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The School of Humanties and Social Science will be known as the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences as of July 1. The change was approved by the Academic Council and the Executive Committee of the Corporation to more fully recognize the breadth and contribution of the arts at the Institute. It will be officially announced during the School's 50th anniversary celebration in October.
"From its beginning, MIT has been a place where creativity flourishes, no matter what the field, and the last several years have seen an even fuller blossoming of the arts within both the School and the wider MIT community," said President Charles M. Vest. "This change in the name of the School signals formally that the arts are essential to a complete educational environment and experience and are a vital part of the Institute."
Philip Khoury, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said, "The addition of 'Arts' to our School's name recognizes the growth and success of MIT's academic programs in music, theater arts and creative writing. At long last, the arts will appear on MIT's marquis along with humanities, social sciences, architecture, planning, management, science and engineering. My colleagues in the School are delighted by this name change."
Noting the "vibrant development of the arts at MIT over the past 15 years," Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody said, "The change of our School's name to Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences sends a message to students, faculty and staff, as well as to the world at large, that we value and support the same serious pursuit of artistic inquiry and excellence that we see in the humanities and social sciences."
The School includes the departments of Economics, Linguistics and Philosophy, and Political Science, as well as autonomous sections in anthropology, foreign languages and literatures, history, literature, music and theater arts, and writing and humanistic studies. The School also includes the program in Science, Technology and Society; the Program in Women's Studies; the Program in Comparative Media Studies; and the Center for International Studies.
Mary Haller, director of communications in the Office for the Arts, commented, "While the arts are practiced and celebrated throughout MIT, the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences clearly is home to many of the Institute's undergraduate curricular offerings in the arts, particularly those in music, theater and creative writing.
"The School is also home to our finest faculty artists in these three fields. Having the word 'arts' in the School's title will help raise awareness of this vibrant aspect of campus life and learning. The name change also underscores the Institute's commitment to the arts as a natural and important part of an MIT education," she said.
In the spirit of interdisciplinary and multimedia studies, HASS also hosts the Long Bow Video Internet Archive, a multimedia research and education tool about China produced by historian Peter Perdue, professor and head of the history section, and the Shakespeare Electronic Archive, an international multimedia resource directed by Professor Peter Donaldson, head of the literature section.
For more information on HASS and on its 50th anniversary celebration, contact Joseph Coen in the Information Center at x3-4796.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 31, 2000.