FACULTY POLICY COMMITTEE
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.
The FPC met twice with President Vest, once with Provost Moses and once with incoming Chairman of the Corporation, Mr. d'Arbeloff. It also convened a meeting with the Deans of the five Schools. The Committee used these opportunities to convey faculty opinions on a variety of topics ranging from classroom renovations to reengineering and adjunct teaching appointments.
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.
UNDERGRADUATE COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENT
Throughout the fall, the Committee on the Writing Requirement (CWR) and the Committee on the Undergraduate Program (CUP) worked in tandem to address MIT students' need for more comprehensive instruction in written and spoken communication skills. In the spring, Professor Kip V. Hodges, Chair of the CWR; Professor Charles Stewart III, Chair of the CUP; and Associate Dean Leslie Perelman of the Undergraduate Education Office presented the FPC with a motion for the Faculty to consider replacing the current Institute Writing Requirement with an Institute Communication Requirement. After considerable discussion, the FPC voted in unanimous support of forwarding the motion to the Faculty. The proposal was brought before the Faculty at the March meeting and approved in April.
MASTER OF ENGINEERING PROGRAM IN LOGISTICS
In March, the FPC met with Professor Yossi Sheffi, Director of the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) to discuss the proposed Master of Engineering Program in Logistics. The CTS is an interdepartmental unit which currently offers a Master of Science in Transportation (MST) and a Ph.D. in Transportation. The MEL degree is a one-year program designed to provide students with the analytical tools to tackle logistics issues and contribute to manufacturing and retail organizations on the one hand, and the rapidly expanding logistics services and consulting industry on the other.
The program should attract people with three to ten years experience in the transportation industry and those with MBAs who want to enter the logistics field. The narrow focus on logistics calls for a highly structured program, so the 90-unit curriculum has only one elective. The program will be governed by the CTS Education Committee, which also oversees the MST and Ph.D. programs. The Center will include funding for the MEL program in its business plans for the next few years until the MEL program can pay for itself. CTS also intends to offer strong placement services to MEL graduates through its corporate and public affiliate programs.
The most significant feature of the MEL proposal was that it would become the first interdepartmental Master of Engineering degree. However, the CST has already addressed concerns about governance, admissions, and registration through its handling of MST students. Furthermore, prior to the FPC's discussion, Professor Bacow solicited and received letters of support from the appropriate department heads to assure their willing participation in the MEL program. Therefore, all felt that CTS could resolve any funding and procedural issues using the current administrative structure. FPC discussion of the MEL program also raised the larger issues of faculty and financial resources channeled into one-year programs. Nonetheless, the Committee endorsed the proposal which was put to the Faculty at the March meeting and approved in April.
As a result of objections raised at the April meeting, the FPC took steps to clarify the principles governing the naming of M.Eng. degree titles. In the past, both Ocean Engineering and Nuclear Engineering had sought and been denied approval for M.Eng. degrees with titles other than that of the department. In the case of Ocean Engineering, the Committee on Graduate School Policy ruled that M.Eng. degree titles were limited to departmental names and the FPC had recommended degrees with departmental names and different tracks. At that time, the FPC was concerned about title proliferation and jurisdiction. However, with the M.Eng. in Logistics, the FPC had required letters of support from the relevant department heads, and the Committee felt that the Institute had learned how to handle such degrees. As a matter of practice, the FPC agreed on the following principles in the naming of M.Eng. degrees:
QUALITY OF FACULTY LIFE
Early in the fall, the Committee identified quality of faculty life as one of its priorities. In response to its concerns, the FPC formed a subcommittee chaired by Professor Bailyn and including Professors Keyser, Potter, and Royden. At the same time, discussion continued at the committee-level with an October visit from Ms. Lydia S. Snover, Senior Planning Officer for Institutional Research. Ms. Snover described the results of the Higher Education Research Institute Survey of Faculty. Approximately one-third of the MIT Faculty had responded to the survey, with over-representation of women and non-tenured faculty. In reviewing the results, FPC members observed clear indications of stress among faculty and noted that women faculty seem to experience stress differently from men, both before and after tenure. In addition, the data seems to indicate widespread support for periodical reviews of tenured faculty and to reflect that women have lower job satisfaction than men, as seen in the higher numbers of women reporting sexual harassment and the fact that women consider leaving academia at two times the rate of men. FPC members agreed that there were a number of questions and issues worthy of further study.
