Office of Professional Education Programs
This year, the School of Engineering launched the new Office of Professional Education Programs (PEP). Designed to provide outstanding learning opportunities for professionals, PEP programs are delivered by MIT faculty and promote technical excellence through ongoing educational engagement with communities of practice.
PEP seeks to establish a leadership position for MIT and the School of Engineering in the area of lifelong learning in engineering and technical fields. It aims to create broad impact through the delivery of highest-quality educational experiences for professionals.
During its first year, PEP focused on organizational and program development. It introduced a new organizational structure and stabilized existing programs through a period of decreased corporate spending on travel and training.
The new organizational structure is designed for lean and cost-effective operations and greater customer focus. Changes include increased use of professional staff in leadership positions, as well as greater sharing of staff, resources, and capabilities across individual programs.
During FY2003, PEP reached the following key milestones:
- Transitioned three programs (the Advanced Study Program, Professional Institute, and MIT World) into the School and aligned them under the PEP organization, under the oversight and leadership of associate dean of engineering, Dick K. P. Yue.
- Hired an executive director, Jennifer Stine, in November 2002, and introduced shared PEP duties and responsibilities for program staff.
- Launched the Projects Academy, a major three-year executive education program for British Petroleum. This program is jointly developed and offered by the School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management. Charles Cooney, professor of chemistry and biochemical engineering, serves as the Engineering faculty program director and oversees the technical excellence curricula.
- Implemented an "enterprise" financial model for PEP, with improved revenue and expense reconciliation for programs.
- Consolidated most operations on the fourth floor of Building 9. Moved the Professional Institute in January 2003; the Advanced Study Program is currently being moved as well.
Individual PEP program milestones and developments include the following:
The Advanced Study Program refocused on its on-campus activities, which bring professionals to MIT for a semester or year to pursue a customized academic program of MIT courses. The program experienced declines in enrollment of 45 percent from the previous year. Twenty-five full-time and 31 part-time company-sponsored fellows attended MIT through this program from the United States, Asia, and Africa.
The Professional Institute offered 31 weeklong summer session professional programs to 604 individuals from the United States and around the world. Due to the economic impact of corporate downsizing and reduction in corporate travel and education budgets, the Professional Institute experienced its second consecutive year of declining enrollments. The total number of attendees was down 25 percent, and 17 programs were cancelled. It is predicted that enrollments will continue to decline through summer 2003.
MITWorld, a free and open video-streaming web site of significant public events, added 59 new videos from 33 different MIT sources. Use of videos increased 315 percent, from 2,488 videos streamed per month in July 2002 to 7,839 in June 2003. Web traffic increased 244 percent, from 10,052 page hits to 24,534 in the same period. In conjunction with Information System's Web Communication Services, work was completed in June 2003 to develop and implement a complete rebuild of the web site, with a database-driven application layer and the addition of tools that made the site fully searchable. Two Academic Media Production Services units—MIT Video Productions and Digital Technologies and Streaming Operations—continued to provide videotaping and digitizing services.
This year, support from the Lord Foundation of Massachusetts has helped fund MIT World operations, the rebuild of the MIT World web site, and initial work on a new Knowledge Updates Initiative, which currently has several internet-based modules under development in the area of bioengineering. MIT World received additional operational support in FY2003 from the MIT Alumni Association and the Industrial Liaison Program.
New grants for both Knowledge Updates and MIT World were received from the Lord Foundation to fund work in FY2004. Internal funding for a broader Knowledge Updates Initiative in FY2004 is currently being sought.
Plans for FY2004 include the following:
- Completing organizational changes, putting existing programs on a path for growth. Organizational development and change is expected to continue through the end of 2003. Updated policies, procedures, and systems for the Professional Institute, designed to improve both marketing and program administration, are planned for the fall. In order to extend the geographic reach of the summer programs, agreements are being developed to offer off-site programs in conjunction with other organizations.
- Developing new internet-based offerings that are both commercially viable and aligned with MIT goals and capabilities. Continued prototyping activities are planned for short internet-based learning modules.
- Improving customer-focus and program outreach. Several ongoing marketing and communication activities will help clarify and respond to the evolving lifelong educational needs of engineering professionals. These include a survey, conducted by an external market research firm, to help assess customer needs, competitive offerings, and educational delivery trends. Design of a new PEP graphic identity and marketing materials, as well as planning for better management of customer data, are also under way.
- Identifying and using appropriate benchmarks and metrics. This includes determining key opportunities for MIT leadership in professional education, appropriate metrics for evaluation of professional education activities, and improving program assessment activities and tools.
Appointments as of June 30, 2003, include the following: Jennifer Stine, PhD, as executive director; Deidre Moore as director of marketing; David Game as director of technology-based educational initiatives (Knowledge Updates); Maura Lavalle as financial administrator. Laurie Everett, project manager for MIT World, Margaret McCabe, Beverly Foxx, and Diane Molino-Fox of the Advanced Study Program, and Ximena Forero and Karen Martel of the Professional Institute all transitioned to PEP with their programs.