The Office of the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar’s Office recently announced the 2021 Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellows: mathematics professor Larry Guth, materials science and engineering professor Elsa Olivetti, nuclear science and engineering professor Michael Short, and biology professor Michael Yaffe.
They were recognized at a private, virtual gathering on Friday, March 12 along with the 2020 Fellows – professor of materials science and engineering Polina Anikeeva, literature professor Mary Fuller, chemical engineering professor William Tisdale, and electrical engineering and computer science professor Jacob White – whose celebration was canceled last spring due to Covid-19.
While this year’s event differed from previous MacVicar Day celebrations, it remained a joyful opportunity for faculty and staff to come together to honor excellence in teaching across the Institute. It included remarks from Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, Provost Martin Schmidt, and Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education Ian Waitz; introductions of the 2020 and 2021 Fellows; pre-recorded messages from faculty and student nominators; a video on Margaret MacVicar’s legacy; and moving reflections from her sister, Victoria.
The new Fellows shared personal anecdotes about their relationship with teaching and what receiving the award meant to them. A common theme among all recipients was a genuine desire to transform the educational experience for MIT students, as they commented on the ways in which their own love of learning and academia has helped them grow as educators. Larry Guth noted that teaching can sometimes feel like a solitary endeavor and getting to explore best practices with the MacVicar community was an exciting proposition. In one special moment, Jacob White recounted meeting Margaret MacVicar as a young MIT student and the way she motivated him to pursue a career in teaching.
About the MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program
For nearly three decades, the MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program has recognized exemplary and sustained contributions to undergraduate education at MIT. The program was named after Margaret MacVicar, the first Dean for Undergraduate Education and founder of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Fellows are selected through a competitive annual nomination process. They hail from all corners of the Institute and represent a diverse range of academic disciplines. Together, they form a small academy of scholars committed to exceptional instruction and innovation in education, embodying through their work the continuing promise of an MIT education for the future.
— Meghan Burke, Registrar’s Office