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Smith students talk about their work to Smith faculty at 2017 Collaborations, Smith College

Each academic year the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty offers a variety of lectures, luncheons and faculty development workshops that feature Smith faculty and visiting professors.

Liberal Arts Luncheons

Liberal Arts Luncheons are sponsored by the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP) and take place from 12:00-1:00 in the Paradise Room of the Smith College Conference Center, uness otherwise noted.  There are no Liberal Arts Luncheons on October 4, or November 1, 22 or 29.

Date Lecture Presenter(s)
September 13, 2018 Come Talk Over Lunch: A qualitative analysis of faculty lives at Smith
Where do our faculty feel momentum? Where are we stuck? This talk outlines the repeating ideas, themes, and broad theoretical constructs that emerged from a qualitative analysis of (over 300) comments shared during lunches attended by dozens of faculty members during the 2017-2018 academic year. Time at the lunch will be devoted to discussing next steps for supporting the professional development of all of our faculty over the arc of their careers.
Patricia DiBartolo, Associate Dean of the Faculty & Dean for Academic Development
September 20, 2018 [No LAL] Instead, Join colleagues at a pecial event for faculty on how Workday will transform our work at Smith
Over the next two years, Smith will replace Banner with Workday. What does that mean for faculty? Samantha Earp, VP for Information Technology and Chief Information officer, will talk about what changes you’ll see and when, and she’ll discuss how Workday will help address many of the challenges you’ve had with Banner. You’ll also be able to see a few early examples of the Workday software in action, such as student advising and grant tracking. This session is reserved for faculty as part of a larger set of community events during the Week of Workday, September 17-21, 2018.
IT Transformation Team
September 27, 2018 How US universities, Kenya farms, and Moroccan women’s cooperatives are adapting to climate change: Organizational learning, collective action, and the resilience of local institutions
Human organizations must learn to radically and iteratively transform themselves to transition out of our current socially and environmentally destructive models. Indeed, dealing with the dire consequences of climate change will not be achieved by quick fixes and ready-made solutions. Groups of people need to learn to enact more socially just adaptations to this phenomenon. In this talk, I will share my work on how US universities, Kenya farms, and Moroccan women’s cooperatives are adapting to climate change by highlighting experiences of organizational learning, collective action, and resilience of local institutions.
Camille, Washington-Ottombre, Environmental Science & Policy
October 11, 2018 Exploring Transportation as a Barrier to Access Healthcare
Over 3 million Americans miss or delay medical care because they lack appropriate transportation to their appointments. Missed medical appointments raises both healthcare risks and costs. In this talk, I want to share how we explored the complex landscape of healthcare-transportation in the Pioneer valley, turned data into knowledge in this context and understand how it impacts different vulnerable population. We further used design thinking as a tool to ideate possible solutions which are capable of addressing many of the specific challenges identified from different stakeholders’(patients, healthcare, transit, insurance) perspectives. I will discuss about a couple of such solutions.
Moumita Dasgupta, Physics
October 18, 2018 Why Do Bacteria Care About Nanotopography?
It is well documented that bacteria behave differently when they are attached to surfaces with nanoscale (<100 nm) topographical features than they do on flat surfaces or surfaces with more conventionally-scaled landscapes. What is not so clear is WHY this length scale--which is much smaller than the bacteria themselves--makes such a difference. A collaboration between the Queeney and Dorit Labs has produced the first model system used to systematically address this question, which has implications ranging from the prevention of biofilm-induced infections to the preferential culturing of cells for medical research.
Kate Queeney, Chemistry
October 25, 2018 The Queerly Monstrous Shakers
Description forthcoming
Gary Lehring, Government
November 8, 2018 What Happens When Math Problems Are Embedded in Imaginative Stories?
Math educators talk about a divorce between human sense and the formal knowledge of school.  The divorce often happens early in a child's schooling and can have lasting negative consequences on attitude and achievement.   This research examines how embedding math problems in stories designed to capture children's imagination can help young learners connect their informal knowledge of mathematics to the more formal math of school.  The stories are intended to create learning zones supporting students of wide ranging levels of mathematical development in productive mathematical thinking. The talk will show what a math story is like and highlight some of the work produced by first graders.
Al Rudnitsky, Education & Child Study
November 15, 2018 Why Does Science Need Your Cells
This presentation will discuss whether there is a conflict of interest between patients and medical professionals in the use of patient bio-specimens. Oprah’s film on Henrietta Lacks showed how her cells have generated a multibillion dollar industry. Yet the source of the cells, HL and her family, have benefited nothing. Should patients be informed of the possible financial benefits of their bio-specimens?
Albert Mosley, Philosophy
December 6, 2018 Humanities and Arts Strategic Planning Group
Description forthcoming
Alex Keller, Film & Media Studies and Hélène Visentin, French Studies

