This past year saw a number of changes and new developments in the Public Relations Services. whose mission is to help enhance public understanding and support of MIT, and of higher education and research more generally, and to enhance the community life of the Institute through communications and special events.
As forecast in last year's report, Miss Mary L. Morrissey, Director of Special Events and the Information Center, retired in the fall after 45 years at MIT. While her personal flair is unique, and her wit and wisdom will be missed, the transfer of responsibility to her successor, Gayle M. Fitzgerald, has gone smoothly. Ms. Fitzgerald adds to her long experience in the office the invaluable personal qualities of poise, unlimited energy, and good humor.
Many members of the PRS staff continued to participate both in reengineering project design and in the associated communications efforts, while individual offices continued to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency through more intensive use of information technology. One reengineering project was expected to have a profound impact on PRS and on communications efforts throughout MIT. As the year came to an end, plans were being made for major changes in the way the Institute works with outside providers of publishing services, from designers to printers. These changes, the product of an intensive evaluation of the Institute's publishing process, were expected to result in the creation of a new Publishing Services Bureau. This Bureau, which would report jointly to the Director of Public Relations Services and to the Senior Vice President, would assist departments in the planning of both print and electronic publications, match Institute publishers with appropriate outside vendors, and act as the purchasing agent for all MIT publications-related purchases. While details of the proposed Bureau were in discussion at the end of the academic year, it was anticipated that design and production services currently offered in-house through Design Services would in the future be provided by outside vendors under agreements coordinated by the Bureau.
The Public Relations Working Group, which brings together a small group of people from throughout MIT who have responsibility for public affairs, continued to develop plans for dealing with specific issues as well as for raising the profile and concerns of MIT and research universities in general. In addition, the monthly meetings of the Information Group continued to offer a forum for news and the exchange of ideas for a larger group of communications specialists from across the Institute.
The Office of the Director congratulated Susan Browne Aylward, Administrative Assistant, on her success in a graduate program in museum administration at Harvard University; she left MIT to take up new challenges in her chosen field at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. Gina S. Kent has assumed her responsibilities with aplomb.
Kathryn A. Willmore
The Communications Office produces the Institute's annual reference publications, including two issues of the MIT Bulletin; Reports to the President; Reports of the Treasurer; and the Faculty and Staff and Student Directories. Additional publications such as the Report of the President appear as Tech Talk supplements. The Office strives to increase accessibility of information by continuously improving both content and format of its publications.
Last year, the Communications Office provided significant support to the Institute's reengineering efforts in two ways: (1) the manager continued to participate on the teams charged with redesigning MIT's publishing services, nearly full-time; and (2) remaining staff maintained the routine flow of work, introducing key innovations in an intense year of change.
The Communications Office plunged into the brave new world of publishing on the World Wide Web (WWW) by designing a modest homepage to list the publications produced by the office and how to obtain them. By publishing additional information such as MIT's Nondiscrimination Policy on the WWW and updating on an ongoing basis, the Office improves access to information for the MIT community.
The Office achieved other "firsts" in electronic publishing. Chief among them was publishing the Reports to the President in print and electronic formats. This required rethinking how the Office collects reports from dozens of information providers across the Institute and training those contacts in new procedures; shaping unique files to ensure adherence to style guidelines; and rethinking the organization and design of electronic files to accommodate publishing in different print formats and on the World Wide Web. The CWIS facilitator in Information Systems worked closely with the Office to refine these new production processes.
Working closely with the Registrar's Office, the Office rethought the Summer Session Issue of the MIT Bulletin. Focusing more clearly on the purpose and audiences served by the publication, the Office decided to publish this issue on the World Wide Web, making print copies by request only. This was an opportunity to provide electronic links to other Institute summer programs, improving access to information for customers inside and outside the Institute.
The Office published MIT's organization chart in the Faculty and Staff Directory. This two page chart illustrates reporting relationships for academic and administrative areas as well as the centers, labs, and programs reporting to the provost and academic deans.
For next year, the Office plans to (1) reevaluate its role in relationship to the anticipated Publishing Services Bureau, as it is established and begins its work; and (2) evaluate priorities for publishing additional reference information electronically.
Editor and production manager Ruth T. Davis, and administrative assistant Marianne Charny continue to sustain the Communications Office in an exemplary fashion, supporting the Office's publishing efforts with their hard work, clear thinking, and close eye to improving business processes.
The mission of Conference Services, Events, and Information Center is to meet the informational needs of the MIT community, visitors to the campus, and the public; to promote a sense of community within MIT; and to support conferences and events that enhance MIT's role in the broader academic community.