In April, the FPC subcommittee reported its findings to the Committee. It had begun by defining the topic as issues of work and personal life for MIT faculty and by asking whether MIT faculty could be successful and still have meaningful involvements outside the Institute, i.e. with family or community. The subcommittee looked at the apparent increase in faculty stress levels and at the implications this trend could have on the Institute's work climate, the quality of research and teaching, and its personnel policies. It was concerned that the Faculty and administration might have difficulty acknowledging that the levels of stress MIT faculty experience are problematic. The group was unable to offer definitive solutions, but felt it imperative to continue investigation and discussion. As part of its continuing inquiry, the subcommittee agreed to give attention to the medical costs of stress.
After hearing the subcommittee's findings, the FPC engaged in a vigorous discussion which centered around the stresses of the tenure process and the difficulty of balancing personal responsibilities with research, teaching, and administrative commitments. A number of suggestions were made with the goal of reducing stress, particularly for junior faculty. These included: more flexibility in the tenure clock, subsidized housing for junior faculty, a faculty allowance for domestic assistance, and increased availability of day and elder care. FPC members agreed that solving these problems would make MIT more attractive to prospective faculty and would positively affect graduate students as well. At the same time, they urged that possible solutions be measured in terms of cost effectiveness.
By and large, the Committee found these to be important issues and felt that discussion should be continued and brought to the Institute-level. The majority of members agreed that while more investigation clearly needs to be done, MIT can and should begin to address some of the more obvious symptoms immediately.
The FPC discussed tenure in a variety of contexts throughout the year. In December, it met with Professor Nicholas P. Negroponte, Director of the Media Lab to talk about tenure as it pertains to media research. Within that context, Professor Negroponte felt that faculty on the tenure track are unlikely to pursue peripheral or radical research because they are pressured to conform to tradition in order to get tenure. While he was aware of non-tenured MIT faculty members who have had successful careers at MIT, he pointed out that without the title of professor, faculty and researchers are often considered second class citizens at the Institute.
Later that month in a meeting with the Deans, discussion focused on possible suggestions for changing tenure including: eliminating tenure, awarding tenure for a fixed term (25 or 30 years), requiring periodic peer reviews, and lengthening the tenure probationary period. The Deans' concerns centered on the need for intellectual renewal among the Faculty heightened by the combination of tenure and the end of mandatory retirement; sensitivity to young faculty members' needs in terms of career development, family and work issues, and opportunities to get expertise from industry; and the need to find more meaningful and continuous post-tenure review to stimulate a dynamic and encouraging intellectual climate.
In the spring, discussion of tenure turned to the timing of the tenure clock, the differing pressures this clock places on men and women faculty, and the impact the clock may have on choice of research topics. In the end, the FPC agreed that the issues surrounding tenure are multifaceted and complex, that they need to be further examined and discussed, and that it is the role of the Faculty to recommend modification to the current system if necessary.
WOMEN IN THE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE
In March, the FPC met with Dean Robert J. Birgeneau of the School of Science and Professors Mary C. Potter and Paola M. Rizzoli to discuss the Report of the Committee on Women in the School of Science. Professors Potter and Rizzoli chaired the committee, and FPC members Royden and Hopkins each served on the committee for part or all of its deliberations.
The committee found that many women faculty in the School of Science feel marginalized, particularly after they have achieved tenure. The FPC was particularly interested in the impact of the committee's report on the School of Science and in what lessons might be more broadly applicable to other areas of MIT. Dean Birgeneau commented that the committee's work has been helpful on every level-from demonstrating better ways to collect data, to its advice about considering outside offers in determining faculty salaries. The committee taught the School how to look at the challenge of increasing women faculty and gave the School the tools to address it. As a result, the School has made significant strides in hiring women faculty for the coming year. Interacting with individual departments on these issues has been a constructive process as well, and Dean Birgeneau concluded that the procedures developed in conjunction with the committee would be useful to other MIT Schools. He added that he does not believe that the problems identified in the report are unique to the School of Science, and he thinks that the recommendations are valuable because of what it took to make them. He does not believe that he would have come to the same point of total agreement and compliance if he had not been part of the whole process.
After hearing the report, FPC members expressed hope that women faculty in all areas of MIT would view the committee's work as a sign of encouragement to evaluate their own situations. The FPC encouraged Dean Birgeneau and the committee to work with the academic deans and women faculty in the other Schools to initiate the same process of evaluation and to help them draw their own conclusions.
