Story posted May 12, 2010
Assistant Professor of German Jill Smith has been named the recipient of the 2010 Sydney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty. The award was announced at the College's Honor's Day ceremony on May 12, 2010.
Smith is a scholar of 19th and 20th century German literature and culture who specializes in gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on Berlin.
In addition to language studies, Smith has developed highly original curriculum that reflects aspects of her scholarship, with courses such as: Berlin: Sin City, Divided City, City of the Future; and Robots, Vamps and Whores: Women in German Culture and Society: 1880-1989.
"Teaching has been my passion for nearly 20 years, and it is wonderful to receive recognition for something into which I pour a lot of work but from which I derive so much joy," said Smith. "German-speaking culture has such a complex and fascinating history, but it is exactly this tumultuous and often troubled history that makes it so rewarding to teach."
Smith is known as a vivid presence in the classroom who encourages students to take risks and to experiment with unknown ideas and linguistic structures. Students consistently rate her as among their favorite professors, extolling her passion for her subject, her rigor, and willingness to go above and beyond to enhance student learning.
Smith has published a number of articles and presented at conferences nationwide. She was awarded a Fulbright Junior Research Grant and a Bowdoin Faculty Research Fellowship, both of which made it possible for her to spend the 2009-2010 academic year in Berlin, Germany, where she is working on her first book, tentatively titled, Berlin Coquette: Prostitution, New Womanhood, and Desire in the German Capital, 1890-1933.
Since joining the Bowdoin faculty in 2006, Smith has been an active member of the Bowdoin community, most recently serving on the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee. She organized a public lecture by the architect of the controversial Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Peter Eisenman, in the fall of 2007 as part of the campus-wide initiative on Visual Arts in the 21st Century.
Smith earned a B.A. in German from Amherst College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Germanic Studies from Indiana University at Bloomington.
The Karofsky Prize is given by members of the Karofsky family, including Peter S. Karofsky, M.D. '62, Paul I. Karofsky '66, and David M. Karofsky '93, to honor distinction in teaching by untenured members of the faculty.
It is among the College's most prestigious honors and is awarded annually on the basis of student evaluation of teach to "an outstanding Bowdoin teacher who best demonstrates the ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm, and stimulate intellectual curiosity."
It is conferred by the Dean for Academic Affairs in consultation with the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure.
Former Karofsky Prize winners have included: Laura Henry, 2009; Michael Kolster, 2008; Charles Dorn, 2007; Matthew Klingle, 2006; Katherine Dauge-Roth, 2005; Arielle Saiber, 2004; Rachel Beane, 2003; Marc Hetherington, 2002; Takeyoshi Nishiuchi, 2001; and Nancy Jennings, 2000.