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The 2004 MacVicar Faculty Fellows

David Darmofal

Aeronautics and astronautics
B.S.E. from the University of Michigan in 1989; 1991 and Ph.D. in 1993 from MIT.
Assistant professor, 1998-2002; associate professor without tenure, 2002 to present.

Colleague comments:

"Dave Darmofal is not only a great teacher, but a talented and dedicated agent of educational improvement."

"I know of no other faculty in our department, or indeed at the Institute, who has the courage to require that students take so much responsibility for their own learning."

Student comments:

"Professor Darmofal reduced the invisible gap between faculty and students completely with his down-to-earth, relaxed and friendly attitude, such that one felt like dealing with a good colleague."

"Not only is he talented at conveying his storehouse of knowledge, but he inspires me to perform and take initiative in my learning."

"I consider Professor Darmofal's teaching to be an excellent example of the best in undergraduate education at MIT." 
Jean Jackson

B.A. from Wellesley College, 1965; M.A. in 1967 and Ph.D. in 1972 from Stanford University.
Assistant professor, 1972-77; associate professor, 1977-87; professor, 1987-present. Head of anthropology/archaeology program, 1989-93 and 1994-95. Head of anthropology program from 2002-03 and acting head in 1999.

Colleague comments:

"Jean is an accomplished lecturer and discussion leader, with all the charisma and interpersonal skill needed to do a superior job in the classroom. Her greatest virtues, however, the true source of her excellence as a teacher, are moral and intellectual."

"Jean's work as chair of the Gender Equity Committee is tireless and important. She is a brilliant person with real integrity."

Student comments:

"Jean was a tremendously important personal mentor to me ... She encouraged me with her words and her personal example to pursue what I cared about, and to care about what I pursued."

"Her fine example inspires my teaching ... I would not have chosen an academic life without having seen up close how it can be done beautifully."

David Jerison

A.B. in 1975 from Harvard University; graduate of University of Paris-Sud at Orsay, 1975-76 ; Ph.D. in 1980 from Princeton University.
Assistant professor, 1981-84; associate professor, 1984-88; full professor, 1988 to present.

Colleague comments:

"David has been a leader by example for his colleagues in the math department, and is deeply respected by those across MIT with whom he has worked."

"He has given a lot of consideration to various innovative ideas that make the teaching of basic undergraduate mathematics subjects depart from the traditional lecture format."

Student comments:

"Through my experience in 18.01A/18.02A I was able to find the confidence to survive at MIT, and even become a math major. In this place that seems so large and impersonal, I found a professor who deeply cares for the quality of his teaching and the performance of his students."

"He is one of the foremost lecturers of the freshman core classes. His style stands above the rest as he strives to make 18.02 an exciting, enjoyable and worthwhile experience."

Steve B. Leeb

Electrical engineering and computer science
S.B. in 1987, S.M in 1989, E.E. in 1990 and Ph.D. in 1993, all from MIT.
Assistant professor, 1993-97; associate professor without tenure, 1997 to present.

Colleague comments:

"Superb undergraduate teaching, excellent mentorship of graduate students, and great promise for lasting contributions to teaching at MIT and beyond."

"I believe that Steve embodies the enthusiasm, passion, commitment to students, pedagogical skills and excellence in delivery that characterizes our very best teachers."

Student comments:

"He wants you to be as excited about the material as he is. His enthusiasm for teaching is matched by none--it's so potent it's intoxicating."

"In my three and a half years as an undergraduate at the Institute, I have not met any other professor who has sparked my interest in a topic as much as he has. Because of his class, I am looking for a job next year working with microcontrollers and embedded systems, and I know his enthusiasm and dedication to learning played a big part in that."

Anne McCants

A.B. in 1984 from Mount Holyoke College; M.A. in 1985 from UCLA; Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of California at Berkeley.
Assistant professor, 1991-95; associate professor without tenure, 1995-98; associate professor with tenure, 1998 to present.

Colleague comments:

"Anne is a rare all-around person who manages to continue her research, teach a very wide range of subjects, and throw herself with passion into issues that concern student life at MIT."

"Anne makes teaching look an awful lot like 'normal life,' at once relaxed, ordinary and conversational as well as intriguing, provocative and inspirational."

Student comments:

"Her contribution to our learning is subtle and unbiased, and respects and nurtures what talents we have rather than inflames the gulf that often appears between our opinions and the facts."

"Professor McCants is truly a role model for students in her commitment to combining a rich, active professional life with an equally rich and active family life and doing so in a way that was visible to her students."


A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 10, 2004.

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