Ian A. Waitz is the vice chancellor for undergraduate and graduate education and Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He has been on the faculty at MIT since 1991, serving as the head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and as dean of the School of Engineering. He took the helm of the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC) in 2017.
Upon joining OVC, Waitz involved staff in a strategic restructuring to integrate the former offices of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Dean for Graduate Education, leading to a more aligned and efficient organization. He has spearheaded pilots for first-year undergraduate students in an ongoing effort to encourage career and major exploration and to improve first-year advising. These initiatives were informed by student recommendations from a novel course, Designing the First Year at MIT, which he co-created and co-taught in 2018.
Waitz is also leading a holistic effort to improve aspects of the graduate student experience at MIT, including advising, housing, professional development, financial security, diversity, equity and inclusion, mental health and well-being, and the unique needs of graduate students with families. The Graduate Student Roadmap provides a conceptual framework that illustrates how OVC is working to make tangible progress in these and other areas of graduate student life. In addition, Waitz has helped to lead the Institute’s Covid-19 response since March 2020.
As dean of the School of Engineering (SOE) from 2011 to 2017, Waitz introduced new policies, processes, and programs to enhance the ability to attract and support exceptional students and faculty; launched two new MIT-wide organizations—the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science; developed new programs and spaces for student and faculty innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the Sandbox Innovation Fund; and advanced programs for residential and online learning. His resource development efforts contributed to a nearly threefold increase in yearly giving to the SOE.
Waitz’s research has led to advances in gas turbine engines, fluid mechanics, combustion, and acoustics. His most recent focus has been the modeling and evaluation of climate, air quality, and noise impacts of aviation, along with the assessment of technological, operational, and policy options for mitigating these impacts. These efforts have led to more rigorous and rational evaluations of environmental policy and technology.
Waitz received his BS in 1986 from the Pennsylvania State University, his MS in 1988 from the George Washington University, and his PhD in 1991 from the California Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and has been recognized by multiple awards for teaching and research, including MIT’s MacVicar Fellowship.