10th Annual Sherrerd Awards For Distinguished Teaching
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 14:10
Last Thursday, Smith College held its 10th annual award ceremony for the Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching. This year’s recipients include Michael Barresi, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences; Floyd Cheung, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature; and Jennifer Guglielmo, Associate Professor of History.
The Sherrerd Prizes were created out of a desire to celebrate teaching. Together with President Christ, John and Kathleen Sherrerd ’54 wanted to recognize great teaching and support faculty in developing their teaching skills.
The three professors were nominated by their students and colleagues to receive the award. Each professor was introduced and honored by a student of theirs before receiving the award. Tarja Yvanka de Soysa ’11 introduced Barresi. According to de Soysa, Barresi redefined learning and compelled the students to learn. As a professor, he did not stay within the constraints of a classroom, but instead organized many conferences for students to interact with others in the science fields. “My reward is seeing my students succeed at Smith and outside of it,” said Barresi in his acceptance speech.
After Barresi received his award, Lynne S. Francis AC ’10 spoke for Cheung. Francis explained that as an Ada Comstock Scholar, she was terrified to re-enter the realm of education, until she met Cheung. She conveyed the fact that Cheung made her feel welcomed and pushed her to improve.
“I encourage my students to share their partially formed thoughts in class discussion. Don’t wait until you think you have something brilliant to say. Embrace the classroom as a place where we can work together to discover new ideas and pursue new lines of thought,” said Cheung. Cheung dedicated the award to his parents, explaining that “both were high school teachers in their home country, but sacrificed those careers to raise their family in the United States. They enabled me to pursue a path that they themselves could not.”
Finally, Anne Yuki Watanabe ’12 presented an award to Guglielmo. According to Watanabe, Guglielmo inspired her students to push themselves. “My favorite part of teaching is the conversation,” said Guglielmo. “I especially love classes that I can structure around discussion because I want to hear what my students think; I want us to listen and learn from one another.”
“My goal is to create a space that allows students to grow, to express and believe in themselves, and to use their minds in service of their hearts,” she explained.
The Sherrerd Teaching Prize recipients will have their names engraved on a plaque in Neilson’s Browsing Room.