This year the Faculty Policy Committee (FPC) oversaw those aspects of educational and academic policy that are specific responsibilities of the Faculty and provided faculty input toward policy development at the Institute. In addition, the FPC worked with the Administration to offer guidance on re-engineering, faculty retirement issues, and the ROTC program at MIT.
The FPC also heard from and coordinated the work of several other committees and reviewed several changes in academic policy, procedures, and programs, some of which were forwarded to the Faculty for approval.
In the fall, the FPC continued discussions with Professors Edward F. Crawley and Thomas L. Magnanti regarding the program in System Design and Management (SDM). Professors Crawley and Magnanti, who had visited the FPC early in the SDM Program's design process, summarized the revised program proposal, highlighting developments made since their last visit with the FPC.
Professor Magnanti explained that completion of the SDM Program leads to an S.M. in Engineering and Management and described the Program's mission, target audience, goals, areas of focus, alternative formats, thesis options, reporting and organizational structure, methods of academic quality control for distance education, admissions process, faculty incentives, and departmental commitments. He also described a pilot program currently underway and further steps required for full implementation of the program.
Program developers had made modifications to the proposed SDM Program in response to prior FPC concerns (issues associated with admissions, distance learning, faculty incentives, reporting structures and organization). FPC members complimented the program as innovative, and voted unanimously to recommend the program to the Faculty, pending written confirmation from relevent deans and department chairs indicating the commitment of appropriate faculty and other resources for the program. The program proposal was presented to the Faculty at its October meeting and was approved at the November meeting.
In December, the FPC met with Professors Jeffrey P. Freidberg, Mujid S. Kazimi, and Richard K. Lester to discuss the proposed Master of Engineering Program in Nuclear Engineering.
Professor Lester explained that the program was developed as a departmental effort to redefine the role of professional graduate education in response to anticipated changes in professional practices. The goal of the program is "to prepare students for professional careers in nuclear engineering by providing additional depth in nuclear-related disciplines beyond the B.S. level together with the breadth of perspective and skills that are necessary for engineering leadership in the field." The program will complement the existing S.M. and Ph.D. programs and should be completable within one academic year by self-supported and fellowship students. The program is intended as a first professional graduate degree program for students with a B.S. in engineering who have spent time working in industry or who enroll immediately after undergraduate studies. For most program graduates, the M.Eng. will be the most advanced graduate degree obtained; however, there will be no restrictions placed on graduates who opt to proceed to a Ph.D. degree.
The Master of Engineering degree will be offered in two fields: Nuclear Systems Engineering and Radiological Health and Industrial Radiation Engineering. Institute requirements for the M.Eng. degree include a total of 90 units, of which at least 42 must be in H-level courses. The Nuclear Engineering M.Eng. degree will require a minimum of 99 units (including a 12-unit thesis), 54 of which must be H-level. Admissions standards will be similar for both the M.Eng. and the existing S.M. programs. Students applying to either program will be required to specify either the M.Eng. or S.M. degree in their application materials. Enrollment projections assume 5 - 10 students for the first year and 15 - 20 students each year after.
After a brief discussion, the FPC voted unanimously to forward the proposal to the Faculty for approval. The proposal was presented to the Faculty at its February meeting and was approved in March. At the February Faculty Meeting, some faculty members raised the question whether -- as a matter of Institute policy -- M.Eng. degrees should be granted with departmental designation only. President Vest and Professor Bacow agreed that this issue should be referred to the CGSP and FPC. After extensive discussions, the committees determined that M.Eng. degrees should be granted with departmental designation only.
In April, Mr. Daniel R. Burns and Professor Thomas H. Jordan presented to the FPC a proposal for a professional Masters program in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.
Professor Jordan explained that the Ph.D. has evolved into the first professional degree in the field of geoscience. This stands in contrast to the situation of 20 years ago when students could expect to enter industry with just a bachelors degree. While the department currently offers an S.M., most students in this program have opted out of the Ph.D. program. The goals of the proposed professional Master's degree are to: 1) create a new type of first professional degree in geoscience, 2) provide national leadership in geoscience, 3) offer a master's degree of high distinction, 4) build an educational program that integrates all of the department's strengths, 5) attract excellent students, and 6) produce graduates with highly desirable skills. Parameters for the program state that it should: 1) be attractive as a one-year first professional degree in geoscience, 2) be completable as a fifth year program for students pursuing an S.B. at MIT, 3) be accessible to students with a bachelor's degree in math, science or engineering, and 4) span the breadth of geoscience. Students will be responsible for tuition.
