MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies

The Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies is an interdisciplinary program concerned with writing as a means of communication of ideas, a means of creative expression, and a vehicle for exploring the cultural context of science and technology. Each year, approximately 900 undergraduates enroll in our subjects. Some subjects satisfy either Phase One or Phase Two of the Institute Writing Requirement. The cooperative writing subjects for both undergraduates and graduate students, within the various engineering departments, continue to hold their enrollments. Our two summer session courses, 21.10s Communicating Technical Information and the newly offered 21.11s Multi-media Seminar, were popular with many students from industries throughout the world.

In addition to its curriculum, the Program offers a number of cultural and literary activities to the MIT community. Saul Bellow and Cynthia Ozick spoke in our Writers' Series in March.

In research and writing, Professor Kenneth Manning continues his project on "Blacks in American Medicine, 1860-1980." Professor James Paradis continues his work on Samuel Butler. Professor El_bieta Ettinger Chodakowska continues her biography of Hannah Arendt. Professor Rosalind Williams continues her work on the cultural history of technology. Professor Cynthia Wolff's revised biography of Edith Wharton, A Feast of Words, was reissued in Fall 1994. She continues work on slave narratives and primary research for a biography of Willa Cather. Assistant Professor Susanne Klingenstein is completing her new book on Jewish academics in America in the 1930s through 1960s. Senior Lecturer Edward Barrett continues his work on the Electronic Multimedia Online Textbook in Engineering and has begun a new series of books at MIT Press on digital communication. Professor Alan Lightman's new novel, Good Benito, was published in early 1995. Professor Anita Desai's new novel, Journey to Ithaca, was published in Spring 1995.

Two of our faculty received inaugural chairs: Harriet Ritvo is the first Arthur J. Conner professor and Alan Lightman the first John E. Burchard professor. In Spring 1995, Alan Lightman was named a Literary Light of the Boston Public Library.

We have hired two new lecturers in creative writing for next year: Helen Elaine Lee from the University of Michigan and Stephen Alter from the American University in Cairo.

Senior Lecturer Ilona Karmel has retired, and Professor Williams has been appointed as new Dean of Undergraduate Education.

In 1994-95, we had 62 percent women on our total staff and 64 percent women in our core faculty. We have two members of an underrepresented minority on our teaching staff, one of whom was just appointed.

Alan Lightman

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95