[Above: Professor Anne Prescott teaching, 1984. Photo by Scott McKiernan]

Long before educators created new ways to provide instruction for remote learning, Barnard’s faculty were reimagining and reinventing methods to better connect students with coursework. Their commitment to creativity has been championed by their most important audience — Barnard students. Some have ignited students’ passion for research by serving as thesis advisors, while others have created lasting mentorship bonds that began when students entered Barnard as first-years. 

To celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions of Barnard’s many amazing professors, we have highlighted a selected set of faculty in a four-part series, throughout the month of March, who have been with the College for 10 years or longer and won teaching and leadership awards for their devotion and service to students and pedagogy. Included are reflections from students and alumnae who’ve been inspired by these stellar faculty members — on campus and beyond the gates.

Lesley A. Sharp, Barbara Chamberlain & Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Professor of Anthropology

Lesley A. Sharp

From the moment Lesley A. Sharp joined Barnard’s faculty in 1994, she has shared her wisdom with students around sociocultural anthropology and, more specifically, medical anthropology. She received the Emily Gregory Award in 2001 and the Tow Award for Innovative and Outstanding Pedagogy in 2011. 

Through her mentorship, Sharp helps students to better interrogate the ethical and moral consequences of innovative medicine and science and was recognized with the MASA Graduate Student Mentor Award, from the American Anthropological Association’s Society for Medical Anthropology, for her committed work with Barnard and Columbia graduate students. Prior to her current role, Sharp led the Department of Anthropology as the Ann Whitney Olin Chair and oversaw the launch of her department’s new medical anthropology track. 

“Working under Professor Sharp was an incredible experience. She pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and into fieldwork, when I was tempted to just work in the archives, and then she guided me through often extremely emotional conversations with my informants. Professor Sharp encouraged me to let my research lead me to unexpected places.” —Halle Young ’20, recipient of the 2021 Peter K. New Student Research Award of the Society for Applied Anthropology (2021)

Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Neferti X. M. Tadiar has been challenging students to rethink global cultural practice and social imagination through a feminist’s lens. Her courses have interrogated postcolonial and Marxist theory, critical theories of race and subjectivity, cultural studies of the Asia Pacific region, and more since she joined Barnard in 2006. A 2016 winner of the Teaching Excellence Award, Tadiar has been the director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER) at Columbia University for seven years; the CSER holds conferences, exhibits, film screenings, lectures, and seminars that bring faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students together to think deeply about race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.

“Professor Tadiar is a great teacher, and I learned so much in this class. She does a great job at asking questions that matter, stimulating critical thinking, and making us think about how we can actually implement what we learned in the course into actions in our life.” —From an anonymous student’s course evaluation (2020)

Lisa Tiersten, Chair and Professor of History 


In addition to chairing the Department of History, Lisa Tiersten, who joined the Barnard faculty in 1993, is also affiliated with the College’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. A winner of the Emily Gregory Award in 1996, Tiersten has helped students to better understand modern European cultural history by mentoring them through their theses and has brought research interests closer to home by encouraging them to learn more about the history of students at Barnard College

Tiersten also serves as an advisor for global programs, helping students who are studying abroad navigate their educational experiences – whether that’s from Chile or South Korea. Her mentorship has helped budding historians find their footing and even inspired some to pursue Ph.D. programs. 

“The minute I met Professor Lisa Tiersten in her Introduction to European History lecture my freshman year, I knew that not only did I want to be a history major, but also [that] I wanted her as my advisor. Since then, she’s been my guide in writing my thesis, applying for graduate school, and [taking full advantage of] the end of my college experience. Her passion for her students and love of history has motivated me to pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor so that I can inspire students just as she has inspired me. She has helped me become the scholar I am today, and for that I am endlessly grateful.” —Willa Smith ’20, citing her favorite mentor (2020)