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James Smith, Ph.D.

Professor of Computing, Data & Mathematical Sciences

Contact Information

Riley Hall

3003 Snelling Ave North
St. Paul, MN 55113


Professor Smith first arrived at University of Northwestern in the fall of 1978. In 1981 he developed the Computer Information Systems major, then served as Business Department chair from 1981 through 1984. After resigning from Northwestern in 1986 he took a position with a Minneapolis firm developing training using a new technology, laser videodisc, the forerunner of today's DVD.

Smith has operated his own computer consulting firm since 1982 with clients such as Thomson Reuters and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He has taught at a number of colleges in the Twin Cities and prior to coming back to Northwestern,he was program director of information technology management at University of Wisconsin-Stout. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Association of Computing Machinery, and the National Society for Experiential Education.

His initial research interests focused on rural municipalities that have adopted broadband Internet as a public utility. His dissertation research took him to Barnesville, Detroit Lakes and Windom, Minnesota. He is one of the authors of the recently released book Handbook of Research on Electronic Collaboration and Organizational Synergy.

Dr. Smith's current research at NSA near Washington, D.C., The National Archives in London, England, and The Military Archive in Freiburg, Germany focuses on a comparative analysis of British and German cryptographic intercept operations during the Second World War. He has also written books in Management Information Systems and Database Management for the Open Education Resources (OER) initiative.

Dr. Smith served for four years in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer during the Vietnam War. He was on three mission teams to South Africa, including leading a group of UNW students in June 2017 who built a computer lab, constructed playgrounds for orphans and taught Bible studies.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Software Development
  • Data Communications
  • Computer Security
  • Database Management
  • Systems Analysis and Design
  • Project Management
  • Application Development

Academic Credentials

Ph.D., Capella University
M.A., University of Minnesota
B.S., St. Cloud State University

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