The proposed program is consistent with other master's programs at MIT in that it will require 108 units of required coursework (84 term units, 12 IAP units, and 12 units of thesis work). Principal coursework will be completed during a nine-month period in order to allow summer fieldwork. The program includes the following components: disciplinary subjects, economic analysis, scientific writing, oral communication, analysis and inference in geoscience, and a thesis. Students will be given a systematic introduction to valuable technologies (including Athena workstations, supercomputers, massively parallel computers, geographic information systems) and numerical methods.
The group discussed incentives for faculty to advise Master's students, reasons for the thesis requirement, competitiveness of the program, and participation restrictions. After discussing various possibilities for degree titles, the Committee suggested that the School of Science consider a general name for professional Masters programs. Professor Bacow noted that the FPC typically requests a letter confirming the support of the school dean(s) who will assume administrative responsibility for the program. FPC Members agreed that the framework of the program should be forwarded to the Faculty once two items are addressed within the department: 1) how to accommodate students outside the program and 2) the degree title. Members approved the program as Master of Science in Geosystems, leaving open the option to change the degree title in the future.
The FPC also provided input for a number of changes in Institute policies and practices.
Faculty renewal was an important issue for the FPC this year. It was discussed in a number of contexts, including the Committee on Faculty-Administration survey on faculty retirement (see below), institutional incentives to provide orderly planning for faculty renewal, and the status of retired faculty members. In discussing the results of the CFA survey, FPC members concluded that the Faculty care deeply about their status post-retirement.
Traditionally, a faculty member who retires relinquishes tenure and immediately becomes Professor Emeritus. While in the past this title was viewed as an honor, some faculty now perceive that Emeritus status signals a significantly diminished role within the Institute and the larger scholarly community and may inhibit the ability to participate in scholarly activities. As many MIT Emeriti continue to maintain active teaching and research careers well into their retirement, the FPC concluded that retirement may be more attractive to some faculty if those who continue scholarly involvement at MIT are allowed to retain their titles post-retirement. Before making this recommendation to the Academic Council, the FPC sought faculty input at the November Faculty meeting. A significant number of faculty expressed their support, characterizing the suggested change as `positive and constructive.' The Academic Council approved, and Provost Moses reported to the March Faculty Meeting a provision in MIT's Policies and Procedures that allows faculty members to retain the rank of professor in post-retirement appointments. His 12 March 1996 memorandum to the Faculty outlined details of the change as follows:
1. Upon retirement, a tenured faculty member relinquishes tenure. Should a faculty member be reappointed after retirement, the appointment to the academic staff shall be made at the same rank held by the faculty member prior to retirement from MIT, although without tenure. The term professor reflects our sense that it is a more fitting title to a colleague who remains active in the life of the Institute than is reflected in the emeritus designation or in the title senior lecturer.
2. Faculty members who retire and have no appointment post-retirement will still be designated as Professor Emeritus.
3. Upon retirement, an endowed chairholder relinquishes the active chair title but may use the title in connection with the emeritus status (i.e. The John and Mary Doe Professor of Chemistry - Emeritus).
In October, J. David Litster, Vice President for Research and Dean for Graduate Education, visited with the FPC to discuss proposed changes to Policies and Procedures regarding academic misconduct. Professor Litster explained that in order to comply with Public Health Service regulations, the following minor changes had been proposed to MIT's existing academic misconduct policies:
(The Public Health Service posted in the August 6, 1989 Federal Register the following definition, which prompted the Academic Council to discuss a definition appropriate for MIT: " `Misconduct' or `Misconduct in Science' means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest difference in interpretations or judgments of data.")
Committee members endorsed the proposed changes, and expressed their appreciation for the fact that Policies and Procedures has been written to allow flexibility, good judgment, and common sense. Some also commented that there should be congruence of process between misconduct and harassment procedures.
In February, the FPC discussed proposed changes to Policies and Procedures pertaining to faculty appointment, promotion, and tenure procedures and faculty leave policies. These had been developed by Professor Clay in consultation with academic deans and the Academic Council.
Professor Clay explained that most of the proposed policies were developed by codifying existing procedures. Substantive changes from old policies included: clarification of institute-wide standards for faculty appointment, promotion and tenure; considerable school and departmental latitude in the management of appointment, promotion and tenure; review for successive ranks by successive levels of councils; interim evaluations of junior faculty; conformity to federal regulations with regard to child-rearing responsibilities; reduced `notice' period for academic staff and clarification of the terms and basis of these appointments; definition of an Institute-wide standard for tenure; provision of mentoring mechanisms; and clarification of MIT's policy with regard to the confidentiality of peer assessment letters used for promotion and tenure. After a brief discussion of some details, the committee endorsed the proposed changes, which were later approved by the Academic Council.
