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Teaching Mentors

The Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning has had two teaching mentors since 2018–19 whose job it is to share innovative practices and strategies with colleagues.

We are delighted to announce that our Teaching Mentors program continues through the 2022–23 academic year. This year, Patty DiBartolo (Psychology) and Elizabeth Pryor (HST) will serve as teaching mentors for equitable and inclusive pedagogies. Patty continues in this role from the 2021-2022 year and Liz returns after a hiatus from the role due to a well-deserved sabbatical last year. We are excited for the experience that both mentors bring to the Sherrerd Center. The teaching mentors program exists to help all members of our community with their teaching, so if you wish to schedule a meeting with either of our teaching mentors, please fill out the registration form.

Sherrerd mentors Liz Pryor and Patty DiBartolo are available to faculty and staff to talk about anything related to your teaching. A conversation can happen once or can be ongoing through the year or semester. Please know these conversations are confidential and not evaluative. The conversations are an opportunity to talk with a colleague about some aspect of the teaching-learning process. Conversations may be philosophical, operational or anything in between. Topics may include sequencing a course or lesson, getting students to be more aware of their own learning, assessment, grading, designing group activities, establishing norms or making sense of student feedback.

Teaching Mentors for 2022-23

Elizabeth Pryor
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor

Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor will resume her duties as a teaching mentor for inclusive and equitable pedagogies for the 2022-2023 academic year. Liz explores the conundrum: How to teach difficult subjects about race, especially from the past, without inflicting harm in the present. Her particular interest focuses on the “n-word”—a word that is prevalent in both racist and anti-racist documents, art, literature and politics—but one that poses a problem when invoked insensitively in academic spaces. Pryor will work with faculty (using the Teaching Circle paradigm and other strategies) to imagine pedagogical techniques that seek to mitigate n-word incidents (and the like) in the Smith community. Using the classroom itself as a point of entry, she will create strategies for navigating difficult language in the classroom as well as the increasingly intense student responses to the political and social landscape of Smith and the nation. Liz imagines herself as a collaborator with whom faculty members can brainstorm and strategize to create inclusive and equitable classroom spaces.

Patty DiBartolo
Patty DiBartolo 

Patty DiBartolo will continue as a teaching mentor for equitable and inclusive pedagogies for the 2022–23 academic year. She hopes to foster awareness of the promise of liberatory education, one that challenges systems of domination while cultivating hope. This work is made just a bit easier when shared and affirmed by others. With her colleagues, she seeks to transform gaps, challenges, and frustrations in our learning spaces into “place[s] of possibility” (hooks, 2003/2019, p. 74). In her consultations and teaching circle conversations, Patty will share principles of equity mindedness (identity, community, agency and competency) that open up possibilities for more just and effective teaching strategies so that we can collectively improve our classrooms, disciplines, and scholarly spaces.