Each year, the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges honor their own with faculty awards. This year, Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly and Associate Professor of Sociology Renee Monson were given awards for their respective community service and teaching.
“Mary Kelly and Renee Monson have demonstrated their talents as educators in every sense of the word,” says Provost and Dean of Faculty Teresa Amott. “They have gone above and beyond-teaching not only courses but life lessons, not only educating students but inspiring them.”
Since she joined the faculty in 2007, Kelly has served as a creative and driving force in establishing new service opportunities for students, faculty and community members and developing and enhancing existing community-based learning opportunies.
Through her work with the College Experience program, Kelly has played a significant role in making HWS more inclusive for individuals with developmental disabilities, thus making it a more diverse and valuable learning environment for all HWS students. Kelly led HWS students in creating the College Experience Outreach Club in the spring of 2008, a club that brings together as members HWS students and College Experience students.
Each semester, Kelly’s students conduct service learning projects either with College Experience students or at other local sites, including a senior center for adults with disabilities downtown, the middle school, the high school, and special education settings at the elementary schools in Geneva.
Most recently, Kelly was instrumental in putting together the campus-wide HWS Festival of Disability and the Arts, meeting with HWS faculty and staff and local ARC staffs, implementing the ideas discussed.
Kelly’s service is not limited to Geneva. For one of the projects using technology to build bridges and enhance learning, she brought a small group of students to the Bronx to work with middle and high school students last year in what is shaping up to be an ongoing collaboration between HWS and teachers there.
Kelly received her Ph.D. from Indiana University, her MPH from the University of Hawaii and her B.A. from University of Illinois. She serves as the director of HWS’s Master of Arts in Teaching program in the Education department.
Embodying the characteristics and dedication that create distinction in teaching, Monson will be recognized for her years of service as a teacher and mentor at HWS-for the long hours spent in preparing classes, meeting with students, developing assignments tailored to students’ needs and skills, participating in teaching seminars and book groups, making the extra effort to engage students in research and participation at professional conferences.
Teaching topics such as gender relations, families and social change, social policy, sexuality, welfare state restructuring and qualitative methodology, Monson has a wide range of expertise to offer. Monson’s teaching is rigorous and challenging, aimed at helping students develop sophisticated critical thinking skills. In keeping with the long-standing HWS tradition of the faculty member as teacher-scholar, her research is vital to her teaching, examining subjects that cut across many disciplines and pushing students to think in new and expansive ways.
In her scholarly endeavors, Monson has conducted research on how U.S. welfare reform affects the social organization of sexuality, as well as the social organization of paid and unpaid work. Specifically, she is interested in how men’s and women’s gendered interests and identities as fathers, mothers, and sexually active adults are at stake as the U.S. shifts the provision of social welfare from the state to families and employers.
Having joined the faculty in 1998 after teaching at University of Wisconsin and Oberlin College, Monson has published in anthologies and peer reviewed journals, including Work, Welfare, and Politics in the Wake of Reform; Making Men Into Fathers: Men, Masculinities and the Social Politics of Fatherhood; Gender & Society; and Child Support Assurance: Design Issues, Expected Impacts, and Political Barriers as Seen from Wisconsin. She has presented papers to the American Sociological Association; the Society for the Study of Social Problems; the Sixth Institute for Women’s Policy Research Conference; and the Work, Welfare, and Politics Conference, among others.
Monson received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, her M.A. from the University of Minnesota and her B.A. from Oberlin College. She is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Sociologists for Women in Society and the Council on Contemporary Families.