MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Associate Provost

After assuming this position on October 1, 1994, two activities shared center stage for the rest of the year: revising and updating appointment, tenure, and promotion sections of Policies and Procedures and assessing opportunities for a more strategic approach to international initiatives. Work in each of these continued into FY `96. The progress made in the past year is summarized below.


Broad faculty support exists for the following argument. MIT's core mission is to foster education and advance knowledge. MIT is a national institution rooted in American culture and tradition. It is also an international university because of the substantial cross-fertilization our institution has through students and faculty members from other parts of the world. Our core mission requires that we maintain the preeminent leadership we have in science and technology research and offer a first rate education to graduate and undergraduate students that incorporates global perspectives. We aim to select world class faculty, research staff, and students, and to support them fully in the pursuit of their work.

If we are to maintain our leadership, it will be important for us to engage in international activities in some of the many areas in science and technology where we have leadership. We need to collaborate with universities committed to such quality leadership, with governments and industrial sponsors who will support us and with international science and technology organizations committed to this pursuit of knowledge.

We believe that we can best advance our mission when we collaborate with peer institutions in other parts of the world. These should be institutions of high quality committed to the pursuit of ideas honestly, and committed to supporting faculty and student initiatives. These institutions and other sponsors should likewise be committed to assuring the appropriate protection of intellectual property, respect for human rights, and the fair treatment of all individuals regardless of race, sex, religion, or national origin. Institutions should likewise be committed to the free exploration and expression of intellectual ideas, including academic freedom for faculty, staff, or students.

We expect in cooperating with other institutions, governments, and sponsors that there are mutual benefits to be gained. Our agreements should incorporate a consideration for mutual benefits and for reciprocity consistent with other objectives. Activities undertaken by MIT in other countries shall be consistent with US law and foreign policy though MIT will not serve or appear to serve as an instrument of the US government or its agencies.

Access to MIT should be closely managed. MIT has a substantial investment in place. This investment has been made by the American people, by the US government, and private donors, and represent an important national resource. The maintenance and renewal of this resource by those who take advantage of it are important challenges.

The points noted above are not yet policy but areas of preliminary agreement. Further work continues into 1995-6 to formalize and institutionalize an oversight function for international initiatives.


The ideal attributes of any departmental faculty, taken as a group, are scholarly achievement, creativity, professional competence and leadership, ability and desire to teach, and willingness to cooperate with other departments in promoting the work and welfare of the Institute as a whole. It is the responsibility of the administration to ensure, within any department, not only a proper balance among these activities but also the maintenance of each at the highest level, together with suitable recognition of individual achievement and service. It is also important that the process be well understood by junior faculty and by departments and committees.

The sections under review outline the Institute's procedures for appointment, promotion, and tenure for the members of its regular faculty and academic staff. Each appointment or reappointment to the faculty should be based on the reasonable belief that the appointee is an outstanding candidate among his or her peers and that each such action advances the MIT's educational mission.

The aim of the process is to insure that candidates for appointment, promotion, and tenure receive a thorough and fair review of their qualifications and accomplishments. The process outlines the various roles of the candidate's department, school and the Academic Council. Discussions with department heads, deans and faculty committees began to revise section of the APT sections to achieve several goals:

These discussions continue. Final revisions will be included in the new Policies and Procedures scheduled for publication in early 1996.

Phillip L. Clay

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95