Last fall, Professor Clay reported to the FPC that policies governing MIT's international relationships had been considered in response to the growing number of opportunities for international initiative at MIT and community views that MIT should consider international institutional collaboration and international research support from alumni, foreign governments, and multi-national firms. Suggestions which had been discussed included: international exchanges of faculty and students; graduate student participation in international projects; traditional faculty research; specialized training of foreign scholars in sharply defined, product-oriented programs; specialized training program for international executives, possibly through distance learning; and MIT-conducted research for international companies (similar to ILP arrangements with U.S. companies)
FPC members discussed the following faculty concerns:
Members noted that a major task of the new Provost's Council on International Relations would be the development of an international mission statement; all agreed that the Faculty should continue to discuss the issue of international affiliations.
In December, the FPC and the Committee on Discipline (COD) met to discuss standards of proof in MIT disciplinary proceedings. Professor Bacow explained that the two principal Institute forums for student conflict resolution and discipline are the Office for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs (OUESA) and the Committee on Discipline (COD), which primarily handles academic cases. When the OUESA began to develop written procedures for MIT's student complaint and dispute processes, it became clear that the OUESA and COD should apply the same standards of proof in disciplinary hearings.
OUESA and COD decisions had been based on a preponderance of the evidence and clear and convincing evidence, respectively. Preponderance of the evidence, applied in United States civil courts, is interpreted as "having a majority of the evidence." Clear and convincing evidence, not a widely used standard, falls between preponderance of the evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof used in United States criminal courts.
Because MIT complainants have the option to take cases to the OUESA, the COD, or outside MIT to the United States legal system, MIT's legal counsel advised that the OUESA and COD should apply a uniform standard of proof to avert forum shopping between the OUESA and COD and between MIT systems and the U.S. civil courts.
After a lengthy discussion of a preferred standard of evidence for MIT disciplinary proceedings, Professor Bacow called for a vote of the FPC and COD. Fourteen supported changing the COD standard of proof to a preponderance of the evidence; three opposed. All present agreed that records should be kept of all cases, sanctioned and unsanctioned.
In March, FPC members met with Professor Kerry Emanuel, Chair of the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP), to discuss the CAP's proposed revisions to MIT's policy on Incompletes. Although some members did not agree with all of the proposed changes, the Committee generally supported the CAP's efforts to tighten regulations on Incompletes, to allow faculty discretion in granting Incompletes, to determine the cause of increasing requests for Incompletes, and to encourage the proposition that Incompletes should entail student initiation and not place undue burden on faculty.
The CAP made minor modifications to the proposal and submitted it to the Faculty at its April meeting. The Faculty approved the proposal in May. Changes to Faculty Regulation 2.62.3 include the following:
In April, Professor Emanuel met with the FPC to discuss the CAP's recommendations regarding financial holds. Professor Emanuel reported that the Registrar's office may place students on financial hold (deny registration) whose prior semester payments are delinquent. Recently, students whose financial holds have been cleared during the following term have been allowed to register retroactively.
In his 1 March 1996 memorandum to Professor Emanuel, Paul E. Gray, Chairman of the Corporation, summarized various problems that retroactive registration has created. Members agreed that current practices 1) place an enormous burden on the Financial Aid Office (shuffling financial holds on and off), 2) provide a disincentive for those who play by the rules, 3) consume limited resources within the housing system for those who are not paying tuition or housing bills, 4) provide an opportunity for students to selectively add or drop courses before they retroactively register, and 5) allow students who are not paying class, dorm, or health fees to consume scarce Institute resources.
All present agreed that retroactive registration should no longer be allowed so as to strongly encourage students to resolve financial difficulties in a timely manner. Professor Emanuel reported that the CAP plans to develop an implementation strategy in consultation with the CUP and other appropriate committees. Issues yet to be resolved include: how far into the term (either registration or add date) should students be allowed to register, how to handle special circumstance cases, and how to prevent non-registered students from attending classes without placing this policing responsibility on the Faculty. Professor Emanuel agreed to report back to the FPC on the details of implementation.
Early in the spring term, the FPC met with Deans Travis R. Merritt and Rosalind H. Williams to discuss further the recommendations of the Working Group for Undergraduate Academic Integrity. Based on the FPC's feedback last November, the Working Group developed several proposed courses of action related to record-keeping systems. Although the MIT Colloquium Committee released data showing that students frequently collaborate on problem sets and do not comply with examination procedures, only a small number of cases of academic dishonesty each year are reported to the Committee on Discipline or the Office for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs. This makes it difficult to track the dimensions of the problem. In addition, medical and professional schools frequently call upon the Dean's Office to make representations about the integrity of specific applicants' work at MIT, which is virtually impossible without a central repository of information.
