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The Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty is the chief academic office of Smith College, ensuring a broad array of outstanding teaching, learning and research experiences for students and faculty. Our team directs and integrates the college’s varied academic efforts to create a thriving community and supports faculty across the arc of their professional lives—through curricular innovation, compensation, professional development and external grants. We’re committed to aligning academic resources with the college’s curricular mission and making Smith a great place to learn and work.

Assistant Professor Randi Garcia receiving the Sherrerd Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Celebrating Faculty

The annual Kathleeen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching were established in 2002 to recognize sustained and distinguished teaching by longtime faculty members, as well to as encourage younger faculty members whose demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence influences students and colleagues.

Read About This Year’s Winners More About the Awards

Susannah Howe, 2023–24 ELATES Fellowship

Mike Kinsinger, Design of a Polymer Injection System, Instrumentation Laboratory Company d.b.a. Werfen

Kate Soper, Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America

Kate Soper, 2023–24 Rome Prize Winner, Fredric A. Juilliard/Walter Dambrosch Rome Prize

Patricia Cahn, Candice Price, and Julianna Tymoczko, 2023 Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department, American Mathematical Society

Lesley-Ann Giddings, CAREER: Characterization and Evolution of N-hydroxylase Biocatalysts: Solutions to Catalysis and Remediating Metal Pollution, National Science Foundation

Christen Mucher, New Directions Fellowship, Mellon Foundation

Sharon Owino, GPR37, an underappreciated regulator of the Wnt pathway: relevance to enhancing regeneration following stroke, American Heart Association

John Brady and Sarah Mazza, A Workshop to Share, Explore, Develop, and Evaluate Online Petrology Teaching Resources and Strategies in Varied and Evolving Geoscience Education Settings, National Science Foundation

Steve Williams, Nasal-Throat Swab Testing for LF Using a Portable Real-Time PCR System, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Steve Waksman, Recently published book, Live Music in America, named a finalist by the Association of American Publishers for the best book on Music and the Performing Arts, as part of 2023 Prose Awards.

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.

Denise McKahn

Associate Provost
Denise McKahn ensures thriving academic programs at Smith, aligning resources with the curricular and co-curricular missions of the college in a sustainable and equitable way. Denise manages the academic budget of the college overseen by the provost. She chairs the Committee on Faculty Compensation and Development, the Classroom Committee, and the Committee on Study Abroad. She has responsibility for faculty development, and support in research and teaching, and in partnership with development and finance, advocates for grant proposal development that advances faculty research, instruction, and programmatic interests. Among her responsibilities are the Botanic Garden, the Clark Science Center, the Campus School, and non-tenure track faculty recruitment and hiring. Denise was hired as a faculty member in the Department of Engineering in 2008, and is a scholar, advocate, and Civil and Environmental Engineer.

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.

Kayla Cheneba

Director of Academic Operations/Special Advisor to the Provost
As Director of Academic Operations, Kayla 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 Special Advisor to the Provost, she 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, and other special projects under the Provost & Dean of the Faculty's purview.

Kelly DeForest

Associate Director of Curricular and Academic Administration
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.

Josh Parad

Senior Academic Budget Manager
The Senior Academic Budget Manager 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 the Senior Academic Budget Manager for departmental and program budget queries, inquiries regarding internal grants including CFCD and starters, the Lecture Committee, and financial modeling for new initiatives. 

Jayne Mercier

Associate Director for Faculty Analytics
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.

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

Associate 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 submissions.

Rachel Siegel

Senior Faculty Recruitment and Hiring 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. Contact Rachel for tenure-track and non-tenure track searches; faculty hiring appointment letters; research associate appointments; faculty visas; on-boarding of new faculty members and instructors; hiring Readers and UMass graduate student RAs; 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.

In my second year, I curated a student exhibition at the Cunningham center, and I emailed most of my professors inviting them to come see it. The exhibition was only up for an afternoon, and I didn’t quite expect them to stop by, but to my surprise, my advisors and three other professors who were teaching me at the time or had previously taught me all showed up. It was a lovely surprise and reminded me how most professors at Smith actually do care for your well-being and aspirations.
Mosa N. Molapo ’22, Art History and African Studies

Faculty Resources

Grants & Sponsored Programs

Learn about funding opportunities for research and scholarship as well as teaching, curricular and professional development.

Smith student writing in class

Teaching Arts Lunches

The Sherrerd Center’s Teaching Arts Lunches provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to share their experiences as teachers.

Professor Suleiman Mourad teaching a class

The Kahn Liberal Arts Institute

The Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Liberal Arts Institute supports collaborative research among faculty, students and visiting scholars.

Student in white sweater writing in a notebook

Contact Provost/Dean of the Faculty

College Hall 206
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063