SHASS Levitan Teaching Awards | Gallery of Recipients  

The Best of the Best 

Recipients of the James A. and Ruth Levitan Teaching Award in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, are among the finest teachers at the Institute. Nominations are made by students.

Warmest congratulations to all.  





2023 | Nicholas Ackert
Teaching Assistant in Political Science

"I can confidently say that within our section, many students believed Nick was the best TA they have ever had during their time at MIT. Nick provided important context for lecture topics and relevant foreign policy events in every section. His passion for the subject and energy showed through each and every week. Nick provided in depth feedback on two long papers, two short papers, and a presentation on imminent issues. Every assessment or paper came back with constructive feedback that helped us grow our understanding of the topic. Nick impacted me to the extent that I requested his help in further revising a paper completed in his class so I could use it as a writing sample for a number of summer applications I was applying for. Nick not only provided two further rounds of feedback for my paper but went on to meet with me individually to discuss my goals and motivations surrounding these summer opportunities so I could fully take advantage of any opportunity I took up. Nick is an excellent instructor, mentor, and academic who I believe deserves the Levitan Award."

2023 | Nilma Dominique
Lecturer in Global Languages

"She’s a teacher both inside and outside of the classroom. She cares about her students learning Portuguese and learning about the intricacies of Brazilian culture, but she never sacrifices teaching a lesson over the wellbeing of her students. This includes gentle but firm corrections when her students let a bit of Spanish slip during class, when a student needs an extension for an assignment, and when her online students need more emotional and social supplements to their language learning. Because of her teaching, I’ve also gone on to take Spanish classes in order to get back in touch with that aspect of my culture. Nilma, to me, represents the ideals of MIT of holistic learning and teaching. I wouldn’t have the confidence I have today to continue my journey of language “relearning” both Portuguese and Spanish without her."

2023 | Caitlyn Doyle
Lecturer in Literature

"The way that Professor Doyle interacts with her students during lecture is not only a showcase of her deep understanding of the material we are covering on a given day, but also of a genuine passion for that material, and for teaching itself. She challenges us to go beyond understanding the texts in a vacuum, and instead asks us to consider them with respect to the other material we've read, our own experiences, and current historical moment. This is not a class she teaches just so we can fulfill a CI-H requirement; instead, it feels like I am having my perspective of myself and those around me expanded with every discussion or reading we undertake. I see her as someone I can consult with in order to improve my writing ability, who can show me how to manage differing ideas with more nuance than I previously had, and also someone I can just ask for a reading recommendation if I want to pass time. She's a passionate instructor who manages to educate while also being personable and fun to interact with."

2023 | Emily Goodling
Lecturer in Global Languages

"What sets Ms. Goodling apart is her personalized approach to teaching. She recognizes that each student has unique needs and adjusts her teaching accordingly. I have noticed that there were times that few of the students in my course were finding new grammar not comfortable to use in their conversations, so she has been giving them new and other exercises out of our homework to work on. I have personally seen how she works on the exercises with them. Ms. Goodling's influence extends beyond the classroom. She organizes "Stammtisch," a weekly gathering for German-speaking individuals of all levels to come together and practice their language skills. Ms. Goodling's exceptional teaching style, dedication to her students, and personalized approach to teaching make her an outstanding instructor. She goes above and beyond to provide learning opportunities, and her passion for German culture is infectious. We, as her students, are fortunate to have her as our instructor and friend."

2023 | Teresa Neff
Senior Lecturer in Music

"Prof. Neff provides remarkable and accessible lectures on classical music. She provides students opportunities to develop their personal approach to learning about music which is really awesome since students get to approach musical analysis from different perspectives which creates for wonderful class discussions. As an example, she provides a prompt for the assignments that provides freedom on the approach. For me, this could mean approaching the analysis from a more global overview that seeks to examine relationships between musical passages to the composer's instead, whereas for a different student, it could be an analysis of the subtle harmonic choices employed by a composer. I think that the discussion that results from these different analytical lenses allows me to learn a lot more. Moreover, Prof. Neff has inspired me to listen to more composers through the curriculum which allowed me to discover wonderful music that I have not heard of before. Finally, I believe that Prof. Neff is one of the most approachable lecturers. She understands the overall needs of the class and allows for enough flexibility in her instruction that ensures everyone meets the goals of the class in a reasonable way."

2023 | Margery Resnick
Associate Professor in Literature

"Prof. Resnick is engaging, compassionate, and fully committed to her students. I first took her Spanish literature and film class in the spring of 2020. The class, which began in person, was always interesting and interactive. The content and pace were thoroughly planned but also adjusted based on our class’s interests and understanding. Once the COVID pandemic sent everyone home, Prof. Resnick made sure to check in on her students. Class became a nonstressful escape from the pandemic. I have UROPed with Prof. Resnick through the AMITA Oral History Project for over two years now. Through the project, I research and conduct interviews with older MIT alumna. The interview transcripts are then transcribed and added to the MIT distinctive collections archive. This opportunity has been one of the most meaningful things I’ve done at MIT. As a teacher and mentor, Prof. Resnick is incredibly supportIve and approachable. She is enthusiastic about my future plans and always makes time to meet with me and other students to talk about whatever we’d like to discuss. I have her to thank for many of the brightest parts of my MIT experience, and for guidance in choosing what will come next."




