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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

Gallery | the MIT SHASS MacVicar Faculty Fellows


 

                                                 
                                                  The Best Part of My Job
                                                  The SHASS MacVicar Fellows on the significance—
                                                  and sheer fun—of teaching MIT students

 

2013 | Emma Teng
T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations
Associate Professor of Chinese Studies


Research areas
China-Taiwan relationships, Eurasian Identities, Chinese literature, East Asian cultures, Asian American studies
Story at MIT News  | Websites at History and FL&L

"I deeply appreciate the opportunity to teach at MIT because I have many students from diverse backgrounds, including recent immigrants, and American-born students who are the first in their family to attend college. Listening to their struggles, and understanding the fierce courage and determination they bring to their educations, is truly inspiring. These students daily remind me what it's all for. I consider it a great privilege to teach MIT students."


2012 | William Broadhead
Class of 1945 Career Development Associate Professor of History


Research Areas
Ancient Greek and Roman worlds, history of ancient Italy from the 4th to the 1st centuries BC, with a particular interest in relations between the Romans and the various Italian peoples subject to them
Story at MIT News 

"He taught with contagious enthusiasm. He took the time to ensure that his students have the best opportunities to further their learning and helped provide a way—an interactive, international way—for students to see the real-life applications of their studies." — from student nomination


2012 | David Kaiser 
Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science
Senior Lecturer, MIT Department of Physics


Research Areas
History research focuses on the development of physics in the United States during the Cold War, looking at how the discipline has evolved at the intersection of politics, culture, and the changing shape of higher education. Physics research focuses on early-universe cosmology, working at the interface of particle physics and gravitation.
Story at MIT News


“What truly captivates me about Professor Kaiser is his crucial role as the storyteller.… For me, David Kaiser’s stories provided the narrative I needed to make sense of my experiences at MIT.” — from student nomination 


2012 | Nancy Lin Rose 
Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics 


Research Areas
Empirical analysis of firm behavior and the economics of regulation
Story at MIT News 

“Professor Rose was by far one of the best professors I have encountered at MIT. Not only is she knowledgeable and energized about her subject material, but she actually cares that her students enjoy her class.”  — from student nomination


2010 | Norvin Richards 
Professor of Linguistics


Research areas
Syntax, endangered languages, Austronesian languages
story

“Every conceivable virtue is evident in Norvin’s teaching,” explains one of his colleagues. “His planning is extensive... he lays out the issues, data and analysis with clarity and beauty. Norvin is the kind of teacher who makes his audience think and ask questions because they find it fun to do so.” 


2009 | Diana Henderson
Professor of Literature, Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Support 
Partcipating faculty in Women and Gender Studies, and in Comparative Media Studies 


Research areas

Shakespeare, including performance cross-media; English Renaissance poetry and drama; modernism and world drama; gender studies
profile

"Literature delights and challenges MIT students. It provides a welcoming place for these immensely talented, multifaceted students to grapple with their own basic assumptions about meaning, value, and character and to appreciate human creativity and the power of eloquence. The abilities to be at home with words and to communicate insights clearly are among the most valuable life skills students can attain—for careers, for work and play, for being a citizen."  
 


2008 | Stephen Tapscott
Professor of Literature


Research areas
Poetry and poetics;20th century American literature and culture; modernism; theory and practice of translation; 20th century Central European and Latin American poetry; creative writing
website

“One of my favorite poets, Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, gets it just right about how people—specifically students—find they enjoy and need what my field offers." Read In Praise of My Sister, by Wislawa Szymborska


2007Jonathan Gruber
Professor of Economics


Research areas
Public finance and health economics
website

"Economics is primarily about the decisions we all make every day—whether it’s buying a second or third edition of a textbook or whether or not to carry an umbrella It’s really what our whole lives are about."  
 


 

2005 | Ruth Perry
Anne Friedlaender Professor of Literature


Research areas 

18th century studies; feminist literary and social history; the English novel; history of the family; British and American ballads and folk music; orality and literacy
website 

“Literature classes are about understanding what’s meaningful in the world. The major texts we teach all help us think about what it means to be human.”
 


David Pesetsky

2005 | David Pesetsky
Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics


Research areas

Syntax, morphology, syntax of music, Russian syntax, language acquisition
Q & A

"When you study linguistics, you are studying a huge body of knowledge about the language we speak that each one of us has in our heads. Each time we have a conversation with a friend, listen to the radio or mutter to ourselves, we are putting this knowledge to use in an incredibly sophisticated fashion.

Half the excitement of teaching linguistics is watching students uncover this knowledge in themselves, and seeing their "oh my" expressions as they learn the hidden acoustic ingredients of speech sounds and the crazy tricks our brains can play with words,  sentences and their meanings."
 


2004 | Anne McCants
Professor of History; Head, History


Research areas
Historical demography; early modern trade and consumption; standard of living in pre-industrial Europe
profile


“People know that history is important, and they cite it all the time. The problem is that often what they know isn’t very accurate. And so decisions are often uninformed, because people have got the facts wrong about what really happened. Part of the MIT SHASS mission is to give MIT students a strong grounding, historically and culturally, and help them gain the critical thinking skills they need to take on whatever challenges lie ahead." 
 


2004 | Jean Jackson
Professor of Anthropology


Research areas
Indigenous mobilizing in Colombia; small-scale societies, anthropological linguistics
website

 

 


 

 

 

2003 | Peter Child
Class of 1949 Professor of Music, Composer 
 


Research areas

Composition and musical analysis
website 
 

“We cultivate not just creativity but an understanding of ways to be creative in situations where there might not be a single right answer. Students have to learn about indefiniteness and ambiguity and how to achieve success through creative thinking when answers are not definite.”


2003 | Isabelle de Courtivron
Professor of French Studies, Emerita 
 


Research areas

French studies, feminist theory, bliingual and women writers, identity and creativity
website


2002 | David Thorburn
Professor of Literature and Comparative Media
Director, MIT Communications Forum


Research areas

20th century literature, media history
profile


“Teaching literature to MIT students and being taught by them has nourished my soul for 35 years.”
 


 

Related Feature: The Best Part of My Job

The SHASS MacVicar Fellows on the significance
and sheer fun—of teaching MIT students



 

Former MIT SHASS MacVicar Faculty Fellows

 

2001 - David Mindell, Science, Technology, and Society 
2001 - Janet Sonenberg, Music and Theater Arts 
1997 - Lowell Lindgren, Music and Theater Arts 
1995 - Margery Resnick, Foreign Languages and Literatures
1995 - Arthur Steinberg, Anthropology 
1995 - Marcus Thompson, Music and Theater Arts
1993 - Charles Stewart III, Political Science
1993 - Irene Tayler, Literature