Taylor Perron, associate professor of geology, has been appointed associate department head for MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). He succeeds Tim Grove, the Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Building upon Grove’s accomplishments, Perron will work with the EAPS academic program administrator and department head to oversee the department’s educational program—ensuring the development and quality of the curriculum, fieldwork program, teaching, general exam process, and admissions.
“We are living in an era of exploration and discovery—from Earth’s history and the tree of life to beyond the outer reaches of the solar system—and our society depends in so many ways on the fields we study in EAPS, from climate and natural disasters to energy and policy,” Perron said. “I want to help as many MIT undergraduates as possible to experience that excitement, consider that relevance, and understand the associated career options. I also want to continue our efforts to enhance our world-leading graduate program.”
In addition to his teaching and research on how landscapes form and evolve on Earth and other planets, Perron has invested heavily in the EAPS and MIT communities. He advises first-year students and works with MIT’s Experimental Study Group; has chaired the EAPS Program in Geology, Geochemistry and Geobiology; and served on the MIT Faculty Committees on Student Life and on the Communication Requirement.
Perron assumes the reins from Tim Grove, who has made major contributions to elevate and strengthen the quality of the EAPS education mission. “Tim brought remarkable experience to the position, including education service at the Institute level, national leadership as president of the American Geophysical Union and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and of course through his own extensive teaching contributions in the classroom and in the field,” said Perron, who has learned a great deal from his predecessor. As member and chair of MIT’s Committee on the Undergraduate Program, Grove stayed connected to the educational mission of the Institute. One particularly notable achievement was building an MIT-wide consensus that every MIT first-year student should have a faculty advisor. Within EAPS, he led a major effort to collect data and feedback from past graduates and reorganized the undergraduate curriculum. Additionally, Grove created a more uniform general exam structure and spearheaded several initiatives to enhance academic opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. He also devoted a great deal of time to the improvement of the departmental facilities, a crucial effort he will continue after the transition.
“Tim was well liked by all students and will be a tough act to follow,” said EAPS Head of Department and Schlumberger Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Rob van der Hilst, conveying his appreciation for Grove’s efforts and looking forward to building upon them in the future. “I am deeply grateful for Tim’s dedication, contributions, and accomplishments, and I very much look forward to working with Taylor to maintain a world-class educational program that not only continues to attract the best students but also shares what EAPS has to offer with the world beyond our own classrooms.”
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