Embarking on a distinguished career that spans two decades, Basil Smikle Jr. has established himself as a formidable political strategist and knowledgeable policy advisor. His expertise is sought after both in the United States and on the international stage. Not only is Smikle an esteemed educator at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Teachers College, but his insights are also valued at CUNY’s School of Labour and Urban Studies where he was previously a Distinguished Lecturer of Politics and Public Policy.
The dedication Smikle shows to public service and the pursuit of educational equity has not gone unnoticed; he has been honoured with awards from notable figures such as Governor Andrew Cuomo and NY State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. His acumen as a political strategist and policy expert has earned him recognition from peers in the media and politics alike.
Hailing from New York City, Smikle’s Jamaican heritage and the professions of his parents – his father, a retired textile worker, and his mother, a devoted special education teacher – have greatly influenced his life and work. His active participation in various organizations is a testament to his commitment to community engagement. As a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons, and 100 Black Men of New York, Smikle has notably contributed to the establishment of the Eagle Academy schools, making a significant impact on education in New York and New Jersey.
In addition to his work with educational institutions, Smikle serves on the founding boards of the Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School and the NYC Centre for Charter Excellence, furthering his influence on educational reform and charter school excellence.
With regard to his academic accomplishments, Smikle’s educational journey is impressive. He earned a PhD in politics and education in February 2019 from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, a pursuit he undertook from 2011 to 2019. This achievement followed his Master of Public Policy degree obtained from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs in 1996, after two years of study. Additionally, Smikle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labour Relations from Cornell University, which he received after four years of undergraduate study from 1989 to 1993.
Smikle’s prolific use of social media, particularly Twitter, serves as a platform for him to share insights and engage with the public on matters relating to his profession and various interests. Whether he’s extending well-wishes to cultural icons, offering his take on political discourse, or promoting educational programs and events, Smikle’s active online presence is an extension of his work and his commitment to fostering dialogue on important societal issues.
As an academic and public figure, his role as a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Public Policy Program at the Roosevelt House Institute at Hunter College is just one aspect of his multifaceted career. Through his engagement with students, colleagues, and the broader public, Smikle continues to contribute to the discourse on public policy and politics, shaping the minds of future leaders and influencing the field with his extensive knowledge and experience.