Lozano-Perez is selected as MacVicar Fellow

March 14, 2014

Tomas Lozano-Perez is selected as 2014 MacVicar Faculty FellowToday, the MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program announced five new MacVicar Fellows -- selected as exceptional undergraduate teachers, educational innovators, and mentors. Tomás Lozano-Pérez, the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Excellence in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is among the five 2014 MacVicar Fellows selected.

Since 1992, the MacVicar Faculty Fellows program has honored Margaret MacVicar, an MIT alumna and professor of physical science and the Institute's first dean for undergraduate education (from 1985 to 1990) by selected several faculty in recognition of outstanding undergraduate teaching and mentoring. The Institute will honor the Fellows today, MacVicar Day, with a symposium titled "Creating a Network of Mentors: A Roundtable.” The entire MIT community is invited to the symposium and a reception following in the Bartos Theater and lobby respectively (E15-070).

Read today's article in the MIT News Office by Elizabeth Durant from the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, titled "Five professors named 2014 MacVicar Faculty Fellows - Buongiorno, Lozano-Pérez, Ochsendorf, Paxson, and Prather receive MIT’s top undergraduate teaching honor." Read the description in that article of Tomás Lozano-Pérez' accomplishments below.

Tomás Lozano-Pérez

Lozano-Pérez completed his SB, SM, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT in 1973, 1977, and 1980, respectively. He worked at the Artificial Intelligence Lab as a research staffer from 1973 to 1974 and became a research scientist in the lab in 1980. Lozano-Pérez was appointed as an assistant professor of computer science and engineering in 1981; as an associate professor in 1984; and as a professor in 1991. He served as associate head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 1998 to 2001, and was named the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Excellence in 2009.

“I love helping students learn,” Lozano-Pérez says. “It’s incredibly rewarding. For the last 15 years I’ve been exploring how to blend computer-based tools with personal interaction to help students learn. It’s exciting to see so much recent activity in this area at MIT.”

Lozano-Pérez’s experimentation with online learning has been groundbreaking, according to his peers. “In 1999, way before the online education craze, he spearheaded a revolution in 6.001,” one colleague said, developing an online tutoring system and a new teaching strategy emphasizing small, interactive recitations coupled with innovative online lectures. It was such a novel approach that Lozano-Pérez “didn’t have a name for the style; now we would call it a ‘flipped classroom.’”

Another colleague described Lozano-Pérez as “a superb educator: He is one of the most innovative and deepest thinkers about pedagogy and curriculum at the Institute.” His commitment to students, the colleague added, “creates a learning environment … that has an enormous impact on students’ knowledge, but also their self-confidence.”

“He is upbeat, has a … sense of humor, and has a magical ability to present complicated material in a clear and understandable manner,” wrote one student. Another found Lozano-Pérez’s passion for solving problems inspiring, adding that he creates a learning environment where students “are not intimidated” and “feel worthy,” which makes them “curious and courageous.”