2022 | Brittany Charlton
Lecturer in Women's and Gender Studies


“Professor Charlton brought to class so much wisdom, kindness and warmth. I was impressed by the breadth of topics that we discussed that covered the nuanced intersection of race, gender, health and science. The work she does with LGBTQ healthcare is really inspirational, and has inspired the trajectory of my career. The class was an amazing opportunity to think more deeply about these topics through open conversation and also quantitatively through looking at clinical study design. It’s unlike any class I’ve ever taken and it's thanks to her mentorship that we were impacted so much.”

2022 | Tong Chen
Lecturer in Global Languages

“Professor Chen is a passionate and dedicated professor who supports his students both inside and outside of the classroom. His classes are some of the most enjoyable and engaging classes I have taken at MIT. He is always so animated and seems so happy to engage with us and speak. Outside of his classes when I have reached out to Professor Chen in search of extra help with his class, he has been so welcoming to providing extra tutoring and support. I find Chinese to be a very challenging subject and he has been very encouraging and supportive.”


2022 | Caley Horan
Associate Professor of History

“In my time researching for a UROP, she was a great resource to go to to help learn the databases, etc. The goals were clear, and I always felt comfortable asking for help/clarifying questions. Moreover, outside of the classroom, Professor Horan has been a great mentor. I will occasionally get coffee with her; in these meetings, we’ll talk about anything from her research to just how things are going around campus to grad school. I find that these times are great in helping me decide what path forward I want to take in life.” 


2022 | Donca Steriade​
Professor of Linguistics

“Professor Donca is one of the best teachers I've had at my time at MIT so far. She is very good at making lecture simultaneously very funny and very engaging. She cares very much about her students and about linguistics, as seen in her advice to students and involvement in outreach for linguistics. She is one of the pillars of the linguistics department and the undergraduate community, seen in her willingness to help organize events focused on building a community for undergraduates interested in linguistics.”


2022 | Kang Zhou
Lecturer in Global Languages

“Professor Zhou is an exceptional teacher. In my time taking Chinese with him, he has always brought energy and enthusiasm to every lecture, and has made a large positive impact on my Mandarin learning experience. In class, he engages with and encourages each student, answers grammar questions thoroughly and clearly, and always shows immense patience in going over pronunciation mistakes. Using anecdotes and jokes in Chinese, he brings class to life and makes language learning fun and enjoyable.”





2021 | Erik Lin-Greenberg
Assistant Professor, Political Science

"Erik joined MIT in the middle of the pandemic. He’s never met with any of his students in person. Yet he has demonstrated consistent empathy that goes above and beyond what teachers normally provide. He has reached out to me on numerous occasions to make sure that I’m doing okay, that I am on track to complete semester projects, and that other professors are not giving assignments during MIT-mandated breaks"


2021 | Kenda Mutongi
Professor, History

“I knew that Professor Mutongi respected each of our opinions and reflections. To this day, every time I email or see Professor Mutongi in a Zoom call, she makes a point to message me privately or respond within less than a day. I am incredibly grateful to Professor Mutongi and know that the rest of the class feels similarly. My time at MIT would not have been the same without her.”


2021 | Sara Ellison
Senior Lecturer in Economics

"Having Professor Ellison in 14.01 was a treat. She really knows how to make learning fun, and all of her lectures were so enjoyable. Although the material in the class was challenging, I felt that it prepared me immensely for my future economics classes. In addition, she balanced the difficult content with fun trivia every lecture that was accompanied by free t-shirts as a prize. When COVID-19 hit, she offered to make 14.01 t-shirts for everyone in the class and mail them to the home of any student who requested one. I really felt that she cared about our well-being and that she was there for us." 


2021 | Masami Ikeda-Lamm   ​
Lecturer in Global Languages

“There were some days when we enjoyed the class so much and the way the content was taught that we were laughing and cooperating to the conversation in Japanese; I think it is difficult to achieve this balance of fun and learning and Prof. Ikeda definitively did achieve this balance! Whenever I had an issue or questions, she was very approachable and also comprehensive, and she stayed after class in case anybody had questions."


