Dennis M. Freeman, Professor of Electrical Engineering and MacVicar Faculty Fellow, was named Dean for Undergraduate Education in 2013.
Professor Freeman has been active in undergraduate teaching since joining the faculty in 1995, focusing on 6.021J Cellular Biophysics and 6.003 Signals and Systems. During the past five years, he has contributed to the development and teaching of 6.01 Introduction to EECS I, which introduces software engineering, feedback and control, circuits, probability, and planning in a series of hands-on activities involving a mobile robot. This subject is currently taken by more than half of MIT's freshmen each year. Professor Freeman has also worked with Professor Anantha Chandrakasan, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), to launch the new SuperUROP program, which attracted 77 students to complete year-long UROP projects in its inaugural year.
Professor Freeman served as EECS Education Officer (2008-2011) and EECS Undergraduate Officer (2011-2013). He has also served on a number of Institute committees, including the Committee on the Undergraduate Program (2004-2009, chair 2005-2009) the Committee on Curricula (2005-2009), the Task Force on the Undergraduate Commons (2006-2008), the Educational Commons Subcommittee (2007-2009), the Global Experience Opportunities at MIT (2006-2007), the Corporation Joint Advisory Committee (2009-2010), Task Force on Planning (2009-2010), and the Working Group on Student Support (2011).
Professor Freeman has won numerous teaching awards at MIT, including the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching (EECS, 1999), the Irving M. London Teaching Award (Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, 2004), and the Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching (School of Engineering, 2005). Professor Freeman has been a MacVicar Faculty Fellow since 2006. He was chosen by the IEEE/ACM student association as the best academic advisor in EECS in 2001, 2007, and 2013.
Professor Freeman is a member of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, where his group studies cochlear mechanics. His group was the first to directly measure sound-induced motions of cells and accessory structures in the inner ear. Recently, his group discovered that the tectorial membrane, which is a gelatinous structure that overlies the mechanically sensitive sensory receptor cells in the inner ear, supports waves due to its intrinsic material properties. These waves contribute to both the extraordinary sensitivity and frequency selectivity of hearing. This new mechanism can account for deficits in hearing that are found in genetic disorders of hearing and have previously eluded explanation.
Professor Freeman is a native of Pennsylvania. He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University (1973) and master's, engineer's, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT (1986). Professor Freeman is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (2008) and a member of the IEEE, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Engineering Education, the Biophysical Society, and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.