MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

School of Humanities and Social Science

This year the School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS) continued to focus its efforts on affirmative action, fund-raising, and faculty recruitment in departments and sections which are experiencing retirements and resignations, in particular Linguistics & Philosophy, Political Science and Economics. The faculty within the School received a number of honors and awards, and some important administrative changes within the School have occurred.


In Fall 1994 the recommendation included in the report to the Committee on the Undergraduate Program (CUP) by the HASS-D Six-Year Review Committee, that the HASS-D requirement be slightly revised, was revisited. The purpose of that recommendation was to encompass Category 3, Visual and Performing Arts, in the requirement. Thus, students would be required to take one subject from Categories 1,2, or 3 (instead of from 1 or 2). The rest of the requirement would remain the same: one subject from Categories 4 or 5, and one from a category not previously chosen. The recommendation had been rejected by the CUP in Spring 1994 because of certain concerns on the part of some CUP members. Chief among these was a concern that the proposed change might result in a substantial shift in enrollments to the detriment of Humanities subjects in Categories 1 and 2. In response to this concern, the CUP approved a compromise in October which provided for implementation of the change in Fall 1995 as a three year monitored experiment. In October 1998 the Chair of the CUP in consultation with the Chair of the Faculty and the Deans of the Schools offering HASS-D subjects "will appoint a committee to evaluate the results of this experiment and to conduct a comprehensive review not only of the HASS-D requirement but of the entire HASS requirement, something which has not been significantly done since 1974." This compromise recommendation was discussed by the Faculty Policy Committee (FPC) in November, which agreed that the "Report of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program on the HASS-D Requirement" should be presented to the Faculty.

The Chair of the CUP presented the above-mentioned report to the MIT Faculty at its November meeting which accepted it with the compromise recommendation. The experiment will begin with Fall Semester 1995.


Last year's report concentrated on one new initiative, the Writing Initiative, which is a collaborative project between the School of Humanities and Social Science and the School of Engineering. The Initiative has continued to grow, in that the number of writing subjects, called practica, which are attached to existing engineering subjects, has been increased.

Practica are designed to give students an opportunity to work intensively on writing assignments for their engineering subjects; to prepare additional assignments; to edit each other's work; to develop leadership and discussion skills in a small group setting; and to give formal and informal presentations. With the appointment of Professor Rosalind Williams, the director of the Writing Initiative, as Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, it is expected that the Initiative will establish a more visible presence in undergraduate education and help to strengthen the existing Writing Requirement.

In September 1994, twenty faculty and staff, including the heads of the seven Humanities units, went on retreat to Cape Cod to discuss the future of media studies and the relationships of technology to the Humanities. The enthusiasm that the retreat generated caused the Dean to appoint two faculty committees to explore new opportunities in these related areas. The Humanities and Technology (HAT) Committee met throughout Fall 1994 and issued a report on the state of interactive multimedia projects in the Humanities that emphasized the importance of forming cooperative alliances with industry to generate new financial support for growing multimedia language and culture projects associated with the Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. A conference designed to bring to campus companies interested in learning about recent multimedia activities in the MIT Humanities is planned for Fall 1995.

The second committee is examining opportunities to strengthen the undergraduate program in Film and Media Studies and to establish a graduate program in this field that would train advanced students for employment in universities and industry. The Media Studies committee has received considerable encouragement from Dean William J. Mitchell of the School of Architecture and Planning, and it appears that there are real opportunities for collaboration between Architecture and SHSS in the expansion of Media Studies at MIT. The SHSS Dean's Office agreed to fund a major conference for October 1995 that will bring to the Institute the directors of the leading programs in film and media studies in North America and Britain. The aim of the conference is to enhance awareness in the MIT community of recent developments in media studies and to seek the advice of leading scholars as to how MIT can effectively develop an advanced program in media studies.

The MIT Humanities is already recognized as a national and international leader in the design of state of the art multimedia projects, and there is good reason to believe that, in addition to expanding its production of interactive materials for the humanities, it can develop a significant academic program in the critical study of past, present and future media.


The affirmative action record of SHSS appears to be strong relative to the rest of the Institute mainly because the representation of women within the fields of humanities and social science is relatively large. The School's record relative to the pool, however, is about average. Within the School for 1994-95 there were 33 women faculty, which represents 22 percent of the total. Of these 22 are tenured (20 percent of the tenured faculty). Over the past five years, the total number of women faculty has remained steady (32 in 1989-90). We were successful in recruiting three women to the faculty for next year (one in Foreign Languages and Literatures, one in Music and Theater Arts, and one in Economics), and we are hopeful that a fourth (in Literature) will be get approval from School Council, Academic Council, and Executive Committee next fall; this will increase the number of women faculty to 37.

