Paula Hammond appointed vice provost for faculty

July 28, 2023
Cynthia Barnhart, Provost |

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Institute Professor Paula T. Hammond ’85, PhD ’93 as vice provost for faculty. In her new role, Paula will oversee Institute-wide strategies and programs to support faculty excellence and advancement. Paula’s appointment will begin in December.

A distinguished record of service and research

Throughout her nearly three decades here, Paula has been passionate about building a better MIT and empowering those around her to excel and lead. She chaired the Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity and co-chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Advising and Mentoring as well as the implementation team responsible for shaping MIT’s response to the landmark 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report on the sexual harassment of women in academia. Her leadership in these efforts demonstrates Paula’s dedication to bringing about important changes in our culture so that every member of the MIT community can do their best work and thrive.

Paula joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1995 and has led the department for the past eight years. In 2021, she became an Institute Professor, the highest honor awarded by MIT’s administration and faculty.

Paula’s contributions to her field are renowned. She received the 2023–2024 James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award for her extraordinary professional contributions to designing novel polymers and nanomaterials. Her work at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research has wide-ranging applications in medicine, including in ovarian cancer research, and she has also introduced new approaches for developing complex drug delivery systems for treatment and non-invasive imaging. Paula serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and is among only 25 individuals elected to all three National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Vice provost for faculty role

In her new role as vice provost for faculty, Paula will focus on many aspects of professional development, community, and climate for faculty. She will advocate for faculty development, mentoring, diversity, and inclusion, working to complement local recruitment and retention efforts led by the schools and college.

Her responsibilities will also include guiding the design of Institute-wide programs offered by the Office of Faculty Programs and serving as a faculty resource to address conflicts and develop constructive solutions.

I am thrilled that Paula will be joining me and our other vice provosts to advance our shared priorities.

With appreciation

I am grateful to search advisory group chair Maria Yang and the faculty and staff members for the thoughtful search process they led. Their feedback helped me select an exceptional candidate for this critical role. Please join me in thanking the advisory group, whose names are listed below, and congratulating Paula on her next chapter of service to MIT.


Cynthia Barnhart

Members of the Vice Provost for Faculty Search Advisory Group

Advisory Group Chair

Maria Yang, Associate Dean of Engineering; Gail E. Kendall (1978) Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Advisory Group Members

Gabriella Y. Carolini, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and International Development

Fredo Durand, Amar Bose Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Peter Fisher, Head, Office of Research Computing; Vice Provost and Associate Vice President for Research; Thomas A. Frank (1977) Professor of Physics

Heather Paxson, Program Head, Anthropology; William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Anthropology

Ray Reagans, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management; Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Catherine Williams, Communications Director, Office of the Provost