The Working Group recommended that faculty and teaching staff report all proven cases of academic dishonesty. Dean Merritt proposed mailing short, standardized forms to teaching staff at the beginning and end of term (attached to grade reports at the end of term) and making them available at departmental headquarters and the Dean's Office. Faculty would be asked to submit completed forms to the Dean's office, which would maintain individual files (with limited access) as well as compile aggregate data to be transmitted back to the departments.
After a brief discussion of some details, the Committee endorsed Professor Bacow's suggestion that Dean Merritt draft a short memorandum and reporting form, and requested that the draft be submitted to the FPC for final approval.
The FPC also discussed several issues of concern to the MIT Faculty:
During the spring, the FPC met on two occasions with Professor Lawrence M. Lidsky, Faculty Liaison to the MIT Faculty Newsletter, to discuss the future of the Newsletter. During the first meeting, the group discussed the Newsletter's history, current operations, and future possibilities. During the second meeting, Professor Lidsky proposed that the FPC endorse the following:
The FPC expressed unanimous support for an on-line Faculty Newsletter and generally endorsed formal institutional support for the managing editor position, albeit with some reservations. Expressing additional reservations about an electronic bulletin board, the Committee suggested that Faculty Newsletter editors explore issues associated with implementing a bulletin board function (privacy, access, feasibility, the moderator's function, etc.) and return to the FPC with more details.
In December, the FPC met with Professors Richard C. Larson, Director of the Center for Advanced Educational Services, and Steven R. Lerman, Director of the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, to discuss issues related to distance learning.
Professor Larson reported that distance learning is becoming an increasingly important consideration in modern teaching and learning methods. The Sloan School's SDM Program, the Collaborative Design Program in the School of Architecture and Planning, the Mechanical Engineering Hypermedia Lab, and the School of Humanities are currently utilizing distance learning techniques. In response to increased interest and implementation of distance learning techniques, the Committee on Education via Advanced Technology recommended "that academic computing, distance learning, and other educational uses of advanced technologies be brought under the purview of a Standing Committee of the Faculty"(report available at http://www-evat.mit.edu/report/).
The group discussed several issues associated with modern technology, distance learning, and the virtual campus:
FPC members expressed the following comments:
The FPC also discussed several issues with a broad impact on MIT:
In October, the FPC met with Professor R. John Hansman, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Administration (CFA), to discuss the CFA analysis of its survey on faculty retirement.
Professor Hansman reported that the CFA surveyed the Faculty on retirement issues in an attempt to examine non-financial factors which influence faculty to retire. Twenty percent of the Faculty responded, most of whom were active faculty at the full professor level. Professor Hansman then outlined the findings of the survey data (the preliminary survey data is summarized in the January/February 1996 issue of the Faculty Newsletter). Committee members complimented the CFA on its hard work and agreed that MIT must develop a strategy to encourage faculty to consider the concept of intellectual renewal early in their careers.
In February, the Committee met with Members of the ROTC Task Force. Professor Stephen C. Graves, Task Force Chair, summarized the three phases of the Task Force:
1) gathering information (which resulted in the Task Force's 1 February 1996 Interim Report);
2) engaging the community in the issue and soliciting feedback and advice (through meetings with departments, living groups, and the Academic Council, and through faculty dinners, an open forum for students, a web page, and an email address); and
3) developing a final report and proposed Faculty resolution.
Because the Task Force's proposed resolution was scheduled to be introduced and discussed at the March Faculty meeting and voted at the April Faculty meeting, Professor Bacow asked FPC members to encourage their fellow faculty members to attend. Members noted that although the Faculty could vote to terminate ROTC, the ultimate decision would be made by the Executive Committee. Members agreed that even if a Faculty vote would not make the final decision, it would be a clear indication of the moral position of the MIT Faculty.
After a discussion of many options regarding MIT's participation in ROTC, informal votes of the FPC indicated 1) strong opposition to the current DOD policy, 2) strong support for the continuation of ROTC (with substantive constructive provisions) on campus, and 3) no support for the removal of ROTC on campus. The FPC thanked Task Force members for their hard work on this difficult issue and especially for their efforts to solicit the views of the entire community.
In May, the FPC met with members of the Re-engineering Steering Committee and Ms. Janet L. Snover, Captain of the Community Involvement Team, to discuss Re-engineering issues of interest to the Faculty. The group discussed 1) how the reduction in staff (from the early retirement incentive) will be used in re-engineering efforts, 2) the status of the management reporting system, 3) the way in which faculty are involved and engaged in the re-engineering process, 4) how the academic needs of the Institute are being addressed, and 5) what non-financial measures of success will be used. Members commented that the many roll-out, training, and re-organization processes planned for FY97 will place large demands on the Institute, and suggested that continued candid discussions between the Faculty and reengineering participants may ease some of the difficulties that could arise during these transitions.