The School's record with respect to minority faculty is much less satisfactory than it is with respect to women, although we appear to be making some progress. We remain committed to increasing the representation of minorities on the faculty. That commitment has led to the successful recruitment of an Afro-Caribbean (Haitain) linguist currently at Michigan University, who will be joining the faculty in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy in AY'97; the appointment of an Asian (Indian continent) male as Assistant Professor in the Literature section; and the appointment of an Asian woman as Assistant Professor of Japanese in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section. In addition we continue to pursue non-traditional methods in the hope that they will lead to faculty appointments, such as the appointment of an Hispanic woman in the Music and Theater Arts Section. She was hired through the Provost's Program to Attract Women and Minority Candidates as an Artist-in-Residence in 1993, while working to complete her Ph.D., and will join the faculty in AY'96 as an Assistant Professor. Another such appointment was made this year to an African-American woman with a J.D. Degree, who received her university education at Harvard University. She has been given a two-year lectureship in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, and the faculty hope to mentor her during this time for a regular faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor. Also through these efforts, an African-American man will join Music and Theater Arts next year as an Instructor, while he completes his Ph.D. It is expected that he will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor the following year (AY'97). The total number of minority faculty in the School, including Asian Americans, will be 16 (11%) as of AY'96.

The School's record with respect to minority administrative staff members is better, with four minorities of a total of 19 (21%). SHSS has reduced the number of administrative staff positions by three in the last two years (from 22 to 19), owing to: 1) the transfer of the Integrated Studies Program (ISP), effective July 1, 1995, to the School of Engineering; 2) the retirement this year of an exempt staff member in the Department of Political Science and the subsequent replacement at the support staff level; and 3) last year's administrative reorganization of the Programs in Anthropology/Archaeology and Science, Technology and Society (STS). The School remains committed to further increasing the number of minority faculty and administrative staff members.


The faculty within the School of Humanities and Social Science garnered an impressive array of honors and awards this year. The most notable among them were the following: Professor John Harbison of the Music and Theater Arts Section was appointed Institute Professor giving MIT its first representative from the Arts in that prestigious company. Music and Theater Arts was further honored when Professor Marcus Thompson became both the inaugural recipient of the Robert R. Taylor Professorship for minority faculty and a 1994-95 MacVicar Faculty Fellow. The STS Program's Professor Jed Buchwald of the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS) and Director of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology was named a MacArthur Prize Fellow this year; Professor Merritt Roe Smith received the Leonardo da Vinci Medal from the Society for the History of Technology; and Professor Theodore Postol was the recipient of the 1995 American Association for the Advancement of Science's Hilliard Roderick Prize in Science, Arms Control, and International Security. The Department of Economics' Professor Olivier Blanchard was named Class of 1941 Professor; Associate Professor Jonathan Gruber was the recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship; Institute Professor Robert Solow received an Honorary Doctorate from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metier in Paris, and was appointed, along with Professor Paul Joskow, to a Presidential Economic Advisory Board; Professor Peter Diamond was elected President of the National Academy of Social Insurance; Professor Bengt Holmstrom was elected to the Council of the Econometric Society; and Assistant Professor Dora Costa of the Department of Economics received the Allen Nevins Prize for the best dissertation in U.S. Economic history from the Economic History Association. Professor Kenneth Hale of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy was appointed the Edward Sapir Professor for the 1995 Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, and Professor Noam Chomsky received two honorary degrees: Doctor of Humane Letters from Amherst College and Doctor of Literature from the University of Cambridge. Professor Suzanne Berger of the Department of Political Science was awarded the Raphael Dorman and Helen Starbuck Professorship; Professor Myron Weiner received the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Edgar Graham Book Prize for his book, The Child and the State in India (Princeton University Press); and Assistant Professor Frederic Schaffer received a Rozance Memorial Fellowship in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Dissertation Fellowship. Professor of Linguistics and Japanese Shigeru Miyagawa was named to the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professorship in Japanese Language and Culture and honored with the Irwin Sizer Award for "the most significant improvement to education at MIT." The Foreign Languages and Literatures Section's Professor Edward Baron Turk was the 1995 Levitan Prize recipient and named Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture; Assistant Professor of German Studies Bernd Widdig was awarded the Class of 1958 Career Development Professsorship; and Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Margery Resnick was appointed as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow "in recognition of sustained and significant contributions to teaching and undergraduate education at the Institute." Professor Harriet Ritvo (History and Writing and Humanistic Studies) became the first holder of the Arthur J. Conner Professorship, one of three new professorships established this year to honor faculty in Humanities. Professor of History Bruce Mazlish won the Kayden National University Press Book Award for The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines; and Assistant Professor of History Anne E. McCants was appointed as the Class of 1957 Career Development Professor. The Literature Section's Professor John Hildebidle held a Fullbright Research Fellowship; Professor Ruth Perry was awarded a Fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies; and Associate Professor Mary Fuller was awarded a Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship and a John Carter Brown Library Fellowship. Professor Alan Lightman (Head, Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies) has been named as the first holder of the John E. Burchard Professorship; John Burchard served as the School's first dean, from 1948 to 1964.


