MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The School of Engineering has continued to move forward with new initiatives to enhance its position as the premier academic center for education and research in engineering in the United States. The School is committed to moving forward on several fronts to redefine engineering education and to establish new areas of leadership in engineering education and research. These initiatives are critical for MIT's continued leadership of the engineering profession and for the vitality of the School and the Institute.

Three initiatives are emerging as the focus of the developing long-range plan of the School. They are the integration of information technology throughout the engineering disciplines; a new emphasis on integration and synthesis in engineering, especially in the context of large-scale engineering systems, and, finally, pioneering the development of the field of bioengineering, defined as the interface between modern biology and the traditional engineering disciplines.

Each of these initiatives will require an unprecedented level of cooperation across the traditional academic departments. Resources will need to be reallocated to these interfaces which otherwise would have gone to more traditional disciplinary interests. Also, our core academic values will have to be broadened further to give additional weight to integrative, interdisciplinary education and research activities. Each department in the School of Engineering is preparing a long-range plan to describe the directions of the department and its needed resources for the next 5-10 years. These plans will be synthesized into a school-wide plan with objectives for faculty hiring and other resource allocation. Faculty hiring is a critical issue because of the need to replace the 37 faculty who left in the fall of 1996 as a result of the special retirement program.

New administrative structures are being considered to accommodate these interdisciplinary interactions. A faculty committee chaired by Professor Robert C. Armstrong, Head of the Chemical Engineering Department, has been formed to consider the structure of a Division of Bioengineering, composed of School of Engineering faculty with joint appointments between bioengineering and other engineering departments. This structure was proposed for the organization of an initiative in engineering systems by a School Committee chaired by Professor Thomas Eagar, Head of the Department of Material Science and Engineering. Discussions of this initiative are underway.

The School of Engineering moved aggressively to decrease the fraction of faculty academic year salaries funded from research. In addition to the decrease in needed research support of salaries caused by the early retirement program, the School allocated a sizable fraction of our discretionary funds in order that all faculty in the School could be brought under a uniform cap for support from research. This plan for charging faculty salaries to research was put in place starting July 1, 1997 and should relax some of the increasing pressure on faculty for research support.

The interface between the School of Engineering and industry was enhanced significantly with the first full class (35 students) of the System Design and Management (SDM) program, which is joint with the Sloan School of Management. These students typically have 3-5 years of industrial experience; many will take subjects in SDM via distance education as part of their course of study. The School of Engineering also launched a new Master of Engineering Program in Logistics, sponsored by the Center for Transportation Systems. This program was formally approved by the MIT Faculty in the spring and will begin admitting students in fall 1998. Another major development was the launching of the Engineering Research Center on "Innovative Product Development" (CIPD) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This center, directed by Professor Warren Seering of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is focused on the process of innovation and design of commercial products. CIPD is sponsored collaboratively by the Sloan School and has considerable involvement with industry.

The School also continued to develop educational and development links with universities and governments abroad. The program with Thailand, administered through the Technology Development Program at MIT and sponsored through the Suksapattana Foundation in Thailand, entered its second year with the Department of Chemical Engineering collaborating on the offering of a program in Chemical Engineering Practice at King Monkut Institute of Technology in Bangkok. Several research projects also are being carried out and additional academic programs in biotechnology, construction and management are being considered as part of this collaboration. The Technology Development Program also is collaborating with Malaysia on the development of a new, private technical university. Finally, the School of Engineering entered into an agreement with the government of Singapore to assess engineering research and education at the two universities in this country.


The Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Professor Donald R. Sadoway of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Don is both an inspired and an inspiring teacher. The Jr. Bose Award was presented to Assistant Professor Steven B. Leeb of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The Bose Awards are funded with gifts from the Bose Foundation in recognition of outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

The Ruth and Joel Spira Awards for Teaching Excellence were presented this year to Professor Frans Kaashoek of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Professor Mary Boyce of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Professor Richard Lester of the Department of Nuclear Engineering. The Spira awards were established with a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Joel Spira to honor outstanding teachers in the three departments listed above.

Henry Ford II Scholar Award - This award is presented to the senior in the School of Engineering who has attained the highest academic record at the end of the third year and who has exceptional potential for leadership in the profession of engineering and in society. The recipient this year was Mr. Gregory R. Richardson, '97 of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship - This scholarship is awarded on the basis of merit to students who are sophomores or juniors and who have excellent academic records and have demonstrated an interest in and potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and those engineering disciplines that contribute significantly to the technological advances of the United States. This year we had one winner from the School of Engineering Ms. Melody M. Kuroda, a junior in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Reinhold Rudenberg Memorial Fund - This prize is awarded to students based on their senior theses in the area of energy conversion.

Three awards were made this year to Luis H. Palacios, a student in the Energy Laboratory, for his thesis titled "Implementation and Calibration of a Laser-Induced Fluorescence System in a Diesel Engine," Peter C.L. Jaffee, a student in the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems, for his thesis titled "Automated Polymer Gel Spinning," and Dennis Son, SB '96 in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, for his thesis titled "An Application of Shape Memory Metal Alloys: Artificial Muscle Actuators."


On July 1, 1996 Professor Edward F. Crawley was named as head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In January 1997 Professor Warren P. Seering , director of the Center for Innovation in Product Development was appointed to Engineering Council.


In 1996-97, EIP placed thirty two sophomores with member companies, up from 30 sophomores in 1996. The total number of interns placed were 55. One new company joined the EIP.

In 1997, we have focused on building partnerships with the EIP companies, and on strengthening the ties with the SoE departments for EIP graduate student placement. As a result of participation in the MIT Career Assistance Re-Design team, more departments, centers, and student placement offices are aware of EIP. Selected students in EIP are working in international locations during their company assignments. A more diverse student body is applying to and being accepted by EIP companies.


On October 12, 1996, The New England Board of Higher Education recognized the MIT MITES Program for outstanding leadership in encouraging underrepresented minority students from all corners of New England to aspire to and persist in science, mathematics and engineering studies and careers.

During the summer of 1997, 58 underrepresented minority high school juniors completed the six week residential program, up from 45 students in 1996. Of the 45 students that attended MITES 1996, 32 applied to MIT, and all 32 were accepted. Seventeen of the accepted students will attend MIT.

MITES applications have increased from 211 in 1995 and 586 in 1966 to 691 in 1997. Four new corporate sponsors supported the MITES 1997 session. Twenty-four faculty, alumni, and corporate panelists spoke about their experiences with the students this summer.

The new Entreprep initiative was well received by the students and visiting entrepreneurs. This year was the first for the MITES initiative, and plans for its continuation are underway.

After the Dallas event, two additional receptions for MITES were held by alumni. A MITES reception was held in San Francisco by Ariel Poler '88 and Malcolm CasSelle '91 at I/Pro Corporation. Another MITES reception was held at Booz Allen & Hamilton by Reginald Van Lee '79 and Gerald Adolph '75. Each reception was attended by more than 40 guests, and Engineering Dean Robert Brown spoke on behalf of the MITES Program.

We will continue to develop plans to support the new entrepreneurship initiative, MITES, and other initiatives such as mini-MITES (a local after-school outreach program).

Robert A. Brown

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97