McDermott and Smith receive College Outstanding Teacher Awards

Kathryn McDermott, professor, and Cristine Crispin Smith, associate professor, both in educational policy research and administration, are the College of Education’s 2015-16 College Outstanding Teacher Awards recipients. This awards program was instituted as a complement to the Distinguished Teaching Awards given by the UMass Amherst Graduate School. The awards honor individual faculty members for their teaching accomplishments within their own colleges. They are given during the spring semester and recipients are recognized at undergraduate Commencement.

Comments from students who nominated Smith for the award included:

“Cris really takes an interest in her students, their professional development, their career paths, their learning and their work/life balance.”

“Cris is a true trainer at heart and leads all her classes as a training, engaging the active participation of the students, involving them in directing their own learning, and coming up with engaging ways to teach new content. Cris is someone who always goes the extra mile for her students. Cris is the reason I feel I have had such a great educational experience at UMass. She inspires me and has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual. I feel lucky to have had the good fortune to learn from her. ”

“Her dynamism, care, and concern for all students made her one of the most popular teachers in the education department. She made every student feel that they had valuable insights and that she valued us as people, not just as UMASS students.”

In nominating McDermott for the award, some of her students said the following:

“Her classes were always engaging, stimulating and challenging. Her scholarly writings are rich with new understandings or educational policy and provided a bridge between the fields of public policy and education.”

“Kate’s comments are so detailed and erudite that I make sure to preserve my papers just so I never lose her words! It is clear that Kate spent as much time assessing my work and I spent writing it. The same was true during my comprehensive exam defense when her questions were challenging and forced me to think about my topic in new ways. Just knowing that Katie would be on my committee affected my writing process: I kept asking myself, “what will Katie say about this?”

“She has a rare combination of intelligence, dedication and approachability that make her a truly outstanding teacher and one I feel lucky to have had.”

More Faculty News