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



2019 | Joshua Angrist​​
Professor, Economics

Research areas
Economics of education and school reform; social programs and the labor market; the effects of immigration, labor market regulation and institutions; and econometric methods for program and policy evaluation​

Story at MIT News | Website

“Joshua Angrist is a path-breaking scholar whose brilliant work has advanced the cause of transparency, robustness, and ultimately credibility in empirical economics and public policy for over three decades,” says Parag Pathak, the Jane Berkowitz Carlton and Dennis William Carlton Professor of Microeconomics.

2019 | Graham Jones​
Associate Professor, Anthropology

Research areas
ways in which signifying practices shape moral and epistemological convictions​

Story at MIT News | Website

“Graham is without peer in my estimation, always leaving a positive, indelible mark on the students,” says Susan Silbey, the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology, and Anthropology, a professor of behavioral and policy sciences at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the head of the faculty. “Graham’s classes transform the students, setting them on paths of lifelong learning and self-reflection.”

2019 | T. L. Taylor​
Professor, Comparative Media Studies

Research areas
human interaction with online environments

Story at MIT News | Website

“Students have the freedom to dive deeper into what really intrigues them without losing sight of the path,” wrote one nominator. “The opportunity for us to personally engage with the content is critical to Taylor’s success in the classroom: It’s how she lets us bridge the gap between the theory and the reality of our personal world,” wrote another.

2018 | David Autor​​
Professor, Economics

Research areas
Human capital, skills training, and earnings inequality; "Contingent" and flexible work arrangements; Labor market impacts of technological change; Consequences of employment protection.​

Story at MIT News | Website

“At my own crossroads when I deliberated between different careers, Prof. Autor cared to find an array of values that motivated me and helped me appreciate how they harmonize. I believe that building these kinds of bridges is at the heart of maintaining diversity and being an agent for it,” one student wrote.

2018 | Christopher Capozzola​
Associate Professor, History

Research areas
Political and cultural history of the United States from the late-19th century to the present

Story at MIT News | Website

Craig Steven Wilder, the Barton L. Weller Professor of History wrote: “[Capozzola’s] commitment to education and learning does not begin and end at the classroom door; rather, he brings students to spaces where they get to see and reinterpret the past, and where they discover how history informs and encompasses their lives.”

2018 | Shankar Raman​​
Professor, Literature

Research areas
Renaissance and late-Medieval literature and culture, post-colonialism, literary theory

Story at MIT News | Website

“It’s hard not to be intoxicated by the kind of intellectual energy Prof. Raman fosters in his classes. It’s why I chose to take another class with him, why I recommend his classes to my friends, and why he is one of my favorite professors at the Institute,” one student wrote.

2018 | Merritt Roe Smith​
Professor, History and Program in Science, Technology, and Society

Research areas
American industrialization, particularly the role of the military as a catalyst of technological change​

Story at MIT News | Website

As one student explained: “When Prof. Smith gives a lecture, he doesn’t simply teach. He makes sure that each and every student in the class is empowered to state their unique opinion. He challenges our existing preconceptions and compels us to see history from different perspectives.”

2017 | Caspar Hare
Professor, Philosophy

Research areas
Ethics, practical rationality, and metaphysics

Story at MIT News | Website

“Both online and in the classroom, Hare empowers his students, helping them gain both critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of the human complexities,” says Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean of SHASS. “He is a master teacher — energetic, engaging, and deeply committed to inspiring MIT undergraduates as he leads them through fundamental questions that shape our understanding of existence.”

2016 | Patricia Tang
Associate Professor, Music and Theater Arts

Research areas
Senegalese music and culture; griots; sabar drumming; immigrant musicians; globalization of Afropop music

Story at MIT News | Website

“I am thrilled Patricia has been selected for a MacVicar Fellow award,” says Melissa Nobles, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “She brings a great deal of knowledge and enthusiasm to her teaching. Her classes on World Music celebrate the richness of musical and cultural expression across the globe, reminding us that music is truly a universal language.”

2015 | Arthur Bahr
Alfred Henry and Jean Morrison Hayes Career Development Chair, and Associate Professor of Literature

Research areas
Old and Middle English literature; the structure and interpretation of medieval books; formalism(s), aesthetics, and the idea of the literary

Story at MIT News | Website

"Arthur is one of the most beloved professors in SHASS,” says Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “His piercing intelligence, combined with his droll charm, make him one of the most sought-after teachers we have. Arthur is a master teacher because he loves his subject, always finding new ways to generate puzzles and challenges for MIT students. And Arthur has great respect and admiration for his students, trusting them to push themselves to ever deeper levels of understanding."

2014 | Heather Paxson
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Research areas
How people craft a sense of themselves as moral beings through everyday practices, especially those activities having to do with family and food
Story at MIT News | Website at Anthropology

"Heather has earned a reputation among undergraduates as a caring and innovative teacher,” observed one colleague. “Her classes [are] known for the manner in which she makes social science concepts accessible and relevant to her students’ everyday lives.”

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 GSL

"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

“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

"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

“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

2007 | Jonathan Gruber
Professor of Economics

Research areas
Public finance and health economics

"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

“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

“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






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

Research areas
Composition and musical analysis

“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

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

Research areas
20th century literature, media history

“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