MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


Concourse is a highly structured and integrated program for freshmen covering the standard core curriculum in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and humanities. The structure of Concourse follows that of the standard curriculum with scheduled lectures, recitations, problem sets and quizzes. Small class size (limited to 63 students) and extensive personal interaction with senior faculty and tutors provide students with the intimate atmosphere of a

small school rather while retaining all of the excitement and resources of a large institution like MIT.

62 freshmen enrolled in Concourse for fall term, essentially full registration. Spring term's enrollment was 32, a

27.5 percent decrease from the spring of 1998. Registration for the Independent Activities Period 1999 was full with 16 students participating in Concourse's twelve-unit course on problem solving.

The Second Annual MIT Perpetual Motion Machine Contest was a success in all respects, although it is not clear that the stated goal, subversion of the laws of physics and chemistry, was achieved. The associated experiment, SP344 "Problems in Electricity and Magnetism," continues to thrive. Spring term registration decreased relative to the 1997-98 year due to the reduced number of offerings in spring term 1998—99. Concourse and the Experimental Studies Group initiated a series of joint staff meetings to discuss the problems of the first year at MIT and potential solutions. We expect these meetings to culminate in recommendations and proposals in the fall of 1999.

Members of the Concourse faculty for 1998—99 were: David Amundsen, Department of Mathematics; Roberta Brawer, Lecturer, Anthropology; Dr. Yuri Chernyak, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; Rebecca Goldin, Department of Mathematics; Dr. Kevin Rhoads, Lecturer, School of Engineering; Professor Robert M. Rose, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Professor Judah L. Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, School of Engineering; Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno, Writer-In-Residence, Program in Writing; and Dr. Jeremy Wolfe, Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Sixteen MIT undergraduates in the fall and ten undergraduates in the spring were employed as teaching assistants for recitations, grading, and running evening tutorials in chemistry, calculus, physics and differential equations.

The Concourse Program was overseen by Robert M. Rose as Director and Ms. Cheryl Butters of the School of Engineering as Program Coordinator.

More information about Concourse can be found on the World Wide Web at

Robert M. Rose

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99