MIT Reports to the President 1994-95


This is my last report to the President as Provost, because I have accepted the position of Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis effective July 1, 1995. It has been a privilege to serve as MIT's Provost for nearly five years and to have had the opportunity to work with so many great people in MIT community. I am especially appreciative to the President for having appointed me and for mentoring me during my tenure as Provost.

I am also most appreciative of the work and support provided by Ms. Doreen Morris, Assistant Provost for Administration, who has assisted in the formulation and implementation of plans and policies affecting the operations of the Institute. She has been an exceptional contributor and has been especially significant in developing the plans for graduate student support after FY98. During this past year both Ms. Mary Calderazzo and Ms. Laurie Scheffler have made exceptional contributions to the Institute through their work in the Office of the Provost, and I am grateful to them for their excellent work and good cheer during the several months of my transition. Ms. Christine Graves has also contributed to the efforts this past year, but decided to move to a position in Resource Development during the academic year, and I wish her well in her new role. The office is also grateful to Ms. Laura Hitchcock for stepping in on a temporary basis for the last months of my tenure as Provost. I am also very grateful to Professor Samuel J. Keyser for continuing his important role as Special Assistant to the Provost. Ms. Cordelia Foell, Director of Academic Development, has made important contributions to my resource development activities, and I am appreciative of her efforts to assist in building the resource base for academic programs at MIT.


The selection of Professor Joel Moses, Dean of Engineering, to become the next Provost prior to my departure from MIT provided the continuity needed to make a smooth transition in the leadership. I wish the new Provost great success in leading MIT's academic leadership and at least as much enjoyment as I have had in serving as Provost.

This past year was the first for Professor Phillip L. Clay as Associate Provost, and I am very pleased to report his exceptional leadership efforts in building the international educational and research programs of the Institute and commencing work on reviewing processes and policies related to promotion and tenure. The Institute is fortunate to have Professor Clay as a key member of the Academic Council during this era of change and financial constraint. His professional experience in planning will continue to be an asset to the Academic Council in the years ahead.

With the advice of the President, advisory committees were appointed to assist in selecting successors to Professor Ellen T. Harris, Associate Provost for the Arts; Mr. Jay K. Lucker, Director of the Libraries; Professor Frank E. Perkins, Dean of the Graduate School, and Professor Arthur C. Smith, Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs. All of these individuals are leaving their Academic Council posts after considerable periods of very successful service. It has been a great personal pleasure to have worked with each of them, and each has left an important mark on the Institute. Their superb leadership, creativity, and plain hard work is deeply appreciated, and each has earned an important place in the history of the academic enterprise at MIT.

Professor Rosalind H. Williams, Head-Designate of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, was selected to succeed Dean Arthur C. Smith as Dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs. She has my enthusiastic support and will face an exciting set of important challenges that will be met energetically and creatively. The President and the new Provost chose wisely in appointing this outstanding individual. The selection of the other members of Academic Council will take place in the next academic year.

Professor Robert L. Jaffe, Professor of Physics, concludes his tenure as Chair of the Faculty, and Professor Lawrence C. Bacow, of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, becomes Chair of the Faculty effective July 1, 1995. Professor Jaffe brought excellent faculty leadership to the Academic Council, continuing the strong tradition of faculty involvement with the administration of the Institute. Professor Bacow, as Chair-Elect, has already demonstrated his leadership skills and will serve the faculty and the administration in his two-year term as Chair. I am grateful to both Professors Jaffe and Bacow in assisting with difficult issues affecting the academic programs and faculty of the Institute.


The federal government requires that MIT change its method for supporting the tuition of graduate research assistants on federal grants and contracts. The change must take place beginning July 1, 1998 and involves changing from the so-called "employee benefit method" to the "direct charge method." The employee benefit method is one where the graduate research assistants (and teaching assistants) receive tuition as a benefit of employment. The tuition of all graduate research assistants and teaching assistants is thus a significant component of the employment benefit costs of MIT and represents about 12 points in the employee benefit rate. The employee benefit rate for all employees of the Institute, including Lincoln Laboratory employees, includes this contribution to the tuition support for graduate research assistants and teaching assistants. Thus, the revenue stream for unrestricted support of MIT via this method of supporting tuition is considerable. The so-called "direct charge method" involves supporting tuition of graduate research assistants directly on the grant or contract with which they are associated. In principle, the new method of graduate student support would result in no loss of unrestricted revenue for MIT, but there are at least two reasons why it will not be possible to achieve the same tuition stream via the direct charge method. First, the bottom line cost to a grant or contract would be too large to remain competitive with proposals from other institutions with lower bottom line costs. Second, it is doubtful in the current climate that agencies will support the full tuition of MIT. Thus, after FY98 it is likely that MIT must find other unrestricted revenue to sustain its excellence in graduate education. It is estimated that about $15 million annually will be needed for this purpose.

