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Distinguishing the Best Among Smith’s Educators

On April 4, when four members of the Smith faculty accept the Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching during the third annual presentation, they will join an impressive group of educators.

Eight Smith faculty members in the past two years have won the Sherrerd teaching award, named for the late Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F. Sherrerd, whose donation helped establish the gift in 2004. Each year, the Sherrerd award is given to Smith faculty members in recognition of their distinguished teaching records and enthusiasm and excellence in pedagogy.

Each award includes a framed citation and a stipend of $5,000. Names of award winners are engraved on a plaque displayed in the Neilson Library Browsing Room.

A student and faculty committee selects the award winners from among nominations submitted by students, faculty and staff members throughout the Smith community.

Last year’s winners were Patrick Coby, professor of government; Susan Etheredge, associate professor of education and child study; Dana Leibsohn, associate professor of art; and William Oram, Helen Means Professor of English Language and Literature. Winners of the inaugural Sherrerd Prizes were David Cohen, professor of mathematics; Shizuka Hsieh, assistant professor of chemistry; Mahnaz Mahdavi, who is now a professor of economics; and Vittoria Poletto, senior lecturer in Italian language and literature.

The Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching are the only such awards presented to Smith faculty members who have been nominated by the entire college community. Teaching awards are presented at two other times each year. Every February at Rally Day students present an annual teaching award to a junior and senior faculty member, and at commencement exercises the Honored Professor Award is presented to one faculty member in recognition of long and distinguished service to the college. But the Sherrerd award is given special distinction for its specific recognition of and focus on the principles of teaching, not from a student perspective, but from the college and from faculty peers as well. —ESW

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