MIT Reports to the President 19992000
The mission of the Office of the Associate Provost is to assist the Provost and other academic officers in carrying out academic and program support functions. The Office of the Associate Provost worked on the following activities in the past year.
Besides handling a number of grievances and providing assistance to others in conducting investigations, the associate provost worked with a group from the Ombuds Office, Human Resources, the Deans Office, and others to develop a guidebook for conducting investigations at MIT. The guidebook aims to increase the quality, thoroughness, and fairness of investigations. The completed guide will be published and posted on the web.
The associate provost chaired a faculty and staff committee exploring issues related to the development of a child care center in the Stata Building. The child care center in the Stata Building represents a substantial commitment to child care and to achieving the goal of 150 additional on-campus day care slots. The tentative plan for the Stata Center calls for more than a hundred slots including significantly, slots for infants. While a separate committee is exploring issues of design, this staff committee is exploring issues of governance, programming, and other issues. The committee held focus groups, conducted a community survey, and will issue its recommendations in the fall of 2000.
The faculty vote and the charge from the President require that we undertake activities in four areas. The four areas include: MITs involvement in national advocacy; efforts to create opportunities for students irrespective of sexual orientation to participate in on-campus activities centered on leadership; initiatives to improve the campus climate for gay and lesbian students; and a reinsurance program to guard against financial losses to students who might suffer an involuntary disenrollment from ROTC because of sexual orientation. The summary of activities in the four areas is as follows:
With respect to national advocacy there has been no substantial engagement by peer institutions. There does not appear to be any prospect that the more relevant restrictions of the Solomon Amendment will get a serious review in this Congress. Our monitoring of the legislative arena will continue, and we will follow up on the DOD secretarys committee inquiry into alleged harassment.
Our leadership development effort in the past year was to support a new course centered on leadership development that would engage the cadets and noncadets as well as professors of military science supported by regular faculty. The course (Leadership and Management/15.328) went well. Thirty-five students took the course. However, almost all who took the course were cadets. Course leaders are committed to greater outreach in the coming year. These should not be problems in the coming year. It is impossible to be precise regarding whether there has been a change in the campus climate. There are no reliable data or metrics. There were no cases and no action in this area in 19992000.
Phillip L. Clay
The International Scholars Office (ISO) enables MIT faculty and staff to bring international researchers and professors to campus for a variety of purposes. The ISO advises on immigration matters, issues visa documents, and provides guidance, workshops, information booklets and flyers on a wide range of issues relevant to the international scholar population. Weekly orientations are held for incoming scholars and family members. The ISO also engages in advocacy efforts to protect international educational exchange, prevent burdensome regulations, and clarify and improve related regulations and procedures. The ISO is very fortunate to receive oversight from the Associate Provost, with additional assistance from Charlene Placido, Assistant Dean for Research.
The ISO served a total of 1464 international scholars who were affiliated with MIT during the period July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000, up from 1369 last year; the ISO also served these scholars accompanying family members. International scholars are key to the vitality and global scope of MITs teaching and research efforts. MIT is among the United States institutions hosting the most foreign scholars, ranking seventh nationally. MIT scholars come from 81 countries, with Japan, Germany and Peoples Republic of China in the lead, consistent with national trends. In the past year, the ISO worked closely with administrators in 67 departments, laboratories and centers, and prepared the appropriate visa documents or petitions for incoming and continuing scholars and their families. In order to prepare such applications and appropriately advise international scholars and their hosts, ISO staff members maintain an intricate knowledge of ever-changing immigration laws and regulations and coordinate MITs needs, the scholars unique qualifications and visa history, and regulatory realities. During the 1999-2000 period, 980 scholars were sponsored under MITs J-1 exchange visitor program and 185 were sponsored by MIT on the H-1B visa, as compared with 916 on MITs J-1 and 148 on MITs H-1B sponsorship last year; the rest of the scholar population had other sponsors or nonimmigrant categories. The ISO also submitted 12 permanent residence petitions to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on behalf of MIT faculty members and upper-level researchers, while advising numerous others at various stages of a multi-step process now taking over two years from start to finish.