2021 | Maria Khotimsky 
Senior Lecturer in Global Languages

“Prof. Khotimsky has been the most earnest, supporive, and effective HASS professor I have encountered at MIT. I took Russian I on a whim this last IAP, but was so compelled by her enthusiasm and teaching style that I made Russian II integral to my final semester at MIT this spring. She does everything that us students can hope for on paper: She is responsive, adaptive, supportive, but always pushing students to improve and explore in Russian grammar and culture. But even more important, she cares about us, and she does everything in her power to make these digital terms meaningful.”


2021 | Daniel Clark 
Teaching Assistant in Economics

“Daniel is a superb teacher. Generous with his time, patient and thorough in his explanations, he helped many students in our Ph.D. Microeconomics class – myself included – be confident about our ability to handle complex and advanced materials and perform well. His genuine interest in helping students during office hours, recitations, and beyond resulted in an extremely rewarding learning experience.”





2020 | Emily Richmond Pollock
Associate Professor, Music and Theater Arts

“There are many professors at MIT whose intelligence or teaching ability I admire, and many whose kindness and regard for students I appreciate. But Emily Richmond Pollock is one of the few professors at MIT who falls into both categories — someone who has not only helped me grow as a student and musician but also demonstrated care for me as a person.”


2020 | T.L. Taylor
Professor, Comparative Media Studies/Writing

“T.L. excels at creating a comfortable classroom environment for students to learn through reading discussion and presentation assignments. She encourages conversation while letting students share their questions and ideas naturally. T.L. offers creative and engaging assignments, such as analyzing the EULA of popular programs, to help students understand readings and frameworks in internet and game studies. She shares academic and learning opportunities with us and provides a forum for us to share resources with the class. She is always responsive to student feedback, provides timely and thoughtful feedback on assignments, and encourages us to think outside our comfort zones.”


2020 | Nora Jackson
Lecturer in Comparative Media Studies/Writing

“My experience with Nora as an advisor, teacher, and mentor has been spectacular. From our first meeting, she was extremely approachable and showed immense compassion for my work and my identity. She has encouraged me to take risks and go out of my comfort zone in my writing, without trying to change my goals or push me in any 'better' direction. It is very rare to encounter a teacher that can balance the gifts of guidance and freedom, but Nora has that ability.”


2020 | Greg Schwanbeck ​
Lecturer in Comparative Media Studies/Writing

“None of us can forget the first day of class. Greg began our year by explaining why he loves teaching, and we all remember the pictures of him with many of his students, past and current. He talked about his fond memories of teaching them and the impact his students had on his life, and his excitement and passion were contagious. Every class since, he has encouraged us to teach because of how amazing of a role it can be. We cannot think of anyone else who could show us the wonderful world of teaching than Greg. He pushes us to do our best, and he does everything he can to make sure we can become great teachers."


2020 | Joaquín Terrones​
Lecturer in Literature

“From the start, Professor Joaquín had this style of teaching that felt like he was guiding us through a conversation and it created an atmosphere that was super easy for other students to pitch in their thoughts. We had some challenging/confusing reads like The God of Small Things, and he came up with creative ways like in group activities on a chalkboard or through his questioning to keep us engaged with the material. Even if answers weren’t quite what he was looking for, he was able to seamlessly rephrase them into the greater analysis of the text. By the end of the semester, his class remained a conversation that I didn't want to end.”





2019 | Marah Gubar
Associate Professor, Literature

“Professor Gubar is very talented at creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere in the classroom where students feel open to share their thoughts with one another. She facilitates and guides discussion without dominating it, allowing the class to parse the text organically. Her feedback on written work is always thoughtful and encouraging. She is also incredibly supportive outside of the classroom. In conferences, she always asks about what else is going on in our lives, and if she thinks of some opportunity to which we're well suited, she will encourage us to apply. I feel so lucky to have had her as a professor.”


2019 | M. Amah Edoh
Assistant Professor, African Studies

“Learning is not just about having a professor transfer knowledge but also, about the life-long lessons that you pick up from teachers in the process and I believe Professor Edoh is a great example of a teacher who teaches students for life. The entire African and African-American student population has appreciated her support and representation here at MIT. She honors our invitations, regardless of how busy her schedule is. She opens her office to students, regardless of time of year. She encourages us to be the best we can be.”


2019 | Panpan Gao
Lecturer in Chinese

“[Prof. Gao] continues to give me encouragement when I have struggled and she has noticed in class when I am having a bad day and will take the time to understand what is going on. Any time I need extra help her office is always open. I can tell she really invests in and loves her students and it has had a huge impact on my love for the Chinese language. I cannot say enough for Panpan Gao. She deserves this award more than anyone and I give her my highest regards as a teacher.”


2019 | Frederick Harris
Lecturer, Music

“Fred Harris is unbelievable. Never before have I had a teacher send us emails after the night of a concert, thanking us for sharing the time and praising us for our efforts. The encouragement he gives us is unparalleled. It is so clear that this is not just a job for him. Fred lives and breathes this work. He lives and breathes to help his students. I know Fred has won this award before, but I can full-heartedly say that based on the impact he has had on all of us, on the students of MIT, on the people of Puerto Rico, on the people of the Dominican Republic, Fred is absolutely the most deserving person for the award this year as well."


