Michael Thurston serves as Smith’s chief academic officer and is responsible for the curriculum and for support for faculty teaching and research. He chairs the Committee on Academic Priorities and oversees the long-term composition of the faculty. A member of the Smith faculty since 2000, Thurston is the college’s Helen Means Professor of English Language and Literature and an authority on American literature and American studies, with a primary research interest in modern and contemporary poetry. The recipient of Smith’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching in 2010, Thurston has contributed substantially to faculty governance at Smith. He has served as chair of Faculty Council, served on the Committee on Tenure and Promotion, directed the American Studies Program and chaired the English department.