Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

R. Drew Smith

Professor of Urban Ministry
Year Started at PTS: 2013


Contact Info



  • Ph.D., Yale University / Political Science, 1990
  • M.A./M.Phil., Yale University / Political Science, 1988
  • M.Div.., Yale University Divinity School Christian Ethics, 1983
  • B.S., Indiana University / Secondary Education; English, 1979


The Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith earned his bachelor’s from Indiana University, M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. Both a social scientist and clergyman, Smith has initiated and directed a number of projects related to religion and public life, including the Public Influences of African-American Churches Project and the Faith Communities and Urban Families Project. These Projects have collected research data on political involvements, community development activities, and outreach ministries of African-American churches in numerous parts of the United States. He has traveled widely in Africa and Latin America. In 2005, Smith served as a Fulbright professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and in 2009 as a Fulbright senior specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon. He has also lectured in many international venues including Israel as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. He has served since 2010 as co-convener of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race, an initiative that convenes scholars, religious leaders, and community activists from across the African diaspora and continent for purposes of advancing progressive approaches to persistent racial problems in various contexts throughout the transatlantic region. In addition, as a Baptist clergyman, he has ministered in a number of parish, prison, and campus ministry contexts. Before coming to PTS, Smith was the scholar-in-residence and director of Religion and Public Life Projects at Leadership Center at Morehouse College and is the former director of the Center for Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He has published widely on religion and public life, having written numerous articles and chapters, and edited six books including: New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America; Long March Ahead: African American Churches and Public Policy in Post-Civil Rights America; Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa; From Every Mountainside: Black Churches and the Broad Terrain of Civil Rights; and, most recently, Churches, Blackness, and Contested Multiculturalism: Europe, Africa, and North America. He is also currently writing a book on contemporary black clergy activism. Smith has received many honors and awards for his academic leadership, including selection in 2002 as an Emerging Leaders Fellow by a Duke University/University of Cape Town program on Leadership and Public Values, and selection in 2008 for an Indiana Governor’s Black Expo Leadership award. He is married with one teenage daughter.

Church Associations

Ordination: Independent Baptist, 1988

Professional Competencies

Areas of Specialty

  • Religion and public life
  • Sociology of urban religion
  • Christianity, race, and class
  • Churches and demographic change
  • Religion and social movements
  • Christianity and U.S. foreign policy

Professional Societies

  • Society for the Study of Black Religion
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion


  • Fellow and Visiting Professor, James Weldon Johnson Institute, Emory University, 2011-2012
  • Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, 2010-2013
  • Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellow/Visiting Faculty, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 2010
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Kumba, Cameroon, 2009
  • Faculty-in-Residence and Fellow in the SAGES Program, Case Western Reserve University, 2007
  • Fulbright Professor, School of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, 2005

Selected Academic Grants/Awards

  • Grant for focus groups on urban ministry innovators; Louisville Institute, 2012
  • Grant to conduct survey of churches and social responses to migrants and immigrants in Pretoria South Africa; Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2011
  • Grant to study Civic Service in Lesotho; Center for Social Development, Washington University-St Louis, 2006
  • Grant to study Interactions Between Faith Communities and the Urban Poor; Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2001
  • Grant for U.S. Study Tour for South African Youth Leaders and Youth Workers on Faith-Based Social Leadership Development; Ford Foundation, 2001
  • Grant for Public Influences of African-American Churches Project; The Pew Charitable Trusts, 1998

Additional Resources

Complete CV 
High res image
Website: Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race*

* This material expresses the research and opinion of Smith and is not necessarily the opinion of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary faculty, staff, or Board of Directors.