Mathematician has been a member of the faculty since 1980 and department head since 2004.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--In a move that consolidates administrative responsibility for research and graduate education, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced that Professor J. David Litster, vice president and dean for research, has assumed additional responsibility as Dean for Graduate Education.
Provost Joel Moses also announced that Dr. Isaac M. Colbert, associate dean since 1988 and acting dean since September, will become senior associate dean for graduate education, and will be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Graduate Education Office. He served as acting dean during the fall term. Currently, 5,302 of the 9,744 students at MIT are graduate students.
"I am sure that they will be an outstanding team in the coming years," Provost Moses said.
Professor Litster, a physicist recognized internationally for his pioneering experimental and theoretical studies of phase transitions in unusual states of matter, will hold the title of vice president for research and dean for graduate education. He succeeds Professor Frank E. Perkins, graduate dean since 1983, who announced several months ago that he would return to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
"Professor Litster has all the needed characteristics of a dean of graduate education," the provost said. "He has done great research, has had many graduate students, and has enormous management experience. Over the past several months, we have come to the conclusion that the common US model of combining research and graduate education under one roof is a good one for MIT at this time, particularly given the importance of securing appropriate funding for graduate education. We are certain that Professor Litster will maintain and enhance the excellence of graduate education at MIT."
Dean Litster joined MIT's Department of Physics in 1965. From 1988 to 1992, he was director of the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory. He became vice president and dean for research in 1991.
Professor Litster received the BEng degree (1961) in engineering physics from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and the PhD (1965) from MIT. Dean Litster is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Solid State Sciences Panel of the National Research council and the recipient of the 1993 Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics.
Dr. Colbert, a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University, also holds the MA and PhD degrees in experimental psychology from Brown University. He joined MIT in 1977 and held several administrative positions before his appointment as associate dean of the Graduate School in 1988. Dr. Colbert is a director and past co-chairman of the Cambridge Partnership for Public Education and a trustee of the Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham.