Dean Fitzgerald announces appointments to SHASS leadership roles
Congratulations to new SHASS leaders
Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has announced the appointment of eight faculty members to leadership roles for the School. “I hope that you will join me in thanking the outgoing leadership for their fantastic work, and in welcoming the incoming leadership to their new roles," said Fitzgerald. "The School is extremely fortunate to have such dedicated and effective faculty."
The following six appointments become effective on July 1, 2013:
Alex Byrne, associate head of Philosophy
Peter Child, head of Music and Theater Arts
Mary Fuller, head of Literature
Melissa Nobles, head of Political Science
David Pesetsky, head of Linguistics and Philosophy
Emma Teng, director of the Program in Women's and Gender Studies
Two additional appointments are already in effect:
Ian Condry became head of Foreign Languages and Literatures effective January 1, 2013.
James Paradis, who has served as interim head of Comparative Media Studies since 2010, now serves as head of Comparative Media Studies/Writing, which became one unit on July 1, 2012.
Associate Head of Philosophy
“A chair couldn't wish for a better department. We have a particularly strong Ph.D. program and teaching MIT undergraduates is always a challenge in the best possible way,” Byrne said. “We offer a diverse range of undergraduate classes, from the ethics and politics of food to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. At least once in a lifetime it's good to question one's most fundamental assumptions, and that's what philosophy encourages students to do.”
Head of Music and Theater Arts
Award-winning composer Child succeeds Professor Evan Ziporyn as head of Music and Theater Arts. He previously chaired the department from 1996 to 1999. In addition to his position as Class of 1949 professor of music at MIT, he has served as composer-in-residence with the New England Philharmonic Orchestra and the Albany Symphony Orchestra. A native of England, Child joined the MIT faculty in 1986 and was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2003 in honor of his outstanding undergraduate teaching. Child spent the past year on sabbatical in Berlin, where he has composed three new works, including “Dialogue” for solo flute, which won the Association for the Promotion of New Music Call for Scores competition.
Head of Foreign Languages and Literatures
“We are strengthening our offerings in culture and language from a multidisciplinary perspective, with experts in media, popular culture, history, ethnic diversity, and gender relations. Our goal is to use the idea of culture not simply to refer to patterns of difference but more centrally as a tool for deepening our engagement with others,” Condry said. “In a time of new media and global connection, there has never been a greater need to rethink both what distinguishes others from us, and what draws us all together.”
Head of Literature
“I've been fascinated to watch MIT's plans for online education unfold during my time in faculty governance, partly because we're really thinking—as an institution—about what we want for education on campus. So many of my colleagues in Literature are renowned teachers as well as innovative thinkers—I'd love for us to contribute to thinking through what these initiatives can do for the humanities, and vice versa. It's a puzzle waiting to be solved,” Fuller said.
Head of Political Science
"I'm taking over at an especially exciting time for our department,” Nobles said. “Over the past four years, we have been rebuilding, with the addition of, in total, nine new faculty members. These hires amplify our department's core commitments to excellence, rigor, and relevance. Because we are a relatively small department when compared to our competitors, we deeply value and actively encourage scholarship that bridges subfields. As head, I intend to lead the department through the process of reconstituting ourselves, as we integrate our newer members. Their ideas and voices are crucial to maintaining and deepening an open and collaborative intellectual community.”
Head of Comparative Media Studies/Writing
“I think media are profoundly changing the way we view ourselves,” he has said, nothing that CMS/Writing is an exciting department within the School. “It gets [students] thinking about the culture that they’re actually living in now and where it may be heading.”
Head of Linguistics and Philosophy
“MIT is one of the exciting places on earth to do linguistics and home to one of the world's most eminent philosophy programs as well. My most obvious job is to make sure it stays that way, by preserving the focus on research, education, and supportive advising that has made us great, while not standing still in light of new questions, discoveries, and challenges,” Pesetsky said. “By strengthening our undergraduate programs, outreach to schools, and interdisciplinary initiatives here at MIT, I would like to let everyone to know how fascinating linguistics and philosophy is, and to come calling when they have the kinds of questions that philosophers and linguists are uniquely qualified to ponder (and sometimes even answer).
Director of the Program in Women's and Gender Studies
"I am so thrilled to become the next director of WGS at MIT, which has been a thriving and vibrant program under the directorship of Professor Sally Haslanger and WGS Program Administrator Heidy González. I am especially excited because I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the history of feminism in China and Taiwan, so this feels like I am coming full circle,” Teng said. “WGS provided a stimulating and welcoming interdisciplinary community for me when I began teaching at MIT as a junior faculty member and … one of my chief goals as WGS director will be to continue this tradition."