2019 | Pouya Alimagham
Lecturer, History

“[Prof. Alimagham] was gracious with his time and asked us hard questions about how the course was going, if there were any improvements to be made, and what were things we thought were the most important to our own learning so far. He is a wealth of information and resources and was willing and able to share them with his students...I have never been in a class with such a wonderfully diverse set of people with regards to religion, background, gender, political ideology, and personality. The discussions were all the richer due to it, and I attribute the accumulation of such an engaged set of students to the draw of Pouya's classes.”


2019 | Liyang Sun
Teaching Assistant, Economics

“Liyang was an incredible TA. She was very deeply involved in all aspects of the class - lectures, recitations, office hours, and online questions. I struggled immensely at the beginning of the course, and it was her patience and encouragement that helped me stay in the class and improve my performance in it. She showed great understanding of the material, often simplifying concepts so I understood them more clearly. She made me feel like I mattered and was a valuable member of that class; like I could get better if I kept pushing. I did get better, and it was her being a great teacher that played an instrumental role in that.




2018 | Eran Egozy
Professor, Music and Theater Arts

“Eran is an excellent teacher. The curriculum and frameworks he has created are incredible and make new technologies like VR so much more approachable. He makes the assignments both challenging and exciting — I’ve often wished that his class was the only one I was taking so I could keep spending time on it! Eran is extremely deserving of this award, and I deeply appreciate all that he has done for me as a teacher and advisor.”


2018 | Elizabeth Wood
Professor, History

“Professor Wood’s class on Soviet history and politics has rekindled my love for the humanities. Everylecture is full of lively discussion, and I leave concretely knowing that my scope of knowledge on Russian history and analysis has greatly increased. She is truly an expert in her field, and her passion shines through, inspiring all of her students. ”


2018 | Olivia D’Ambrosio
Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts

“I cannot express strongly enough how much of a positive impact Olivia's class has had on me, and undoubtedly my classmates, this semester. Her work in Voice and Speech taught me how to be comfortable with my voice and body, but more than that she has influenced me to consider a lot of aspects of my life and academics more in relation to each other than I have before. She takes us out of our academic, engineering bubble, and reminds us that there are so many other modes of thinking than that of logical, straight edged classwork.”


2018 | Shariann Lewitt
Lecturer, Comparative Media Studies/Writing

“Lewitt’s way of teaching brings the best writer out of everyone. She takes her time to truly understand the characters her students create and come to love. [...] Our writing—our characters—become that much more vibrant with every comment shegracefully gives. In all, Lewitt is one of the most passionate teachers I know—astoundingly compassionate too. The writing department and all of MIT are lucky to have her as a teacher. I am forever indebted to her.”


2018 | Mariana San Martín
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

“Mariana never fails to stimulate interesting and engaging discussions in class by asking probingquestions and encouraging us to share our opinions with each other. Her enthusiasm in the classroomis infectious (even more so than the diseases we’ve studied). Our knowledge of the Spanish language and culture has been deeply enriched by reading fascinating literary works, watching thought-provoking films, and studying history and current events. In the classroom and on assignments, her constant feedback and encouragement allows students not only to improve their oral and written communication skills, but also to gain confidence in their abilities. ”


2018 | Arda Gitmez
Teaching Assistant, Economics

“His thoughts are very clear, and that translate into the best explanations and graphical illustrations. For someone who knows a lot about the subject, he never overwhelms us with details or technical points. Instead, he focuses on delivering the essence of the materials, the key ideasand how they are related. I feel that he strikes the perfect balance between technicality and intuition. ”




2017 | Claire Conceison
Professor, Music and Theater Arts

“Professor Conceison is one of the most incredible professors I have had the privilege of taking classes from. She not only has expertise in the domain of sport as performance (which involves knowledge of both sport and performing arts) but also cares so much about spreading that knowledge to her students. Her passion for the subject translates into her teaching and her ability to get her students excited about coming to class every week.”


2017 | Donca Steriade
Professor, Linguistics

“Donca's teaching style is very engaging. She is at once knowledgeable and unbelievably approachable. I asked her how I, an undergrad with one semester left until graduation, could do linguistics research. She immediately reached out to other faculty members, and found one that would take me as a UROP. Now, I am completing a minor in linguistics, I owe my enamoration with the field to Donca's teaching.”

2017 | William Cutter
Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts

“He is clearly very passionate about music and teaching. It was always very easy to ask him questions and he was always excited to provide detailed answers and offer individual help to his students. I looked forward to attending his class everyday with enthusiasm.”