President Charles M. Vest visited the FPC to discuss a broad spectrum of issues important to the continuing development of the Institute: interdepartmental and cross-departmental initiatives, MIT's relations with the federal government in terms of the interests of science and research, Institutional leadership, faculty morale, and preparation for the academic future. During Provost Joel Moses' first visit with the FPC, he reported on the appointment of four councils (environment, technology and education, international relations, and industry relations) to address various issues facing the Institute, and summarized and discussed with the FPC "Industry/University Relations: Where Are We Going?" by Dr. Alexander MacLachlan, presented at the Industrial Performance Center's Faculty Seminar Series. During the Provost's visit with the FPC in the spring term, the group discussed interdepartmental initiatives, re-engineering, and general moods and attitudes of the Faculty.
Many thanks to all FPC members for their thoughtful participation on the Committee throughout the year, especially to the Committee's departing members: Messrs. Anand Mehta (graduate student member) and Matthew J. Turner (undergraduate student member), and Professors Linn W. Hobbs (former Associate Chair of the Faculty) Bernard J. Wuensch, and George F. Koster (faculty members).
The CUP heard updates from two of the subcommittees it appointed in 1994-95 to address aspects of the General Institute Requirements and from another subcommittee appointed to provide guidance to the UROP Program, with the following results:
In a two-part presentation by the Subcommittee on the Writing Requirement to the CUP in the fall, the CUP endorsed its proposal for a revised Writing Requirement -- with an emphasis on sustained writing experiences throughout students' undergraduate careers -- with the understanding that the proposal would be taken to academic departments for feedback. In the spring, the Committee on the Writing Requirement presented a further report based on departmental feedback, proposing a new Communication Requirement to replace the present Writing Requirement. The new requirement would require students to write, receive instructor feedback on their writing, and revise, during each undergraduate year. CUP endorsed the proposal in anticipation of its being presented to the Faculty in the Spring of 1997.
Dean John Vander Sande returned to the CUP to continue the discussion of the recommendation of the Subcommittee on the Institute Laboratory Requirement for a revised, two-phase Laboratory Requirement, in which phase one, geared to freshmen and sophomores, would provide hands-on exposure to a particular field, and phase two, geared to juniors and seniors, would be project-based and pre-professional. Discussion with the CUP revealed that more work needs to be done to accomplish the currently-stated goals of the Laboratory requirement within the time constraints that both faculty and students face. A lasting solution to the lab requirement's currently unsettled state will require the resolution of a number of conflicting educational aims. Such resolution will probably not come before the Task Force on Undergraduate Life and Learning begins its deliberations.
Professor John Southard, chair of the UROP Subcommittee, and Ms. Norma McGavern, Chair of UROP, spoke to the CUP in the spring about the need for increased funding for UROP in the wake of the major changes in the Federal regulations governing student stipends, and asked for CUP endorsement of a proposal for a capital campaign which they would present to the Provost. Following several CUP discussions about the centrality of UROP to the "hands-on" aspect of MIT undergraduate education and the potential for increasing UROP participation and visibility with increased funding, CUP endorsed the proposal.
The CUP addressed several issues of concern related to the freshman year, appointing two working groups and agreeing to consider the appointment of a standing committee:
A two-part discussion in the fall, led by Dean Travis Merritt and CoC Chair Professor Suzanne Flynn dealt with issues of joint concern to the CUP and the CoC related to the Freshman Advisor Seminar program; discussion focused on the viability of continuing the program as it presently exists, particularly with respect to the sustainability of the current level of faculty participation, the unevenness in quality of the seminars, and the credit-worthiness of some seminars. Based on those meetings, CUP appointed a working group to investigate the possibility of bringing the FAS program more formally into the first-year curriculum, and to report back to CUP in the spring. The working group developed a report which it presented to the CUP in the spring, proposing several changes to the FAS program, including that Freshman Advisor Seminars become an Institute requirement for all first year students and that academic departments take over responsibility for recruiting faculty to teach them. The CUP was not able to reach consensus on these proposals and decided to revisit these issues in the Fall.
In another two-part discussion in the Fall, staff from the Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs office made a presentation to the CUP about Residence/Orientation Week. CUP discussion focused on the large emphasis given to the residence selection process during R/O Week, and the relatively short shrift given to academic orientation, as well as on the large amount of responsibility given to students in planning and running R/O Week. The CUP agreed that more faculty presence is needed in regard to R/O Week, and a faculty working group was appointed to serve in an advisory capacity.
