MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The new version of the electronic HASS Guide went on-line successfully beginning Fall 1996 and, together with its hard-copy twin, has proven to be quite popular with undergraduates. During 1996-97, the HASS Office relied more heavily upon email to communicate with students on various matters--regarding HASS Concentration and Minor forms, for instance--with good results. It is more efficient, less expensive, and seems to elicit a higher rate of response from students. Also during this year, we received all new equipment (computers and printer) in order to be compatible with S.A.P. As a result, we have spent time making everything work smoothly, including upgrading software to match the new operating system. Currently, we are working together with the Registrar's Office and Information Systems toward integrating the HASS-D Lottery with the Registrar's Office's new on-line registration system for students. The target date for implementation is Spring 1998.

In addition, the HASS Office has continued to serve multiple functions, including the administration of the eight-subject HASS requirement, the HASS Minor, the Harvard Cross-Registration Program, provision of statistics for the School of Humanities and Social Science, and the publication of The HASS Guide (hard copy and electronic versions) each term. This office also continued to record proposals and completion forms for HASS Concentrations and Minors in MITSIS, on behalf of the Registrar's Office, in addition to maintaining a HASS Minor data base and paper files. Petitions for HASS credit for subjects which are not so coded in MITSIS, including Harvard and Wellesley subjects, graduate subjects, etc., are submitted here for approval. Information concerning any of the above, as well as HASS transfer credit and general Institute information, was provided to the MIT community and in response to inquiries from outside the Institute. The Coordinator, Dr. Bette Davis, served as staff to the HASS-D Overview Committee, chaired by Professor James Paradis.


The number of HASS subjects offered remained approximately the same--455 in 1996-97, compared to 459 last year. The number of autonomous sections again decreased slightly, from 598 to 591. The number of HASS-Distribution subjects offered was exactly the same as last year--113. The largest overall enrollments were in the same fields as last year, in exactly the same order: 1898 in Economics and 1538 in Foreign Languages and Literatures. Writing (1014) moved from fourth to third place, followed by Literature (943) and Music (816). (Six-unit music performance subjects are not included in these statistics.) The following fields showed the greatest increases over last year, in terms of percentage: Linguistics (from 45 to 82), and the History of Art and Architecture (from 94 to 138).


Economics and Foreign Languages again led in the number of completed HASS Concentrations: in 1996-97, 320 (compared to 316 last year) students completed concentrations in Economics, and 222 (compared to 260 last year) completed concentrations in Foreign Languages & Literatures. (For a breakdown by languages, see Table II.) The next two most popular HASS Concentration fields are Music, with 110 completed concentrations, and Psychology, with 95, followed by Writing (71), History (54), and Literature (51).


After an unexplained decrease last year, the number of HASS Minors was up in 1996-97. The number of HASS Minors received by the Class of 1997 reached an all-time high of 222, compared to 170 in 1996 and 201 in 1995. A total of 440 HASS Minor applications from all graduating classes were submitted, compared to 416 in 1995-96. The two most popular fields in terms of applications filed were the same as last year: Economics (124) and Music (69). There were 59 minors in Foreign Languages (14 in French, 23 in German, and 22 in Spanish). Other popular HASS Minors, in order, were Writing (34), ), Psychology (29), Literature (25), and Political Science (24).


The number of MIT undergraduates cross-registering for courses at Harvard showed a slight increase in 1996-97. In 1996-97, 213 MIT undergraduates took 235 subjects at Harvard, compared to 199 students enrolled in 214 subjects in 1995-96. As usual, foreign languages proved to be by far the most popular field of study. One hundred and thirteen of the 235 subjects were in 18 different foreign languages. The two most popular languages were Chinese (29) and Korean (17); enrollments in other languages were spread fairly evenly. The most popular fields outside foreign languages were Philosophy (24) and Biology (17).


In Course 14, Economics, 45 students received the S.B. Degree, while 10 students received degrees in Political Science, Course 17. During the same time period, September 1996 through June 1997, a total of 23 students completed the S.B. Degree in Humanities, Course 21. Of these, nine received joint degrees, four in 21-E and five in 21-S. Another 12 received degrees in a specified field within Course 21. Two undesignated Humanities degrees (for "Major Departures") were granted. Four students received the S.B. in Philosophy.


The Economics Department has 99 undergraduate majors, and 21 undergraduate students are majoring in Political Science. (These figures represent only first degrees.) There were 59 Humanities majors in 1995-96; 31 of these were first degrees. Of the 59, 24 were joint majors (8 in 21-E and 16 in 21-S.) Literature had the most majors (15), followed by Writing (13) and Music (12). Eight undergraduates have officially declared a major in Philosophy.


Among the more notable honors achieved by SHSS majors this year were:

Robert A. Boit Writing Prize: Amy M. Smith, '98, First Prize (essay); Christina Kalb, '98, Second Prize (poetry); and Anthony Julian, '97 Honorable Mention

Burchard Scholars: Elizabeth Schofield, '98; Katharine Spayde, '99; Robinanne Jayne Stancavage, '98; Farhan Zaidi, 98.

Edward S. Darna Award: Charles Armesto, '97

Peter J. Eloranta Award: Joaquin Terrones, '97

Prize for Excellence in Economics Writing: Daniel Witalec, '97; Sirshendu Banerjee, '97; Peter Chu, '97; Nada Mora, 98

Ford Foundation Baccalaureate Incentive Award: Richard Thompkins, 98

Ragnor and Margaret Naess Award: Nicole Lee, '98

Phi Beta Kappa: Richard Lee, '97; Daniel Witalec, '97; Sung Jun Woo, '97; Jason Strautman, '97

Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize: Gary Crichlow, '97

Dewitt Wallace Prize: Jennifer Murphy, '99, First Prize; Christina Kalb, '98, Honorable Mention

Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Award: Solomon Douglas, '97

Bette Davis

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97