You might think it’s obvious that a professor would consider teaching to be important. But at larger colleges and universities, classes frequently are taught by graduate students, not by professors. At Smith, even the most senior faculty are in the classroom teaching introductory courses, seminars in their specialties and everything in between. Professors respect their students and will take you seriously as a scholar. They will challenge you to grow personally and intellectually and are dedicated to seeing you succeed. As biologist Steve Williams says, "Nothing is more fun than when a student gets a great research result and comes bouncing into the lab because she’s so excited about it."
They teach in small classes, and they’ll know your name and interests. They’ll ask important questions -- not "When was the Magna Carta signed?" but "So what?" and "What makes you think so?" It’s their job to help you think, not to pound facts and figures into you. They will startle your brain cells in an atmosphere that fosters cooperation among students.
Smith women give their professors consistently high marks for accessibility. Smith faculty encourage students to drop by their offices to chat as well as to ask questions, make comments or tackle problems. Most Smith students get to know several professors as mentors and friends, as well as teachers.
The Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching are given annually to Smith faculty members in recognition of their distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence. More...