In the spring, Deans Enders, Merritt and Williams of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs described the need for a standing faculty committee, modeled on the now defunct Committee on the Science Requirement, to which deans and other administrative staff could refer for resolution of problems and questions related to the first year program, such as the Pass/No Record system, the granting of Advanced Placement credit, etc. A formal proposal to form such a committee is currently being drafted, which the CUP agreed to consider for endorsement when complete.
CUP activity during 1995-96 that involved the possible creation or revision of Faculty policy and practices included the following:
Professors Kerry Emanuel and Daniel Nyhart of CAP visited CUP in the spring to discuss the effectiveness of the Pass/No Record grading system for freshmen. The CAP's perception is that Pass/No Record grading may no longer be effective, and CUP considered whether or not the system is actually "broken." The CUP was divided about both the effectiveness of the system and the wisdom of appointing a working group to gather more information about it. It was agreed that basic information about MIT students' experiences with the first year -- such as their subject choices, prior preparation, etc. -- needed to be gathered together before any further action could be considered. The chairs of the CUP and the CAP are to consult about the information that needs to be gathered for both bodies. It was also suggested that the Task Force on Student Life and Learning might be an appropriate forum for such a discussion, and that the issue might best be referred there.
Mr. Samir Thadani '96, head of the student-run Baker Foundation, visited the CUP in the spring to present the proposed guidelines for upperclass advising developed this year by the Baker Foundation, with CUP and UESA guidance and support. CUP discussion focused on the need for more of a transition between the nurturing freshman advising system and the present culture of upperclass advising. It was proposed that the guidelines eventually be included in published Institute guidelines, as well as given more informally to faculty and departments. The CUP endorsed the guidelines in preparation for their distribution to departments.
CoC Chair Professor Birger Wernerfelt visited CUP in the spring to discuss the limit on credit units a department can require for completion of an undergraduate major, saying there is a lack of clarity about how to enforce the credit limit -- some departments stretch the number of units they ask of their majors through artful footnotes in the catalogue, and the 15.5 subject upper bound -- intended to be an allowable exception for a few majors -- is becoming the rule for engineering majors. CoC would like guidance, when asked to consider proposals for new undergraduate majors, on how strictly they should expect departments to adhere to the real credit limit. CUP discussed the expanding knowledge base required for professional competence in many fields, and the need for better definition of what an undergraduate major should accomplish in this context, and agreed to revisit the issue in future meetings.
The CUP monitored a number of other on-going programs and new initiatives:
Finally, although discussion on the topic did not take place in a formal meeting, the CUP is monitoring the new three-year experiment using internal "intermediate" grading through its Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Intermediate Grades chaired by Professor Paul Lagace.
The Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) spent most of its time considering petitions from undergraduate students requesting exceptions from various Institute rules. A total of 540 petitions were considered this academic year (about the same number as last year). During September, January, and June the customary end-of-term meetings were held to review the performance of those with academic difficulties.
In addition to considering petitions, the CAP held several special meetings each semester to discuss various issues of concern to the Committee and to the Institute. The Committee completed its proposal to reform the Institute's policy on the grade of Incomplete and presented it to the Faculty at its April meeting. The proposal was passed by unanimous vote at the May meeting. As a result, the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty will be modified with the effect of strongly encouraging students to finish Incompletes during the semester after they are assigned.
The CAP, working in conjunction with the Committee on the Undergraduate Program (CUP) undertook to reform its policy on financial holds. When a student is significantly in arrears, the Financial Aid Office may forbid that student from registering. Often, a student in such a situation will continue to take courses in the hope that, should the financial hold be lifted, he or she will be allowed to register for the courses. This policy has led to the circumstance that an uncomfortably large number of students are enrolling in courses while not being registered and thus circumventing the usual checks and balances on performance. It was decided to change the policy so that no student may ever register after Add Date. The CAP will work with CUP and CUAFA to implement the new policy during the 1996-97 academic year.
Finally, the CAP revisited the issue of freshman pass/no record grading. Most CAP members feel that this policy needs to be changed to discourage the tendency for freshman to take difficult courses and not do very well in them. Discussions were initiated with CUP and the FPC. This issue will be taken up again next year.
The Committee on Corporate Relations (CCR) began the 1995-96 academic year with continuing focus on the mission and strategic plan of the Corporate Relations Office and the Industrial Liaison Program. During the year the CCR reviewed many of the existing and new programs involving corporate relationships in the Departments, Centers and Institute. Attention was given to the increasing number of international initiatives at the Institute. The topics discussed included: the impact of large corporate programs on education, MIT's role in the technology supply chain, the effect of industrial research on junior faculty, and the relationship of the CCR to the newly formed Council on Industrial Relations. The chairmanship changed on January 1 from Professor Bernard Frieden to Professor Charles L. Cooney.
