Joseph Leon Smith

Online MSW Program Director, Associate Teaching Professor

Joseph Smith (he/him/his) joined the Falk College School of Social Work as an associate teaching professor in Spring 2022 and serves as the college online MSW program liaison. He teaches classes in applied research in social work, psychopathology, and alcohol and other drugs in social work practice.

Prior to his full-time faculty appointment at Syracuse University, Smith served as an adjunct faculty member in both the BSSW and MSW programs since 2010. He was heavily involved in online curriculum development and teaching in various content areas. Additionally, Smith comes to this position following 25 years of administrative and teaching experience as Department Chair of Chemical Dependency Counseling and Human Services at SUNY Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Smith has practiced as a licensed clinical social worker and Master CASAC in a wide range of social work settings, including adult psychiatric inpatient, substance abuse outpatient and residential, and children’s psychiatric outpatient programs. Smith has interests in trauma-informed and evidence-based strategies, psychodynamic interventions, and culturally responsive practice. 

His research interests focus on the areas of mental health and student success, substance use on college campuses, and academic achievement and job placement with underrepresented and minority college students. Smith’s work has been supported by a Perkins Grant from Assertive Community Intervention and Guided Pathways aimed at providing intrusive and structured supports for undergraduate students experiencing academic difficulties; a New York State OASAS College Environmental Prevention Grant aimed at preventing/reducing underage alcohol and drug use on college campuses; and an ALANA Scholarship Grant from the Park Foundation aimed at increasing educational opportunities and job placement for underrepresented and minority students.

Smith has previously served as an MSW Research/Thesis Advisor at Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts. He also consults and work with NYS OASAS as a statewide trainer in the areas of ethics, cultural competency, and clinical supervision.

Smith earned a Ph.D. in social work from Smith College School for Social Work in 2006, a master’s of social work (M.S.W.) degree from Syracuse University, and a B.S. in psychology from Utica College.


Ph.D Social Work, Smith College School for Social Work (2006)

MSW Syracuse University (1991)

B.S. Psychology, Utica College (1987)


Child psychopathology, assessing/treating co-occurring disorders, culturally responsive practice, evidence based practice with families, clinical supervision, substance abuse prevention, clinical practice evaluation


SWK 662 Applied Research in Social Work

SWK 724 Psychopathology

SWK 781 Alcohol & Other Drugs in Social Work Practice