In addition to the financial issues brought about by changes in the federal government, there is need to better balance the support MIT is providing to graduate programs across the Institute. Inasmuch as all salaries, irrespective of source of the money to pay them, are encumbered with the fringe benefit rate that includes the tuition support for graduate research assistants, the Institute in terms of its own unrestricted funds is already supporting graduate education. This support was about $23 million in FY95. Areas such as architecture, economics, and political science, where there are few graduate research assistants, need to be supported by the Institute if excellence in these graduate and professional programs is to be sustained. Further, the educational needs of both undergraduate and graduate programs suggest that more teaching assistantship resources need to be directed to certain areas.

Beginning with the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Tuition and Indirect Costs, chaired by Professor Robert Weinberg, which reported in the Spring of 1992 and later the next Summer, the Education Subcommittee of Academic Council has formulated a set of plans for support of graduate education for FY99 and beyond. The plans have been circulated in written form to the faculty after much discussion with faculty, with department heads, laboratory directors, and among members of the Academic Council. The plans have been summarized at a regular meeting of the faculty. Basically, the plans call for dedication of unrestricted funds controlled by faculty, departments, laboratories, and the central administration to support the unrestricted revenue stream needed to sustain graduate education. There is broad draw down of flexibility in the academic enterprise at all levels, but there is a realistic path to continuing the excellence of graduate education programs of the Institute as a consequence of the commitments of support associated with the plans. I am appreciative to many who assisted in developing and communicating the plans for graduate education and research.


Progress continues on the effort to fully support the academic year salaries of faculty using "hard" money. Research grant and contract support now provides less than 10% of the academic year salaries of faculty at MIT. In the late 1960's about 40% of academic year faculty salaries were supported on research grants and contracts. The areas in need of special attention are the Department of Biology and the entire School of Engineering. It is now expected that all academic year salaries of faculty will be hardened by the end of FY2001. Continued efforts to secure commitments for endowed professorships will be critical in achieving this goal while also continuing to temper the rate of growth of tuition. Increases in faculty compensation are also critical in attracting and retaining the best faculty, and this imperative will also be assisted by increasing the endowment for faculty salaries for all academic programs of the Institute.


MIT's operating budget will show a significant deficit for FY95. The deficit will be funded by decapitalizing funds functioning as endowment. In effect this erodes the income from endowment, exacerbating the problems with the operating budget. Reengineering efforts underway in many administrative and support areas are intended to improve our processes in these areas and to reduce expenses. A very significant change in operations as a consequence of reengineering has been in the area of Office and Laboratory Supplies. The elimination of the MIT offices in these areas will result in a 20% reduction in costs, with great benefit to the research community in financial terms with no loss in service. Management reporting improvements being planned should reduce redundancy, improve the services, and lower costs. The small reductions in budgets of academic programs over the past three years are not adequate to ensure MIT's financial well-being, considering our efforts to moderate the rate of growth of tuition while continuing to meet needs in the area of undergraduate and graduate financial aid, faculty and staff compensation, resources for new initiatives, and for recruiting women and members of minority groups. The reengineering efforts must be sustained, in order to sustain the world class performance of the Institute in a resource-starved environment.

The effort to sustain MIT's world class performance in its administrative and support areas is being led by Senior Vice President William R. Dickson. The academic enterprise is grateful to him for his exceptional effort over many years, but especially during this current era of radical change. His steady, sensitive, and effective leadership brings enormous benefit to the education and research programs of the Institute. Managing the day-to-day reengineering is Professor James D. Bruce, Vice President of Information Systems. His leadership is especially critical at this juncture as MIT re-positions itself for the 21st century. Both Vice Presidents Dickson and Bruce are dedicating this portion of their career to transitioning MIT during a period of difficulty. Each deserves our thanks, encouragement and support for their effort. I am personally grateful to both of them for having assisted me during these times of change.


The MIT co-generation facility is now essentially complete, and its operation will result in long term and very significant cost savings for MIT and its research sponsors. The concomitant improvements in the electrical system coupled with the co-generation plant will significantly improve the reliability of the electrical system. Further, the co-generation facility will have the favorable effect of reducing the environmental impact from MIT's use of energy. The MIT Physical Plant staff, directed by Ms. Victoria Sirianni, has been sensitive to the needs of the academic community as the work has proceeded. Despite some very difficult experiences during the work to improve the electrical system, there has been a clear commitment to improvements for educational and research purposes. MIT is fortunate to have in Ms. Sirianni an individual dedicated to enhancing MIT as an educational and research institution, and I appreciate her efforts to bring the same degree of excellence to the Physical Plant that our faculty expect in the academic areas.


Despite financial constraints, significant new academic initiatives have been launched during academic year 1994-1995. The Professor Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor Program was announced in January, 1995. This program is intended to bring outstanding members of minority groups to MIT as visiting faculty for a significant period of time. Not intended to replace our efforts to recruit full time, regular faculty from minority groups, the program should significantly enhance the numbers of minority scholars in residence at the Institute involved in research and teaching. The new program was announced at an event celebrating the publication of an MIT Press festschrift volume honoring our first Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Scholar, Professor Henry C. McBay. Sadly, Professor McBay passed away in June 1995, and I am grateful that we were able to celebrate his life and career with him at the January event. The new Visiting Professor Program was conceived by our Martin Luther King Committee, and special thanks go to Professor Michael Feld and Dean Leo Osgood for their effort in bringing this new program to fruition. Plans have already been made for the first Visiting Professors to come to MIT in academic year 1995-1996, including scholars in the Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Mathematics, and Political Science. Professor Clarence Williams will be playing an important role in assisting the Visiting Professors during their tenure at MIT.

