MIT Physics News Spotlight
Four professors named 2012 MacVicar Fellows
Broadhead, Kaelbling, Kaiser and Rose awarded the Institute’s highest undergraduate teaching honor.
MIT News Office
March 16, 2012
2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellow David Kaiser
Four professors have been named 2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellows for their outstanding undergraduate teaching, mentoring and educational innovation. This year's honorees are William Broadhead, the Class of 1954 Career Development Associate Professor of History; Leslie Pack Kaelbling, the Panasonic Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science; and Nancy Lin Rose, the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics.
These professors bring to 41 the number of current MacVicar Faculty Fellows, part of a program established in 1992 to honor the life and devotion to teaching excellence of Margaret MacVicar '64, ScD '67, MIT's first dean for undergraduate education and founder of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The 10-year fellowship provides an annual allowance in support of undergraduate teaching.
Provost L. Rafael Reif selected the fellows in conjunction with an advisory committee of faculty and students chaired by Daniel Hastings, dean for undergraduate education.
“Each of this year’s recipients embodies the legacy of Margaret MacVicar and her commitment to undergraduate education,” Reif says. “The four new fellows are all mentors, teachers and advisers who care deeply about their work — as evidenced by numerous recommendations from their students and peers.”
To celebrate undergraduate education on this MacVicar Day, the Institute will host a symposium this afternoon featuring six MIT faculty members and an alumnus speaking on “Innovations in Undergraduate Education at MIT: Past, Present and Future.” The event will honor MacVicar and Robert Silbey, a former dean of the School of Science who died last October, for their contributions to the development of undergraduate education at the Institute. The symposium will run from 3-5 p.m. in Bartos Theater (E15-070).
Broadhead received his BA in 1995 from Middlebury College and his MA (1996) and PhD (2002) from the University of London. He joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor of history in 2004, and was named an associate professor in 2008.
One student who nominated Broadhead said 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,” the student noted.
Leslie Pack Kaelbling
A professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Kaelbling joined MIT in 1999 after teaching at Brown University. She received her AB (1983) and PhD (1990) from Stanford University.
“I have not met a professor … more approachable than Professor Kaelbling,” wrote one student in a nomination. “None of my friends or labmates were ever afraid to speak with her about anything, from asking for help on the current assignment to asking for a UROP or career advice, and I have never seen her turn away anyone’s request for any form of assistance.”
Kaiser — who joined MIT in 2000 — is head of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. He earned his AB in 1993 from Dartmouth College and his PhD in 2000 from Harvard University.
In a nomination, one student wrote: “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.”
Nancy Lin Rose
Rose received her AB in 1980 from Harvard University and her PhD from MIT in 1985. She joined the Institute that year as an assistant professor in the MIT Sloan School of Management, assuming a second appointment in the Department of Economics in 1994.
“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,” wrote one student in a nomination.
"David Kaiser, Nancy Rose, and Will Broadhead truly embody the values and character of our educational mission in SHASS,” says Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). “Their deep commitment to MIT students is well-known, and their individual abilities to inspire students and to prompt their students to expand their ambitions is key to their success. Teaching the skills of critical thinking and analysis, and appreciating the complexity of the human condition, is what our work is all about, and what these professors do so brilliantly."
"Leslie is an exceptional faculty member and a wonderful colleague. She combines amazing talent and dedication as an educator with world-class research accomplishments in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine-learning," says Ian A. Waitz, School of Engineering dean and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. "As a lecturer for 6.01, she has introduced pedagogical and curricular innovations that weave together online materials and hands-on exercises to provide a more effective learning experience for hundreds of students from across the Institute. Appointment as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow is very well-deserved recognition for her contributions to undergraduate education."