The Committee on Curricula (COC) met eight times during the 1995-96 academic year. The Committee approved proposals for new, cancelled, and revised subjects, and reviewed student petitions for substitutions for the General Institute Requirements, as well as approving substantive curricular changes and making several policy interpretations.
The COC approved a number of revisions to undergraduate curricula, including: major changes to Course 9's undergraduate program and degree name (to the Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Sciences) reflecting the inclusion of more neuroscience in the program; changes to Course 2 to include more material about dynamics; changes to Course 1-E to make the program more useful and attractive to pre-med students and to increase depth; and minor changes to Course 7, Course 5, and Course 6-1, 6-2, and 6-3 curricula.
In the process of approving changes to the Course 2 curriculum, the COC took the position, supported as well by the Committee on the Undergraduate Program, that the policy in the Faculty Regulations limiting departmental programs to 151/2 subjects be considered an absolute upper limit, in that it must apply to every path through the program.
The COC also approved the policy that students earning an S.B. degree after receiving a Minor in the same field need to take 36 additional units for the degree.
The Committee on Discipline (COD) heard charges against three students this year. The charges, all for academic fraud, included taking an exam for another individual, stealing a final exam, and forging grade change forms. The Committee recommended probation for the first offender, suspension for the second, and expulsion for the third. The Committee also reviewed a number of petitions for removal of disciplinary notations from transcripts.
The COD, in conjunction with the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, will regularly report disciplinary actions at Faculty meetings with the hope that this will alert faculty members to the need for consistent reporting of incidents to the Committee on Discipline or to Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, so that students may become more aware of the risks they run when engaging in academic dishonesty.
The Harold E. Edgerton Award Selection Committee issued a call for nominations that was distributed by direct mail to all faculty and posted in TechInfo. Follow-up letters were sent to departments heads to solicit further nominations. Fourteen nominations were received, reviewed and debated. After obtaining further information on three nominees, the Committee selected Anne E. C. McCants of the Department of Humanities as the 1996-1997 awardee. The citation presented at the April Faculty Meeting cited Professor McCants' significant contributions to early modern European social and economic history. Specifically, she studied how the Dutch faced the questions of social welfare and entitlements, and how they balanced free markets, private charity and government relief as they struggled to care for orphans in the seventeenth century. Professor McCants is an energetic, creative and effective teacher, serves on many MIT committees, and is housemaster of Green Hall.
The Committee on Faculty-Administration (CFA) completed the analysis of the Faculty Survey on Issues Which Influence Retirement Decisions early in the academic year. The results were documented in a Faculty Newsletter article and reported to various faculty and administrative groups within the Institute. After the Executive Committee of the Corporation announced the retirement initiative program, the CFA elected to minimize its activities with regard to retirement to avoid interfering with individual retirement decisions.
The James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award Selection Committee convened for four meetings in the process of selecting Gian Carlo Rota, Professor of Mathematics, as the recipient of the award for 1996-97. In assessing the distinguished nominations submitted this year and those carried over from previous years, the committee kept in mind Dr. Killian's early characterization of MIT as "a university polarized around science, technology, and the Arts" and the statement of purpose at the time of establishment of the Award by the Faculty in 1971:
To recognize extraordinary professional accomplishments by full-time members of the MIT Faculty; to provide a means for the communication of these accomplishments to the Faculty, students, and other members of the MIT community and to the general public, and by so doing to honor the contributions made by Dr. Killian to the intellectual life of the Institute.
A total of eleven nominations were considered this year. Six were considered to be particularly promising, and additional information was requested for the final round of consideration. The Committee agreed unanimously on Professor Rota for the 1996-97 Award. Because of the considerable community effort that goes into preparing Killian Award nominations, the Committee will forward several of the nominations to next year's committee so as to avoid undue duplication of that effort. Next year's chairman will be a member of the present committee, providing valuable continuity in the deliberations of this happy, but inherently difficult, selection process.
In the first half of the year, the Committee on the Library System supported the interim administration of the library as they grappled with the continuing cuts in the library's budget mandated by the state of MIT's finances. Considerable time was spent understanding the nature of the cuts and the impact various alternatives would have on the services provided to the MIT community. This is particularly relevant for the state of periodical subscriptions, which are being cut back once again. The Committee was concerned that this not cut into the intellectual underpinnings of the Institute.
The appointment of a highly qualified new Director of the Library System, Anne Wolpert, was a hopeful sign of the Administration's determination to keep the quality of the Libraries high. The new Director listened carefully to Committee members' (faculty and students) concerns about service levels and the need to position the library effectively in this electronic age.
