Teaching Supports Available to Faculty

Pedagogy and Diversity

Pedagogy and Diversity (P&D) is our signature weekly teaching group for instructors and advisers, co-facilitated by an adjunct and a resident faculty member.  Instructors use informal case presentations to discuss and understand how issues of power, privilege, and identify interweave through the classroom process and get peer support and learning for teaching and advising. P&D meets on Tuesday evenings at 7pm in Seelye.

The Marta Sotomayor Fellowship

This position honors the contributions of SSW alum Marta Sotomayor, who was the first Latina in the United States to earn a doctorate in social work. Sotomayor served as the first executive director of the National Hispanic Council on Aging. She brought an unwavering focus to issues of equity and social justice in all that she did.

The Sotomayor Fellows (SF) serve as a type of “diversity ombuds” around issues of institutional racism, oppression and the ways in which they manifest within the educational process. The Fellows often teach at - or are alumna of - the School. Fellows are available to everyone in the community for consultation if they feel that students, clients, or they themselves are being impacted by a dynamic of power, privilege, or oppression around issues of identity or social location. he SF’s goal is to help faculty and students think through what the issue is and support them in using their voice to raise questions or issues and find resolution. We are fortunate to have a very vibrant faculty at the SSW with instructors and staff who bring a range of expertise and perspectives.

Critical Conversations

In 2016, the faculty agreed to ongoing training for all SSW instructors, advisers, students and staff members with the Critical Conversations group facilitation model designed by SSW faculty member, Peggy O’Neill, with former SSW faculty member Hye Kyung Kang (O'Neill & Kang 2016). This facilitation model provides a structured process to work through tensions that emerge across participants of a discussion when issues of power, privilege and bias emerge. We have committed to training 100% of all faculty in the model and have trained faculty over the past two years, continuing this summer. Students will be trained in the model this summer as a course.

Team Meetings

Every required course has a team comprised of the professors teaching each section of the course.  Weekly team meetings are led by the Course Coordinator. These meetings provide opportunities for support, planning, problem-solving and collaboration among members of that team.  

Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning

The college has a Center for Teaching and Learning that include a website full of articles and tips on higher ed teaching.  

TGNC Resources for Faculty

We have developed a Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Tool Kit for our community. We hold an intersectional understanding of the way that oppressive structures and forces manifest and exert their influence. This tool kit was devised as a first step to raise our gender competence and to acknowledge the experiences of gender queer community members on our campus and in our world.

The Online Racism Course

There is an online racism course that can be taken during the academic year. It provides current languaging and understanding of racism and intersecting oppressions from various theoretical perspectives. Our aim is to increase instructors’ knowledge base and comfort with talking about complicated issues related to racism in the U.S. The course is currently being revamped and will be ready for use by the late fall. Look for a notification through Smith email.

Office of Disability Services

Laura Raucher is our Director of Office of Disability Services (ODS).  SSW and Smith College have a commitment to Universal Design, rather than accommodations that shout out who needs them. All of our courses are required to be in keeping with these standards through offering various methods of teaching according to different learning styles and needs.

There are many ways that ODS can support faculty in strengthening their teaching practice in order to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners.  This video introduces Laura and describes the services that ODS can provide to students.  ODS will be providing ‘Brown Bag Open Conversations on Ability’ this summer.  These informal gatherings provide space for faculty to explore and discuss strategies to support students with varied learning styles or disabilities.

Smith College’s ACCESS Van provides on-campus transportation for students, faculty and staff with temporary or permanent disabilities affecting mobility. Van riders who will need to use the van for more than two days are asked to let the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs know so that van service can be scheduled in accordance with individual needs.