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Education, teaching and academics

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The Boston Globe

Julie Chen ’86, SM ’88, PhD ’91 has been named the next chancellor of UMass Lowell, reports Shirley Leung for The Boston Globe. “With three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she has been a fixture on campus for 25 years,” writes Leung. “Chen is considered one of the region’s leading experts in nanotechnology, earning her the nickname ‘nanoqueen’ in a field that builds structures and devices working at an atomic scale.”

7 News

Robots constructed by 32 students competed in the annual 2.007 Robot Competition, which was held in person for the first time in three years, reports Lisa Gresci for 7 News. “The atmosphere is absolutely electric,” explains third year student Joshua Rohrbaugh. “It’s really amazing we can celebrate this kind of academic competition in this kind of way. It’s almost like a sporting event and that gets me hyped up.”

Times Higher Ed

Lecturer John Liu and Mary Ellen Wiltrout, director of online and blended learning initiatives in the Department of Biology, share how the pandemic has transformed the way in which universities approach digital teaching. Liu noted that the pandemic had “forced [universities] to rethink community and support…on a class level but maybe on a program level” as well as to refocus on how teaching modes best served learning objectives,” reports Times Higher Education.

Marketplace

Prof. Anna Stansbury speaks with Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace about a new working paper she co-authored examining the lack of socioeconomic diversity in the field of economics. “Economists are really influencing policy and the public debate on all sorts of important subjects,” says Stansbury. “If we have a discipline [where] two-thirds of the U.S.-born economics profession is made up of people whose parents have graduate degrees, you know, that’s a very selected group that is maybe missing really important perspectives.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Emeritus Leo Marx - "a pioneering student and then teacher of American studies” - died on March 8 at the age of 102, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. Marquard notes that Marx was “a professor so thoroughly engaged with his students that he took delight when, on occasion, one nudged him aside to offer an alternative view.”

Chronicle of Higher Education

Prof. Jackson G. Lu co-authored a research article which suggests “East Asian students are also struggling in classrooms where assertiveness is expected but not necessarily encouraged within their cultures,” reports Katherine Mangan for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

TechCrunch

Arun Saigal SB ’13, MEng ’13 and WeiHua Li ’BS ’14 MA ’15 co-founded Thunkable, an online platform developed to make building mobile apps easier, writes Ingrid Lunden for TechCrunch. “Saigal said that its initial focus was on consumers, which in itself is another big concept of the moment, that of the creator economy and users – not professional publishers and others – creating the content that the mass market is consuming,” writes Lunden.

Bloomberg

Educators from the Asia School of Business and MIT have developed a course aimed at teaching central bankers how the market is impacted by bottlenecks and how monetary policy can help, reports Enda Curran for Bloomberg.  “The curriculum covers topics that include crisis prevention, behavioral finance, cybersecurity, digital currencies, and ethics,” writes Curran. 

Symmetry

Symmetry Magazine reporter Stephanie Melchor spotlights the work of Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr. ’73, PhD ’77, a theoretical physicist “committed to ensuring young people have access to educational resources.” Melchor notes that during his time at MIT, Gates “started a tutoring program for MIT students called the Black Student Union Tutorial Program. He says it was during this tutoring that he realized he loved teaching.”

The Wall Street Journal

MIT has been named the third highest-ranked private college in the Northeast, according to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, reports Gerard Yates for The Wall Street Journal.

GBH

GBH reporter Megan Smith spotlights how the Educational Justice Institute at MIT, which offers learning programs to incarcerated individuals, was able to expand its reach through a new virtual platform that allows for real-time interaction, and provides an opportunity to bring together students from different facilities and local universities. “I really enjoy the humanity in the course because over a period of time you realize — it’s not about ‘inside’ students or ‘outside’ students, really,” said Mackenzie Kelley, a student in the program. “It’s just, we’re all human and we all make mistakes.”

GBH

Prof. Justin Reich speaks with GBH’s Meg Woolhouse about the importance of addressing longstanding inequities in the education system. “It’s about creating a more equitable world where,” says Reich, “every kid in Boston has high-speed internet in their house, and has technology access, and has access to high-quality medical care and testing and things like that.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Angela Yang spotlights how the MIT Sloan School of Management has been offering a virtual speaker series focused on preparing students for a changing work and business landscape. Prof. Erin Kelly, who worked on a toolkit launched in July aimed at helping employers create more supportive work cultures, noted that it’s "an exciting moment, because we may be ready to look at how work can be more sane and sustainable across all kinds of occupations.”

The Wall Street Journal

MIT has been named to the number two spot in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings of the best midsized colleges in the Northeast, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal

A new working paper co-authored by MIT researchers shows how the transition to remote schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic impacted student achievement, in particular for low-income and minority children, writes The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. The researchers found “the share of students who scored ‘proficient’ or above declined in spring 2021 compared to previous years by an average of 14.2 percentage points in math and 6.3 percentage points in language arts.”