The Chancellor's Office was re-instituted by Dr. Charles M. Vest, president, on August 1, 1998. In recreating the office, the president transferred a number of responsibilities from the Office of the Provost to the Office of the Chancellor. These include broad oversight for graduate and undergraduate education, student life, international initiatives, strategic planning, and the management of selected Institute large-scale partnerships.
The chancellor is committed to advancing the goals outlined in the 1998 Report of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning. In the simplest terms, the report states our goal of advancing the environment for learning, research, and community. Whether it is our exploration of new ways of teaching, new campus facilities, enhanced student life programming, supporting fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILGs), or implementing the new Communication Requirement, we are dedicated to ensuring that we make steady progress in realizing the vision set forth in the report.
As construction proceeded on Simmons Hall and renovations occurred in dining facilities, committees proceeded with plans to accommodate all first-year students on campus and open a new residence facility. The Office of the Dean for Student Life, under Dean Larry G. Benedict, assumed responsibility for the implementation of the residence design system and did this in cooperation with Dean Robert L. Redwine's Office for Undergraduate Education to ensure that orientation and other first-year program activities were well articulated with the new emphasis on design.
The budget for FY2003 includes significant new resources to support student life and residential reprogramming.
A committee continued work to assist fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups in anticipating and preparing for the transition that will include the absence of freshmen as residents in the first year. This planning activity included not only addressing the financial implications, but assisting the FSILGs in strategic planning and development of new recruitment activities and, generally, strengthening their internal operations and external presentation. The plans for new programming for campus residences include the specific goal of encouraging, to the extent possible, the participation of FSILGs in campus programming.
Progress continued in the development of the new graduate dormitory at the corner of Sydney and Pacific streets, which will provide 750 beds when opened. The period 2001 and 2002 saw the first year of the Albany Street graduate residence. In both these developments, we substantially increased the number of beds available for graduate students. New programming by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Students, under Dean Isaac M. Colbert, greatly increased the community building efforts aimed at strengthening graduate student life. Additional plans have been developed for 2002–2003. The budget for FY2003 includes additional resources to support graduate life and community building.
Approximately eighty beds in the graduate inventory have been set aside to address the undergraduate-crowding problem. The beds that we set aside may be required for as many as five years. In AY2001 and AY2002, we experienced a significant problem with undergraduate crowding. The system overall was approximately 120 beds short. This shortage affected as many as 400 students. The crowding problem was the result of over-enrollment (more than 1,000 new students) in the previous three years as well as two consecutive years of decline in the number of first-year students electing to live in FSILGs.
To address the housing crowding problem in undergraduate housing, a limited number of undergraduates will be assigned to graduate housing. In addition, the number of new students, including transfers, will be limited to 1,000 for fall 2002. This reduction in the number of new students and temporarily setting aside beds in graduate housing are expected to address the crowding problem.
To address future issues in housing, the chancellor appointed a Housing Strategy Group chaired by Deans Benedict and Colbert. Student leaders, representatives from the dormitory and FSILGs councils, staff from the deans' offices, the chair of the faculty, and housemasters comprise the Strategy Group. The group will advise on strategic and operational issues related to housing.
The Task Force on Student Mental Health submitted its report to the chancellor in September 2001. The task force recommended a number of changes to our approach in addressing student mental health. They found that a substantial number of students would benefit with more information from student health and that parts of the system needed additional resources and coordination. While suicide in the late 1990s represented one impetus for the creation of this task force, the major goal reflected in the task force recommendations, in the efforts of the Chancellor's Office, the Medical Department, and the deans' offices, was to create a more caring and more supportive community and to align our resources with that goal.
In response of the recommendations of the task force and based on the extensive community dialogue in September and October 2001, the following changes occurred, among others:
- The appointment of a clinical director of campus life
- Authorization of new staff positions in the Mental Health Department
- Appointment of health education professionals
- Expanded evening hours for clinic visits
- Better coordination between student life and medical personnel
- New protocols for transportation and notification
- A web site with health and wellness information and resources
- A number of pilot programs aimed at introducing a better method of connecting students with medical professionals and information outreach.
