Dean, School of Science

The School of Science continues to play a leadership role, both nationally and internationally, in science education and research. Our graduate education programs are ranked among the very top in all the disciplines of the school by a variety of organizations. Maintaining that high standard is the highest priority of the faculty and administration in the school.

The School of Science continues to teach a major part of the undergraduate education at MIT. Biology has grown in the last decade to become one of the largest majors at the Institute. In addition, the Departments of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry have some of the largest student contact hours. The overall excellence of teaching is exemplified by the number of MacVicar fellows in the school. Three new faculty were named MacVicar fellows last year.

The quality of an academic unit such as the School of Science is determined by the caliber of the faculty involved. One of the highest priorities of the school administration is to support our existing outstanding faculty and to recruit to MIT exceptionally talented young researchers and educators, especially underrepresented minorities and women, to our faculty. A new faculty search policy has been established with standards to guarantee every faculty search is used as a vehicle to try to increase the diversity of our faculty. In 2001–2002, twelve new faculty joined the school as assistant professors, including three women and one underrepresented minority. In addition, one woman was hired as full professor.

Our faculty received many honors and awards during the past year, both external and internal. Of particular note, Wolfgang Ketterle won the Nobel prize in physics 2001, was elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences; Ann Graybiel won the National Medal of Science2002, and the James Rhyne Killian Jr. faculty achievement award from MIT. Other significant honors include: Leonard Guarente was selected by the Academy of the American Society for Healthy Aging to receive its first annual award for significant contributions in the field of aging research; Daniel Kleppner was selected to give the 2002 Robertson memorial lecture; Sam C.C. Ting was chosen as the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the National Tsing Hua University for 2002; and Carl Wunsch was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society.

The many new research initiatives and fundamental discoveries that occurred in the various departments and laboratories of the School of Science are discussed below in the reports of those units.

Total new gifts and pledges to the School of Science increased from $16.5M to $36.8M in FY2002.

Academic Programs

There were 794 undergraduate majors in the School of Science during the past academic year, a 3.5 percent increase from the previous year. The number of minority student majors at the undergraduate level changed as follows:

African Americans 30 to 27 ( 10% decrease)
Hispanics 53 to 63 (19% increase)
Native Americans 11 to 14 (27% increase)
Asian Americans 207 to 213 (3% increase)

Sixty-five minors were awarded in the School of Science in AY2002. The female undergraduate population increased from 409 to 426. One quarter of the Institute's upperclass undergraduates were enrolled in the School of Science. Graduate enrollments in science increased from 1034 to 1048, representing 18 percent of the graduate population at MIT. The number of minority students at the graduate level changed as follows:

African-Americans 12 to 16 (33% increase)
Hispanics 14 to 12 (14% decrease)
Native Americans 3 to 2 (33% decrease)
Asian Americans 61 to 61 No change

The number of female graduate students decreased from 323 to 320. The overall percentage of female graduate students remained at 31 percent.

The 262 faculty members in the school this past year represents a 3.5 percent increase from the previous year. The undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio remained at three to one, and the graduate student-to-faculty ratio remained at four to one.

Research Volume

The FY2001 research volume was $127.5M, a $6.7M increase over the FY2000 research volume. This figure does not include the significantly increased research volume by MIT faculty at the Whitehead Institute (>$118M), HHMI faculty (>$12M) as well as the research volume associated with School of Science research carried out in the interdisciplinary laboratories reporting to the vice president for research.

Robert J. Silbey
Dean, School of Science
Class of 1942 Professor of Chemistry


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