The School achieved significant results in its fundraising efforts this year. As in the past, SHSS continues to excel in securing money from foundations. 1995 Highlights include novel achievements in a number of departments and programs. In Foreign Languages and Literatures, funding of $2.3 million was given to the School by the Kochi Prefecture of Japan to create a new chair. This gift represents a first for this school in the form of country to Institute endowment of a chair. Professor Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics and Japanese, was named holder of the Kochi Perfecture - John Manjiro Professorship in Japanese Language and Culture. Professor Peter Donaldson, Head of the Literature Section, and Dr. Janet Murray, Director for the Laboratory for the Advanced Technology in the Humanities (LATH), received a $450K grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Shakespeare Electronic Archive Project.

Professors Merritt Roe Smith, Head of the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS), Pauline Maier, History, Alex Keyssar, Duke University, and Daniel Kevles, California Institute of Technology, received a $1.75 million grant from the Sloan Foundation for their project "Integrating the American Past: A New Narrative History of the United States." This project, which is directed by Professor Smith, will result in a one volume narrative history of the United States which addresses processes of technological and scientific changes and integrates them into the mainstream of the American experience. The STS Program received $428K in grants for new and continuing research projects during the 94-95 academic year.

The Robert M. Solow Endowment Fund was established by the Department of Economics to honor Professor Solow's retirement. To date, more than $750K in gifts and pledges have come into the fund, which is designed to support graduate students and provide an annual award for the student who exhibits excellence in both teaching and scholarship. The Center for International Studies (CIS) received $125K for the first installment of a $375K grant to be distributed over a three-year period from the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. CIS also received a National Science Foundation grant of $112K, the MIT Japan Program received $2 million from the Starr Foundation, and the Defense and Arms Control Program (DACS) received $450K (with an additional $450K to be awarded in FY'97) from the Carnegie Foundation.


This year has seen two retirements, nine resignations, and nine new faculty appointments (including one appointment effective AY'97) within the School. As of June 30, 1995, Institute Professor Robert Solow of the Department of Economics, and Professor David Epstein of the Music and Theater Arts Section will retire. We wish them great success in all their future endeavors as emeriti professors of MIT. The School saw nine resignations this year, including: four due to the denial of tenure - one in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, two in the Department of Political Science, and one in the Department of Economics. Two faculty were promoted to tenure, effective July 1, 1995: Deborah Fitzgerald (STS) and Stephen Van Evera (Political Science).

The School was successful in recruiting nine new members to the faculty - eight effective 1995-96 and one effective 1996-97. They include two in the Department of Economics, one in the Department of Political Science, two in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, one in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section, one in the Literature Section, and two in the Music and Th[[daggerdbl]]r Arts Section.

The Music and Theater Arts Section will have Professor Marcus Thompson as Acting Head for the Fall term, while the current Head (Professor Alan Brody) will be on Sabbatical. The Anthropology/Archaeology Program will now be called the Anthropology Program, with Professor James Howe replacing Professor Jean Jackson as Head. We regretfully announce that Professor Harriet Ritvo has stepped down as Associate Dean after providing outstanding service for three years in that post, and with great pride announce that Professor Rosalind Williams of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies has been chosen to be the new Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs.

Ms. Carol Ann Martin, appointed Director of Development for the School of Humanities and Social Science this past September, has been hard at work redesigning and implementing a strategic plan for the SHSS Development Program.

Philip S. Khoury

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95