THE 2013 Recipients
Andrea Hairston, professor of theatre; Susannah Howe, senior lecturer in engineering; and Douglas Patey, professor of English language and literature, were the recipients of the 2013 Kathleen Compton Sherrerd ’54 and John J.F. Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching. They were honored during a reception and presentation of the awards on Thursday, October 24.
Smith alumna Andrea Hairston, the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Afro-American Studies, joined the Smith faculty in 1989 and served as an instructor in theatre at Smith from 1979 to 1983. After graduating from Smith in 1974, Hairston completed her master of arts degree at Brown University in 1977. In 1978, Hairston co-founded Chrysalis Theatre, a Northampton company that produces original performance works of music, dance and theater. She continues to serve as artistic director of Chrysalis. Hairston’s recent Smith courses include Black Women Playwrights, Playwriting and Screenwriting, and The Magic If, a course on speculative or fantastic theater and film. Alongside her teaching, Hairston remains active as a playwright, novelist, theater performer and director. Her plays have been produced widely and she has received numerous playwriting and directing awards. Hairston has also published two award-winning novels, Mindscape and Redwood and Wildfire. In 2011, Hairston received the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award.
Susannah Howe is the director of Design Clinic, in the Picker Engineering Program, a two-semester capstone design course in which senior engineering students collaborate on applied projects sponsored by industry and government. Howe, who has directed the program since its inception in 2003, has coached 65 design teams and collaborated with 35 different sponsoring organizations. Her current research focuses on innovations in engineering design education, particularly at the capstone level. She has been instrumental in connecting the engineering capstone community nationwide; has served as co-chair for the past two Capstone Design Conferences; and is helping lead an initiative to develop an online repository for capstone practices and resources. Howe is also involved with efforts to foster design learning in middle school students and to support entrepreneurship at primarily undergraduate institutions. Completing a bachelor of science in engineering degree at Princeton and masters and doctorates in engineering at Cornell, Howe’s professional background is in civil engineering with a focus on structural materials.
Douglas Patey, Sophia Smith Professor of English Language and Literature, is a specialist in 18th-century British literature and thought. He teaches courses on Pope and Swift, the 18th-century novel, the English language, the technology of reading and writing (on the history of literacy), and seminars on Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh and the development of literary theory. He also frequently directs Smith’s interdisciplinary Program in the History of Science and Technology, and is one of the founding members of the college’s Book Studies Concentration. Patey has written or edited five books, including Of Human Bondage: Historical Perspectives on Addiction in 2003, as well as essays on Dryden, Pope, Swift, Johnson, Austen and Hegel. Patey joined the Smith faculty in 1979 after completing a bachelor’s degree at Hamilton College, and masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Virginia. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Guggenheim Foundation.