2017 | Hee-Jeong Jeong
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

“Lecturer Jeong’s style and the way she organizes the curriculum are highly conducive to learning the vocabulary and grammar beyond straight memorizing. She doesn’t just rely on assigning homework to help us learn. In class we watch clips from Korean television, and she ties in pop-culture and youth slang to make the class more relevant. We also learn about mannerisms and cultural differences.”

2017 | Maria Khotimsky
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

“In class she is extremely encouraging, constantly pointing out things that the students are doing well. Outside of class, Maria offered to meet with me individually on a regular basis to go over grammar and vocabulary in painstaking detail. It is evident how Maria has adopted a style of instruction that fosters the students’ interest in the Russian language and Russian culture.”

2017 | Jetson Leder-Luis
Teaching Assistant, Economics

“Every day, Jetson arrived to class full of energy with carefully planned out lectures. Jetson was good at both explanation of theory and practice problems, a balance that few classes I've had have reached. Making us good at solving problems—while always stopping to talk about the consequences of the solutions—demystified economics for me.”





2016 | Junot Díaz
Professor, Comparative Media Studies / Writing

“Junot's class changed the way that I (and probably all of my classmates) read, watch, and construct stories. … We always connect the fictional worlds that we study to the world we live in, and work to understand the impact that these stories can have — both in reflecting and addressing human fears about the world, or commenting on the current state of it.”


2016 | Lerna Ekmekcioglu
Professor, History

“Professor Ekmekcioglu has made a long lasting impact in how I view the world. As a Chemical Engineering student, I never thought that learning about gender studies would make me a better engineer, but its an undeniable fact. Professor Ekmekcioglu has given me the foundation to think critically about situations I have been in where established societal gender norms threatened to make me feel inferior for being an engineer. But instead, I have felt empowered and confident.”


2016 | Masami Ikeda-Lamm
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

“Masami Ikeda-Lamm makes learning Japanese an enjoyable experience. Every class, she seems to have so much energy and it makes the lesson extremely entertaining.”

“Ikeda sensei is one of the best instructors I have met. While using frequently is the best way to learn a language, she always makes a lot of preparation such as coming up with a lot of real situations that require us to use those learnt patterns effectively.”


2016 | Roberto Rey Agudo
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

“Professor Roberto Rey Agudo is a wonderful teacher, he puts a lot of effort into making sure his students are not only learning Spanish, but having fun. His classes always include a physical activity and a way to ensure his students are engaging with one another. Whether it be a team scavenger hunt or partner discussions, Professor Agudo keeps the class interesting and fun, on top of teaching a lot of material quickly.”


2016 | Charles Shadle
Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts

“In my twenty-plus years of musical training, I have had many teachers, but none more engaged with me than Charles Shadle in understanding the construction of music. The first class I took with him was a revelation. The very foundations of music theory, often considered dry, were brought to life through his knowledge and his skill in realizing impromptu examples at the keyboard.”


2016 | Ludwig Straub
Teaching Assistant, Economics

“Ludwig was an excellent teaching assistant, but moreso he went out of his way to help us through the very challenging first quarter of the economics PhD program. Especially following the loss of our classmate Cara, Ludwig stood out in making himself a resource. Ludwig exemplifies the type of instructor I hope to be and the type of teaching assistant we should have across the Institute.”



2015 | Michael Cuthbert
Professor, Music and Theater Arts

"He genuinely cares about each student, and as concerns come up throughout the semester he addresses each student with absolute care and compassion. He also encourages students to attend his office hours, and to email him with questions and for feedback on their work. He has sent hundreds of emails to students this semester, each filled with both positive feedback and recommendations for improvement.”


2015 | Mary Fuller
Professor and Head, Literature

"She definitely helped to rekindle a love of reading I lost upon entering MIT; since taking her class, ie in the past year, I've done more independent fiction reading than I had in the three years that had preceded her class, combined.”



2015 | Merritt Roe Smith
Leverett Howell and William King Cutten Professor of the History of Technology

"Professor Smith was so clearly passionate about the subject that it was almost impossible for the students to not feel passion for it, too. Having a professor with such a genuine love for teaching not only engrains the subject matter more deeply in students’ minds, but it encourages students to strive to go beyond the professor’s expectations and to pursue an aspect of the subject that they too are passionate about.”


2015 | Jing Wang
S.C. Fang Professor of Chinese Languages & Culture, Global Studies and Languages

"Professor Wang consistently challenges our viewpoints and ideologies and makes us think more profoundly about Chinese culture and history. She has reawakened a curiosity for cultural understanding and new perspectives that I have only ever experienced abroad and I am so grateful that to have that joy for something other than technical engineering.”


2015 | Takako Aikawa
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages 

"She learned early on that having a relaxed environment to talk and practice was very helpful to those of us who got nervous in class, so she began hosting ‘Extra Sessions’ on Friday nights. This not only gave us extra practice, but also made us more confident in our abilities.”