During the past year, the Center served as a clearinghouse for mail addressed to MIT; answered and directed to other offices telephone and office inquiries from the public and MIT community; and distributed over 41,200 pamphlets, brochures, maps, guides, and catalogues. Heather Reed, `96 (Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics), assumed the role as head guide. Ms. Reed handled the scheduling of the tours while Terri Priest, staff associate in the Center, trained 23 active tour guides who conducted tours for 10,963 visitors of whom 3,795 were prospective students, 1,478 international visitors, and the remaining guests visiting MIT. Assisting during the summer as a full-time guide was John Modzelewski, '98 (Department of Chemical Engineering). Ms. Priest arranged programs for 422 short-term visitors.
The Center also handled the arrangements for more than 200 recruitment presentations by companies and other organizations that visit MIT under the auspices of the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising.
The Center also assisted in the logistics of the Lemelson-MIT Prize Ceremony in Washington, DC on April 11, which was quickly followed by the dedication of the Jack C. Tang Center for Management Education on April 19. This year's Killian Award Lecture, "Views from a Garden of Worldly Delights," was given on March 13 by Daniel Kleppner, Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics and Associate Director of the Research Laboratory for Electronics. The special event of the season was held on October 17 in Walker Memorial - the Commencement of Miss Mary L. Morrissey, who retired last fall after 45 years of extraordinary service to the Institute. We certainly miss her sense of humor, style, grace, and unique sense of MIT.
The Hooding Ceremony for 400 doctoral degree recipients, held in Rockwell Cage the afternoon before Commencement, was once again a success. Over 70 faculty members proudly marched and applauded as a faculty representative from each of the departments assisted J. David Litster, Vice President for Research and Dean for Graduate Education, in the hooding and showing of the colors of each candidate.
The 130th Commencement Exercises were held on June 7, a day that included alumni and alumnae returning for reunions and Technology Day. The Honorable Albert Gore, Vice President of the United States, was the guest speaker, and President Vest gave the charge to the candidates. Killian Court was sunlit and the day extraordinary for 2,009 seniors and graduate students.
The mission of Conference Services is to manage the logistical arrangements of conferences and meetings, ranging in size from 10 to 2,000, sponsored by MIT faculty and staff. This past year, the Office coordinated 20 such events, which brought more than 10,000 visitors from all over the world to the campus, including the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, American Computer Experience Summer Camp, Oxford Study Program, Regent Language Training Program, English/Japanese Exchange Program, National Coalition for Education Activists Conference, Career Connection Fair, New England Conference on Technology and Education, Massachusetts Future Problem Solving Bowl, Massachusetts Biotechnolgoy Council Symposium and Exposition, Homer Associates Metric America Meeting, the second annual City Year National Conference, and the CASE Workshop on Information Systems.
In addition, the staff worked with MIT's Program in Technology, Management, and Policy on the arrangements for two summer courses. The Conference Services staff also assumed responsibility for the events registration process for non-student events this year; 163 applications were approved this year.
This year marked not only the retirement of Miss Morrissey as Director of Special Events and the Information Center and Executive Officer for Commencement, but also the realignment of the Center as a cohesive unit to continue the mission of events management and guest services. The International Scholars Office, which had been part of the Center, transferred to the Office of the Provost, under the supervision of Associate Provost Phillip L. Clay., effective July 1, 1995.
The new Center, under the direction of Gayle M. Fitzgerald, was delighted to welcome Cathi A. Di Iulio as Conference Coordinator in July. Ms. Di Iulio had been the Assistant Secretary of the Corporation and associated with that office since 1991. She joined Marie Seamon, also Conference Coordinator, and both welcomed Tara Osborn as Senior Staff Assistant in November. These three staff members have primary responsibility for the operation of the conference activities. Kathleen Barrett and Terri Priest continued as Staff Associates for information dissemination, tour operations, and short-term visits, and Donald Ferland continued as Administrative Secretary to the Director. Mr. Ferland assumed responsibility for the recruitment presentation logistics previously handled by Ms. Seamon.
Gayle M. Fitzgerald
The Office of Design Services has long brought the highest standards of graphic design and production management into the creation of visual material that will enhance their effectiveness, and to provide high-quality electronic publishing services for the MIT community.
During the year, the Office continued to improve the quality of publications and explore new publishing technologies that created more efficient methods for design, production management, electronic pre-press conversion, and printing, and established stronger communication links between internal offices, and evaluated customer needs in developing new publications plans for first-time clients.
