Three faculty members were named recently as winners of the Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching.
They are: Leonard Berkman, Anne Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre; Susan Van Dyne, professor of the study of women and gender; and Gregory White, professor of government.
The Sherrerd Teaching Award is given annually to Smith faculty members in recognition of their distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence.
The award was established in 2002 with a generous contribution to Smith by the late Kathleen Sherrerd ’54 and John Sherrerd. Their donation was given with the specific purpose of initiating an annual prize to recognize outstanding teaching at Smith.
The three 2011 Sherrerd Award recipients will be honored during a reception and presentation on Thursday, October 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Neilson Browsing Room, which is open to the Smith community. View a list of past Sherrerd Award winners.
Len Berkman has taught playwriting and dramatic literature at Smith since 1969. Twice a Yale graduate, he holds a master’s of fine arts degree in playwriting and a doctorate in dramatic literature/history/criticism. As dramaturge with companies such as New York Stage and Film, Sundance Institute, South Coast Rep’s Hispanic Playwrights Project, Epic Theatre Ensemble and others, Berkman has been involved with more than 500 new plays in development and production. His own plays include These Are Not My Breasts, Voila! Rape in Technicolor, I’m Not the Star of My Own Life and I Won’t Go See a Play Called ‘A Parents Worst Nightmare’. Highly acclaimed former students Berkman has mentored at Smith include Wendy Wasserstein, Liev Schreiber, Erin Cressida Wilson, and Patricia Wettig. Frequently a guest playwright/dramaturge at college campuses across the U.S., Berkman is an international Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholar, most recently with residencies at the University of Hamburg.
Susan Van Dyne
Susan Van Dyne came to Smith in 1973, after completing her doctorate in English at Harvard University. She teaches courses in American literature; her favorites are American Women Poets and the Cultural Work of Memoir. Spurred by student interest, she joined other Smith faculty to establish the women’s studies program in 1981, and team-taught the Introduction to Women’s Studies for many years. Van Dyne’s book Women’s Place in the Academy: Transforming the Liberal Arts, co-edited with Marilyn Schuster, helps faculty integrate women’s studies and ethnic studies scholarship across the curriculum. She has written essays on Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Rita Dove, and Alison Bechdel as well as the poems and letters of Smith alumna Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. In Revising Life she analyzes Plath’s creative process through the drafts of the great Ariel poems. In recent years Van Dyne has worked with colleagues to establish the archives and poetry concentrations.
Gregory White joined the Smith Department of Government in 1993 after completing his doctoral degree in political science and African studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A native of Philadelphia, he attended Lafayette College. At Smith he has taught courses in international relations, international political economy, global environmental politics, and refugee and migration politics. His geographical area of focus is North Africa. White has had Fulbright scholarships to both Tunisia and Morocco and is an associate editor of the Journal of North African Studies. At Smith he is an Environmental Fellow with the new Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS) and a member of the steering committee of the Environmental Science & Policy Program. He received a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship in 2008 and is the author of On the Outside of Europe Looking In: A Comparative Political Economy of Tunisia and Morocco and Climate Change and Migration: Security and Borders in a Warming World.