Dean Fitzgerald announces appointments to SHASS leadership roles
Helen Elaine Lee and Emma Teng will head academic units



Left: Helen Elaine Lee , Professor of Fiction Writing, Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Right: Emma Teng,
T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations

Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has appointed two faculty members to new leadership roles within the school. Effective July 1, Professor Emma Teng will succeed Professor Ian Condry as head of Global Studies and Languages, and Professor Helen Elaine Lee will succeed Teng as director of Women’s and Gender Studies.

“I’m delighted that Emma and Helen have agreed to take on these roles and am confident that both departments will benefit from their leadership,” Fitzgerald said. “I also want to thank the outgoing leaders for their terrific contributions. We are lucky to have such hard-working and effective faculty members.”

Emma Teng

The author of Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842-1943 (University of California Press, 2013), Teng was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2013 for her outstanding undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and educational innovation. She is the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and currently serves on the China and Inner Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.

“Globalization is one of the biggest challenges facing MIT today, and Global Studies and Languages plays a vital role in equipping students to meet this challenge with appropriate knowledge, skills, and cultural awareness,” Teng said. “I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve at this important juncture.”

Teng joined the MIT faculty in 1998. In 2012, she received a second MIT appointment in History, and in 2013 she took the helm at Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS).

Helen Elaine Lee

The new director of WGS, Helen Elaine Lee, is a professor of fiction writing in Comparative Media Studies/Writing. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she is the author of two novels, The Serpent's Gift (Atheneum, 1994) and Water Marked (Scribner, 1999).

“I am excited about the opportunities ahead, especially in the area of diversity,” Lee said. “I am particularly interested in working with the Institute Community and Equity Office, and with the directors of Multicultural Programs and LBGT@MIT. I want to bring together varied members of the MIT community and build stronger connections with students of color.”

Lee joined the MIT faculty in 1995. She is a member of the Board of Directors of PEN New England, and she serves on its Freedom to Write Committee and volunteers with its Prison Creative Writing Program.


Suggested links

Helen Elaine Lee
Comparative Media Studies / Writing
Women’s and Gender Studies
The core mission of the MIT Program in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) is to educate MIT undergraduates on the importance of gender equity, and to promote a broad understanding of gender and its complex intersectionality with sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, ability, religious affiliation, and other categories of identity. WGS continues to build on its success as an interdisciplinary undergraduate program, providing a community for students, faculty and staff to participate in scholarly inquiry focusing on women and gender.

Emma Teng
Global Studies and Languages
Global Studies & Languages approaches language studies holistically, with contextual classes on international cultures, history, and media, as well as training in eight languages, from Spanish to Japanese to Russian. This broad-spectrum approach has put the section at the core of international education at MIT. GSL prepares students for success and leadership on international teams and provides the language skills and cultural background that students need to participate in MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives), the Institute’s flagship international-education program, invented and orchestrated by MIT SHASS faculty.” 


Story prepared by SHASS Communications
published 23 May 2015
Photograph of Emma Teng by Jon Sachs, MIT SHASS Communications