Six MacVicar Fellows AccouncedBy Nicole A. Sherry
Six professors were appointed as MacVicar Faculty Fellows for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education last Friday.
The program was established last year in honor of Margaret L. A. MacVicar '65, MIT's first dean of undergraduate education. The appointments were announced by President Charles M. Vest and Provost Mark S. Wrighton at a MacVicar Fellows reception and luncheon on Feb. 5.
This year's recipients were Thomas J. Allen Jr. PhD '66 of the Sloan School of Management, Monty Krieger of the biology department, Charles Stewart III of the political science department, Irene Taylor of the literature section, James H. Williams Jr. '67 of the mechanical engineering department, and August F. Witt of the materials science and engineering department.
"The appointment will remind me of the goal of Margaret MacVicar: optimized involvement with students," Witt said.
Witt said he values both research and lecturing and believes both can be effective vehicles for teaching undergraduates. "There is feedback between the two. Teaching without being involved in research cannot be as effective and vice-versa," he said.
Wrighton made the appointments, acting on the advice of a committee, which included two undergraduate students, one dean, and four professors. The committee members read profiles on about 20 professors, which included letters from students, evaluations from colleagues, and records of past awards. They discussed the merits of the professors and submitted a ranked list to Wrighton on which he based the appointments.
The fellows were chosen on the basis "of exceptional and creative undergraduate educational contributions, with emphasis on recent and current activities," Wrighton said. They were selected on merit alone with no quotas for each school or department.
"There was not a single mold into which everyone who won one was made to fit. Those most interested in teaching and in students [stood out] in multiple ways," said Professor Graham C. Walker, appointed as a MacVicar fellow last year and a member of the advisory committee this year.
The MacVicar Fellows serve for 10 years, receiving a stipend to use towards enriching undergraduate education. Six professor were appointed last year.
MIT will ultimately commit at least $10 million dollars to the program and aims to have 60 to 80 MacVicar Fellows when the program is fully implemented, appointing six to eight professors each year.