Among the publication highlights of the year were the creation of materials for the Jack C. Tang Center for Management Education dedication, the Media Laboratory 10th Anniversary celebration package for the event "10/10," the Civil and Environmental Engineering Open House poster and brochure, the Center for Biomedical Engineering identity program, the Conference Services "How to Get Around Commencement" booklet and Commencement Program cover redesign, the Media Laboratory "Things That Think" symposium program, the MIT Museum Hacks poster, and the Mary L. Morrissey Farewell invitation.
Other publications that were designed by our office for the first time this year were the MIT Sea Grant Program booklet cover, the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Graduate Program posters, the Mathematics Department Rotafest Conference poster, the Women's League Calendar of Events, the Emma Rogers Society newsletter and letterhead, the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Master's Degree Program publications and website, the Center for Biomedical Engineering Introductory brochure, the International Motor Vehicle Program posters, the Sloan School Student Handbook, and the MIT Hillel newsletter.
Design Services won a Bronze Medal in the 1996 CASE Competition for the Media Laboratory newsletter "Frames"; a four-color printing award from the New England Craftsmen Association for the book "MIT Lincoln Laboratory: Technology in the National Interest"; and a second place award from the New England Museum Association for the catalogue "Images of Boston."
Design Services staff for the year included Lee Corbett, Elizabeth Chimento, Elizabeth Ferry, and Anne Hubbard. Elizabeth Ferry , who came to MIT in 1968 as the office Production Manager, left this past spring to embark on a new career at Lifeline Systems in Cambridge. Her organizational proficiency, imagination, skill, and good humor will be missed by all of our clients who had the opportunity to work with her.
During the past year, the News Office publicized the achievemnents of MIT in 34 issues and 308 pages of MIT Tech Talk, ten issues of the MIT Research Digest, 133 news releases, more than 100 editions of the MIT Newsclips, and countless telephone conversations, interviews, and e-mails. A key objective of the News Office is to support the Institute's mission and priorities. This Report highlights stories from news releases, Tech Talk articles, and other developments aided by the News Office that furthered the following objectives, frequently articulated by President Vest:
Rebuilding Understanding of Higher Education and Research
Emphasizing Teaching at MIT
Identifying Critical Emerging Directions in Education and Research
Providing a Strong Financial Base for MIT Programs
Enhancing Racial and Cultural Diversity within MIT
A number of developments involving MIT occurred this past year that furthered the public understanding of higher education and scientific research. Dr. Vest's speech before the National Press Club on July 18, 1995, was the first in a series of speeches by him warning that budget cuts in basic research imperiled the nation's future. He followed that speech with an op-ed the News Office placed in The Washington Times, "Have we lost the will to excel?" Dr. Vest's annual report in November captured the imagination of editors and the public by surveying the MIT faculty and reporting what researchers have yet to discover. The report was widely reprinted, particularly after an op-ed article appeared in The Washington Post , prompting publication in Tokyo, Paris, and elsewhere.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Professor Mario Molina and colleagues in October for their work in showing that chlorofluorocarbons in spray cans and air conditioners could imperil the ozone layer and in convincing the world that this was a problem. This first Nobel Prize for work in the environment was one of the most commonly understood Nobel prizes in science in recent history, and Professor Molina devoted many days to interviews, particularly to Latin America, where he was celebrated as the first Hispanic scientist to win a Nobel Prize.
Staff of the MIT Technology Licensing Office published a study saying that even before manufacturing begins, at least $2 billion to $5 billion is invested into the economy each year, generating 20,000 to 40,000 jobs from licensing alone. Another report, "MIT, the Federal Government and the Biotechnology Industry: A Successful Partnership," noted that five MIT professors have won the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology for government-funded research discoveries fundamental to biotechnology, and that nine of the top 10 selling drugs in 1994 were made by firms founded or co-founded by MIT alumni or faculty.
Highlighting the excellence of MIT also advances public understanding of science. In the first peer rankings by the respected National Research Council since 1983, MIT had the highest totals of top-three rankings of any university, even though MIT offers doctoral programs in only 23 of the 41 subjects examined. MIT faculty scholarship and teaching were ranked 1, 2, or 3 in 34 out of 46 categories, the News Office analysis showed. US News & World Report, in September, ranked MIT as the fourth best buy among universities. In March, the US News & World Report Survey of Graduate Schools again gave MIT excellent ratings to the Schools of Engineering and Science and the Sloan School of Management.
