Tim McKay is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Education; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; and Professor of Education in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. McKay received a BS in Physics from Temple University, where he was a first-generation, commuter student. He received his PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1992, and joined the faculty at Michigan in 1995. McKay and his colleagues have applied observational and experimental data science methods to astrophysics, cosmology, and education. They have probed the growth of cosmic structure as well as the expansion history of the Universe, especially through studies of galaxy clusters and gravitational lensing. They have discovered prompt optical counterparts to gamma-ray bursts. Since 2008, they have been using classroom and institutional data to make higher education more equitable, inclusive, and effective. This is work that takes place at the interface between research, practice, and policy.
In recent years, McKay has helped to launch or advance the Foundational Course Initiative, the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) project, the Mellon College and Beyond II study, the Mellon Transfer Bridges to the Humanities project, the Program for Computation in the Arts and Sciences, and the Analytics for Student Success and Equity Transformation (ASSET) project.