In April, Professor Harris, Co-chair of the Committee on Campus Race Relations visited the FPC to discuss issues of diversity at MIT. Professor Harris feels we continue to face issues relating to diversity and civility across the Institute. She called for discussion and opinions on what the Faculty could and should be doing to address the problems. In speaking to various groups, Professor Harris has encountered considerable denial on the part of faculty members. She noted that faculty often identify racism as a student problem or blame MIT's housing system.
Professor Harris screened excerpts from the It's Intuitively Obvious videotapes which document students from different racial groups discussing experiences and attitudes towards race while at MIT. The FPC found the tapes powerful and compelling. In the subsequent discussion, Sloan's Professional Conduct Day was strongly praised by FPC members who had participated. The Committee also endorsed increased effort towards recruiting and retaining qualified minority candidates for faculty positions. Noting that faculty often fail to adequately direct the behavior of TAs, particularly in regard to social issues, one member suggested that all TAs be videotaped to record their teaching technique and how they interact with students.
The FPC encouraged Professor Harris and the CCRR to pursue the development of a diversity training program for teaching and administrative staff. Since student impressions and attitudes are largely formed during the first two years at MIT, it was recommended that the training begin by targeting faculty and TAs from ten to twenty of the largest early courses.
ROTC TASK FORCE UPDATE
The ROTC Implementation Team was formed as the result of a Faculty vote in April 1996. Team members are Professor Phillip L. Clay, Dean Margaret R. Bates, Ms. Sarah E. Gallop, Professors J. Kim Vandiver and William B. Watson. In Spring 1997, all members of the Team except for Professor Watson, attended an FPC meeting to update the Committee.
The Implementation Team stated the following as its primary goals:
At the time of the meeting, the Team had implemented the following:
FPC members discussed the need for built-in incentives for non-ROTC students to participate in a leadership program. They also agreed that the intention of the Faculty vote was to keep the discussion alive and to identify opportunities where MIT can play a leadership role. The FPC felt that MIT should continue to work towards a campus atmosphere which is accepting of diversity of all kinds and offered support to the Implementation Team as it continues to pursue its goals and objectives.
The Implementation Team made its report to the Faculty at the May meeting. At that time, concern was expressed that MIT was backing away from its commitment to the elimination of discrimination in the military. The Team reiterated its pledge to broaden access to ROTC and improve the campus climate for homosexual students and faculty. There was also concern that the reinsurance policy might be inadequate and in response, the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid agreed to examine other options more closely during the coming year.
During the fall, the FPC made classroom improvements a priority and asked Dean Rosalind H. Williams to consult with the appropriate staff from Physical Plant, Audio-Visual Services, the Planning Office, and the Registrar's Office. Last fall, she presented her findings to the CUP and the Committee for the Review of Space Planning and in January, she met with the FPC to outline progress on classroom renovations. By that time, tentative plans had been made to renovate 33 classrooms over one, two, or three years, with the timetable contingent somewhat upon raising funds to complete the project.
FPC members expressed astonishment at the dilapidated state of many Institute classrooms and at how little money there is available to maintain-much less renovate-teaching facilities. Dean Williams also raised the issue of updating classrooms to take advantage of changing technology, which would add additional expenses to renovations. She agreed to approach Vice President for Resource Development Barbara Stowe about soliciting contributions to fund the capital improvements, but emphasized that these efforts will require input from the Provost and faculty.
In November, Dr. Kumar, Director of Academic Computing visited the FPC. At the time of his visit, he was speaking with faculty and students across the Institute to determine their needs on Athena and other academic computing equipment, and to gather their input on third party software. He noted that the relationship between academic computing and the Faculty is extremely important.
During the meeting, FPC members expressed their wishes vis à vis academic computing:
"PROFESSOR/ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF THE PRACTICE OFŠ"
In a December meeting with the FPC, Dean William H. Mitchell articulated the need for a alternative kind of adjunct appointment. The Department of Architecture has historically appointed half-time Adjunct Professors (most of whom are distinguished in their industry careers), Senior Lecturers, and Senior Research Scientists (who engage in teaching) in order to attract design practitioners whose professional career schedules do not mix well with typical tenure schedules. Yet, the Department continues to struggle for ways to engage young junior designers for whom the demands of developing an external practice while under the tenure clock are nearly impossible and to attract individuals to teach specific subjects, such as the law of architecture.
