MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The 1998 Academic Year saw many important events that contributed to the School's position as the premier academic center for education and research in engineering in the United States. The School is committed to moving forward on several fronts to redefine engineering education and to establish new areas of leadership in engineering research.

Several initiatives are emerging as the focus of the developing long-range plan of the School. These are: a new emphasis on integration and synthesis in engineering, especially in the context of the interface between engineering systems, management and the social sciences; pioneering the development of the field of bioengineering, defined as the interface between modern biology and the traditional engineering disciplines; and the development of new modes of engineering education, leveraging the application of information technology.

The initiative in bioengineering is being spearheaded by the formation of the new Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health (BEH) in the School of Engineering, which will be officially formed on July 1, 1998. The BEH Division will be a faculty-bearing unit that includes the faculty of the former Division of Toxicology and focuses on education and research at the interface between engineering and modern biology. The first co-directors of BEH will be Professors Steven Tannenbaum and Douglas Lauffenburger. Its firsts academic programs will include the undergraduate minor in biomedical engineering, a doctoral program in toxicology and a new doctoral program in bioengineering. Research in bioengineering is supported through the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center (BPEC), an Engineering Research Center supported by the National Science Foundation since 1984, and the Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBE).

The School of Engineering also developed a major initiative in engineering systems with special emphasis on faculty, education and research programs at the interfaces between engineering, industry, management and social sciences. This initiative was coordinated by Professor Daniel Roos who was appointed as the first Associate Dean for Engineering Systems in the School of Engineering. Professor Roos took responsibility for the coordination and development of education and research programs at these interfaces and formed the Engineering Systems Council composed of leaders in these thrusts. A proposal for the formation of the Division of Engineering Systems within the School of Engineering has been presented to the MIT administration and will be acted on this fall.

The School of Engineering is committed to pioneering the development of research and educational collaborations that will help define a modern technologically-based university in the century ahead. The School is currently engaged or is about to engage, in several large-scale programs that will pioneer the application of communications technology in education and research. Two of these are described briefly here.

First, new modes of professional engineering education are actively being developed. The System Design and Management (SDM) program, leading to a Master of Engineering degree continues to grow with 58 students entering

in January 1998 and 50-58 additional students expected in 1999. The SDM program is joint with the Sloan School of Management and is the latest of the successful joint programs developed at the interface of management and engineering. The majority of the students in the SDM program elected to use the distance education option in which a significant portion of their subjects are taken at a distance using video-conferencing and web-based resources. Through a collaboration between the SDM program, the Center for Innovation in Product Development (CIPD), Xerox Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and the National Science Foundation, a new track in the SDM program is being developed that emphasizes product development. This track is being developed in collaboration with Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Detroit at Mercy which will offer SDM degrees as well. This joint program is a new model for collaborative education between MIT and other universities in the United States and world-wide.

A large program of collaborative engineering education is about to be launched with the two universities in the Republic of Singapore, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). These programs will feature MIT/NUS/NTU collaboration in professional engineering education offered through degrees at the two Singaporian universities and joint research, including supervision of traditional doctoral students from those two universities. The program will explore the application of information technology for delivery of education and for enhancing research collaborations.

Educational innovation also is underway within our traditional undergraduate programs. The Department of Mechanical Engineering continues the revamping of its curriculum. The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics has completed a very comprehensive strategic planning exercise and is in the process of making significant changes in their undergraduate program as a result. Educational innovation by our faculty also was highlighted in several notable awards (see below).

The School of Engineering moved forward in capital fundraising in 1998. Most notable was the campaign to build the new complex of buildings to house computer information and intelligence sciences at MIT, or the CIIS complex. With a leadership gift from Ray and Maria Stata and a magnificent gift from Alex Dreyfoos leading the announced donations pledges totaling $78.7 million are in hand. The project to construct an approximately 325,000 g.s.f. facility on the site of Building 20 is currently in schematic design with Frank O. Gehry and Associates as the architect.

