New Teaching Award Honors Four Smith
College Faculty Members
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Four Smith
College faculty members were named recently as the first
winners of the Kathleen Compton Sherrerd '54 and John J.
F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching.
The new Sherrerd Teaching Award is to be given annually
to Smith faculty members in recognition of their distinguished
teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence.
The winners of the first Sherrerd Teaching Awards are David
Cohen, professor of mathematics; Shizuka Hsieh, assistant
professor of chemistry; Mahnaz Mahdavi, associate professor
of economics; and Vittoria Poletto, senior lecturer in Italian
language and literature.
The four faculty members will be honored at a presentation
of the award at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, in Sweeney
Concert Hall, Sage Hall. The awards ceremony is free and
open to the public.
Cohen, who currently chairs the Department of Mathematics,
joined the Smith faculty in 1968 after completing his doctoral
studies in math at the University of New Hampshire. The author
of "Introduction to Hilbert Space and Quantum Logic" and
co-author of "Conversational Calculus," as well
as several articles on math and teaching, Cohen specializes
in empirical logic, quantum theory, the application of logic,
analysis and algebra to physics and the mathematical education
Hsieh joined Smith's chemistry faculty in 2001 following
a one-year post at Oberlin College. Since completing her
doctorate at Oxford University in 1997, Hsieh has written
several articles on molecular reaction dynamics, one of her
research interests. At Smith, she currently teaches physical
chemistry and environmental chemistry.
Mahdavi directs Smith's heralded program on Women and Financial
Independence, which endeavors to provide women with the knowledge
to effectively manage and achieve financial objectives throughout
their lives. Mahdavi joined Smith in 1985 after receiving
her doctorate in economics at the University of Michigan,
and also serves on the faculty of the Smith Executive Education
Program. Her current research focuses on the empirical analysis
of stock returns in the United States and emerging markets.
Poletto has taught Italian at Smith since 1987 and will
assume the directorship of Smith's Junior Year Abroad program
in Florence, Italy, next year. Poletto recently co-produced
a computer program for teaching beginning and intermediate
students of Italian. In her teaching at Smith, Poletto employs
multiple forms of media, including art, opera, film and music,
to "make learning Italian as meaningful, as exciting,
as accessible as possible to all my students," she says.
The Sherrerd Teaching Award was made possible by a grant
to the college specified for that purpose by Smith College
alumna Kathleen Compton Sherrerd, a 1954 graduate, and her
husband, John J. F. Sherrerd, who live in Bryn Mawr, Penn.
Smith College has long placed a high value on teaching
and welcomes the establishment of the Sherrerd Teaching Award
as a publicly visible symbol of its commitment and dedication
to superior pedagogy. "Smith College has traditionally
emphasized the importance of dynamic, diverse and interactive
teaching in imparting the principles of the sciences and
liberal arts to its high-achieving students," said President
Carol T. Christ, who served on the English faculty at the
University of California at Berkeley before coming to Smith. "The
college considers the teaching of its students to be among
its most essential objectives as a leading institution of
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's
foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students
from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest
undergraduate women's college in the country.
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