In March, Dean Mitchell returned to the FPC with a proposal to establish two levels of faculty: "Professor of the Practice ofŠ" and "Associate Professor of the Practice ofŠ." This proposal was the result of considerable discussion and consultation with a variety of constituencies. After reviewing the proposal, the FPC raised a number of pointed questions but agreed to support the proposal contingent on some further clarifications. It also recommended that the standard five-year review of the program be incorporated. The proposal was presented to the Faculty at the May meeting and will be included in the revised edition of Policies and Procedures.
TASK FORCE ON STUDENT LIFE AND LEARNING UPDATE
In January, the Task Force on Student Life and Learning updated the Committee on its activities. During discussion, several FPC members agreed that the typical faculty job description does not foster interaction with undergraduates, particularly on the level of students' day-to-day lives. At the same time, some members felt that advising and mentoring are ideal ways for faculty to engage undergraduates on a more personal level. The FPC cautioned the Task Force against writing a broad and bland mission statement, which would provide no catalyst for change, and urged it not to shy away from identifying things that are important or from recommending real action to implement their findings.
COMMITTEE ON THE USE OF HUMANS AS EXPERIMENTAL SUBJECTS
Questions by the Faculty regarding how the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) makes decisions and recommendations, led to the committee's meeting with the FPC. After explaining its charge and approach, COUHES Chair Dr. H. Walter Jones acknowledged that approval of some non-invasive, non-research processes might be handled administratively. The FPC agreed to form a subcommittee to work with COUHES to clarify activities which might be presumptively exempt from review.
With several problems facing MIT in regard to faculty retirement, the FPC asked the Committee on Faculty-Administration (CFA) to reevaluate the pension plan and if necessary, to make recommendations regarding modifications. As is common at research universities where teaching loads are lighter, MIT has a relatively high number of faculty who continue to work past age 70. In addition, now that retirement is no longer mandatory, there are increasingly more faculty who view their pension as an estate-building vehicle: every year one continues after the Normal Retirement Date (NRD) means considerable increase in pension build-up.
The CFA felt that MIT needs to develop incentives to increase retirement on or before the NRD and offered these options for consideration: consider re-negotiating the NRD; place a cap on the defined benefit pension plan so that participation would be shut off after a specific number of years, thus eliminating the incentive to continue working and accumulating past the NRD; offer a more enticing medical plan upon retirement; and build in inflation protection by indexing the pension plan.
FPC members responded with a number of comments and suggestions. Some felt that MIT must take a more holistic approach to faculty retirement and consider the professional and personal implications as well as the financial ones. They thought that the Institute should create a culture in which faculty consider part-time and emeritus status, and should encourage long-range retirement planning. Members stressed that retirement policies should be institutionalized, because the present situation in which each individual negotiates a personal deal is inequitable and breeds ill will. They viewed retirement as part of the larger and fundamental issue of faculty relationships with MIT both during and after employment. They urged MIT to clarify its objectives in terms of the faculty pension plan and retirement policies in order to resolve any of the potential problems. Issues surrounding faculty retirement affect the environment of the MIT community, members agreed that the intellectual renewal of the Faculty through retirement is good for the Institute.
During the past year, the Committee on the Undergraduate Program (CUP) played a key role in moving forward a proposal to renovate a substantial number of MIT classrooms over the next several years.
UNDERGRADUATE COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENT
The CUP endorsed the report of the Committee on the Writing Requirement and forwarded a recommendation to the Faculty that it authorize a two-year series of pilot programs and experiments to help in the design of a new Communication Requirement. The committee will report back to the Faculty with its recommendation for a new requirement not later than the Spring of 2000. In the meantime, a subcommittee of the CUP will be formed to oversee the two-year experiment.
COMMITTEE ON THE FIRST YEAR PROGRAM
This year, the new Committee on the First Year Program was established as a permanent subcommittee of the CUP. This group, chaired by Professor Thomas J. Greytak during 1996-97, was charged with assisting the CUP in carrying out its freshman year oversight and review responsibilities, working with departments and the Dean for Undergraduate Education to effect small scale and short term improvements to the first year program, and considering larger scale changes that should be taken up by the CUP.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FRESHMAN ADVISING
The CUP charged and received the recommendations of its Subcommittee on Freshman Advising. The subcommittee, chaired by Professor Linn W. Hobbs, deliberated throughout the year and submitted its report in May. Discussion of its recommendations will continue in the fall.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
During 1996-97, the CUP looked at policy issues governing subject prerequisites, the giving of evening quizzes by daytime classes, and the 5-7 P.M. period were the subject of two meetings in the spring. Since improvement or clarification of these policies should assist their practice, discussions will continue next year.