Further response to the recommendations of the task force as well as an evaluation of this will occur in the coming year, as new staff begin their work.
The chancellor serves as co-chair of the Council on the Environment with Professor David H. Marks from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Laboratory for Energy and Environment.
The council worked on a variety of initiatives. It led the effort to broaden the base of the Alliance for Global Sustainability, collaboration between MIT, the University of Tokyo, and the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. A spring conference in Costa Rica provided an opportunity for more than thirty faculty as well as a large group of students to participate. The chancellor and the council also worked to support other research centers and programs related to energy, the environment, and climate changes. The year saw the implementation of a space consolidation of environmental activity in Building E40.
The Chancellor's Office supported the development of a new program initiated by Professor Mario Molina (Chemistry and EAPS), Professor Lawrence Susskind (DUSP), and Dr. Luisa T. Molina (EAPS) to provide an educational program in environmental management for mid-career professionals supported by the Mexican government. This is a professional master's degree program sited in the Urban Studies Department. If the model with the Mexican government proves successful, this might be the basis for an environmental management degree emphasis for other developing countries.
The Council Sub-Committee, headed by Professor Jeffrey I. Steinfeld, together with other members of the council, reviewed our initiatives in undergraduate education and activities related to the environment. They concluded that while there were a number of worthwhile efforts these were uncoordinated. The effort was a substantially underdeveloped presentation of environmental opportunities for undergraduates at MIT. The group made recommendations for better program coordination, for the identification of minors, student activities, internships, UROP, and other activities that will be promoted in FY2003.
The council supported the establishment of the first proposed Earth Systems Initiative led by Professors Ronald G. Prinn (EAPS), and Rafael L. Bras (Civil and Environmental Engineering), now led by Professors Sallie "Penny" W. Chisholm (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Kip V. Hodges(EAPS). The program will have both a research and educational component. The educational component, Terrascope, will provide an integrated opportunity to achieve freshmen program goals as well as an introduction to the study of the earth as a system. Both pre-freshmen and an academic year programs will provide an opportunity for a significant number of students to receive this exciting introduction to the study of the environment at MIT. The research program will provide an opportunity for more than three dozen faculty members who have related research interest to pursue activities that take advantage of both science and engineering in understanding the earth as a system.
The chancellor serves as a member of the board of directors of Media Lab Europe. This is a laboratory supported by the MIT Media Lab and funded by the Irish government. The lab located in Dublin, Ireland was established to bring the MIT Media Lab's unique culture of innovation and invention to Europe. In partnership with industry and the MIT Media Laboratory, Media Lab Europe plans to use an interdisciplinary approach to developing new, sustainable technologies that empower people to lead more fulfilling lives. Media Lab Europe scientists share a vision of a world in which technologies serve the purpose of human performance, community and well-being. The areas of high priority include: education and games, wireless applications, physical health and well-being, and technologies to support collaboration. The economic downturn has forced the lab to pursue other partners in addition to industry. These potential partners are drawn from foundations and European governments.
The Media Lab also has spawned an activity in India. Media Lab Asia is an effort funded by the Indian government to explore how to bring empowering technology to the task of developing rural communities. The past year was spent exploring whether such a laboratory is possible and whether it is possible to assemble the partnerships and resources. Based in Bombay, the lab would have satellites in other major Indian cities with outreach to rural areas. Directed by Professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland, the lab would provide opportunities for students and research fellows to design and test a variety of technologies to advance education, health, communications, and development.
The chancellor serves as chair of the Special Child Care Committee. In 1999, the provost established the committee to guide the implementation of an initiative to expand child daycare opportunities to serve faculty and staff at MIT as part of the development of the Stata Complex. The committee has focused its work on designing and programming the daycare facility, opening the end of 2003. During the past year, major design and program decisions were made that will assure the facility will provide daycare service for infants and toddlers, that the opening of the center will be articulated with the change in management and some upgrading of facilities at Eastgate and Westgate, that MIT will provide overall supervision of a contract to Bright Horizons, who has been retained to manage all daycare at MIT, and that the operational responsibility for supervising the contract will rest with the Human Services Department and the Family Life Center.
