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For New Faculty

Tina Wildhagen

The Sherrerd Center organizes a variety of activities to help integrate new faculty into the Smith community and to help them think more deeply about their teaching. This begins with a presentation during new faculty orientation and continues with monthly new faculty luncheon meetings. We offer a January teaching workshop to provide time for reflection on experiences from the fall semester while planning for the spring. We also coordinate mentoring for new tenure track faculty through the Board of Counselors program.

Junior Faculty Teaching & Learning Seminar

"Many things are part of a teacher’s framework or perspective. An understanding of learning and pedagogy have strong claims to be included in this perspective. These ideas are rarely part of a faculty member’s education, and unfortunately, college faculty have little opportunity to encounter them once on the job. The Teaching and Learning Seminar is designed to provide this opportunity."
Al Rudnitsky, Professor of Education & Child Study and Sherrerd Prize Winner

The Sherrerd Center sponsors a Teaching and Learning Seminar every year. If you're interested in a more sustained and intentional series of conversations, please contact us about participating in future Teaching and Learning Seminars.  

For our 2017 seminar we decided to focus not on a particular topic or approach but on a particular audience: untenured faculty and other junior teaching staff. This year’s seminar is being led by Al Rudnitsky, who notes: "Few things are as challenging as teaching, especially teaching that helps students learn in ways that are meaningful and lasting. Teachers deal with a complex set of ingredients. Students vary in their prior knowledge, interest, attitudes, thinking skills, values and goals (to name a few); subject matter is complex; the realities of space, time, resources and accountability are constraining. You get the idea. There is no set of procedures for achieving good teaching. R. Keith Sawyer (a prominent learning scientist) describes good teaching as disciplined improvisation. Good teaching, like good improv, depends on having a framework or set of ideas that help one see what’s important, ask the right questions and act."

New Faculty Events

Discussion of What The Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

Friday, January 20, 2017, from 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Kahn Colloquium Room (Neilson Library) 

Al Rudnitsky (Education) and Floyd Cheung (director of the Sherrerd Center) will facilitate a discussion of the book What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain. Feel free to bring questions about the book as well as any you may have about teaching in general. We believe that all teaching is improvable and that it helps to reflect and share together. Doing so early in one's career is crucial for many faculty members. If you need a copy of the book, please email Lunch will be provided.

New Faculty Luncheons

This is a safe space for new faculty members to talk about whatever may be on their minds with one another, the director of the Sherrerd Center and guests who have valuable experience with the topic being discussed. Lunch is provided, but please let us know that you're coming at least a few days beforehand by emailing

These meetings take place in Seelye B8, with lunch provided. The dates for the spring semester are:

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017, from 12:15–1:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 29, 2017, from 12:15–1:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 12:15–1:15 p.m.

New faculty should also consider attending the Teaching Arts Lunches and Teaching Circles.

PDF iconResource Guide for Faculty of Color at the Five Colleges

Mentoring Map

No one succeeds alone. All of us depend on a network of mentors that evolves according to our career stage. As new faculty members, be sure to identify people at Smith and beyond who can support you in areas from professional development and intellectual community to emotional support and accountability for what really matters. Fill out the following mentoring map by Kerry Ann Rockquemore of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Feel free to consult with your department or program chair, a member of the Board of Counselors, and/or the director of the Sherrerd Center for assistance, especially in identifying Smith contacts.

PDF iconMentoring Map

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity Member Resources

Smith College is an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, which grants you access to Member Resources, from weekly newsletters to webinars. Claim your membership at no cost via this membership page and click "Register Now" under Institutional Sub-Account Membership.

Board of Counselors

The Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning oversees the Faculty Board of Counselors, appointed by the Provost. The board includes senior faculty members who provide individual and collective extra departmental mentoring to tenure-track faculty members. The counselors are also willing to meet with any recently appointed faculty members who seek advice. Working with the Sherrerd Center, the board also advises senior faculty members and administrators on their work with newer colleagues.