The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), the leadership development agency for the United Methodist denomination, honored Wesleyan Professor of Modern Languages Dr. Sarah DeSmet with the prestigious Cutting Edge Curriculum Award for her work in WISe 101: Wesleyan Integrative Seminar Experience. The very foundation of a Wesleyan education, WISe 101 is an interdisciplinary seminar that introduces first-year students to academic life at Wesleyan and focuses on honing academic skills, especially writing and critical thinking. All first-year Wesleyan students are required to take WISe 101. In its inaugural year (2018), the Cutting-Edge Curriculum Award received dozens of applications from colleges and universities across the United Methodist Connection. Only 10 applications were selected as finalists for the awards program.
In her nineteenth year at Wesleyan, Dr. DeSmet serves as a professor of modern languages, Humanities Division chair, lead instructor for the Wesleyan Integrative Seminar Experience, faculty marshal, and serves as the 2017-2019 president of the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She earned a B.A. in French and Spanish at Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in French literature at Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in romance languages at the University of Georgia. Dr. DeSmet has traveled with Wesleyan students to National Parks in Utah, New York City, Atlanta, Guatemala, Germany, and France.
The Cutting-Edge Curriculum Award was created to recognize faculty at United Methodist-related colleges and universities who have developed unique and engaging courses designed to enhance the experience of students. The 2018 awards highlighted curriculum that introduced first-year students to supportive instruction aimed at helping them flourish as they begin their academic careers.