The chancellor has taken the initiative to encourage a number of efforts to enhance community life and leadership development in the community. Dr. Kirk D. Kolenbrander, special assistant to the president and the chancellor, assists in these efforts. Recent efforts have ranged from coordinating activities in response to the terrorists' attacks on September 11, 2001, to plans for an anniversary commemoration on September 11, 2002, with follow-up activities.
The Chancellor's Office also sponsored an environmental scan led by Francine J. Crystal, organization development consultant, Human Resources, to identify conceptions of community life and to develop approaches to strengthening and building community.
In February 2002 the Chancellor's Office sponsored a conference of student leaders and held a meeting in May 2002 to bring all the various campus leadership initiatives together to explore what next steps might strengthen their individual areas as well as the overall campus initiative. A number of these initiatives and funding to support new initiatives has been included in plans for 2002–2003.
The chancellor appointed a committee chaired by Professor Glen Urban. The charge to this committee is to review the following partnerships that have been initiated in recent years: Amgen, Merck, Merrill-Lynch, Ford/MIT Alliance, Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, Dupont, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard.
While some of these partnerships have expired, several of them continue. Some will come up for review or renewal in the next few years. The committee's review and report will assist the faculty and the senior administration in:
- Assessing the value of this approach to partnering and research development
- Defining how future opportunities for partnering might be addressed
- Assisting academic units in learning from the experience of units that have had successful initiatives
- Identifying how partnering can be more effectively implemented so that its benefits are spread and it problems are minimized
In entering these partnerships, MIT had several goals. In these industrial partnerships, MIT has sought to:
- Increase research support for faculty
- Develop new strategic relationships with new or existing industrial partners
- Renew or create infrastructure to support teaching or research
- Develop and test new models of distance education
- Support curriculum development
- Support student exchanges, internships, etc.
- Gain access data and other resources from partner firms
- Enhance the excellence of MIT through gifts, endowments, fellowships, and other support
While initiatives vary in the degree to which they explicitly embody each of these goals, each initiative pursues some combination of these goals. The committee will explore the extent to which the initiatives have made progress on these goals and what other results have been obtained, including unintended or negative ones. The committee worked over the spring and summer and submits its report in fall 2002.
In other developments, MIT and Ford agreed to extend for another five years the MIT-Ford Alliance that expires at the end of 2002. Major research projects continue in areas of environment and advanced technology. A new emphasis on active safety emerged and matured in 2001–2002 and will be a major part of the continuing work.
MIT continues its partnership with Merrill Lynch. Recent work focuses on the financial technology and global issues that drive the future of consumer finance.
This past year thirty-two MIT students attended Cambridge University in the United Kingdom through the undergraduate exchange program of the Cambridge-MIT Institute. These students, like the pilot group that preceded them, had an excellent experience in Cambridge. Approximately the same number of Cambridge students studied at MIT. Faculty at the two institutions have begun several joint curricula projects.
In addition, several MIT faculty and Cambridge faculty spent time at each other's institutions as part of the fellowship program, research collaborations, and in workshops and other venues. Project topic areas included energy efficient building design, Rhodococcus (a bacterium that processes a key drug for AIDS), novel mmaterials, quantum information theory, advanced bio materials, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), ceramic encapsulation of nuclear waste materials, and the development of stem cell bioreactors.
CMI began four professional master's programs arising from collaborations with MIT faculty. Programs in bioscience enterprise, technology policy and environmental engineering, and sustainable development have been developed.
The Cambridge Institute also underwent an organizational review to create an executive committee and other organizational changes that streamline decision-making and operations. An Industrial Summit in the fall of 2001 brought together leaders of British industry for briefing on research projects.
More information about the Cambridge-MIT Institute is available on the CMI home page at http://www.cambridge-mit.org/.