At the April Faculty Meeting, the Committee on Nominations presented the names of faculty members to serve on 14 standing committees of the Faculty as well as the name of the faculty member to serve as Chair-elect of the Faculty. At the May Faculty Meeting, the Faculty voted to approve the nomination for the Chair-elect and also the 26 faculty members to serve on the standing committees.
The Committee on Outside Professional Activities (COPA) assisted several faculty members and a department in resolving potential conflicts of interest arising from demands being made by a sponsor. The Committee was also available to advise faculty on interpretations of MIT's conflict of interest policies.
The main accomplishments of the Committee on Student Affairs (CSA) this year were (a) to sponsor an IAP offering at which students and other members of the MIT community formed small focus groups to discuss issues related to food services, (b) to issue an "Initial Report on Housing and Food Services at MIT," and (c) to help establish a small Food Service Working Group. The members of the Food Service Working Group are Larry Maguire, Phil Walsh, Andy Eisenmann, Joe Bambenek, and John Hollywood. The group will examine food services in detail, and will develop a framework for addressing five issues: cost, nutrition, time economy, social development, and citizenship development.
In other domains, the CSA had fruitful exchanges of ideas with Phillip Bernard, Staff Associate for Residence Programs; Bob Simha, Director of Planning; Lydia Snover, Senior Planning Officer for Institutional Research; Steve Immerman, Marty Schlect, Anthony Ives, and others from the Student Services Reengineering Teams; Barbara Roberts, Coordinator of Disabilities Services; and Tracy Desovich, Health Educator for Students, MIT Medical Department.
The Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid (CUAFA) focused attention on two principal items this year: 1) The changes being considered in the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid as a consequence of the Re-engineering efforts and 2) a discussion of statements in MIT publications regarding affirmative action. Members devoted consideration of the extent to which we should become involved in the public discourse and controversy on this subject.
The Committee on the Writing Requirement (CWR) met nine times during the 1995-96 academic year. The majority of its time was spent in developing a proposal for a new Undergraduate Communication Requirement that would replace the current Writing Requirement.
In the fall of 1995, a subcommittee of the CUP concluded that the current Writing Requirement is ineffective in providing MIT graduates with writing and speaking skills necessary for professional success and only a sustained four-year experience could provide our students with sufficient training in communication skills. In November 1995, the CUP charged the CWR to consult with relevant decision makers, organizations, and individuals at MIT and propose a redesigned, institutionally feasible requirement that would be a more effective educational tool.
The CWR began work on the problem in December 1995 and continued its deliberations until the beginning of May 1996. The CWR met with Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind Williams, Dean of Science Robert Birgeneau, Dean of Engineering Robert Brown, and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science Philip Khoury. In addition, Committee members discussed possible guidelines for a new requirement with faculty from the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Biology, Mathematics.
The CWR reported the result of these efforts to the CUP in May 1996. The CWR proposed to replace the current proficiency-based Writing Requirement with a newly designed experience-based Undergraduate Communication Requirement that will integrate instruction in communication skills into the entire undergraduate program and provide students each year with a substantial experience in writing and speaking. The CUP accepted and endorsed the CWR's report, and the two committees plan to carry the proposal forward to the faculty as a whole during the 1996-97 academic year.
The Committee on the Writing Requirement also considered a request from the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid to allow admitted students to take the Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE) on-line before they physically come to the Institute in August. The CWR decided that logistical and access problems made such a project difficult to administer fairly, and, consequently, decided against allowing students to take the FEE on-line from remote locations. The Committee, however, approved in principal, an experiment to allow admitted students to submit an on-line writing sample and receive feedback on their writing ability before coming to MIT to August. This exercise, however, would not replace the FEE.
Sincere appreciation is extended to the following faculty members for their special contributions and service as appointed Chairs of the Standing and Special Faculty Committees during the past year: Kerry A. Emanuel (Academic Performance), Charles L. Cooney and Bernard J. Frieden (Corporate Relations), Suzanne Flynn and Birger Wernerfelt (Curricula), Jed Z. Buchwald (Discipline), Jeffrey H. Lang (Edgerton Award), R. John Hansman (Faculty-Administration), George Stephanopoulos (Killian Award), Michael S. Scott Morton (Library System), Graham C. Walker (Nominations), John G. Kassakian (Outside Professional Activities), Suzanne H. Corkin (Student Affairs), J. Kim Vandiver and Harold Abelson (Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid), Charles Stewart III (Undergraduate Program) and Kip V. Hodges (Writing Requirement). Many thanks to Leigh H. Royden and Samuel M. Allen for their service as Associate Chair and Secretary of the Faculty.
Lawrence S. Bacow
Traci Trotzer Considine
MIT Reports to the President 1995-96