Richard N. Smith

Professor, Mechanical Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering

Richard N. Smith (BA, Rice, 1970; MS, PhD, California—Berkeley, 1974) has been spent most of his professional career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering. His research and teaching expertise is in thermal and fluid sciences, with research applications in manufacturing and materials processing, especially solidification processing, as well as energy utilization and conversion. He served as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation between 2001-2004 in the Chemical and Transport Systems Division. From 2004 to 2009, he was Associate Dean of Engineering for Academic and Student Affairs at Rensselaer, where he had leadership responsibility for the full spectrum of the educational enterprise for 3200 undergraduate students in 12 engineering majors within 7 academic departments. He returned to NSF in 2010 as a Program Officer in the Division of Human Resource Development, where he managed research programs for minority serving institutions. From 2012-2013, he was Program Officer for the Broadening Participation in Engineering Program of the Engineering Directorate at NSF. He is a Program Evaluator representing the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. He has also been active in the ASME Center for Education, as part of a Task Force on Graduate Education and currently on the ASME Vision 2030 Committee, whose goals include defining the knowledge and expertise that a mechanical engineering graduate should have to be globally competitive in the 21st century, as well as developing recommendations on the features of an ME curriculum that will ensure the needed knowledge and skills. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.


Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley

Research Focus
  • Thermal-Fluid and Energy Systems
Contact Information
Select Works
  • Development of a Required International Experience for Undergraduate Engineering Students (2008)
  • Development of a Required International Experience for Undergraduate Engineering Students (2008)
  • The Mobile Electronics Studio at Rensselaer: Next Generation Engineering Education (2006)
  • Heat Transfer in Manufacturing and Materials Processing (Book Chapter, 2003)
  • Future Directions for Heat Transfer Research—An NSF Perspective (2003)
  • A Real-Time Neural Network Estimator for Work Piece Thermal Expansion Error (2000))
  • A Comparative Case Study in the Development of Thermal Manufacturing Curricula (2000)
  • Development of an Integrated Thermal-Fluids Engineering Curriculum (2000)