It is also noteworthy that Professor Marcus Thompson has been selected to be the first holder of the Robert R. Taylor Professorship, a professorship honoring MIT's first African-American graduate and intended to signal MIT's support for minority scholars. This professorship was established and announced by the President in January of 1994 on the occasion of the visit of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the keynote speaker at MIT's annual celebration of the birthday of Professor Martin Luther King, Jr.

With the appointment of Professor Phillip Clay as Associate Provost, MIT began to better coordinate its international education and research programs. In addition, we launched the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative to be led by Professor Suzanne Berger. Initially, the new effort will focus on the development of education and research programs related to China.

Among the several efforts to enhance education and research programs related to environment, there has been good progress in the development of the Alliance for Global Sustainability, a partnership involving MIT, the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and the University of Tokyo. The faculty coordinator for this effort has been Professor David H. Marks. This effort is intended to build education and research partnerships among faculty, staff, and students from these three institutions and for these institutions to serve as regional hubs for involving industries, governments, foundations, and other universities in the research and education programs of the Alliance.

Under the leadership of Vice President J. David Litster the Center for Biomedical Engineering has been established. The Director of the new center is newly appointed Professor Douglas Lauffenburger. Professor Lauffenburger has a primary appointment in the Department of Chemical Engineering and a secondary appointment in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. The new center will provide important intellectual linkages among faculty at Harvard and MIT interested in biomedical engineering education and research programs.

A lead initiative of the School of Science, the Center for Learning and Memory, directed by Professor Susumu Tonegawa, is taking form. The program will draw the Departments of Biology and Brain and Cognitive Science together, and will devote effort to bringing the techniques of molecular biology to the study of the brain. Lead support from the Fairchild Foundation is very much appreciated.

On the educational front, the School of Engineering now has new Master of Engineering programs in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Ocean Engineering. These new programs are ones encouraged by the leadership of Dean Joel Moses and represent initiatives to provide meaningful professional masters degree programs in important areas of engineering.


The highlight of the year for Lincoln Laboratory was the completion of the new South Laboratory. This new 500,000 square foot facility allows the consolidation of all Lincoln Laboratory activities onto one site. This will improve the operations of the Laboratory and contribute to sustaining the excellence of its overall program.

The finances for the Laboratory for the year have been fairly steady, despite continuing uncertainties in the federal commitments for defense and other science and technology programs supported at Lincoln Laboratory. The Laboratory has been adversely affected by FY95 federal legislation regarding the permissible compensation level for employees of Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. Regrettably, key leaders of Lincoln received no, or limited, salary increases, because of the legislated cap on compensation to $148,400 annually. Further, several of the leadership will receive significant reduction in compensation as of July 1, 1995, owing to the requirements of the FY95 legislation. The compensation limitation, if sustained for a significant period, will result in certain erosion in the quality of the Laboratory through the loss of its most valued employees and the inability to compete for talent with industrial laboratories. The Institute is exploring ways to overcome these difficulties.

I would like to commend Professor Walter E. Morrow, Jr. , Director of Lincoln Laboratory, for the extraordinary achievements he has led during my tenure as Provost. His service to MIT, and more important, to the nation have been extremely valuable, and it has been an enormous pleasure for me to be able to work with him and his staff during the past five years.


New facilities for our professional programs in the School of Architecture have been provided. The Design Studios of the Future being developed by Dean William J. Mitchell are now beginning to be a reality, with newly renovated space available for the School as a part of the commitment to enhance the facilities. The facilities upgrading will continue through the 1995-1996 year.

Facilities for use by the Edgerton Center, directed by Professor Kim Vandiver, have been renovated. We are grateful to Mrs. Esther Edgerton for her support of these activities and for the renovation expenses. It is also a pleasure to acknowledge support from the Helix Technology Corporation for support of the renovation project.

The Neil Pappalardo Laboratories in the Department of Mechanical Engineering were also dedicated during 1994-1995. The Institute is very appreciative of the support extended by the Pappalardo family for new undergraduate education facilities.

The Jack C. Tang Center for Management Education has been under construction during 1994-1995 and will be ready for use for the Fall of 1995. This new facility will be a very important addition to the facilities for the Sloan School, including teaching space, discussion space, and facilities for interfacing with corporate recruiters. Attendant facilities improvements in E-51 will also bring benefits to the School of Humanities and Social Science.

1994-1995 was the first full year of operation of the new biology building which was dedicated in October of 1994. The renovations of the Whitaker (56) and Dorrance (16) Buildings are now underway, commencing with the Whitaker Building. In late 1997 it will be possible to vacate and demolish Building 20 to provide a site for construction of new academic facilities.

Mark S. Wrighton

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95