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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

About Us


Michael Thurston

Provost and Dean of the Faculty
In his role as Provost & Dean of the Faculty, Michael Thurston ensures excellence and prosperity in teaching, learning and research at Smith, now and for the future. Thurston creates and leads collaborative processes with all academic heads to advance a shared academic vision. He is the Helen Means Professor of English Language & Literature whose primary scholarly research interest is modern and contemporary poetry. He is currently at work on a project on Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and a biography of the literary critic, F.O. Matthiessen (supported by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities).

Members of the Smith Community who would like to request the Provost to speak at an event, please fill out this form.

Bill E. Peterson

Associate Provost
Bill Peterson ensures thriving academic programs at Smith, aligning resources with the curricular and co-curricular missions of the college in a sustainable and equitable way. Peterson manages the academic budget of the college overseen by the provost. He chairs the Committee on Faculty Compensation and Development and the Committee on Study Abroad. He has responsibility for faculty development, support in research and teaching, and serves as the director of sponsored research. Among his responsibilities are the Botanic Garden, the Clark Science Center, the Campus School, and non-tenure track faculty recruitment and hiring. Peterson was hired as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology in 1998. He is a personality psychologist with broad interests in adult development, narrative, and political psychology. Particular interests revolve around the constructs of authoritarianism and psychosocial generativity.

Hélène Visentin

Associate Dean of the Faculty/Dean for Academic Development
Hélène Visentin coordinates faculty professional development, oversees curricular operations and strategic planning, and directs Smith’s graduate and special programs. She aims to cultivate effective, equitable and inclusive partnerships with faculty and staff leaders around the college and with members of the president’s cabinet. A Professor of French studies, Visentin has been teaching at Smith since 1999. Her research specializes in early modern literature and culture, with a focus on the history and aesthetics of the performing arts. Recently, her research and teaching interests have been focused on digital humanities, especially mapping and data visualization techniques. 

Jayne Mercier

Associate Director for Faculty Analytics
and Academic Operations Manager

As Academic Operations Manager, she promotes and strengthens Smith's academic programs by facilitating relationships between the provost and internal/external constituencies; coordinating the deans, faculty and other college offices in major academic initiatives and special projects; and leads the development and execution of our office's business policies and practices. As Associate Director for Faculty Analytics, she collaborates with institutional partners in stewarding faculty and instructional staff data in the service of academic business intelligence; designs, develops, and oversee the budget, reporting, and analytic processes that sustain Smith’s success in hiring, retention, and support of faculty and instructional staff throughout the lifecycle; and advises academic leadership on the strategic use of institutional resources in achieving Smith’s academic mission.

Kayla Cheneba

Project Manager & Executive Assistant to the Provost & Dean of the Faculty
Kayla provides project management and organizational leadership for the Provost’s strategic initiatives. Acting as the Provost’s designee in various settings, Kayla partners with the Deans and all members of our team on the development and on-going improvements to our processes, supports key Provost area committees, and provides immediate and long-term administrative and organizational support to the Provost & Dean of the Faculty directly. Contact Kayla with questions about faculty meeting, chairs & directors, the Lecture Committee, and other special projects under the Provost & Dean of the Faculty's purview.

Kelly DeForest

Curricular and Academic Support Specialist
In close partnership with the Associate Dean of the Faculty & Dean for Academic Development, Kelly DeForest ensure successful courses of study through her support of the Committee on Academic Priorities in all aspects of curricular development, maintenance and review materials and workflows. Kelly also works closely with the ADOF/DAD and Chairs & Directors in the professional development of the academic administrative support staff. Contact Kelly for CAP policies and procedures; curricular approval guidelines for course proposals (new and revisions to existing), changes to the major or minor, and other curricular changes; catalog policies and procedures; and all other items related to the work of CAP.

Saari Greylock

Senior Academic Budget Manager
Saari Greylock develops sustainable academic budget models that advance Smith's educational mission, overseeing academic financial resources in close collaboration with the associate provost and the budget office. Contact Saari for departmental and program budget queries, inquiries regarding internal grants including CFCD and starters, and financial modeling for new initiatives.

Ruth Morgan

Program Coordinator for Graduate and Special Programs
Ruth Morgan promotes successful graduate study experiences at Smith by ensuring consistency in policies and completion of requirements. Contact Ruth for graduate application questions, registration assistance, inquiries regarding curriculum requirements and requests for extensions.

Emily Robinson

Assistant Director of Sponsored Research
Emily Robinson promotes a thriving research culture at Smith by shepherding the review and approval process of external grant proposals and aligning internal and external partners. Contact Emily for external grant deadlines, preparation, and submission; external grant budgets or expenditures administered by the provost and hiring UMass graduate student RAs.

Rachel Siegel

Faculty Recruitment and Appointment Specialist
The faculty recruitment and appointment specialist promotes a fair and inclusive faculty culture at Smith by working in close partnership with the Provost & Dean of the Faculty, Associate Provost, and Associate Dean of the Faculty to ensure consistent application of faculty search, recruitment and hiring policies and is the primary calendar contact for the associate provost. Contact Rachel for tenure-track and non-tenure track searches; faculty appointment letters; research associate appointments; faculty visas; on-boarding of new faculty members and instructors; and information regarding visiting scholars.

Hayley Spizz

Faculty Policies Administrator
Hayley Spizz promotes fairness and equity through ensuring consistent application of Smith faculty policies by faculty, staff and administration. In partnership with the associate dean of the faculty/dean for academic development, she advances faculty development initiatives to foster success at every career stage . Contact Hayley for reappointment, tenure, and promotion procedures and questions; sabbaticals and leaves; and faculty record sheets.

Patty Tran

Schedule Coordinator
Patty Tran promotes a productive work environment by managing the deans' schedules and daily office operations. Patty is the primary scheduling contact for the Provost, Associate Provost, and Associate Dean of the Faculty/Dean for Academic Development, and for academic calendar queries and events managed by the Office of the Provost/Dean of the Faculty.