I have just received the following news about Sheafe Satterthwaite, beloved eccentric lecturer in art history:

Sheafe’s contract has not been renewed for the coming year. Sheafe is 71 and has taught at Williams for over 40 years. He has always been a Lecturer on a four-year, renewable contract. This year, citing low student evaluations, he was told in late November that his contract would not be renewed.

For those who aren’t familiar with him, Sheafe is independently wealthy (at least, is rumored to be — ed.) and teaches because he enjoys teaching. All of his courses include a once-weekly “field seminar,” where he drives the class around in a large van to areas of interest in the countryside around Williams, and lectures while driving. He also takes all of his students out to dinner (in groups) at least once, and often invites them to his house. Rumor has it that he is paid something like $1 for the four-year contract, and Williams throws in free lunches at Driscoll (this last part is true; Sheafe told me).

Would you please consider writing a letter to the Dean of Faculty, Prof. William Wagner? His email is william.g.wagner@williams.edu. I think a lot of us never expected we would need to write such a letter — perhaps we thought we might show our appreciation at a retirement party someday. But we do need to write now and explain how Sheafe has influenced our lives, our teaching, our careers, our ways of understanding the world. We need to tell the administration about the gifts Sheafe gave us and continues to give students at Williams.

This missive comes from Mark Livingston ’72 and Belle Zars ’76. Full message from Zars below the break.

Sheafe’s classes are certainly some of the most unique at Williams, and when I look back at the experiences in class that I remember most from college, Sheafe’s class was certainly one of the most memorable. Please consider writing in on his behalf.

All – please see the note below concerning Sheafe Satterthwaite’s termination from Williams College…

Hello

I am a former student of Sheafe Satterthwaite’s at Williams (’76/’79) and I recently learned from Mark Livingston ’72 (the author and illustrator of the Stone Hill map) that Sheafe’s contract has not been renewed for the coming year. Sheafe is 71 and has taught at Williams for over 40 years. He has always been a Lecturer on a four-year, renewable contract. This year, citing low student evaluations, he was told in late November that his contract would not be renewed.

This seems like a rough way to treat someone who has taught at Williams for so long and who is so close to retiring. Sheafe would like to leave on his own terms and would like to continue teaching at least through next year.

Would you please consider writing a letter to the Dean of Faculty, Prof. William Wagner? His email is william.g.wagner@williams.edu. When Milo Beach (former chair of the Art Department) recently wrote on Sheafe’s behalf he sent Wagner an email with his letter attached. Others are sending theirs via snail mail. If you could send a copy to Mark and me, that would be great as we are trying to keep a record of what is happening. And we will try to keep you posted as well. If you have questions or would like to read some of the letters that have already been written, please feel free to email me or call my cellphone: (512) 300-3271.

I think a lot of us never expected we would need to write such a letter — and as Ross Cheit said, thought we might show our appreciation at a retirement party someday. But we do need to write now and explain how Sheafe has influenced our lives, our teaching, our careers, our ways of understanding the world. We need to tell the administration about the gifts Sheafe gave us and continues to give students at Williams.

Thank you and kind regards,

Belle Zars

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