Each year faculty of the School of Engineering receive many honors in recognition of their research and service. This year was no exception. Several very notable awards are mentioned here. Four members of the faculty of the School of Engineering were among the 54 inductees in the National Academy of Engineering: Professors Edward Crawley, Head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Professor John Heywood, of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Professor Jerome Salzer of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Professor James Fay of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Robert S. Langer received the Lemelson Prize for his contributions to research and innovation in pioneering controlled drug release technology. Mr. Timothy Berners-Lee, Director of the WWW Consortium in the Laboratory of Computer Science, won a prestigious MacArthur Prize for his development of Internet protocols.


The Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to R. John Hansman, Jr. of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Professor Hansman excels as a teacher introducing a strong "hands on" aspect of engineering education. The Junior Bose Award was presented to Assistant Professor Douglas Hart of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The Ruth and Joel Spira Awards for Teaching Excellence were presented this year to Professor Duane Boning of

the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Professor Kent Hansen of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, and Professor David Trumper of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Spira awards were established with a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Joel Spira to honor outstanding teachers in the three departments listed above.

Henry Ford II Scholar Award - This award is presented to the senior in the School of Engineering who has attained the highest academic record at the end of the third year and who has exceptional potential for leadership in the

profession of engineering and in society. The recipient this year was Ms. Lisa A. Poyneer, `98 of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Reinhold Rudenberg Memorial Fund - This prize is awarded to students based on their senior theses in the area of energy conversion.

Awards this year went to Mr. Benjamin A. Douts for his thesis titled "Non-Contact Transmission of Electrical Power and Data" and Mr. Holly Gates for his thesis titled "Linear Tracking and Positioning System." Both of these students are from the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems. Two other awards went to Mr. Sigfrido Delgado for his thesis titled "Creation of an Infrastructure for Hydrogen-Powered Systems," and Mr. Jason S. Nogueira, SB `97 for his thesis titled "A Guide to Designing and Optimizing Small Photovoltaic Systems." Both of these students are from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


On July 1, 1997 Professor Jeffrey P. Freidberg was named as head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering. On July 1, 1998 Professors Steven R. Tannenbaum and Douglas A. Lauffenburger will become co-directors of the newly formed Division of Biomedical. Professor Daniel Roos joined Engineering Council as Associate Dean for Engineering Systems.


In 1997-98, Karl Reid SB `84, SM `85 was appointed EIP Director in January 1998 after a five month vacancy created by the departure of Laura Robinson to another Institute position.

In 1997-98, EIP placed 17 sophomores with eight member companies, down from 27 sophomores in 1997. The program placed a total of 53 interns at 12 member firms.

The main objectives in the coming year are to increase the number and broaden the type of participating companies, publish new print materials, and automate the student application, scheduling, and company matching process using the web. Moreover, we will continue to raise the appeal and visibility of the EIP to students well in advance of the February deadlines in order to increase the pool of applicants.

In 1998, we focused on maintaining our partnerships with the EIP companies and improving the communication flow to returning interns. We also previewed the EIP to freshmen during department orientations, one year before they are eligible to join EIP.

The main objectives in the coming year are to increase the number and broaden the type of participating companies, publish new print materials, and automate the student application, scheduling, and company matching process using the web. Moreover, we will continue to raise the appeal and visibility of the EIP to students well in advance of the February deadlines in order to increase the pool of applicants.


In 1997-98, Karl Reid SB `84, SM `85 was appointed the new administrative director of MITES. The program officially added entrepreneurship to its name after the successful pilot of the EntrePrep initiative in 1997.

During the summer of 1998, 58 underrepresented minority high school rising seniors completed the six week residential program, equaling the 1997 class size.

We received 233 applications this year. One new corporate sponsor and one additional foundation supported the MITES `98 session. Approximately 40 guests attended a fundraising reception hosted by Merrill Lynch in New York City.

Twenty-one faculty, graduate students, alumni and corporate guests spoke to the students about their experiences this summer.

We enhanced the EntrePrep curriculum in the 1998 session. This year, the students utilized MIT-developed technologies to develop and present business plans that were judged by local entrepreneurs.

Of the 58 students who attended MITES 1997, 46 applied to MIT, and 43 were accepted. Twenty-two of the accepted students will attend MIT.

To mark the 25th year of MITES in 1999, plans are underway to hold a reunion, conduct a comprehensive survey of MITES graduates, develop a long-term funding model, and begin evolutionary curriculum changes to reflect Institute-wide science and engineering curriculum changes.

Robert A. Brown

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98