Four Faculty Honored
for Excellent Teaching
By Eric Sean Weld
Four Smith faculty members were recently named as winners of the Sherrerd Teaching
Awards in recognition of their distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm
and excellence in pedagogy.
The awards, named for the late Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F.
Sherrerd, were established in 2002 and are given annually to four faculty members.
The 2006 winners are Giovanna Bellesia, professor of Italian language and literature;
H. Robert Burger, Achilles Professor of Geology; Glenn Ellis, associate professor
of engineering; and Marguerite Itamar Harrison, assistant professor of Portuguese.
Giovanna Bellesia has taught language and literature at Smith since 1984. Her research
focuses on modern Italian women writers, and she has translated numerous texts from
Italian to English. Originally from Milan, Italy, Bellesia teaches Women in Italian
Society Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow as well as a survey of Italian literature and
H. Robert Burger, one of the longest-serving members of the faculty, began at Smith
in 1966. He has researched and written extensively on topics in geology, including
the origin of the Connecticut Valley and the science of natural disasters. Burger
teaches the popular course Natural Disasters: Confronting and Coping, as well as
Environmental Geophysics and a course on Geographic Information Systems.
Glenn Ellis, a national leader in engineering education, came to Smith five years
ago. He won several teaching awards in his former positions at Clarkson University,
the United States Air Force Academy and other institutions. His research focuses
on engineering education and related gender issues.
Marguerite Itamar Harrison joined the Smith faculty in 2000 and specializes in interactive
language courses in Brazilian Portuguese, as well as interdisciplinary courses in
Portuguese and Brazilian studies. Her writings include numerous translations of prose
works by Brazilian authors. Harrison teaches Contemporary Cityscapes: Mapping Brazilian
Culture Onto an Urban Grid and Brazil x Five: A Journey Through Its Multicultural
The Sherrerd Award winners were honored during a ceremony on April 4. A committee
of faculty and students choose the winners from among numerous nominations from throughout
the Smith community. The Sherrerd Teaching Award is the only such award presented
to Smith faculty members who have been nominated for recognition by the entire college