Search for next dean of SHASS

July 06, 2021

Dear faculty, staff, and students in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences,

As I shared earlier this week, Agustín Rayo, professor of philosophy, has agreed to serve as interim dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), effective August 18, 2021. His appointment follows the announcement that Dean Melissa Nobles will become MIT’s chancellor later this summer.

In addition, I appointed a 10-member Advisory Committee for the selection of the next Kenan Sahin Dean of SHASS. Chaired by Professor Caspar Hare, the committee is charged with providing me with its recommendation of candidates for the deanship this fall. The complete list of committee members is at the close of this letter.

As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I have asked the committee to assess the school’s leadership needs for the coming months and years. To gain advice for the appointment, the committee will engage the MIT community widely, soliciting feedback from a diverse set of internal and external stakeholders across the school and beyond. I have also encouraged the committee to consider candidates with proven track records on diversity, inclusion, and equity, including hiring practices and commitment to fostering a welcoming community.

As the committee begins its work, I welcome your input and ideas regarding the best candidates for this role at; you can also contact Caspar or any of the committee members directly. Your feedback will be treated as confidential.

I am deeply grateful to Agustín for accepting this interim position, and also thank the search committee members for their service to the school. I look forward to working with them during this transition. Finally, my warm thanks to all members of SHASS for your support of this process.


Martin A. Schmidt, Provost

Advisory Committee | MIT SHASS Dean Search

Stephanie Ann Frampton, Literature

Malick Ghachem, History

Jonathan Gruber, Economics

Caspar Hare, Committee Chair, Philosophy

Sabine Iatridou, Linguistics

Graham Jones, Anthropology

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Science, Technology, and Society

Janet Sonenberg, Theater Arts

Kathleen Thelen, Political Science

Jing Wang, Comparative Media Studies/Writing