MacVicar Day Symposium Will Honor Margaret MacVicar and Robert Silbey

Mary Enterline, Associate Dean, Office of Faculty Support

Six MIT faculty members and an alumnus will present examples of “Innovations in Undergraduate Education at MIT: Past, Present and Future” at the MacVicar Day Symposium, on Friday, March 16. The program is open to the entire MIT Community, here are the details:

Friday, March 16, 2012
3:00-5:00 PM
Refreshments at 2:30 PM
Bartos Theater, E15-070

This year’s symposium is subtitled, “In the Tradition of Margaret MacVicar and Robert Silbey” and honors their many contributions to the development of undergraduate education at MIT. “Margaret MacVicar was the first Dean for Undergraduate Education," said Daniel Hastings, Dean for Undergraduate Education. "She founded the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) in 1969, and it is still one of the signature programs for undergraduate life here at MIT.”

Margaret MacVicarRobert Silbey

“The symposium also recognizes the major contributions of Professor Robert Silbey, who passed away this past October. Professor Silbey served as the co-chair of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning; then while Dean of Science, he chaired the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons. He truly put his stamp on what our undergraduates experience here at MIT,” Hastings continued.

The MacVicar Day program will be introduced by Hastings, who will announce the 2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellows, selected for their outstanding teaching and sustained contributions to undergraduate education.

Diana Henderson, Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Support, will moderate the symposium, which will begin with presentations from Linda G. Griffith, School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering, and Moungi G. Bawendi, Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry, focusing on team-teaching thermodynamics.

Griffith, who co-taught thermodynamics with Silbey and valued him as a mentor, said, “It is a tremendous honor to be invited to celebrate Bob Silbey. I am so glad this is a celebration of his singular, outstanding influence on MIT education.”

John M. Essigmann, the William and Betsy Leitch Professor of Toxicology and Chemistry and housemaster at Simmons Hall, will follow with observations on improvements to student life and learning since Silbey chaired the first task force. William Broadhead, Class of ’54 Career Development Associate Professor of History, and Arthur W. Bahr, Associate Professor of Literature, will describe their collaboration in teaching “Empire: Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Studies.” The second task force recommended offering such interdisciplinary subjects that grapple with “big ideas” as a means of strengthening the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) requirement, and “Empire” is one of the HASS Exploratory (HEX) subjects currently being piloted and assessed.