May/June 2023Vol.XXXV No. 4

FNL Editorial Board Election Results: Three Re-elected; One New Member

The results are in for the recent electronic all-faculty/emeritus faculty election for members to the Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board. The only Institute election open only to all faculty and emeritus faculty members, the voting was held between April 26 and May 5. Eligible voters were notified by email, and approximately 20% of the more than 1000 eligible electorate participated. The mechanics of the election were overseen by MIT Institutional Research Associate Director Gregory Harris. The entire process simply wouldn’t have been possible without his assistance. Current Editorial Board members Christopher “Kit” Cummins, Helen Elaine Lee, and Nasser Rabbat were re-elected, as was new candidate Anthony Patera. Each will serve a term of three years. Voters were able to choose up to four candidates, based on the biographical information each candidate submitted for the election. Below is the “ballot” each winning candidate submitted.

Christopher “Kit” Cummins (current Editorial Board member)
I am an MIT alum (PhD 1993, Chemistry) and joined the faculty here in the same department immediately following my first MIT Commencement; subsequently it seems as if I graduated many more times during my time as an Associate Faculty Marshal and member of the Institute’s Commencement Committee, representing the School of Science. I’ve enjoyed serving on Institute committees over the years, including the CAP, as a vehicle not only to serve but also to get to know the Institute and our faculty. I’m a first-year and major advisor, and have served also as our department’s UROP coordinator. My research interests reside in devising methods for the synthesis of new molecular forms of matter, and I love to read, write, and edit pieces both inside and outside of my comfort zone. It would be a great honor for me to be re-elected to the FNL Editorial Board, where I may practice and sharpen those skills in service of the true and independent voices of the MIT faculty.

Helen Elaine Lee (current Editorial Board member)
Service on the Faculty Newsletter’s Board is an opportunity to bring my background as a writer to the MIT community. I am aware of the power of words to unite and inspire us in addressing academic, ethical, social, and political issues, and in agitating for change. The Faculty Newsletter is the MIT forum where we are all able to raise our voices, in affirmation and dissent, and I look forward to continuing to foster faculty engagement in discussions of our community’s pressing issues. Through this forum we can all have a role in shaping the Institute and ensuring that we are self-critical, inclusive, equitable, and creative in meeting the myriad challenges and opportunities before us.

Nasser Rabbat (current Editorial Board member)
Nasser Rabbat is the Aga Khan Professor and the Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. He has been a faculty member for the last 32 years and completed his PhD at MIT as well. An architect and a historian, his scholarly interests include Islamic architecture, urban history, heritage studies, Arab history, contemporary Islamic art, and post-colonial criticism. He has published eight books on topics ranging from Mamluk architecture to Antique Syria, 19th century Cairo, Orientalism, and urbicide. His most recent books are Writing Egypt: al-Maqrizi and his Historical Project (2022) and ‘Imarat al-Mudun al-Mayyita (The Architecture of the Dead Cities) (2018). He has been a contributor to several Arabic newspapers on cultural, political, and artistic issues since 1998.

“Serving on the MIT Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board will allow me to advocate for a more committed engagement with the less fortunate parts of the world at MIT, to promote a better integration of the humanities in MIT’s mission and image, and to bring my journalistic experience to the institution in which I have spent all of my career.”

Anthony Patera
I arrived at MIT in 1975. I obtained my SB and SM in Mechanical Engineering, and my PhD in Applied Mathematics. I then joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering. I am currently Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Ford Professor of Engineering. My research and teaching interests center on mathematical modeling and computational methods for partial differential equations, with applications in solid mechanics, acoustics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer.

The Faculty Newsletter plays an important part in the articulation and promotion of faculty participation in the research, education, and service missions of the Institute. Some traditional roles of faculty are now increasingly transferred to professional offices within the Institute. In some cases this shift is well warranted and all parties benefit. However, in other cases, although we might improve our efficiency, we may also sacrifice the holistic academic spirit which has long been a hallmark of MIT. In this context, I believe the Faculty Newsletter can provide a forum for extended and deliberate discussion of faculty imperatives in the MIT of the future.