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D. Fitzgerald named SHASS associate dean

Deborah Fitzgerald
Deborah Fitzgerald

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Professor of the History of Technology in the Program in Science, Technology and Society, has been named the new associate dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, succeeding Charles Stewart III as of April 1, SHASS Dean Philip S. Khoury announced.

Fitzgerald's responsibilities will be focused on undergraduate education and programs in the school, including the HASS component of the General Institute Requirement, and new initiatives to strengthen the humanities, arts and social sciences at MIT. She will work closely with the undergraduate and graduate program officers within the school's academic departments, sections and programs. As a member of School Council, she will be directly involved in faculty personnel decisions and other issues of importance to the school.

"Deborah is a very fine historian of technology and one of the leading historians of American agriculture in the country today," Khoury said. "She is deeply interested in maintaining the high quality of our teaching programs and has had valuable experience in this area, both within her own department and as a member of MIT-wide committees related to educational issues. Deborah has a tremendous sense of duty to the Institute, and I am certain people within SHASS and across MIT will find it a pleasure to work with her."

Fitzgerald's predecessor, Charles Stewart III, professor of political science, concluded his appointment as associate dean when he was appointed head of the Department of Political Science last January. Khoury said, "I am sure that Deborah will continue the fine efforts that Charles contributed to the school during his tenure as associate dean, and I am fortunate to be able to continue to work with Charles as a member of School Council, now in his capacity as a department head."

Fitzgerald is active in the Society for the History of Technology and is currently serving as president of the Agricultural History Society. That organization honored her in 2003 with the Theodore Saloutos Prize for best book of the year for "Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture." She is also the author of "The Business of Breeding: Hybrid Corn in Illinois, 1890-1940."

Fitzgerald received a B.A from Iowa State University in 1978 and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. Since starting at MIT in 1988 as assistant professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society, Fitzgerald has chaired the Ph.D. program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society, which is administered by the Program in Science, Technology and Society jointly with the History Faculty and the Anthropology Program. She has chaired the gender equity committee in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and she has been involved with a variety of Institute-wide committees, including the committees on Academic Performance, Discipline and Graduate School Policy.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 6, 2005 (download PDF).

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