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Sherrerd Award Lauds Superior Teaching

Although they will not return to the classroom for another month, four Smith College faculty members were recently recognized for their talent as educators.

Justin Cammy, assistant professor of Jewish studies; John Hellweg, professor of theater; Samuel Intrator, associate professor of education and child study; and Kevin Shea, assistant professor of chemistry, were selected to receive the fourth Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching. The prize is given annually to four Smith faculty members in recognition of their distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence.

The winners will be honored at a presentation on Tuesday, October 17, at 4:30 p.m. in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall. Previously granted during the spring semester, the awards will now be presented each year in the fall.

The Sherrerd Teaching Award was made possible by a grant to the college by Smith alumna the late Kathleen Compton Sherrerd, a 1954 graduate, and her husband John J. F. Sherrerd.

“Smith has always considered excellent teaching among its top priorities and presents the Sherrerd Teaching Award as a publicly visible symbol of its commitment and dedication to superior pedagogy,” said President Carol T. Christ in announcing the recipients.

Justin Cammy
Cammy began teaching at Smith in 2001, becoming an assistant professor of Jewish studies in 2003 following his completion of doctoral studies at Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. A specialist in modern Yiddish literature and Eastern European Jewish culture, Cammy teaches courses in Yiddish, Israeli, Holocaust, and American-Jewish literature, a survey of Eastern European Jewish history, and an introduction to the Jewish tradition. His research currently focuses on Yung-Vilne, the last group of young, politically engaged Yiddish poets, writers and artists in inter-war Poland.

John Hellweg
Hellweg joined the Smith Department of Theatre in 1979 after completing his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught courses in acting, directing and dramatic literature. Throughout his career, he has directed more than 40 theater productions -- from Chekhov to Molière -- and performed in numerous others. Hellweg has broadened interdisciplinary parameters with his courses “Asian Theatre and Dance,” “Religion and Theatre in Southeast Asia,” and “European Drama (1530–1904): The Shock of the Pre-Modern.” A popular teacher, Hellweg chaired the Department of Theatre from 1986–89 and again from 2001–03.

Sam Intrator
Intrator arrived at Smith College in 1999 with extensive experience as an educator in K-12 schools and a doctorate from Stanford University. He promptly founded and continues to co-direct the college’s Urban Education Initiative, a center devoted to creating connections between Smith and urban K-12 schools. Intrator has written and edited several books about teachers and teaching, including Tuned in and Fired Up: How Teaching Can Inspire Genuine Learning, a finalist for the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Education. His courses include “Urban Education” and “Teenagers in American Culture.”

Kevin Shea
Shea didn’t have far to travel to join Smith’s Department of Chemistry in 2000 after completing his doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his undergraduate degree at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He teaches courses in organic chemistry, general chemistry and instrumental analysis. His research focuses on organic synthesis, in which he investigates new methods for carbon-to-carbon bond formation and develops syntheses of biologically active molecules. Since arriving at Smith, Shea has published several articles about his research and has garnered numerous grants supporting his work, including funding from the American Chemical Society and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute.

-Eric Weld

7/25/06
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