2015 | Min-Min Liang
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages 

"I always come to class to see her with a smile on her face and a friendly greeting for everyone. She really takes the time to understand her students, maintaining a balance between being a class instructor and empathizing with us as people.”


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2015 | Haohsiang Liao
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

"His purpose for the class is not simply to teach the language but to give us the tools needed to properly interact in a Chinese cultural environment.  We gain a huge understanding of the nuances of Chinese language interaction”


2015 | Jin Zhang
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages

"I have walked into her office with questions on Chinese countless times, and every time she not only answered all the questions I had, but provided feedback on how my Chinese has improved, with advice for where I could improve on a little more. She always makes sure to record all of our oral presentations and provides meticulous feedback on each and every word (which is especially helpful in a tonal language like Chinese).”



2014 | Christopher Leighton
Assistant Professor, History


"Professor Leighton has carefully steered classes with diverse backgrounds to a deeper understanding of Chinese history. The readings he's selected have provided a foundation for class discussions, which he keeps lively and ensures all students participate in. He has always been approachable and helpful, providing thoughtful and timely feedback on assignments and helping whenever I've had questions or wanted advice."


Chappell Lawson

2014 | Susan Silbey
Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities,
Sociology and Anthropology
Head, MIT Anthropology

"The most valuable thing students can learn from their teachers is not the content of a course but how the instructor thinks about it , uses it, draws on it, and advances it — and I cannot think of anyone who is able to do this better or does this as generously as Prof. Silbey. Prof. Silbey brought her own research designs and interview transcripts to class — showed us how those designs were conceptualized, how the interviews were conducted, coded, analyzed to contribute to add to social knowledge. This gave us confidence in our abilities to develop our own slowly evolving research projects."

2014 | Lucas Stanczyk
Assistant Professor, Political Science

"Prof. Stanczyk came to class every day in 17.01 with an outline of what he desired to cover that day — not for himself, as many professors do — but as a handout for all of us. I have certainly never witnessed this level of dedication in the variety of other SHASS classes I've taken. He is the most impactful teacher, the most relevant to my everyday life (in enlightening my view of it philosophically), and the only professor to make me seriously consider an academic career."

2014 | Patricia Tang
Associate Professor of Music

"Professor Tang's class exposed me to the joy and adventure of ethnomusicology in general, and stimulated me to look at all music differently from now on. She is more than approachable, always positive, and genuinely loves African music in a way that inspires her students to go beyond the typical HASS requirements and develop their own musical interests."


2014 | Ellen Crocker
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages 


"Her personal impact on me has been very significant; thanks to her encouragement, I decided to pursue my interests in German, literature, and poetry by earning a minor in German studies, and I have benefited enormously from the additional stimulating courses. I feel that I have learned more about literature (in any language) from Frau Crocker, through her guidance in reading and writing, than I have from any other teacher."

2014 | Cathy Culot
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages 

"What distinguishes Prof. Culot is not only her effectiveness in covering all the material stated in the syllabus, but also the different ways that she expanded our knowledge beyond what was required for the class. She was always open to exploring different topics in the politics, culture and economy of francophone countries and this made a great impact on my interest in both continuing my studies in French as well as participating in study/work abroad programs as MISTI."


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2014 | David Deveau
Lecturer, Music


"David's dedication extends far beyond the classroom, showing a genuine care for his students' success. While the goal of each semester's lessons, coachings, or seminars is to prepare for a culminating performance, David never sees such a performance as the end of the road. He has never failed to follow up with me after each concert, offering praise and encouragement to keep playing even after what seemed like the worst performances, and adding gentle criticisms even after the most successful. These end-of-concert suggestions are always general and open-ended ("think about your pedaling" or "watch the tension in your body," to name a couple), providing important food for thought for the months to come."


2014 | Matthew Rognlie
Teaching Assistant, Economics


"Matthew is the best teacher I've ever had. And I don't say that lightly: while getting to MIT, I've benefited from the instruction, guidance, and patience of many good teachers. The material in 14.451 was the most difficult of all the courses I was taking last semester, but Matt's teaching made learning the material substantially easier than in my other courses."


"I think Matt's effectiveness begins with the amount of preparation he puts into every lecture he gives. While he lectures, he is both clear in his explanations and welcoming of questions from students. Matt is naturally talented at teaching, but he complements his talent with a level of preparation and approachability that is unparalleled among my other instructors."

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2014 | Alec Worsnop
Teaching Assistant, Political Science


"Alec infuses each lecture and recitation with a tremendous ability to provide clear, concise, and thoughtful examples for the topic at hand directly from his own research. He not only addresses efficiently the material in the course, but he also contextualizes the material within the political science field. Alec knows how to clearly communicate about student weaknesses and strengths in their work. He has made the coursework for the class truly iterative, which is how the real research the course is meant to mirror is conducted."



