James Smith, Ph.D.

James Smith, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science and Cybersecurity

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


Riley Hall, R1321
3003 Snelling Ave North
St. Paul, MN 55113



Computer Information Systems, the first computer major at Northwestern, was developed and taught by Dr. Smith beginning in 1981. This was a fledging effort which two years later grew into an academic computing local area network of 10 computers utilizing computing resources from the University of Minnesota.


In 2021 Dr. Smith, along with adjunct professor Dr. Larry Dunn, designed the Cybersecurity major in accordance with program guidelines from the National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education, a partner with the U.S. Department of Defense.


Dr. Smith’s 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. He has also written books in Management Information Systems and Database Management for the Open Education Resources (OER) initiative.


Dr. Smith’s current research at The National Archives in London, England focuses on the Second World War and the role of the Government Code and Cypher School in conducting British military intelligence.


Dr. Smith served in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologic technician for four years. He was on three mission teams to South Africa, including leading a group of UNW students in June 2017 who built a 20-seat computer lab, constructed three playgrounds for orphans, and taught Bible studies. All of the computer equipment for the computer lab was donated by Northwestern.


Teaching Responsibilities

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

Hobbies and Interests

  • Swimming, biking, and reading
  • International travel
  • Writing family memoirs