MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


In fiscal 1997, revenues and funds were $1,181.7 million, and operating expenses were $1,186.6 million. The resulting need for additional general funds of $4.9 million will be met by using Research Reserve investment income and decapitalizing a portion of Reserve principal.

The Institute continues to tightly control costs and has been engaged in a reengineering effort during the last four years. In financial operations, this effort is focused on management reporting affecting all fiscal accounting procedures. The R3 financial accounting system developed by SAP AG in Walldorf, Germany was selected to replace the present applications, and Phase I was implemented in fiscal 1997. Effective September 3, 1996, SAP became the accounting system of record for the Institute.

With the implementation of Phase I, most of the financial operations staff previously dedicated to the Management Reporting/Financial Operations Reengineering project have either returned to their home departments or transferred permanently to the project. These transfers included staff from the Controller's Accounting Office, Audit Division, and the Office of Budget and Financial Planning. The financial operations staff is continuing training in the use of the new SAP system.

Implementation of Phase II of the SAP system which involves training personnel in the departments, laboratories and centers has begun. The objective is to have SAP fully utilized throughout the Institute by fiscal 1999.

The staff involved in the SAP project share a sense of pride in their accomplishments during this very challenging process. I appreciate their cooperation and their full commitment to assuring that the Institute will achieve the goals set for improving our financial systems and simplifying administrative processes.

The staff planned for the accounting changes implemented this year because of the requirements of FAS 124 and the new Audit Guide.

The following reports by the Audit Division, Controller's Accounting Office, Lincoln Fiscal Office, Property Office, Office of Budget and Financial Planning, Office of Sponsored Programs, and MIT Press will highlight the activities in their respective departments during the year.

Over the past year, each department has addressed its staffing needs following transfers to the reengineering project, acceptance of the early retirement incentive, the startup of new initiatives, and normal turnover. As noted in the past, only half of the positions held by early retirement incentive retirees are being filled with permanent staff. There have been opportunities for staff to assume new or expanded responsibilities, to be promoted into supervisory roles and to learn new skills. At year end, women represented more than 59 percent of our employees, and minorities 10 percent. We continue our efforts to diversify our workforce. Hirings and promotions of women and minorities occurred during the year and there were a number of promotions into staff positions from support. We anticipate that this process will continue, in keeping with our commitment to the Institute's affirmative action program.

Glenn P. Strehle


As the Institute continues to experience the challenges and opportunities of major administrative process restructuring, the Audit Division has remained actively involved with most initiatives. Over the past two years, we have invested over 30 percent of our audit resources to addressing critical control issues and collaborating with others to determine effective operational approaches to our rapidly changing environment.

Internal Auditing is an integral part of MIT's internal control structure. We maintain the flexibility to respond to the needs of management by both addressing targeted audit areas identified by management and audit staff, and by assessing risk. We continue to serve the Institute in accordance with the stated mission of providing reasonable assurance to management that Institute policies are being adhered to as intended, adequate internal controls are being maintained, and assets are properly safeguarded. The last two items are of critical importance during these times of dramatic change created by various reengineering efforts. Policy changes will result in further Audit Division attention but are secondary to maintaining a solid internal control environment and protecting the assets of MIT. We fulfill our role through reviews, both on campus and at Lincoln Laboratory, which encompass diverse aspects of MIT operations.

Our audit coverage is coordinated with Coopers & Lybrand, the Institute's Certified Public Accounting firm, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), MIT's cognizant Federal audit agency. Internal audits are conducted consistent with the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing which guide us in the discharge of our duties to ensure proper objectivity, independence and audit quality control.

Compliance with governmental regulations has been a focus of audit attention for many years. Our departmental review efforts to verify proper financial accountability and evaluations of environmental health and safety regulations continue to represent a significant portion of our annual audit plan. Additional compliance efforts address conflict of interest disclosure requirements, sponsored research cost sharing requirements, and compliance with OMB Circular A-21 guidelines relating to direct charging of administrative support costs to sponsored research.

We have developed a solid expertise in the auditing of construction projects. Those contracts that are based on actual costs rather than fixed price agreements are most important to analyze for errors and inappropriate charges. We will work with those responsible for construction oversight to help ensure ongoing financial accountability in addition to fulfilling their traditional project management responsibilities.

SAP now serves as the foundation for Institute financial reporting and control, impacting every department, laboratory and center. Initial implementation hurdles within central administrative areas have been addressed and further roll out to the community is now underway. Other significant information technology attention includes the ongoing development of a comprehensive electronic records management program and the Year 2000 impact on MIT information systems.

