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Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences stepping down

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) announced last Thursday that she would be stepping down and returning to her faculty position as a professor of the history of technology in MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society on July 1, 2015. An MIT faculty member since 1988, Fitzgerald has also served as an associate dean and acting dean of SHASS from 2005 to 2006 before becoming dean in 2007.

During her nine-year tenure as the Kenan Sahin Dean, Fitzgerald has led a school of 170 faculty members in strengthening resources for both the graduate and undergraduate programs. According to MIT News, her achievements include the “restructuring of several SHASS academic units to create a single, stronger unit centered on media studies and writing,” as well as supporting “the continued growth of the SHASS-based MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).” She also “established an in-house communications effort,” creating a website, monthly digest, and permanent exhibition, among other endeavors.

MIT President L. Rafael Reif described Fitzgerald as “a wonderful colleague and counselor — wise, clear, candid, forward-looking, and deeply in tune with MIT.” In an email to the MIT community, Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 added that he has “greatly valued her contributions as a member of the Academic Council and the Deans’ Group.” Schmidt also stated his intention to appoint a faculty committee to select the next SHASS dean, and called for suggestions from the MIT community.

—Angela Leong