Land's obituary describes another speech that he delivered at MIT three years after the Little Lecture which visualized the need in industrial institutions of scientist-engineers who had immersed themselves in the arts and the sciences, and who had lived ...a life of intimate association with all sorts of people. That speech is not documented in the MIT library; Land's sole publication in the library is the 1957 Lecture. It is probably referring to the 1960 Commencement address that he delivered. But that is what MIT had been striving to supply since Compton mandated humanities courses when he became president in 1930. The really significant act of Land was to set up a trust fund in 1968 to dispense $1.5M over three years for educational development at MIT. At this time a new administrative team was in place with Howard Johnson the President and Jerome Weisner Provost and Paul Gray Assistant Provost. Of those funds, $50K was allocated to Assistant Professor Margaret MacVicar of the Physics Department to set up an administrative office in the Science Teaching Center in Building 20 to begin UROP. In 1969 25 students enrolled in the activity and in the 1970-71 President's Report Professor Weisskopf reported that the department had 100 students enrolled in UROP. With time the UROP activity became disassociated from the Physics department and associated with MIT in general. But that is another story of academic politics.
The fact to keep in mind is that the Physics department has had a compulsive obsession with education reform, at least since Professor Slater was appointed Head of the Physics department in 1930. This is demonstrated by the succession of text books that has been produced. There was Slater and Frank, and then Frank, and then a series of Sears texts, Morse and Feshbach, then Rossi, and Bitter, and Ingard, etc. I once had a conversation with Department Head Slater. I said I was thinking about a Sabbatical. To do what?, he asked. To write a book, I replied. You don't go away to write a book. You write it right here. End of conversation. There has been an almost constant renovating of the undergraduate physics laboratories that carry on the tradition of William Barton Rogers. The renovations continue to the present as typified by the Earl renovation of Junior Laboratory. The 1951-53 committee to review the physics curriculum has been cloned several times since then, and charged with the same mandate. Professor Zacharias was not satisfied with the accomplishments of the committee so he even carried the reform beyond the Physics Department into secondary education institutions of the country that supply students to MIT. The President's Report for 1956-57 mentions the Land Lecture but the bulk of the discussion of curriculum reform responds to the Second Report of President Eisenhower's Committee on Education Beyond High School, published July 1957. The President used it as an opportunity to examine our policies on Salaries, recruitment, Trying radical ideas, Efficient use of faculty, Student financial aid. The Land lecture is mentioned only with respect to use of faculty by mentioning Land's championing the use of motion pictures of effective lectures. It is interesting to note that at the time of the Land lecture The Tech ran stories on the making of a movie of an 8.041 lecture by Professor Mueller on the use of polaroid filters -- a happy coincidence -- and on the completion of Land's twelve day visit to MIT to study it preparatory to his Little Memorial Lecture. Beginning with Land, and for the four lectures that followed, the lecturer was asked to spend two weeks on the MIT campus. The last lecture, given by Robert Graves, was in 1963, In February 1959 Freshmen were encouraged to partake in a program offering undergraduate research opportunities in a letter of announcement from Professor P. S. Eagleson. The program was experimental and was to be enlarged if it was well received by the MIT students. It arose from two reports, one being the Land Lecture and the other being the 1957 Student Environment Conference. An editorial accompanied the news story. It complimented "... the Freshman Advisory Council, the administration and faculty members involved in making this significant step." In the following September 1959 the program was again praised in an editorial in The Tech. An Introduction to Technology series was presented to the freshmen as part of their orientation. It was "... hailed as one of the few really constructive steps yet taken in this direction despite reams of reports and suggestions that have emerged from the work of admittedly devoted committees." Several people described the opportunities available in the newly inaugurated freshman research program. The editorial suggests that a few freshman signing up for the program would validate the idea. The physics course 8.12 Special Problems in Undergraduate Research, which had been added to the list of courses in September 1958, was an administrative entity for carrying out this research in the physics department, but a number of the faculty from the Institute at large had offered their time and had suggested projects for freshmen to consider. But there was no institutionalized administrative structure, no staff to produce handbooks and to advise students how to get into this program stream.
In 1962 the Committee on Educational Policy began issuing reports to the faculty on its Study of MIT's Undergraduate Program. The Study led the Committee to make a proposal in a 5 March 1962 memorandum to the Faculty. The Committee felt .... that innovations in other M.I.T. activities have not been imposed by administrative decisions or faculty vote, but have resulted from the initiative of individuals who perceived a new frontier and a means of conquest. However, ... innovation in undergraduate educational approaches requires so much administrative negotiation, documentation and delay that many of the faculty turn their attention to areas where the environment favors rather than hinders experiment. So the Committee set up procedures to expedite experimentation in undergraduate education approaches.