Charles A. Shaw



Fiscal 1997 was a year of change for the Controller's Accounting Office (CAO) and the Institute due to the implementation of SAP - Business Process Software.

On September 3, 1996 the MIT financial system of record was transferred from our classic system to SAP. This was the first phase of the implementation plan for the integrated software system which included the general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, travel and sponsored billings. The second phase will proceed during fiscal 1998 which will include installing SAP as the financial system for the departments, laboratories, and centers as well as employing additional functionality to processing in Phase I such as reporting.

The conversion to SAP has caused the accounting units in CAO to work in two systems. The MIT community continued to view its financial results in reports from the classic system. This was accomplished by transferring data from SAP to the classic system. During fiscal year 1998, we will be working with the Reengineering Management Reporting and Financial Operations teams and the MIT community to fully convert to SAP. Once this is finished, the community will be receiving their financial information directly from SAP.

The Payroll Office is responsible for the accounting, distribution, and payment of salary and wages to all MIT employees and students. The pilot program to allow departments to send graduate student appointments electronically to the Payroll Office was completed.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employment tax audit for calendar years 1985 and 1986, carrying an $18 million assessment against MIT, was dismissed by an IRS Appeals Officer in favor of MIT, ending a nine and one-half year process. Similar audits for calendar years 1987 through 1990 that had begun are now on hold pending an evaluation by the examining agents in light of the 1985-1986 decision. The Coordinated Examination Program (CEP), controlled at the national level as opposed to the other audits which were conducted by the regional IRS office, is still in progress for 1991 and 1992, and is reviewing the same issues.

Payroll Office personnel have begun an intensive project to insure that the Payroll System will be full Year 2000 compliant by the end of 1998. Another major project was started to ensure that Research Assistant tuition awards will automatically follow the Research Assistant salaries. This will be completed before June 1, 1998. The decision was made that the payroll system was the place best suited to ensure compliance with OMB Circular A-21.

The Benefits Accounting Office (BAO) is responsible for the accounting for the Employee Benefits provided by the Institute to its employees.

All efforts were devoted to handling the extraordinary additional requirements to implement the Early Retirement Incentive Program offered by the Institute. Included in that effort was the development of a "lump sum modeler" by the actuaries that required the involvement of the BAO personnel to define and test. Efforts are underway to work with the actuaries to modify this system so that it can be used as a processing and counseling tool as part of our regular business process.


The Property Office is responsible for the accounting and asset management of more than 100,000 items of equipment which are both MIT-owned as well as sponsor-owned. During the year, 15,400 newly acquired items of moveable equipment were identified and tagged. Over 15,000 financial transactions regarding invoices, purchase orders, requisitions, journal vouchers, and cash vouchers were reviewed resulting in 3,200 corrections thereby ensuring the integrity of the Property Data Base. The reconciliation of the equipment biennial physical inventory was completed and a new inventory cycle was begun. Two hundred ninety-eight final inventories were submitted as part of closing out contracts, grants, and agreements; 540 financial reports prepared and submitted to various government agencies; 334 items of excess government equipment with an original acquisition cost of $1,697,797 were acquired; and 712 items of equipment with an acquisition value of $534,000 were transferred between MIT departments as part of a reutilization program.

Thirty-four capital projects were begun during the year. The costs of capital space changes, major renovations, and new building construction continue to be tracked. The successful deployment to the MIT community of SumPROP, the electronic Property Application, enables users to query and report on equipment data and reduces requests for special reports.


The Lincoln Fiscal Office (LFO) provides the accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, reporting and property support to Lincoln Laboratory.

The completion of automation of the Technical Certification System which eliminated the need for paper copies has speeded up the payment cycle for all invoices. Modifications to the Accounts Payable and Automated Purchasing System to process excluded procurements from Department of Defense programs and allocated programs outside the fiscal 1997 ceiling were completed. A new laser Flexible Reimbursement Account Plan (FRAP) check has been designed and implemented.

A request for restructuring the Lincoln Laboratory Advance Payment Pool Agreement has been sent to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. LFO is working with the Office of Sponsored Programs, the Treasurer's Office, and CAO to convert the Lincoln Payment Pool for both Lincoln Laboratory and the MIT Campus. Continued progress has been made on the reconciliation of the Property Control System; the yearly 1,662 property procedure and inventory was completed; and a new Ship Order System is being developed with completion expected in the second quarter of fiscal 1998.