In addition, the Chair of the CUP was involved in the development of a new financial hold policy that is currently being reviewed by the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP).
The CUP heard updates from two groups involved in experiments licensed by CUP. The Subcommittee on Intermediate Grading, chaired by Professor Paul A. Lagace made a progress report to the CUP and will make final recommendations in Spring 1998. In addition, the CUP heard about the progress of the three-year HASS-D Experiment incorporating visual and performing arts into the requirement from Dr. Bette K. Davis, Dean Philip S. Khoury, and Professor James Paradis. The goals and timing of this experiment-scheduled to end in 1998-99 and to culminate in a review of the entire HASS requirement-will be discussed again by CUP in the upcoming year.
PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES
The CUP monitored the progress of a number of on-going programs and initiatives:
OTHER FACULTY COMMITTEE REPORTS
The Committee on Academic Performance acted on a total of 645 petitions during the last academic year, an increase of twelve percent over the previous year. (Approximately half of these petitions were acted upon administratively by the Chair and the remaining were brought to the committee). The Committee saw a forty percent increase in petitions for late drops, as well as a steady increase in the number of financial hold petitions over the last five years. CAP actions voted at the end-of-term grades meetings resulted in a total of 51 Required Withdrawals (the same number as last year) and 446 Warnings (compared with 433 last year).
In addition to considering petitions, the CAP dealt with the implementation of the new Incomplete policy which went into effect in Fall 1996. The Committee also dealt with issues regarding the IAP Credit Limit and Financial Holds.
In Fall 1996, the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty were amended to provide that grades of Incomplete must normally be completed by the add date of the semester following that in which they are assigned; that if they are not completed when agreed, the instructor must assign a grade based on work done; and that no student can graduate with an unresolved I on his/her record.
In the spring, two weeks before term-end CAP meetings, there were approximately two dozen seniors with unresolved I's on their records who were on the degree list to graduate in June. Through intensive work by all concerned, there were no unresolved I's among those students intending to graduate. This spring 185 I's were given, the lowest in five years. It contrasted with 265 in Fall 1996, and 256 in the Spring 1996. Thus the new system's goals seem largely to have been achieved in its initial year. However, the first year's experience suggests the need for continued broad dissemination of the new policy.
CAP received a number of petitions to exceed the twelve unit limit for IAP credit. Analysis of the issue suggests that two popular subjects begin in the fall semester and carry over into IAP and in two other subjects, credits are allocated both to the spring and fall. Students are apparently often unaware that they are already taking six units, and quickly exceed the twelve unit limit. The CAP concluded that a much wider communication effort aimed at students, departmental advisors, and administrative officers would help resolve the issue.
Some students who are prevented by Student Financial Aid Office policy from registering because their financial aid loans are in arrears, continue to attend classes. When their loans are brought into paid-up status, they petition the CAP for permission for retroactive registration. A year ago, the CAP determined to address this problem and to examine variances in the elapsed periods of these requests. In November, the CAP along with CUP and Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid (CUAFA) held a meeting on the subject attended by a variety of "stakeholders." Following this meeting, the Director of Student Financial Aid drafted a statement of current and future policy providing a one-semester grace period for late payment, followed by a strictly enforced set of sanctions designed to encourage payment on time or within the grace period. The new policy should be in force in the fall. Such a restated policy on financial holds, when enforced in Fall 1997, should reduce the number of petitions for late registration due to financial holds.
The Committee on Curricula (COC) met nine times during the 1996-97 academic year. The Committee approved proposals for new, canceled, and revised subjects, and reviewed student petitions for substitutions for the General Institute Requirements, as well as approving substantive curricular changes and upholding policy.
The COC approved 6.115 as an Institute Laboratory subject and approved a number of revisions to undergraduate curricula including changes to Course 2A to make the program more structured and rigorous; changes to Course 4 to formally create four "discipline streams" in place of its planned electives; and changes to Courses 1-A and 1-C to bring them into line with the 15 1/2 subject limit in the departmental program.
In the process of considering a proposal by Course 9 for a minor in Systems Neuroscience, the COC upheld the position, supported as well by the CUP, that there should be one minor per major, and denied the proposal.
