MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA)


Freshman Advising
Freshman advising was carried out primarily through the Freshman Advisor Seminar (FAS) system, which served a record 968 students in 133 seminars. There were 178 freshman advisors and 260 associate advisors involved in the program.

The Associate Advisor Steering Committee organized the training of associate advisors, four choice of major sessions, five workshops, the "MIT Survival Guide," the "Outstanding Associate Advisor Award," and a survey on the quality of associate advising.

Support to the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP)
In support of the CAP, UAA staff processed 530 petitions from students. CAP actions voted at the end-of-term grades meetings resulted in 76 Required Withdrawals (compared with 64 last year--an increase of 12%) and 429 Warnings (compared with 434 last year).

1994-95 CAP Actions by Class

Class             Warnings     Required Withdrawals    
1998             171             17                       
1997             103             26                       
1996              77             16                       
1995              78             17                       
Totals           429             76                       


This year UAA staff assumed responsibility for providing institutional support to the Faculty Committee on the Undergraduate Program. Other activities included:

* Administering the Pre-Calculus Math Diagnostic for entering freshmen and conducting follow-up studies of the predictive capacity of the test.

* Coordinating discussions about providing pictures of students to departments and individual faculty in a timely and effective manner. A student picture experiment will be tried in the fall with the Physics Department.

* Working closely with the Physics Department and the Registrar's Office on the new 8.01. Two separate subject evaluations were coordinated by this office.

* Continuing to meet with the ad hoc "Science Core Group" in weekly discussions about issues concerning the freshman academic program.

* Organizing the science core recitation instructor lunches, which were hosted by Dean John VanderSande and Professor Robert Silbey.

* Working with Dean Arthur Smith on the Class of '51 Excellence in Education Awards process.


Teaching and Faculty Development programming was renamed the MIT Teaching Resource Network. Highlights for this year include:

* Recruiting Dr. Lori Breslow of the Sloan School to consult with about 50 faculty and other teaching staff who have had their classroom teaching videotaped.

* Expanding the fall-term Orientation Workshop for New Faculty and Graduate Teaching Staff to included workshops on a variety of teaching topics.

* Sponsoring our second IAP series, "Teaching at MIT: Better .... and Better ... and Better...."

* Underwriting a three-day intensive "microteaching" workshop led by Dr. Breslow and Professor James Propp of the Mathematics Department for all 18.02 Calculus instructors.

* Assisting the Mechanical Engineering Department in organizing an all-day workshop to prepare for the teaching of their new undergraduate curriculum.

* Preparing for the new edition of "The Torch or the Firehose," MIT's popular guide to recitation section teaching, which will be published in August.


Preliminary results of the Class of 1994 Senior Survey (which was distributed to seniors in spring of `94) were released during the fall to chairs of faculty committees, members of the Academic Council, and department heads from some of the larger departments. The attitudes and perceptions of these seniors about their four years at MIT have prompted much discussion. A final report will be ready in the fall.


* In IAP `95, 81 of the 643 activities offered credit, a slight increase over the previous year. The number of grades awarded to students also climbed to 1,898, with undergraduates earning 1,163 grades and graduate students 735.

* Two departments-Mechanical Engineering and Physics-this year developed subjects offered only in IAP which will be required of their majors beginning next year.

* As part of its deliberations on these required subjects, the IAP Policy Committee developed a set of guidelines for required subjects offered only during IAP, which it forwarded to the Committee on Curricula and the Committee on the Undergraduate Program.

* The IAP Policy Committee has charged the IAP staff to work with the Registrar's Office to develop procedures for a central registration system for IAP subjects for credit.

* This spring an IAP Student Board was established, modeled after the effective Associate Advisor Steering Committee. Meeting weekly into the summer, its members are planning events for next IAP as well as designing ways to help and encourage more students to organize activities.

* Special note must be made of this year's Charm School, which garnered national media coverage. Charm School drew increasing involvement from faculty, staff, and students who explored topics from table manners to faculty-students interactions. Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners, gave a "commencement" address to the "graduates" of charm school and other members of the MIT community. Her speech-like Charm School itself-was light-hearted and humorous, but serious in its content and purpose.


This year's R/O exhibited several changes-a reorganized check-in procedure at the R/O Center eliminated the long lines which had plagued new students and parents before; new computer programs for the dormitory housing lottery and for Clearinghouse made these activities more effective; an official move-in, move-out system for dormitory residents helped students get settled more quickly.


New this year is the Scholarship Resource, a compendium of information on scholarships, grants, awards, and prizes. Over 500 students have visited the office since February to examine these materials. Students are frequently referred to the many other offices in the Institute that have such information, including the Financial Aid Office, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, Career Services, the Center for International Studies, the Office of Minority Education, and the contact people for individual scholarships such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.


UROP has lived entirely this year within the new restrictions mandated by federal regulations in 1993. These new regulations, which took effect July 1, 1994, have caused a variety of changes, not the least of which has been a renewal of initiatives to help assure that UROP has a healthy future.

* Student participation was lower, as predicted. There were 32% fewer students working for pay during term time. Credit registrations rose 15% in the fall and 22% in the spring semester. This was not sufficient to offset the decrease in paid UROPs; overall participation was, therefore, down for the academic year by 19%. In summer 1995, participation was near the six hundred mark, 40% fewer students than in summer 1994.

* Faculty participation remained stable. Well over 50% of the MIT faculty served as UROP project supervisors this year.

* Gifts to UROP exceeded those of previous years. Individual donors and the fall Alumni Fund drive boosted UROP's small endowment by over $300,000. UROP was the recipient of the Class of 1995 Senior Class Gift, which has added nearly $50,000 to endowment as of the end of spring.

* The Undergraduate Corporate Research Fellows program was launched in late spring, the result of a cooperative endeavor with the Industrial Liaison Program (ILP). It offers companies an opportunity to support or sponsor undergraduate research on-campus under UROP auspices for a yearly fee.


UAA continues to provide registration support for Wellesley students taking MIT subjects (101 in the fall, 106 in the spring). In addition, the office publicizes the opportunity for MIT students to take subjects at Wellesley and provides information for those who do so (five in the fall, 25 in IAP, 16 in the spring). This spring 45 MIT students also enrolled in "Introduction to Asian Religions," a Wellesley subject taught at MIT and satisfying MIT's HASS-D requirement.


Writing Requirement
UAA staff contributed to a review of the requirement by a subcommittee of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program, chaired by Professor Alan Lightman, assembling information on the current requirement and writing requirements at other institutions and coordinating a study of the writing ability of 32 juniors.

Writing Initiatives
This was the second year of the Writing Initiative, directed by Professor Rosalind Williams of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies and supported by the Schools of Engineering and Humanities and Social Science. UAA serves as the administrative base of the initiative with UAA staff contributing to the selection, training, and supervision of new graduate teaching fellows, the expansion of writing practica into new departments and subjects, and the preparation of the Writing Initiative's first-year report.


Marshall Hughes joined UAA as Program Administrator for IAP and the Wellesley-MIT Exchange. Alberta Lipson and Leslie Perelman were promoted from Assistant Dean to Associate Dean. Toby Elliott, Jill Pullen, and Andrea Publow were promoted to Administrative Assistant from Senior Office Assistant.

Travis R. Merritt
Elizabeth Kowal
Mary Z. Enterline
Alberta G. Lipson
Margaret E. Devine
Norma G. McGavern
Margaret S. Enders
Jeffrey A. Meldman
Ida Faber
Leslie C. Perelman
Donna L. Friedman
Debbie H. Shoap
Marshall D. Hughes
Bonnie J. Walters

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95