In addition to advising and providing extensive web-based and written information for international scholars and their families, the ISO sponsored periodic workshops for MIT administrators responsible for international scholars. Such workshops have been required more frequently given staff turnover at the Institute. The International Scholars Office also offered its popular annual tax workshop for international scholars in February, and co-sponsored the fall International Open House for newcomers with the International Students Office. Staff members are also active at professional conferences, with each staff member presenting this year at conferences held by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. This spring the office underwent a computer transition from the Macintosh to the PC environment in order to update hardware and software and accommodate immigration software needs. This upgrade would not have been possible without the generous assistance of Theresa Regan, Director of the Office of Computing Practice, and the oversight of the Sharon Ralston in the ISO, who bears responsibility for computer matters in addition to her primary advising duties.
A number of institutional and global trends have a direct bearing on the work of the International Scholars Office. These include the proliferation of new partnerships between MIT and industry and the growth of new programs and international collaborations. Taking just the first example, industry and academic partnerships, immigration regulations do not readily lend themselves to dual or multiple affiliations. There has been a steady increase in the number of MIT scholars requesting J-1 off-campus work permission or concurrent H-1B petitions from the ISO, and a similar increase in scholars with outside visa sponsorship seeking accommodation of concurrent affiliations at MIT. The ISO is striving to keep up with these and other challenges.
The ISO is also proactive in the legislative and regulatory arena, coordinating with the Associate Provost and the Director of the MIT Washington office in advocacy efforts. The ISO Director and Assistant Director serve on NAFSA: Association of International Educators working groups, and the Director has continued membership in the Consortium on Higher Education Immigration Issues as well as the American Association of Universities Immigration Advisory Group. She also served the last of her three-year term as moderator at the annual meeting of the Ivy League Institutions Plus Three group, held this year at MIT. The International Scholars Office and International Students Office served as co-hosts and made all the arrangements, and the Associate Provost gave the welcoming remarks.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service continues to develop a national system known as "CIPRIS" by which international offices will eventually be required to electronically track and report information on international students and scholars to INS. MIT joined the successful national campaign to combat a controversial INS plan mandated by Congress. The proposal called for schools to act as collection agents for a fee to be paid by foreign students and J scholars to fund the tracking program. The ISO also celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its J-1 program for exchange visitors, and continued efforts to influence national J-1 policies and procedures to the benefit of MIT. Nationally, the J Exchange Visitor Program is undergoing profound changes as it adjusts to its new home in the Department of State. The ISO Director participated in the Department of States review of the Exchange Visitor Program office, and was told that these contributions were key to the final report. The H-1B visa continues to be problematic. Although the temporary increase in the annual allotment of H-1B petition approvals available to new H-1B beneficiaries is still in effect, the quota remains inadequate. For the third year in a row, the "cap" was reached in the spring, rendering the H-1B visa option for some scholars impossible until October. Penny Rosser and Ivana Hrga-Griggs have once again been extremely proactive and have worked closely with departments to prevent or minimize disruption of MIT teaching and research efforts. The higher education community continues to pursue an academic exemption from the cap or a separate allotment of H-1B numbers.
Dana Bresee Keeth continues to serve as Director and Penny Rosser as Assistant Director. The three Advisors to International Scholars continue in their positions: Jennifer Stephens, part-time, Ivana Hrga-Griggs, who enjoyed a two-month maternity leave following the birth of her baby in May, and Sharon Ralston, who completed her first year with the ISO. Sirijit Lertkhachonsuk (Sandy Lo), Administrative Assistant, left to pursue international travel, and the ISO welcomed Michael Welch to this position in January.
More information about the International Scholars Office may be found on the World Wide Web at http://web.mit.edu/scholars/.
Dana Bresee Keeth
MIT Reports to the President 19992000