The Committee on Corporate Relations (CRC) met actively through the academic year to consider the mission and activities of the Office of Corporate Relations (including Corporate Development and the Industrial Liaison Program), particularly in light of the findings of the Council on Industrial Relationships. The report of this Council (February 1997) recommended that the CRC also undertake ongoing discussions on the MIT impact of potential changes in MIT's relationships with corporations, including the formation of partnerships. Meetings were held with the Provost and Vice President of Resource Development to clarify the expanded role of the Office of Corporate Relations in generating corporate gifts and research revenues, as well as to discuss the mission of the CRC itself. Suggestions were made to the Office of Corporate Relations to better communicate with faculty about changes in the mission and structure of OCR.
The Committee on Discipline (COD) heard charges against five students this year. The charges, all for academic misconduct, included stealing an exam and providing answers to an individual scheduled to take it, altering exams and turning them in for re-grading, and copying problem sets. The sanctions ranged from the withholding of a degree for one year and suspensions from the Institute, to a letter of warning. The Committee also reviewed a number of petitions for removal of disciplinary notations from transcripts. In addition, the Committee expects to hear approximately four other charges against students over the summer.
As in the past, the COD, in conjunction with the Dean of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education, will regularly report disciplinary actions at Faculty meetings. The committee hopes that this will continue to alert faculty members to the need for consistent reporting of incidents to the COD or to the Dean's office, so that students may become more aware of the risks they run when engaging in academic dishonesty.
This year the Harold E. Edgerton Award Selection Committee reviewed 11 nominations, some of them outstanding, for the Edgerton Award. After considerable deliberation, the committee selected Julie Dorsey as the recipient of the Harold E. Edgerton Award. Professor Dorsey of the Department of Architecture, was commended for her work in developing computer-aided design methods for lighting design and simulating the weathering of materials. She was also cited for her strong commitment to both undergraduate and graduate teaching.
This year, the Committee on Faculty-Administration (CFA) began a broad analysis of questions relating to faculty renewal. Attention was mainly focused on revising the pension system to make it more neutral in relation to faculty retirement decisions. Recommendations to be further refined included ending MIT contributions to the 401K plan after 30 or 35 years of service and pension supplements for full indexing when retirement occurs in certain age/years-of-service windows. Non-pension proposals included the development of a long-term care plan, indexing of after-retirement Medicare supplements, transition plans that allow for half-time employment for a number of years before retirement, and better ways for faculty members to retain linkage to MIT after retirement.
This year's James R. Killian, Jr., Faculty Achievement Award Selection Committee met a number of times throughout the year, solicited nominations, and followed up to obtain further information about the nominees. At the May Faculty Meeting, they enthusiastically announced that the 26th Killian Faculty Achievement Award would be presented to the Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Robert S. Langer. The selection committee cited Professor Langer's pioneering work in the fields of drug delivery, artificial organs and angiogenesis, as well as his commitment to mentoring his students as reasons for this recognition.
In its first meeting of the 1996-97 academic year, the Committee on the Library System heard and discussed a detailed presentation by the Director, Ann Wolpert, on the attributes, financial position, and future directions of the MIT Libraries, and on the strategic issues facing the Library System. Key strategic initiatives include an increase in networked information resources and in the support of information technology, and an increase in development activities so as to build the Libraries' endowment. The second and third meetings were largely devoted to a discussion of the FY98 budget for the Libraries. Related concerns such as space needs, access, and acquisitions were raised by the committee. The committee also heard a report on the meeting of the Corporation Visiting Committee, in which some members of the committee had participated.
At the April Faculty Meeting, the Committee on Nominations presented the names of faculty members to serve on the fourteen Standing Committees of the Faculty as well as the names of the faculty members to serve as Associate Chair of the Faculty and Secretary of the Faculty.
At the May Faculty meeting, the Faculty voted to approve the nominations for the Associate Chair and the Secretary of the Faculty, and also to approve the 36 faculty members to serve on the Standing Committees.
As usual, the Committee on Outside Professional Activities (COPA) dealt with situations in which there were questions about potential conflicts of interest involving faculty, students, or staff. In addition, at Professor Bacow's request, the COPA investigated issues related to whether MIT was receiving reasonable compensation for intellectual property developed here, whether MIT's rules and safeguards related to equity and commercialization were in line with those of peer institutions, and whether MIT had proper guidelines in place concerning conflicts of interest that may arise as faculty pursue closer collaborations with industry. In each case, the committee's conclusion was that the current system serves the needs of the Institute without imposing an unnecessary bureaucracy or set of policing requirements that might discourage interactions with industry or threaten the sense of collegiality and loyalty that allow the current system to function very well.
