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Teaching 'From the Mind and Heart'

News of Note

2023 Sherrerd Award recipients announced

Statue of a woman gazing downward contemplatively

Published April 4, 2023

The three faculty members selected for this year’s Sherrerd Teaching Awards are educators who “teach from both the mind and the heart,” in the words of one student nominator.

Smith’s annual Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J. F. Sherrerd Prizes for Distinguished Teaching were established in 2002 to recognize exceptional teaching by longtime faculty members, and to encourage younger faculty who display outstanding skill in fostering learning and inspiring achievement.

The honorees were chosen based on nominations from students, faculty and alums, who described this year’s teaching award recipients as “engaging,” “caring” and “inspiring.”

Nominators cited both the skills the three faculty members display in their classrooms—including designing innovative assignments and fostering open-ended discussions—and the mentorship and support they provide that “meets students where they’re at.”

 In the words of their students and faculty colleagues, the award recipients bring “passion,” “grace” and “humor” to their work at Smith.

The 2023 teaching prize winners will be celebrated in a ceremony in the fall that will be open to the campus community.

Here are biographies of this year’s award recipients:

Jay L. Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy

A member of the Smith faculty since 1999, Garfield is visiting professor of Buddhist philosophy at Harvard Divinity School, professor of philosophy at Melbourne University and adjunct professor of philosophy at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. 

His areas of professional interest include the philosophy of psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, Buddhist philosophy, applied and theoretical ethics and hermeneutics. Academic Influence has identified him as one of the 50 most influential philosophers of the past decade.

At Smith, Garfield has directed and taught in the Tibetan Studies in India Program and has taught courses in logic, Buddhist studies, modern Indian philosophy and the philosophy of mind.

A recipient of numerous grants and fellowships and academic honors, he also serves as editor in chief of the Journal of Buddhist Philosophy and on the editorial board of the American Institute for Buddhist Studies/Columbia Center for Buddhist Studies—among others.

Among his most recent publications are Losing Ourselves: How to Live Without a Self (Princeton University Press, 2022), Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration (Oxford University Press, 2021) and Knowing Illusion: Bringing a Classical Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse (with the Yakherds) (Oxford University Press, 2021). 

His current scholarly works in progress include Nature and Norms: A Humean Account of the Sources of Normativity and K.C. Bhattacharyya’s Subject as Freedom: A Translation and Commentary (with N. Bhushan).

Garfield earned his A.B. at Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.


Barbara Kellum, professor of art

Kellum, who has been teaching at Smith since 1981, is an expert in the visual culture of the ancient Roman world. Her publications focus on everything from imperial building complexes to the shop signs and graffiti of Pompeii. 

Recent publications include “Weighing In: the Priapus Painting at the House of the Vettii, Pompeii” in Obscenities: Their Nature and Use in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds (University of Michigan, 2015); “Beyond High and Low: The Beauty of Beasts at the House of the Citharist in Pompeii” in Roman Artists, Patrons, and Public Consumption (University of Michigan, 2018); and “Buying Power: the Public Priestesses of Pompeii” in Women’s Lives, Women’sVoices: Roman Material Culture and Female Agency on the Bay of Naples (University of Texas, Austin, 2021). Kellum is currently working on The Mythology of Everyday Life in the Ancient Roman World, which provides a new interpretation of the use of mythological and popular culture imagery in the houses and monuments of the formerly enslaved during the Roman imperial period.

A member of the Smith College Museum of Art’s Concentration Advisory Committee, Kellum is actively engaged in contemporary museum theory and practice, which serves as the intellectual framework for her scholarship and is a vital part of her teaching in her first-year seminar, “On Display: Museums, Collections, Exhibitions.” The study of virtual ancient worlds, animal studies, and the histories of libraries and the organization of knowledge also inform her research and teaching.

Kellum received a bachelor’s and a master of arts degree from the University of Southern California, a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.


Erin Pineda, Phyllis Cohen Rappaport ’68 New Century Term Professor of Government

Pineda, who joined the Smith faculty in 2017, teaches courses and conducts research in the history of political thought, democratic theory, race and politics, the politics of protest and social movements, Black political thought and American political thought.

Her book Seeing Like an Activist: Civil Disobedience and the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2021) shows how civil rights activists, in concert with anticolonial movements across the globe, turned to civil disobedience as a practice of decolonization in order to emancipate themselves and others, and in the process, transform the racial order. Seeing Like an Activist was awarded the 2022 Best First Book Prize in the field of political theory from the American Political Science Association.

Pineda’s work has appeared in Democratic Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, European Journal of Political Thought and History of the Present, along with the Boston Review, The Nation, and the London Review of Books blog.

Prior to coming to Smith, Pineda  was a postdoctoral scholar in political science at the University of Chicago, and a faculty affiliate of the university’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

Pineda received a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and a doctorate in political science from Yale University.