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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

President’s Cabinet

Floyd Cheung portrait

Floyd Cheung

Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Floyd Cheung guides the development and administration of all equity- and inclusion-related initiatives and programs at Smith. Among his responsibilities are multicultural affairs, religious and spiritual life, equal opportunity and Title IX compliance, and the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, staff and student body. A professor of English language and literature and American studies, Cheung was the founding chair of the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Certificate Program. He most recently served as faculty director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning.

David DeSwert portrait

David DeSwert

Vice President for Finance and Administration
David DeSwert is responsible for all matters related to the financial operation of the college, including budget, financial planning and accounting. In addition, he has responsibility for facilities, space planning, construction and capital projects; human resources; dining and catering services; campus safety; executive education programs; and environmental sustainability.
 

Samantha Earp portrait

Samantha Earp

Vice President for Information Technology
Samantha Earp is responsible for leading the college’s core information technology, operations and services and oversees the Information Technology Services group. She is responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency of services, the delivery of critical initiatives, and the development and implementation of a vision for IT that aligns resources and priorities with the college’s current and emerging goals. Earp came to Smith in September 2016 from Harvard University, where she was executive director of HarvardX, a university-wide strategic initiative that creates open online learning experiences for residential and online learners.

Laurie Fenlason portrait

Laurie Fenlason

Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
Laurie Fenlason assists the president with developing, communicating and executing Smith College’s strategy and planning. She is responsible for accelerating progress on strategic initiatives, exploring opportunities to advance Smith’s reputation and competitiveness, and ensuring that decisions and investments across the college accrue to Smith’s larger vision and mission.
 

Lisa Howie

Lisa Howie

Chief Investment Officer
Lisa Howie oversees the investment of Smith’s endowment, with the goals of providing significant support to the college’s annual operating budget and supporting Smith’s future activities. Howie came to Smith in 2021 from Yale University, where she served as a director of investments. She holds a B.S. and an M.B.A. from Yale University.

 

Denise Materre portrait

Denise Wingate Materre ’74

Vice President for Alumnae Relations
Denise Wingate Materre is responsible for engaging alumnae through compelling programs that reinforce Smith’s standing as a thought leader on global women’s issues. She works with administrative and academic offices across the college, as well as with the Alumnae Association of Smith College board of directors, to align alumnae programming with the college’s strategic objectives and to enhance alumnae professional and volunteer networks. A member of the Smith class of ’74, Materre serves as an ex officio member of the AASC board.

Joanna May

Joanna May

Vice President for Enrollment
Joanna May is responsible for all aspects of undergraduate student recruitment, selection, enrollment and financial aid for the college. She oversees the admission and Student Financial Services offices, and provides institutional leadership in developing and implementing student recruitment and financial aid strategies. Her responsibilities include articulating annual and long-term admission goals, developing strategies to meet financial aid and revenue goals, ensuring compliance in the areas of billing and financial aid for the college and School for Social Work, and supporting the college’s priorities of excellence and diversity in its student body. May came to Smith in 2021 from Columbia University, where she served as Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Admissions. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree from New York University.

Portrait of Joanna Olin

Joanna Olin

Chief of Staff
As chief of staff, Joanna Olin serves as a strategic adviser to President McCartney and works to advance her institutional goals by managing office staff and protocols, supporting presidential committees and meetings, overseeing presidential correspondence and events and coordinating special projects. She is responsible for ensuring that the president is scheduled, briefed and staffed effectively, in order to use her time and attention in the most strategic ways. In addition, Olin works with other cabinet members to advance key college initiatives. Olin came to Smith in 2018 from a similar role at Hampshire College. She holds a B.A. from St. Michael’s College and a J.D. from Western New England University School of Law.

Elena Palladino

Elena Palladino

Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Secretary of the College
Elena Palladino supports the operations of Smith’s board and serves as an adviser to the president and board chair on matters of institutional governance. She acts as liaison between the board and the college. As an officer of the college, she maintains all official board documents and records. Elena is a graduate of Simmons College and holds an M.A. in literary and cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon University and an Ed.M. in higher education from Harvard University. 

Bill Peterson portrait

Bill Peterson

Associate Provost
Bill Peterson manages the academic budget of the college overseen by the provost. He chairs the Committee on Faculty Compensation and Development and the Committee on Study Abroad. He has responsibility for faculty development, support in research and teaching, and serves as the director of sponsored research. Among his responsibilities are the Botanic Garden, the Clark Science Center, the Campus School, and non-tenure track faculty recruitment and hiring.

Beth Raffeld portrait

Beth Balmuth Raffeld

Senior Vice President for Alumnae Relations and Development
Beth Balmuth Raffeld came to Smith in 2013 having previously served MIT as the executive director of the Office of Philanthropic Partnerships. Beth manages all Smith development programs—major and principal gifts, The Smith Fund, international development, corporate and foundation relations and planned giving. She serves as an adviser to the president and the Board of Trustees on issues related to development. Beth began her development career in the early 1980s serving Smith College as a major gift officer during President Mary Maples Dunn’s tenure.

Baishakhi Taylor

Baishakhi Taylor

Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life
Baishakhi Taylor was appointed dean of the college and vice president for campus life starting July 2020. Her areas of responsibility include the class deans office; the Ada Comstock Scholars Program; the dean of students office, which includes student affairs, student engagement and residential life; international study; athletics; disability services; health and counseling services; the Lazarus Center for Career Development; the Wurtele Center for Leadership; the Lewis Global Studies Center; and the Jandon Center for Community Engagement.

Michael Thurston portrait

Michael Thurston

Provost and Dean of the Faculty
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.

Helene Visentin

Hélène Visentin

Associate Dean of the Faculty/Dean for Academic Development
Hélène Visentin is associate dean of the faculty and dean for academic development and director of graduate programs. She oversees strategic curricular initiatives as well as operations, including central academic centers, and coordinates diverse faculty professional development programs at Smith. Her responsibilities include the Emeriti Advisory Committee, the Board of Counselors program, the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning, the Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning and the Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching and Learning. A Professor of French studies, Visentin has been teaching at Smith since 1999. Her research specializes in early modern literature and culture. Recently, her research and teaching interests have been focused on digital humanities, especially mapping and data visualization techniques.

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Julia Yager

Vice President for College Relations and Communications
Julia Yager serves as the chief communications officer of the college. She oversees the Office of College Relations, which is responsible for campus communications, media relations, alumnae and development communications, publications, digital communications and social media, community relations and government relations. In her cabinet role, she provides strategic thought leadership to the college and leads its communications strategies to inform and inspire people about the impact Smith students, alumnae and faculty are having around the world.