The Committee on Student Affairs met regularly throughout the year. A frequent item on its agenda was a continuing interest in and input to the Institute Dining Review. The Committee's other principal focus was to commence an examination of second order gender issues, that is, how well does MIT perform as a setting for women students and a preliminary report was prepared for Dean Williams on this issue. Other topics discussed by the Committee included the future design and qualities of Lobby 7 and the Infinite Corridor as MIT's "front door and main street," and the possible sources of advice to incoming undergraduates on the use of credit cards.
The principal issue addressed by the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid during 1996-97 was the implementation of the reinsurance policy for students who lose ROTC scholarships because of their sexual orientation.
The following policy implementation language was approved by CUAFA on February 13, 1997 and approved for release by the ROTC Implementation Team on February 21, 1997. This policy was included in a report to the MIT Faculty at the May 1997 meeting. It will also be included in appropriate abbreviated forms in future admissions and financial aid publications.
On April 17, 1996, the MIT Faculty approved the Task Force motion addressing ROTC programs on campus and the conflict between MIT's policy on non-discrimination and Department of Defense (DOD) policy which discriminates against homosexuals. The motion included the following item dealing specifically with financial support:
MIT will reinsure MIT students who lose ROTC scholarships due to their sexual orientation with a financial-aid package consisting of the standard need-based MIT scholarship, plus an optional supplement contingent upon public service.
The objective of this element of the motion was to:
Š counteract, to the extent we can, the on-campus consequences of current discriminatory policies against homosexuals in the US military by reinsuring the DOD scholarships of disenrolled homosexuals.
In its final report, the ROTC Task Force proposed that responsibility for implementing and overseeing the reinsurance policy be given to CUAFA. The following policy statement implements that part of the motion dealing with reinsurance.
The CUAFA policy on MIT ROTC students whose scholarships are terminated (with editorial corrections made on April 4, 1997) is as follows:
This policy will be further reviewed in the coming year, in response to comments made at the May Faculty Meeting.
CUAFA also conducted regular policy reviews and revisions of practices of the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid.
The Committee on the Writing Requirement met frequently during the 1996-97 academic year, devoting most of its time to developing, refining, and modifying a proposal to the CUP for a new undergraduate communication requirement. The report, echoing the conclusions of earlier reports by the CWR and the CUP's special subcommittee on the Writing Requirement (the Lightman Committee), found that the current Writing Requirement is ineffective in developing MIT students' abilities to write and speak effectively. Consequently, the report recommended replacing the current proficiency-based Writing Requirement with a more substantial and experienced-based Communication Requirement that would integrate instruction in various modes of effective communication into all parts of the undergraduate program.
The Chair of the CWR presented an outline of the proposal at the October Faculty Meeting. Subsequently, the committee in collaboration with the CUP, the Chair of the Faculty, and the Dean of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education, held several informative and productive discussions on various drafts of the proposal with concerned faculty members, culminating in a January meeting attended by over 30 faculty from all parts of the Institute.
These discussions revealed a consensus among the Faculty that the current Writing Requirement should be replaced with regular and sustained instruction in writing and speaking. These conversations, however, also revealed significant disagreement on several fundamental implementation issues. Recognizing the almost universal approval by the Faculty of the proposal's overall objective, while also recognizing the need to address these unresolved concerns, the Committee on the Writing Requirement modified its proposal to Faculty, requesting that the Faculty endorse its general conclusions and analyses and that the Faculty charge the CUP, in collaboration with the CWR and departments, to conduct two years of pilot programs and curricular experiments that inform the final design of a new Communication Requirement.
In February, both the CUP and the FPC approved and endorsed the CWR's revised proposal along with a enabling motion drafted by the Chair of the Faculty. The report and motion were presented to the Faculty at its March meeting, and in April, the Faculty unanimously approved the motion endorsing the general objectives of a new communication requirement and mandating two years of pilot communication-intensive programs.
Professor Kip V. Hodges ended his term as Chair of the Committee on the Writing Requirement but will continue to serve on the Committee as Dean for Undergraduate Curriculum.
Lawrence S. Bacow, Anna Frazer
MIT Reports to the President 1996-97