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Chairmen/Chairs of the Faculty

In 1993, the Faculty voted to delete any gender specific terminology from the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty. This decision changed the title of the position from Chairman of the Faculty to Chair of the Faculty. The term of the Chair begins July 1 and is for two-years. 

2021- Lily L. Tsai
2019-2021 Rick L. Danheiser
2017-2019 Susan S. Silbey
2015-2016 Krishna Rajagopal
2013-2014 Steven R. Hall
2011-2012 Samuel M. Allen
2009-2010 Thomas A. Kochan
2007-2009 Bishwapriya Sanyal
2006-2007 Steven R. Lerman
2005-2006 Lorna J. Gibson
2003-2005 Rafael Bras
2001-2003 Stephen C. Graves
1999-2001 Stephen R. Lerman
1997-1999 Lotte Bailyn
1995-1997 Lawrence S. Bacow
1993-1995 Robert L. Jaffe
1991-1993 J. Kim Vandiver
1989-1991 Henry D. Jacoby
1987-1989 Bernard J. Frieden
1985-1987 Mary C. Potter
1983-1985 Arthur C. Smith
1981-1983 Felix M. H. Villars
1979-1981 Sheila E. Widnall
1977-1979 Robert I. Hulsizer, Jr.
1975-1977 John Ross
1973-1975 Elias Panayiotis Gyftopoulos
1971-1973 Hartley Rogers
1969-1971 William Ted Martin
1967-1969 Walter Alter Rosenblith
1965-1967 Charles Poor Kindleberger
1964-1965 Ascher Herman Shapiro
1963-1964 Harold Somers Mickley
1962-1963 Jerrold Reinach Zacharias
1960-1962 Patrick Mason Hurley
1958-1960 Philip McCord Morse
1956-1958 John Torrey Norton
1954-1956 Martin J. Buerger
1952-1954 Edwin Richard Gilliland
1951-1952 Gordon Stanley Brown
1951 Douglass V. Brown
1950-1951 John R. Loofbourow [J. R. Loofbourow died during his term as Chairman; Douglass V. Brown apparently completed the term.]
1949-1950 Douglass V. Brown
1947-1949 William H. McAdams
1945-1947 William H. Timbie
1943-1945 Henry B. Phillips
1942-1943 Floyd E. Armstrong
1940-1942 Charles B. Breed
1939-1940 Harry M. Goodwin
1937-1939 James F. Norris
1935-1937 Charles E. Fuller
1933-1935 William Emerson
1931-1933 Frederick S. Woods
1929-1931 Samuel C. Prescott
1927-1929 Charles L. Norton
1925-1927 Charles M. Spofford
1923-1925 Dugald Caleb Jackson
1921-1923 Edward Furber Miller
1919-1921 Henry P. Talbot
1917-1919 Arthur Edwin Kennelly
1915-1917 Cecil Hobart Peabody
1913-1915 Harry W. Tyler
1911-1913 Davis R. Dewey
1909-1911 Dwight Porter

The first recorded meeting of the faculty was held on 25 September 1865, and meetings have been held regularly since then. The faculty is responsible not only for educating the students, but also for making policy decisions on how the Institute functions based on internal and external factors. Topics discussed in faculty meetings include proposals for new courses, student petitions (extensions of deadlines, disciplinary issues, etc.), admission requirements, deaths of faculty members, enrollment and diversity issues, student life, and committee reports.

The officers of the faculty are the chair, the associate chair, the secretary, and ex officio, the president of the Institute. (The president of the Institute is, ex officio, president of the faculty.) In the absence of the president, the chair of the faculty presides at faculty meetings.

Rules of the Faculty was first published in October 1879. The rules outline the structure of the faculty, meetings, committees, course work, grading system, and more. The title was changed to Rules and Regulations of the Faculty in 1937. Editions from 1879 through the latest revision are available in the Institute Archives under the classification number T171.M4199. The latest revision is available to members of the MIT community on the faculty governance web site. A current list of committees is also available on the faculty governance website.

The first written definition of the MIT faculty appeared in the 1921 revision of the Rules: “The Faculty consists of the President and all members of the instructing staff with rank of Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor, and certain Instructors selected by the Executive Committee of the Corporation.” Through the years, the definition has been updated to suit the changing face and needs of the Institute. For instance, in 1932 the dean of students, the registrar and the head librarian were added to the faculty. The current definition can be found online in section 1.10 of the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty.

The faculty give out two awards each year: the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award and the James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award. The Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award Selection Committee chooses one individual from among the junior (non-tenured) members of the MIT faculty. The award was established in the fall of 1982 as a permanent tribute to Institute Professor Emeritus Harold E. Edgerton for his great and enduring support for younger faculty members over the years. The purpose of the award is to recognize exceptional distinction in teaching and research or scholarship. The James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award Selection Committee chooses one member of the MIT faculty to be the Killian Award Lecturer for the following academic year. The purpose of the award is to recognize extraordinary professional accomplishments by MIT faculty members and to communicate these accomplishments to members of the MIT community. The award was established in the spring of 1971 as a permanent tribute to James R. Killian, Jr., President of the Institute from 1948 to 1959 and Chairman of the MIT Corporation from 1959 to 1971.

Prepared by the Department of Distinctive Collections, MIT Libraries
Last updated June 2021