2013 | David Autor
Professor, Economics


"Professor Autor has made a huge impact on me, as well as my MIT experience as a whole. He is one of few professors that I specifically seek out at extra lectures outside of class. I've even looked up other classes that he teaches, though I'm not an economics major. His insightful thinking style and amazing lectures have inspired me to learn more in economics, and I truly feel that I learned valuable skills and information from him this semester."


Chappell Lawson

2013 | Chappell Lawson
Associate Professor, Political Science

"Professor Lawson has tremendously affected my experience at MIT. Initially a computer scientist with a slight interest in politics, I have developed a whole new approach to life and what I want to do with it, and I can say with confidence that Prof. Lawson has been a key player in this transformation."

"He is the most approachable professor I have seen here. Last year, I spent - literally - hours discussing events and life prospects with him after classes, both individually and with other students. This year, I approached him with questions about my future aspirations, and he invited me to lunch with turned into a long walk (which had critical impact on me). Honestly, I'd be in a very different position if it hadn't been for his continuous advice, guidance and mentorship."


2013 | Tong Chen
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages 

"Chen Lao Shi truly connects with his students. He always encourages us, and I can tell that he is genuinely proud of me when I make progress with my Chinese. I do not know a single one of his students who dislikes him, and everyone has a tremendous amount of respect for him."

"Chen Laoshi goes above and beyond the call of duty as a Chinese teacher. He is extremely knowledgeable about the Chinese language and makes sure we learn every last detail. Aside from this, I think I speak for all the students when I say he is a good friend. He knows each and every one of us very well (especially those of us from all the way back in Chinese 4), and he treats us all with respect."


2013 | Dave Custer
Lecturer, Experimental Study Group and Writing Across the Curriculum

"I would like to nominate Dave Custer, ES.033 professor, for his unique way of teaching, which encourages students to establish connections between presented concepts. His usual ambiguity and tangents distinguish him and make the classroom an interactive space. He is extremely approachable and always willing to help, regardless of the subject you may be struggling with."

"After taking Dave Custer's class my attitude towards writing and communication has changed, and I will handle future writing tasks with more confidence. Dave Custer's class my favorite class this year. Although I know I will miss the class, I am comforted knowing that future classes will be enlightened as I was."


2013 | Margarita Groeger
Lecturer, Global Studies and Languages 


"She is an educator who seems to genuinely love teaching and helping students learn. It's almost impossible to not enjoy class when your teacher has such a great attitude; I have never seen someone more excited to teach! She is very friendly and approachable and willing to listen to her students. Her encouragement creates an incredible atmosphere in the classroom."




2013 | Frederick Harris
Lecturer, Music

"Fred is a very approachable and friendly teacher who is extremely dedicated to his job and his students. He comes to rehearsal prepared and is almost always well-tempered and patient despite what the band members may be. His humor, sincerity and dedication have made FJE very worthwhile for me and all my fellow bandmates, despite our heavy MIT workload. "

"I believe that a good teacher not only gives his/her students the opportunity to learn but also gets them excited about what they are learning. Fred does both and I continue to have a great time performing Jazz with the FJE under his instruction. He genuinely cares which is something that is always great to see in a teacher."


Man Silhouette Clip Art

2013 | Isaac Gould
Teaching Assistant, Linguistics


"His weekly recitations didn't just regurgitate what I had all ready learned in class. Instead, Isaac would approach the problems discussed in that week's lectures from a fresh angle, sometimes adding new material where it was relevant, sometimes explaining old ideas in such a compelling way that I and the other students in my class gained a whole new perspective on them. In fact, those recitations were some of the most intellectually stimulating moments I've had so far at MIT (and that's saying something)."



2012 | Arthur Bahr
Associate Professor, Literature

"He has positively impacted our class and taught us the importance of humanities courses in our lives. You can tell that he works very hard to inspire his students and get them to think critically, and he has always embraced even connecting this to our science lives."

"Professor Bahr leads wonderful discussions and makes me want to do the readings not for my grade but so that I can have the pleasure of participating. He's energetic and in touch with his students."


2012 | Eugenie Brinkema 
Assistant Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media, Literature


"I feel like I have actually learned, in [Eugenie Brinkema’s] classes, how better to form an idea, how better to voice an opinion, how better to structure an essay, and how better to engage with the things that are of interest to me in the world around me. Her philosophy is that the whole world is a text, and that the analysis we do in class is a framework for understanding the story that society tells."

"Professor Brinkema is the most incredible professor I’ve had at MIT. She is one of the few professors I still make an effort to visit even after leaving her class. She brings sheer enthusiasm to class every day and encourages a passion for learning."

2012 | Graham Jones 
Assistant Professor, Anthropology


"Every reading that Dr. Jones has assigned has opened my eyes to a facet of life and culture whose presence previously eluded me — for this, I could not be more grateful. … This class has completely changed the way I evaluate different cultures and react to different peoples."

