MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


A new undertaking this year has been integrating the HASS-D Lottery into electronic pre-registration, with the goal of providing students with a conflict-free schedule each term. The HASS Office worked closely with the Registrar's Office, Information Systems, and others to implement this integration for the 1998 Spring Term. It went smoothly; preparations then began for the more challenging task of including incoming freshmen in Fall 1998. As part of this effort, the HASS Office produced a new publication, The Freshman HASS Guide. Switching software from Excel to Filemaker Pro for such things as databases and mailing lists has led to a more efficient and flexible operation in the HASS Office. The HASS-D Overview Committee, to which the Coordinator, Dr. Bette Davis, serves as staff, got a new Chair (Prof. Peter Child), a new name (HASS Overview Committee), and an accompanying broadened charge this year. In addition to the traditional responsibilities for approving proposals for HASS-D subjects and overseeing the HASS-D system, the Committee is now involved in all aspects of the HASS program, including concentrations, minors, and the pilot Communication Intensive (CI) initiative. This has been interesting, but has resulted in a greater time commitment and heavier workload.

In addition, the HASS Office has continued to serve multiple functions, including the administration of the eight-subject HASS requirement, the HASS Minor, the Harvard Cross-Registration Program, provision of statistics for the School of Humanities and Social Science, and the publication of The HASS Guide (hard copy and electronic versions) each term. This office also continued to record proposals and completion forms for HASS Concentrations and Minors in MITSIS, on behalf of the Registrar's Office, in addition to maintaining a HASS Minor data base and paper files. Petitions for HASS credit for subjects which are not so coded in MITSIS, including Harvard and Wellesley subjects, graduate subjects, etc., are submitted here for approval. Information concerning any of the above, as well as HASS transfer credit and general Institute information, was provided to the MIT community and in response to inquiries from outside the Institute.


Total enrollment in all HASS subjects dropped from 10,592 last year to 10,253 in AY98. The number of HASS subjects offered was almost exactly the same as last year--457 in 1997-98, compared to 455 in 1996-97. The number of autonomous sections decreased from 591 to 574. The number of HASS-Distribution subjects offered increased very slightly, from 113 to 117. The largest overall enrollments were in the same fields as last year, in the same order: 1927 in Economics (up from 1898 last year) and 1521 in Foreign Languages and Literatures. Writing (983) was again third, followed by Literature (912), Music (750*), and Psychology (748). (*Six-unit music performance subjects are not included in these statistics.) Archaeology had the largest increase over last year in terms of percentage (from 85 to 118), followed by Urban Studies (221 to 268), Women's Studies (66 to 75), Linguistics (82 to 93), and the History of Art and Architecture (138 to 156).


In 1997-98, students submitted 2351 HASS Concentration proposals and 1281 completion forms, compared to 2195 proposals and 1222 completion forms last year. Once again, Economics and Foreign Languages led in the number of completed HASS Concentrations: in 1997-98, 356 (compared to 320 last year) students completed concentrations in Economics, and 220 (compared to 222 last year) completed concentrations in Foreign Languages & Literatures. (For a breakdown by languages, see Table II.) The next two most popular HASS Concentration fields are Music, with 113 completed concentrations, and Psychology, with 90, followed by Literature (68),Writing (64), and Anthropology (46).


1997-98 showed an increase in the total number of HASS Minor applications from all graduating classes, but a decrease in the number of HASS Minors received by the Class of 1998. There were 483 applications, compared to 440 last year and 416 in 1995-96. 194 members of the Class of [Otilde]98 received minors in twenty fields in HASS, down from 222 last year. The two most popular fields in terms of applications filed were the same as last year: Economics (148) and Music (73). There were 70 minors in Foreign Languages (26 in French, 20 in German, and 24 in Spanish). Other popular HASS Minors, in order, were Psychology (31), Political Science (24), Literature (23), and Writing (22).


Fewer MIT undergraduates cross-registered for courses at Harvard in 1997-98. 186 students took 196 subjects at Harvard, compared to 213 students enrolled in 235 subjects in 1996-97. There was no obvious explanation for this rather sizable decrease. As usual, foreign languages were by far the most popular field of study. One hundred and three of the 196 subjects were in 18 different foreign languages. The two most popular languages were Chinese (21), Korean (16), and Urdu-Hindi (14); enrollments in other languages were spread fairly evenly. The most popular fields outside foreign languages were Art/Visual Studies (18) and Religion (10).


Ninety-five students received the S.B. in SHSS this year, up from 82 last year. Of these, 59 degrees were in Economics, Course 14, and five were in Political Science, Course 17. During the same time period, September 1997 through June 1998, a total of 26 students completed the S.B. Degree in Humanities, Course 21. Eight of these received joint degrees, three in 21-E and five in 21-S. Another 12 received degrees in a specified field within Course 21. Six undesignated Humanities degrees (for "Major Departures") were granted. Five students received the S.B. in Philosophy.


The four departments in SHSS had 239 undergraduate majors this year, compared to 187 in 1996-97. For all departments, these figures include all degreesÑsecond and third as well as first degrees. The Economics Department has 137 of these majors, and 32 undergraduate students are majoring in Political Science. There were 58 Humanities majors in 1997-98; of these, 23 were joint majors (13 in 21-E and 10 in 21-S.) Writing had the most majors (14), followed by Literature and Music, with 12 each. (These figures include joint degrees and full degrees in those fields.) Twelve undergraduates have declared a major in Philosophy.


Among the more notable honors achieved by SHSS majors this year were:

Todd Anderson Undergraduate Teaching Award Kevin Simmons, '98; Noemi Giszpenc, '98

Boit Manuscript Prize Joaquin Terrones, '98 (second prize);
Peixiang Ye (first prize, short story category), '98

Robert A. Boit Writing Prize: Anna Dirks, '99 (first prize, poetry category);
Joaquin Terrones, '98 (first prize, essay category)

Burchard Scholars: Sarah Anderson, '99; Lucia Breierova, '99; Petra Chong, '99; Amalia Miller, '99; Samuel Sidiqi, '99; Ami Vasanawala, '99

William Everett Chamberlain Prize Lin-Ann Ching, '98

Peter J. Eloranta Award Kevin Simmons, '98

Joseph D. Everingham Award Lin-Ann Ching, '98

Parke A. and Ann L. Hodges Prize: Lucia Breierova, '98

Philip Loew Memorial Award Nicole Lee, '98

Outstanding Service to the DMSE Community Ryan Kershner, '98

Phi Beta Kappa Lin-Ann Ching, '98; Marcos d. Chamon, '98;
Robin S. Chhabra, '98, Winnie W. Choi; '98,
Peter I. Chu, '98; Robin M. Greenwood, '98;
Rujikorn Pavasuthipaisit, '98; Syed Farhan Zaidi, '98,

William L. Stewart Award William Shen, '01

Louis Sudler Prize Stephen Tistaert, '98

Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize Petra Chong, '99

Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Award Kevin Simmons, '98

More information can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Bette Davis

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98