On 14 March 1962 the Committee on Educational Policy issued a report to the faculty, A study of MIT's Undergraduate Program. Non-curricular matters were to be studied by a committee under Dean Wadleigh and Curricular matters by a committee appointed by President Stratton on the recommendation of the CEP.
On 21 March 1962 Roland B. Greeley issued a report to the Faculty titled Current Admissions Problems. The basic question is whether the model of the student for whom the CEP is aiming at crafting a curriculum is the same as the model of the student the admissions office is admitting. The problem is of long standing. Professor Slater was happy to use the post war prestige of physics to extract more space from the administration, and also to obtain permission to select likely candidates for admission to the department. The quota for each of the undergraduate years was set at 80 initially and lowered to 70 by 1948-49 when 90 freshmen registered for physics. In his view This number, while it does not impose an impossible burden on the staff, still is large enough so that it does not allow us to make quite as much selection of the superior students as we should like.
On 7 May 1962 the CEP issued a memorandum to the Faculty with further explanation of the proposal for experimental innovation in M.I.T. undergraduate education. In summary, the proposal was to apply to the approach, not to the subject matter; CEP did not intend to deal with matters such as catalogue listing, etc., now handled by various faculty committees; the intensive effort on the part of the proponents is expected to limit the number of decisions to a few per year; CEP will not finance experiments, so department heads will have to make time and funds allocations, unless the project is so alluring that it attracts outside assistance. The 8.10 Taste of Research option that Dave Douglass ran that Spring of 1962 ran into trouble from this non funding aspect of the CEP proposal. The 8.10 option was initially supported by the Physics department and put into action, sub rosa, but was declared dead the following term when the department was faced with time and funds allocation, and, possibly, in consideration of the burden it placed on the department.
The CEP further explanation memorandum gave examples of the type of projects it envisioned. There could be a response to Roland Greeley's statement of admissions requirements, such as the admission of groups of students more appropriate for the study plans ESG, which began in 1968, or Concourse. which began in 1971. The Generation of Greatness proposal that Land made in his Little Memorial lecture is mentioned, as the pursuit of knowledge without grades, with each student having his own research project, and with stress on concepts for the nonspecialist. Four other examples were offered, under the headings, Tutorial methods, Out-of-formal-course learning, Interdepartmental professional areas, and Research orientation.
The faculty voted on the CEP proposal at the 16 May Faculty meeting. The 7 May 1962 memorandum was submitted with an added section, Item 8. This section delimited the action of the CEP in processing and monitoring the proposal. Professor Frank suggested a change in wording which was accepted. The amended motion passed, and the faculty moved on to other business. That appears to be the end of the matter. It would be years before innovative proposals blossomed out. And CEP moved on to other problems. In February 1968 Chairman of the Faculty Rosenblith was talking about reorganizing CEP itself, to make it smaller and better able to respond to the changing needs of a faculty in continual flux. Ever creative, the CEP issued a memorandum on 11 March 1970 describing a motion it was going to offer the Faculty concerning the academic calendar. The revision made room for an Individual Study Period in January. Its amendment to the Faculty Regulations was apparently passed. But the name was changed with Study being changed to Activities, an omnibus term. Other Freshman year programs followed; in 1984, the Integrated Studies Program, in 1987, the Media Arts and Sciences program. The current Bulletin lists a plethora of programs.
From the time it appeared in the Bulletin, the Physics department gave what can be called strong support within the reach of its means to 8.12, the Special Problems in Undergraduate Research course. Professor Buechner, the Department Head, supervised the course until 1967 when Professor Weisskopf became Head. Then Professor Hill, the Associate Department Head and Undergraduate Education Professor, assumed responsibility for it. The course number changed to 8.18 and 8.19 in 1968. Professor French, became Associate Department Head in 1969-70. He also assumed responsibility for the two courses at the same time. In 1983-84 Professor Koster took over. The supervision was passed on to Professor Lazarus in 1984-85, to Professor Rapport in 1990-91, to Professor Bradt in 1993-94, to Professor Matthews in 1994-95, and to Professor Belcher in 1995-96, and recently to Professor Pritchard. Since the department considered UROP as an intern stage for the senior thesis, supervision for 8.18 and UROP and senior thesis were combined in a single node of responsibility. My own view of the hierarchy includes IAP. The projects during IAP of the Junior year. During IAP there are many opportunities for the junior to identify a field and a possible advisor. After this choice has been made, UROP 8.18 Undergraduate Research Special Problems then provides the institutional means to develop a thesis problem in some detail and draft a thesis proposal to submit at the end of the Junior year. The thesis is then started immediately in the Senior year, a time line that enhances the probability that the thesis can be completed with a minimum of frenzy. This sequence uses only a small part of UROP's amorphous structure. My hierarchy completely neglects the TSE type stipend activities in which most of the UROP enrollees are engaged in an effort to satisfy self help requirements. (http://web.mit.edu/mwpstr/www/terry.htm)