Heather Smith is a Professor of Geography at the University North Carolina at Charlotte. She is also an immigrant from Canada who moved to the United States in 1999 (with husband and toddler in tow) to pursue a career in higher education. Her research, teaching and outreach focus on the intersections between transitioning societies and restructuring cities. Immigrant settlement, adjustment and receptivity, as well as the neighborhood scale dynamics of global and globalizing cities, are core areas of expertise. Community engaged scholarship and the building of cross-institutional and multi-tiered community partnerships are hallmarks of her work as are participatory action research, mixed methodologies and intervention development. As a co-founding member of the Mecklenburg Area Partnership for Primary Care Research (MAPPR), she has helped build a research and outreach consortium comprised of academics, physicians, service agencies and advocates working to alleviate barriers to, and inequities in, the provision of health care to Hispanic immigrant groups. With partners at the Levine Museum of the New South she has served on the conceptual development and exhibit teams for !NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South and has provided evaluation expertise for the Speaking of Change and NUEVO Dia! community dialogue programs. As Seminar Leader with the Charlotte Teachers Institute she developed a professional development course for local area public school teachers introducing them to the complex history and evolving geography of US immigration and helped design related curricula to be implemented in K-12 classrooms. As Faculty Research Associate with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, Heather was a lead researcher and co-author of the Mecklenburg County Latino Needs Assessment which provided a comprehensive overview of the service landscape and unmet needs of the county’s rapidly growing and diverse Hispanic community. A Senior Researcher for 15 years with the Housing and Neighborhood Domain of Metropolis BC, an international forum for research and policy on migration, diversity and changing cities, she examined the development of an immigrant “underclass” in Canada’s largest cities, the intersection between neighborhood-based deprivation and immigrant social exclusion and the parallels and differences that exist between these experiences across the national contexts of the US, Canada, France and the UK.
- Immigrant Gateways
- Community-engaged Scholarship
- Representative Projects