Bulovic, Jackson named MacVicar fellows

March 6, 2009

Two Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department faculty members were selected (out of four faculty selected institute-wide) as MacVicar Faculty Fellows--an MIT recognition of excellence in teaching and innovation in education and of dedication to research and scholarship.

Vladimir Bulovic, the KDD Associate Professor of Communications and Technology, and Daniel Jackson, professor of electrical engineering and computer science are the newest (EECS) MacVicar fellows, as announced by Provost L. Rafael Reif at a faculty reception on Thursday, March 5, at Gray House. The fellows were chosen by a special committee headed by Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel Hastings.

The program was created 18 years ago in honor of the late Dean for Undergraduate Education and Professor of Physics Margaret L.A. MacVicar. Dean MacVicar died in 1991.

The fellowships provide an annual scholar's allowance to assist each fellow in developing ways to enrich the undergraduate learning experience. MacVicar Faculty Fellows serve 10-year terms.

Bulovic and Jackson, were named Van Buren Hansford (1937) - Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellows. The two other MIT faculty recipients include Diana Henderson, professor of literature; and David Jones, professor of science, technology and society.

The MIT News Office March 5, 2009 article reported:

Vladimir Bulovic earned BS (1991), MA (1995) and PhD (1998) degrees from Princeton University. He joined the MIT faculty in 2000.

Bulovic's research interests include studies of physical properties of nanodot composite thin films and structures, and development of novel optoelectronic organic and hybrid nanoscale devices. In 2004, he was named as one of the TR100, Technology Review magazine's annual list of top young innovators in technology.

As a teacher, Bulovic seamlessly blends his artistic skills with extraordinary technical acumen, according to his colleagues. He has an incredible ability to engage and motivate students, and to inspire them to new heights. Moreover, he is able to take complex ideas and present them in a manner that makes them especially clear and intuitive.

"As he presents materials, Professor Bulovic is constantly gauging the students' absorption of the material," one of his students told the MacVicar Nominating Committee. "If there are any confused looks or bewildered faces from students, he re-explains the material in another way and waits for questions or a sense of student understanding. He seems to enjoy answering questions, which makes students comfortable asking them."

Daniel Jackson, graduated from Oxford University in 1984 and earned MS and PhD degrees from MIT in 1988 and 1992, respectively. He joined the MIT faculty in 1997 after spending six years as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

His research interests include finding ways to make software more dependable and easy to use, and to reduce the cost of development.

Jackson's colleagues say that he is a gifted teacher who cares deeply about his teaching and about the learning experience of MIT undergraduates. His lecturing style is clear, articulate and precise, and -- through his artful use of the blackboard -- he bucks the lecture trend of PowerPoint information delivery at firehose speeds.

"I greatly admire the evident passion that Professor Jackson has for his students and his teaching," one of his students told the panel. "The excitement in his voice about the subject and the humor he injected into his lectures made every lesson, dare I say, enjoyable!"

Congratulations Daniel and Vladimir!