The Katharine Asher Engel Lectureship at Smith College was established in 1958 by the National Council of Jewish Women to honor the memory of Mrs. Engel, its onetime president, a graduate of Smith College, 1920. Mrs. Engel's life was one of generous participation in educational, civic, religious and welfare activities. In endowing the lectureship, the council hoped to "create a bond between a remarkable woman, her college, and the organization to which she was devoted." Under the terms of the grant, the holder of the annual lectureship must be a member of the Smith College faculty who has made an outstanding contribution to knowledge in his or her field.

In 2018-19, the 61st annual Engel lecture will be presented by Michael Gorra, Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language & Literature.

Photo of Michael Gorra
Michael Gorra came to Smith in 1985, and works primarily with 19th- and 20th-century fiction.

His most recent book, Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece (2012) was a finalist for several prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Earlier books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany (2004); After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie (1997); and The English Novel at Mid-Century (1990).

As editor Gorra has put together volumes of stories by Joseph Conrad and Henry James for Penguin, along with the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a Public Scholar Award, and a National Book Critics Circle award for his work as a reviewer. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the TLSThe Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review, among others, and his travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing. In 2014 he was a judge for the National Book Award in fiction.

Gorra's current book-in-progress is William Faulkner’s Civil War.

All lectures are free and open to the public.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

5-6 p.m., Seelye Hall 106
Presented by Lauren Duncan, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

5-6 p.m., Seelye Hall 106
Presented by Nalini Bhushan, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy

This fall, Niall Kirkwood joins the Smith College community as the 2017 William Allan Neilson Professor. Hosted by the landscape studies and engineering departments, Kirkwood will deliver three public lectures in a series called Design Matters: Landscape Practices, Pedagogy and Projects, which will address the changing nature of the contemporary environment and the role of design, planning and engineering in confronting alternative forms of practice, pedagogy and project types. Kirkwood will use materials from three of the current courses he teaches at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design to draw out principles and precedents. Videos of the lectures will be available on the Kahn Institute website following each lecture.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Design Matters: Practices

"Flying Toilets and Oyster Shells: Landscape Design Practices for the New Environmental Reality"
3-5 p.m., Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, hosted by the Department of Landscape Studies

Emerging modes of practice by young designers in landscape design and engineering to address the changing nature of environmental problems and conditions are introduced along with their ambitions and directions to address informal settlements and topics in climate change. The Offices of KDI in Kibera, Kenya, and Scape in New York, led by graduates from the Department of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University GSD, are highlighted. The material of this lecture is taken from Kirkwood’s graduate lecture/workshop GSD 7241: The Practices of Landscape Architecture.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Design Matters: Pedagogy

"Fifth Industrial Revolution: An Index of Current Landscape and Engineering Teaching and Research"
5–6 p.m., Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, hosted by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty

The City of Ulsan in the Republic of Korea is introduced as a laboratory of industrial ecology and a locale of shifting economies and inventive environments addressing energy, waste and metabolism. In particular the so-named 'Fifth Industrial Revolution' is discussed as a systematic transformation combining new methods of manufacture with changes to resources identity and the meanings of nature and the natural. Recent design studios based in the Republic of Korea will address a range of alternative futures for the modern industrial city at a time of changing environmental, economic and social realities. The material of this lecture is taken from Kirkwood’s graduate advanced studios GSD 1406: Seoul Remade and GSD 1409: Ulsan Remade as well as research from the Center for Technology and Environment (CTE) at the Harvard Design School.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Design Matters: Projects

