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2019 Morningstar Award Goes to Joe McIntyre

A warm classroom and an emphasis on clarity helps make statistics approachable and welcoming.
Joe McIntyre

Photo by Jill Anderson

The Morningstar Family Teaching Award, the top teaching honor bestowed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, was presented to Lecturer Joe McIntyre, Ed.M.’10, Ed.D.’17, at HGSE’s Convocation exercises on May 29. The annual award recognizes a member of the HGSE faculty for excellence in teaching and advising throughout the year, and the recipient is chosen based on nominations by HGSE students and a review process by a student advisory committee and the HGSE Dean.

McIntyre, who teaches courses in statistics and questionnaire design, was recognized by students for his dedication, accessibility, humility, and generosity as a teacher, along with his welcoming classroom environment (and his wacky t-shirts) which always made class enjoyable. Students also praised McIntyre’s ability to simplify challenging concepts for his class. As one student wrote, “I had no intention of continuing with statistics, but I could not imagine a semester without him as my professor, so I took data science to continue to have the privilege of having the best professor at Harvard.”

"Joe McIntyre is an outstanding teacher, adviser, and mentor. He exemplifies the kind of educator that the Morningstar Family Teaching Award was established to honor,” says Dean Bridget Terry Long. “Many students commented on their deep appreciation for the care he spent creating a warm and inclusive classroom environment, his ability to convey challenging concepts clearly, and his great accessibility. I am thrilled that he is receiving this well-deserved recognition."

Established in 2000 with a gift from Faith Morningstar, Ed.M.’87, Ed.D.’96, and her husband, the Honorable Richard Morningstar, an alumnus of Harvard College, the Morningstar Family Teaching Award is intended to recognize those faculty members that helped create supportive environments for their students. The award includes a $5,000 prize and recognition on a plaque hung on campus. McIntyre was nominated along with 59 other faculty members, with 196 students making nominations.

 “Teaching has always been something I've loved, because it allows me to share my passion for the subject with my students,” says McIntyre. “I have a deep love of math and statistics, both for their elegance and intellectual challenge, and for their ability, when used carefully and wisely, to do great things. It's amazing to have a chance to watch as other people encounter these ideas and often come to appreciate them as well.

“Also great has been the opportunity to get to know so many cool new people. It's sad to see students go after only a single year, but it's also great to have a chance every August to meet a whole new group of incredible people with incredible experiences and perspectives. Teaching helps me to build relationships with amazing folks.”

Previously a high school mathematics teacher, McIntyre received his Ed.D. from HGSE in 2017 and an Ed.M. in human development and psychology from the school in 2010. His research interests include applying methods from statistics to address questions in education. He is especially interested in measuring student experiences and in answering questions around gender and education. His doctoral dissertation focused on an analysis of the gender of central characters in picture books, as well as the popularity of titles based on gender.

“I've been privileged to learn from some incredible teachers, and especially some incredible quantitative methods teachers, during my time at HGSE,” McIntyre says. “So much of what I know about instruction is what I've learned from observing the wonderful teaching of other folks. It was also really moving to me that this [honor] came from my students. I appreciate them so much, and love interacting with them so much, and I'm glad that they're able to perceive that (and that they liked my t-shirts!).”

Current faculty members who have received the Morningstar Award include Associate Professors Karen Brennan and Jal Mehta; Lecturer Gretchen Brion-Meisels; Senior Lecturer Joe Blatt; Professors Elizabeth City, Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Catherine Snow, Paul Harris, and Monica Higgins; and Dean Bridget Terry Long.