The INSTAP Study Center for East Crete congratulates Prof. Susan K. Smith, who was recently awarded the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Faculty Award for Distinguished International Achievement. The honor recognizes a member of the full-time teaching faculty at Kennesaw State University who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and creative activity, and professional service which embodies culturally diverse and pluralistic global perspectives; and effective and innovative teaching practices focused on preparing students to be responsible global leaders. The award highlights the importance of the international dimensions of the awardees’ contributions to his/her discipline or subject matter.
Susan’s work at the Study Center over the past 15 years contributed significantly to the award. In 2006, she was invited by the director of the East Cretan Ephorate of the Greek Ministry of Culture, Vili Apostolakou, to work on material from the Hellenistic and Roman graves in the Stavros-Potamos neighborhood of Agios Nikolaos. Since then, Susan has returned nearly every year to study skeletal material from Greek excavations at Meselari, Itanos, Palaikastro, and now Chryssi. Among her impressive publications and presentations, we would highlight her lecture last year on two Early Byzantine graves entitled: Life and Death on Chryssi (https://vimeo.com/783608944). Her study identified a terrible number of injuries on the bones of a small population of men, women, and children whom she is certain suffered brutal lives working perhaps as slaves.
Susan’s studies have not only been pioneering in terms of discoveries but also outstanding examples of collaboration between our foundation (of which she is a senior member) and the Greek Ministry of Culture. The costs involved in the study of the human remains from rescue excavations are particularly challenging. Susan offered a unique solution to the problem by developing a training program for students from Kennesaw State. Since 2007, more than 40 undergraduates in anthropology have worked with her. Seven students (almost all of whom were young women) have gone on to graduate or professional schools directly related to their experience from the field school on Crete.
In sum, Susan has provided ground-breaking research to colleagues in Greece while also introducing dozens of students from Kennesaw State to the real world of anthropology in a global context.