J. Meejin Yoon has been presented with the 2013 Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education. The award is named in honor of Irwin W. Sizer, dean of the Graduate School from 1967-1975.
As director of the undergraduate program in architecture since 2010, Yoon has brought an inventiveness to the program in ways that are expanding the whole notion of design and architecture within an institute of technology, according to her nominator Nader Tehrani, head of the architecture department. "She has meticulously restructured the pedagogy and sequence of studios," he says, "‘bringing together a blend of architectural history, a connection to the arts and an equally critical link to science and technologies."
As part of her approach to that restructuring, she conducted a two-day review with directors and leaders at peer institutions, as well as with current students and recent alumni, and insights from that review are now helping create an undergraduate program that is much more than simply preparation for a professional degree, says Tehrani.
The curriculum is also being adjusted not only to accommodate the intensity of MIT's General Institute Requirements but also to capitalize on them by redefining studio content and goals. As a result of those changes, an increasing number of students are double-majoring or minoring in another field, and the program is attracting minors from other fields across the Institute.