More information about this department (CAO) can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

James L. Morgan


The Office of Budget and Financial Planning supports MIT's goal of continued excellence in education and research by providing senior management with accurate and timely financial information, projections and recommendations; monitor's the Institute's financial position and the likely impact of anticipated changes, both internal and external; manages the financial information asset as a critical component of the Institute's strategic planning process; and executes operating and capital programs.

Strategic objectives for the office include the following:

Over the past year, OBFP has been facing the demands of a rapidly changing environment. In addition to our traditional role as a consolidator and reporter of operating and capital budgets, we have been increasingly involved in the development of modeling tools to support longer term financial planning. The first such tool, a spreadsheet-based model of the operating budget which projects resources and expenses over a ten-year time frame, has just been completed. Over the next several months, it will be further refined to allow more complex scenarios based on a growing set of variables. Another tool, a set of flowcharts mapping the Institute's external and internal cash flows, will be completed shortly. A third tool, a new Capital Budget Report, was presented to Senior Management last spring and includes an overview of construction spending and operating impact for each active and future capital project over a ten-year time frame. This report will be published at regular intervals to keep Senior Management informed of changes to the capital plan and any resulting changes in the operating budget. Finally, a Monthly Budget Report (MBR) was introduced last fall. The MBR, published monthly from October through June, includes an overview of income and expenses, as well as detailed schedules and graphs for salaries, gifts, tuition, sponsored research support and risk items.

To meet the new challenges, OBFP has recently adopted a more flexible structure, with teams organized around deliverables. Some are the traditional deliverables inherent in our role, such as the operating and capital budgets. Others are related to the new tools and systems under development. Yet others relate to our less tangible but equally important support role, such as communication with the schools and participation in school or departmental special studies.

Over the next year OBFP, in close cooperation with the Reengineering Team, will deliver a new Institute-wide budget system compatible with the SAP financial system, to replace the existing BEERS system. As indicated above, our goal is to develop innovative budgeting and financial planning tools to simplify the collection of financial information, improve its quality and enhance its accessibility at all management levels. We are also in the early stages of developing our web page. Eventually, we would like this page to include both office-specific information, such as a list of team members, and financial information that might be helpful to the community.

Stefano Falconi


For fiscal 1997 the total volume of sponsored research performed on campus was $367.3 million. This represents an increase of 2.4 percent over fiscal 1996 volume of $361.7 million. The breakdown by sponsor is shown in the table at the end of this report.

Activities in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) during 1996-1997 were impacted in two distinct arenas: externally by ongoing policy issues related to federal funding of research and internally by the continued development of a major new emphasis on computerization and automation within the office. Each of these is described below.

Adopted in May, 1996, another set of proposed revisions to OMB Circular A-21 ( the Federal cost principles applicable to universities) were issued which included provisions that further constrain the ability of institutions to fully recover the costs of performing research for the federal government. Further revisions are expected to be issued which are scheduled to be effective in Fall 1997.

One of the significant changes adopted in 1996 is the requirement to "fix" the indirect cost rate for the life of an award or competing segment thereof. This has placed additional strain on resources to accommodate multiple indirect cost rates and has led to significant interaction with researchers and federal agencies to implement this change fairly and equitably.

With the implementation of Cost Accounting Standards and more rigid interpretations by federal auditors, issues surrounding cost-sharing are now creating additional areas of possible audit activity in the research arena. Stated simply, there are serious issues around what constitutes cost sharing and how those activities are documented, reported, and used in the construction of the indirect cost proposal.

OMB has decided that MIT and three other major research universities will not be permitted to continue charging the tuition of graduate student research assistants to the employee benefit pool but will be required to treat it as a direct cost to the individual research projects on which they are employed. The implementing regulation, which appears in OMB Circular A-21, provides a transition period which will result in MIT treating tuition as a direct charge for these appointments beginning in fiscal 1999. The problem is compounded now for National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards because that agency is now restricting graduate student compensation (defined as salary plus employee benefits plus tuition charges) to a "reasonable" level and, furthermore, will limit funding from NIH for these costs to $23,000.

Over the past year, MIT has developed a policy and procedures to implement the disclosure and review requirements of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Public Health Service with regard to possible investigator conflict of interest on research projects. NSF and NIH implemented their policies October 1, 1995. Annual updates of disclosures for currently funded awards and pending proposals are now required from all principal investigators. In addition, the Office of Naval Research announced its interim regulations on the same subject in January 1997 and will be developing final regulations this coming year.