"Poetics of Construction: Seeing, Judging and Thinking in the Contemporary Landscape"
5–6 p.m., Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, hosted by the Department of Engineering

Design in landscape architecture constructively engages in the making and remaking of cleared or reused sites either through development, regeneration, preservation or conservation. This engagement has environmental, social and expressive aims. Among these are the ideas of 'soft' engineering, the development and application of traditional and emerging technologies in landscape architecture, and the concerns of durability, weathering and resilience of material and assembly over time. A range of projects addressing microclimate, soil erosion, pollutants and water control will illustrate the role of the planner and designer in shaping the contemporary world. The material of this lecture is taken from Kirkwood’s graduate lecture/workshop GSD 6242: Ecologies, Techniques and Technologies IV.

Niall Kirkwood
Niall Kirkwood is a landscape architect, technologist and tenured professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he has taught full-time since 1992. He holds the Dr. Gerard O’Hare Visiting Chair at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and has held faculty appointments at Beijing University, China Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, Korea University, Seoul, and was on the advisory council, School of Architecture University of Hong Kong (2010–14). He is the founding professor and dean of landscape architecture, School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing University (BUCEA), and a member of the senior advisory board of the Rural Planning Center, China and a member of the academic advisory board of Beijing Advanced Innovation Center of Urban Design for Future Cities.

He teaches, carries out research and publishes on a range of topics related to design, the built environment and the sustainable reuse of land including urban regeneration, landfill and post-mining site reclamation, brownfields, environmental site technologies, site construction and project management and international urban development and infrastructure. His applied design concepts on brownfield lands ‘Manufactured Sites’, ‘China Brown’, ‘Phyto’ and urban water management ‘Sponge Cities’ are currently adopted by research centers and government agencies in China.

His English language publications include Manufactured Sites: Rethinking the Post-Industrial Landscape (Taylor Francis/Routledge); Principles of Brownfield Regeneration (Island Press); PHYTO: Principles and Resources for Site Remediation and Landscape Design (Taylor Francis/Routledge); Weathering and Durability in Landscape Architecture (John Wiley); and The Art of Landscape Detail (John Wiley). He has also published these books in Chinese, Arabic and Korean. He is currently editor-in-chief of Nakhara journal, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; advisory editor of Worldscape Journal, Beijing; and Landscape Architecture Journal, South China University of Technology (SCUT) Guangzhou.

Prior to joining the GSD faculty, Kirkwood was a registered and licensed architect and landscape architect with 16 years of experience carrying out land reclamation and urban development projects in Scotland, the European mainland, the Middle East and the United States. He is a member of the Harvard University Committee on the Environment, the Harvard Committee on Health and the Global Environment and a member of the faculty steering committee of Harvard Institute for Global Health. He holds degrees from the University of Manchester, University of Ulster, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

The Smith College Department of English is pleased to host Bruce Smith as the 2018-19 Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies.

Bruce Smith is Dean’s Professor of English and Professor of English and Theatre at the University of Southern California. He studies the literature and culture of early modern England, including Shakespeare, gender, sexuality, acoustic ecology and historical phenomenology. Among his six published books, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England won the 2000 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature, attracting the attention of theater professionals, communications specialists and musicologists. His current work explores what it was like to live in the kind of body imagined by early modern medicine and to perceive the world through that body. He is particularly interested in how important the senses and the passions were to perception before Descartes divorced the thinking mind from the sensing body in the middle of the 17th century.

Sigma Xi Luncheons

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, meets regularly for talks and a complimentary lunch throughout the year. Talks are open to all faculty, staff and students.

Talks begin at approximately 12:10 p.m. in McConnell Auditorium. A complimentary lunch is offered in McConnell Foyer. Please visit the Sigma Xi website for the schedule.