The celebration of great teachers at MIT continued with the appointment of three more professors as recipients of the 10-year Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellows award. The MIT Teaching Resource network offered its Better Teaching at MIT course for the eighth year, giving faculty and teaching assistants the chance to polish their skills.
A major initiative in identifying the critical areas for new developments in education and research was made by Provost Joel Moses, who in April named four Institute-wide councils on the environment, educational technology, industrial relationships, and international relationships to help MIT set its course for the future. Below are some news stories and events related to these areas:
The Society of Environmental Journalists held their national conference at MIT. The News Office prepared a media guide to environmental experts at MIT and found a breadth of activity that surprised leading faculty involved in the environment - more than 100 faculty and researchers are working on environmental concerns. Vice President Gore addressed the conference, reviewing the environmental record of the current Congress. Some of the research stories on the environment this year included findings that environmental metals hasten damage to trees and a hazardous metal detector devised by engineers at the Plasma Fusion Laboratory.
The World Wide Web dominated discussions of new educational technology. The study group evaluating advance technology (EVAT) found that the Web offers opportunities and risks for MIT. The MIT Press did its first simultaneous publication of a book in paper and on the Web, City of Bits by Dean William Mitchell of the School of Architecture and Planning. The News Office found that its home page, which started in January, 1995, significantly increased inquiries from national and international journalists; responses are usually by e-mail rather than by phone.
The Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research received a $26-million, three-year grant from the NIH to begin sequencing specific proteins on the human genome, following their success in creating a map of the human genome that will allow them to fill in the entire sequence of DNA letters. Research into Parkinson's disease, attention deficit disorder, and depression among the elderly may be aided by a compound that, with a specialized scan, allows doctors to see the brain's transport of dopamine, a chemical involved in these disorders. MIT researchers have developed a "smart needle" embedded with microchips that could offer aid in probing tumors.
The Sloan School combined new educational technology and industrial relationships in seeking donated equipment for their Wall Street Trading Room, a state-of-the-art trading room for teaching and research. The School of Engineering and the Sloan School joined with industry also in creating a graduate program in system design and management (SDM), in which students can complete most course requirements at their job sites using new, interactive, distance-learning techniques. A metallurgical team at MIT is developing an environmentally friendlier technology for steel production that does not use carbon and has oxygen as the principal by-product.
The Alliance for Global Sustainability, announced at the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference, is an alliance among MIT and leading technological universities in Switzerland and Japan that seeks to encourage economic development while protecting the environment. The News Office assisted the MIT faculty in the Alliance by arranging coverage from Cambridge for an environmental conference in China, resulting in front-page photo and story coverage in the South China Morning Post while the MIT delegation was meeting with officials.
MIT was recognized as one of the 19 strongest financial organizations in the nation when Standard & Poor's raised MIT bonds to the top rating, Triple A. Only MIT, 12 companies, and six other universities have a Triple A rating. Record gifts and a strong stock market have brought MIT's endowment above the $2 billion level, although MIT trails other schools in endowment per student.
Four Martin Luther King, Jr., Fellows were at MIT this year in the first implementation of a program to bring to MIT professors or researchers from other institutions. Women's presence continues to grow at MIT; more than 40 percent of the freshman class are women. The Sloan School's MBA Class of 1997 includes 28 percent women and 16 percent minorities, both School records. Faculty members had a profound debate over the Reserve Officers Training Corps' (ROTC) "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gays and lesbians. The Faculty approved a proposal to develop a modified ROTC program that would be open to all MIT students.
The News Office has a staff of 11: Charles H. Ball, senior assistant director; Kenneth D. Campbell, director; Donna M. Coveney, assistant director/photojournalist; Myles P. Crowley, administrative assistant; Lisa Damtoft, editorial and design assistant; Robert C. Di Iorio, associate director; Mary Anne Hansen, office assistant; Joanne Miller, assistant director and editor of MIT Tech Talk; Kathleen M. Rowe, assistant director, media relations; Elizabeth Thomson, assistant director for science and engineering news; and Alice C. Waugh, assistant editor of MIT Tech Talk and staff writer. We also thank Stephanie Gellar for her part-time work this year, particularly on the database development for the environmental experts guide and the forthcoming guide on experts in medicine and physiology. Special thanks are due to Charlie Ball, Bob Di Iorio, and Joanne Miller for their combined 85 years of service to MIT; all three will be retiring in 1996 under the Institute's Early Retirement Program.
Kenneth D. Campbell