Significant effort has been devoted toward streamlining some internal processes related to the management of research awards at the Institute which have provided relief to schools, laboratories, and departments, as well as to central administrative offices. We have provided additional flexibility to principal investigators in the use of federal research grant funds by relaxing many of the internal approvals previously required and have streamlined the Research Proposal Summary form, to reduce the items on the form and make the remaining items more useful. In addition, MIT has been accepted into Phase III of the Federal Demonstration Partnership which will provide even greater flexibility to researchers and will provide avenues to utilize electronic initiatives underway by the federal government.

The major internal effort of the office again this year has been in the area of computerization and automation. In addition to full development and implementation of a computerized OSP database to capture award and proposal information, efforts have also been devoted to using this database as the initial feed into the Institute's accounting system for research awards. We have completed the deployment to the Mac environment and are beginning in Summer 1997 full rollout to departments, laboratories, and centers. This will permit more effective and efficient management of awards by OSP staff, will permit Institute personnel to access the database, and will provide the capability to produce standard and custom reports quickly and independently. We are currently in the screen design phase of an electronic proposal system which is targeted for testing in Fall 1997 and implementation in Spring 1998. This will enable any researcher at MIT using the technology already available in the researcher's office or laboratory to electronically create and submit proposals to federal agencies.

In October 1996 the Office of Cost Analysis was formed and made a part of the Office of Sponsored Programs. A new director was hired and the office acquired a new computerized system for developing the Institute's indirect cost proposal, permitting greater flexibility in projecting costs and developing alternative scenarios for costing. This system will be fully functional in Fall 1997.

(in thousands of dollars)




More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Julie Norris


Fiscal 1997 was about building foundations, managing change, adjusting operations, experimenting in electronic delivery, and positioning ourselves strategically to meet challenges of a changing external environment.

Sales of our new list were modestly higher than last year at $5.6 million. Overall sales in the book division were $14.4 million, an increase of $330,000 over last year, short of our forecast of $14.8 million. While disappointing, we should mention that nationally university press book sales actually declined in the last 6 months of fiscal year 1997. Positive trends include lower manufacturing costs, improving returns rates, subsidiary rights sales exceeding forecasts, significant improvement in scheduling, a 6 percent increase in text sales.

Foreign sales continue robust growth at 7.7 percent overall, with growth in European and Canadian sales leading the pack. While the Press has always enjoyed a higher percentage in gross dollars of foreign sales than any other university press, at 38.4 percent of total sales international markets are increasingly significant to us. Recent enhancements to our international marketing effort include the addition of staff to deal with international booksellers direct from Cambridge and the development of a consortium sales representative in Eastern Europe with six other presses.

The MIT Press made a contribution to RA/TA of $490,000 which was added to our deferred account to be paid off in succeeding years when RA/TA disappears.

Journal sales increased by 2 percent to $4.5 million but net results were significantly affected by the cost of startups and shutdowns. We launched two new journals including the Journal of Industrial Ecology, and discontinued three journals.

Our Digital Projects Laboratory (DPL) completed work on a new database. Our website now contains vital statistics on 2,778 in print and 1,761 out of print titles. Direct sales online doubled to $120,000. We expect another doubling next year. sold $250,000 worth of our books online last year.

It is significant to note that our dependence on bookstores and major bookselling chains such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Ingram continues to make us vulnerable in reaching our customers through bookstores. Their buying, stocking, and inventory return policies do not favor the midlist and scholarly books on which university presses make a living. We will continue to find ways to reach our customers with both new and backlist books. Online commerce is certainly a promising avenue and MIT Press is ahead of the pack in this regard.

We have hired a new senior acquisitions editor in the Environmental Sciences and established a new position in acquisition to manage growth and development of our program in finance and management.

Finally we have just completed a move to our new headquarters office at Five Cambridge Center in Kendall Square.

It is significant to note that the top 20, highest grossing titles included books in each of our core disciplines: computer science, economics, architecture/art/aesthetics, cognitive and brain science, philosophy/linguistics, and environmental science.

(in thousands)


Total Net Book Sales
Cost of Sales
Gross Margin on Sales
Other Pub. Income
Bookstore Net
Total Income
Operating Expenses
Net Books Division
Journals Net
( 25)
Net Pub Operations
Add: Investment Income-
Subtotal: Interest Paid MIT
Net Operating Gain (Loss)

Faculty serving on The MIT Press Editorial Board in 1996-97 were: Harold Abelson, Julian Beinart, Oliver Blanchard, Josh Cohen, Anita Desai, Deborah Fitzgerald, Bengt Holstrom, Samuel Jay Keyser, Albert Meyer, Greg McRae, William Mitchell and Ron Prinn. Dean Mitchell served as Chair. Frank Urbanowski, Glenn Strehle, and Anne Wolpert served as ex-officio members.