"[Graham Jones] managed to impress upon me the lasting philosophy of being an anthropologist in everyday life—of gently probing and questioning the fascinating array of people, processes, cultures, and organizations around us."


2012 |  Nilma Dominique
Lecturer, Global Studes and Languages 

"What I love most about Professor Dominique is her energy and spirit. She gives her classroom life. Although Portuguese II is my last class of the day, and during a time when I am really tired, I always feel refreshed after attending her class."

"Nilma [Dominique] is one of the most gifted language teachers I have ever had. She is vibrant and engaged, encouraging all students to understand and enjoy the process of learning. I look forward to class every day because of her clear teaching methods—which conveys more information in a better way than the textbook—and because of her inimitable energy."

2012 | Jane Dunphy
Lecturer, Gobal Studies and Languages 

"Professor Dunphy has a gifted way with students. Everyone in her classes is given personal attention, and she is very invested in her students' growth. …Her positivity and willingness to help have really had an impact on me here at MIT."

"Amazing class! Jane [Dunphy] was a terrific teacher and stimulated my interest in a subject that I was already highly passionate about. She was always available and helped everyone in the class stay organized."

2012 | Lucy Marx
Lecturer, Writing and Humanistic Studies

"I took my final HASS class with Lucy [Marx], and she was the most enjoyable teacher I had. …Before her class, writing was one of the few things I dreaded about school. Surprisingly, I found myself working on her assignments before all my other classes, since they were exciting and I would learn about myself from my own writing."

"Lucy [Marx] encouraged participation and helpful critiques during discussions. These helped me, at least, to think about my writing more and try harder to make it better."

2012 | Gabriel Carroll
Teaching Assistant, Economics

"Gabriel [Carroll] is simply an outstanding teacher. Countless times I have been completely stuck on a topic from class, only to have him explain it (either inside class or outside) with incredible clarity and precision."

"Gabriel is without a doubt the best TA I have had at MIT."




2011 | Heather Paxson
Associate Professor, Anthropology

"What she has given me (the ability to think critically about social issues, take them apart, and form ideas then express them professionally in creative ways) is something that will last long after I leave MIT."  


David Pesetsky

2011 | Will Broadhead
Associate Professor, History


"Professor Broadhead has inspired a curiosity and appreciation for ancient history that will remain with us long after we graduate."

2011 | Ken Oye
Associate Professor, Political Science

"Not only was this class the most challenging, enriching, and thought-provoking class I have taken in Political Science, this class helped me to determine what I wanted to do with my life."

2011 | Adam Boyles
Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts

"I came to MIT with a strong interest in music….and this interest has become a major and will be a life-long pursuit especially thanks to Adam [Boyles] and his encouragement and superb teaching."

"The MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) has grown tremendously under the skilled baton of Dr. Adam Boyles.…While he cares about the sound of the music, he really cares about the musicians in the ensemble…MITSO is one of the reasons I now consider MIT to be my second home."

2011 | Howard "Skip" Eiland
Lecturer, Literature


"Without Professor Eiland's guidance and encouragement, I wouldn't have taken literature classes beyond Comedy (21L.421) here. I enjoy writing. Moreover, I enjoy literature. A difficult text is no longer a burden, but a challenge—a pleasure. When I study it with Professor Eiland, I know that he'll present its implications and influences. I'm still amazed at how applicable the basic ideas we learned in Comedy are."

2011 | Teresa Neff
Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts

"The passion that Professor Neff brings into the class has opened many doors for me. After every class, I came out wanting to learn more. … I am confident that her teaching and contagious excitement for music has revolutionized the way I will view music for the rest of my life."

2011 | Kym Ragusa
Lecturer, Writing and Humanistic Studies

"Kym [Ragusa]'s classroom was a place of safety and comfort, a place in which open dialogue on tense and usually ill-understood concepts of race, gender, and all other boundaries that obscure rather than delineate, was encouraged. I learned a whole lot about writing in Kym's class, but so much more about the world."


Former Levitan Award for Teaching Excellence Winners





Peter Child (Music and Theater Arts)
Steven Ryan (Economics)
Lily Tsai (Political Science)

Rebecca Faery (Writing and Humanistic Studies)
Steve Strang (Writing and Humanistic Studies)
Amadou Lamine Touré (Music and Theater Arts)

Teaching Assistant 
Omer Preminger (Linguistics)





Chris Capozzola (History)
Sally Haslanger (Linguistics and Philosophy)
Stefan Helmreich (Anthropology)

Laura Harrington (Music and Theater Arts)
Martin Marks (Music and Theater Arts)
Douglas Morgenstern (Foreign Languages and Literatures)

Teaching Assistant
Brandon Lehr (Economics)