisions requiring Senate advice and consent to treaties through the use of executive agreements.
Besides general courses in American politics and international relations, I teach courses on the following topics: presidency, Congress, American foreign policy, elections, mass media and politics, politicking and civic engagement, international security, international law, international organizations, the United Nations, and political theory.

How do you help students who are on their way to graduate programs?

I work with students interested in graduate programs by advising them to take multiple courses in methodology and encouraging them to develop strong statistical skills. I mentor undergraduate research, encouraging students to present their findings at regional and national conferences. And, I offer seminar courses that utilize primary source documents and leading academic research in the field.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Honors and Awards

Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Certification, program selected by the American Political Science Association, in conjunction with the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools
University Fellowship, University of Illinois – Chicago, graduate college
Dean’s Scholar Fellowship, University of Illinois – Chicago, graduate college
Pi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science Honor Society


Rinker Endowment for Faculty Excellence Grant, Franklin College
Clifford and Paula Dietz Endowed Faculty Travel Award, Franklin College

Selected Scholarship

Discussant, “2016 Great Decisions: The UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda and Leadership,” Mill Race Center, Columbus, IN, March, 2016.
Co-presenter with David G. Brailow and Allison Fetter-Harrott, “Surviving and Thriving in Programmatic Self-Assessment: Faculty and Administrative Perspectives,” Higher Learning Commission Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, March, 2015.
“Presidents in War and Diplomacy.” Vital Statistics on the Presidency. Ed. Lyn Ragsdale. 4th ed. Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2014.
Discussant, “2014 Great Decisions: Israel and the U.S.,” Mill Race Center, Columbus, IN, February, 2014.
Co-presenter with Meredith Clark-Wiltz, Allison Fetter-Harrott, Kristin C. Flora, and Shelley Nelson; “Walking a Mile: Using Role Plays to Engage Students,” Teaching Professor Conference, New Orleans, LA, June, 2013. (This presentation was recognized by attendees as one of the best at the conference.)
Panel chair and discussant, “Treaties, International Agreements, and Foreign Policy,” Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Seattle, WA, September, 2011.

What Students Say

“Doc Smith has pushed me to become a better writer and a more well-rounded thinker. He is always available to meet and is active in mentoring his students. Whether helping them find an internship or assisting them in class choices, Doc is passionate about his students’ success.” – John Montgomery ’18

In My Spare Time…

I am a member of the Indy MOPAR® Club which fundraises for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I also enjoy working on my 1970 ’cuda and modified 1995 Jeep Wrangler.  You may also find me performing at local venues on either my trombone or guitar.