The MIT Press Management Board met twice during the year. Members of the board were: Joseph Esposito, Publishing Consultant; Jack Goellner, former Director of Johns Hopkins University Press; Brewster Kahle, President, Internet Archive; Steven R. Lerman, Professor in the Civil Engineering Department; William J. Mitchell, Dean, School of Architecture and Planning; Richard E. Oldenberg, Chairman, Sotheby's; Dr. Richard Rowe, President RoweCom; Jerome S. Rubin, Group Vice President of Times Mirror; and Jack Schulman, former Director of Cambridge University Press. William Mitchell and Frank Urbanowski serve as ex-officio members of the Management Board; Glenn Strehle serves as chairman of the board.

Sales for this fiscal year overall were not strong, reflecting in part problems in the industry. Sales increased by 2.3 percent for the year, due in large part to very good increases in sales outside the United States, which were 7.7 percent higher than for fiscal 1996. Foreign sales this year accounted for 38.5 percent of our total sales, a substantial increase over last year. Unit sales increased by about 9 percent for the year. Paperback unit sales increased by about 12 percent for the year, and now account for 45 percent of dollar sales.

The core of our subsidiary rights program is the sale of translation rights to our books. Since fiscal year 1996, income generated by the licensing of foreign rights increased by 18 percent.

Income from our reprint program, which includes permission to photocopy and to publish excerpts from our material, increased by 15 percent in fiscal 1997.

There was a sharp decrease (76 percent) in income from book clubs during fiscal 1997. This is a drop we had predicted since book clubs are operating with increasingly narrow margins. There have been extensive changes in the book club industry in the past year, with emphasis on trade titles.

During fiscal 1997, income from the licensing of electronic rights increased by 5 percent over fiscal 1996.

Overall, subsidiary rights income in fiscal year 1997 increased by 9 percent since fiscal 1996.

In fiscal 1997 export sales increased by 7.7 percent over the previous year to over $5.5 million. Sales to the UK and Europe increased by 13.5 percent and for the first time totaled over $3 million. Canada rebounded sharply from its doldrums of the previous four years, with sales up over 22 percent. Only Japan among the major export markets showed a significant decline--8.3 percent below fiscal 1996, but was still about 15 percent above fiscal 1994 and 1995 sales. Sales in other export territories were roughly equal to those of last year.

We produced 15 subject area catalogs/brochures, two special promotions, and numerous single book flyers. Our traceable sales through the end of June were $275,819. Economics continues to be our strongest direct mail subject area with traceable sales for the year of $71,993. This is followed by Cognitive Science with sales of $39,098 and Computer Science with sales of $32,599. Text sales in the U.S. and Canada were $2,401,276, an increase of almost 6 percent over last year.

The MIT Press exhibited books with our own staffed booth or table at more than 50 U.S. academic conferences in fiscal 1997, and displayed books at over 60 others through combined exhibits. Sales generated from exhibits are currently at $185,030.

Advertisements for MIT Press books appeared in 500 trade and scholarly journals and magazines, as well as conference programs. All of these ads were produced in-house. The focus of this year's advertising schedule was to implement better target marketing while staying under budget.

The Press's books and authors were covered by a wide array of general and scholarly media this year. Since last July, eight MIT Press titles have been reviewed by The New York Times Book Review, and many others have been mentioned in the daily Times. MIT Press titles were also covered in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Business Week, Forbes, Wired, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Scientific American, Science News, Science, Nature, New Scientist, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement, and many others, as well as on National Public Radio.

The most widely covered title of the last year was HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality, which appeared on a New York Times list of university press bestsellers for January of 1997. The book was the subject of reviews and/or feature articles in USA Today, Newsweek, Parade, The Associated Press, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and many others. It was the subject of a one-hour discussion on National Public Radio's program "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday," and was additionally covered on NPR's "Weekend Edition."

In fiscal 1997, the Journals program had gross sales of $4.5 million, a 2 percent increase over last year. The new journals added in fiscal year 1997 were European Legacy and Journal of Industrial Ecology. Design Quarterly and Computing Systems discontinued publication. Thesis Eleven moved to another publisher at the end of fiscal 1996, and International Journal of Supercomputer Applications and High Performance Computing was sold to Sage Science. The division ends the year publishing 35 journals.

Frank Urbanowski

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97