MIT Faculty Newsletter  
contents Vol. XVIII No. 5
May / June 2006

This issue of the Faculty Newsletter features an overview of the MIT Corporation by Chairman Dana Mead, an update from the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons: "Lighting a Fire in MIT's Undergraduate Education," and "A Modest Proposal" for a dental health plan for students.

walking in snow
Reflections on the "Visualizing Cultures" Incident
Professor of History Peter Perdue writes about the recent controversy surrounding a multimedia educational Website on East Asia. The MIT Chinese Student and Scholar Association also presents their view.
Energy Research Council and Forum: A Major New Institute Initiative
Two articles on current MIT energy research, as well as a call for comments on the new Energy Initiative.
Meritocracy and a Diverse Faculty
L. Rafael Reif
In our last Faculty Newsletter (March/April 2006), our colleague and co-chair of MIT's Faculty Diversity Council, Professor Nancy Hopkins, wrote an illuminating article . . .
A Brief History and Workings of the MIT Corporation
Dana G. Mead
The MIT Corporation is the Institute's governing body or board of trustees. What does the MIT Corporation do? A former President of MIT opined for me recently: "It has . . .
From the Faculty Chair
Committees of the Faculty: An End-of-Year Recap
Lorna J. Gibson
In this last Newsletter for the semester, I would like to summarize some of the main accomplishments of the standing committees of the faculty for the past year.
Lippard and Sharp Awarded National Medal of Science
Newsletter Staff
Faculty Newsletter editorial board member Stephen J. Lippard has been awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest science honor.
Energy Research Council and Forum:
A Major New Institute Initiative
Newsletter Staff
In light of the recent Report of the Energy Research Council at MIT and the May 3rd MIT Energy Forum, both of which exhibit the commitment to energy research . . .
Efficient Use of Energy:
An Important Part of MIT's New Energy Initiative
Leon R. Glicksman
As part of the new energy initiative outlined in the Energy Research Council report, there is the need through MIT's future research and the development of our . . .
Fueling Our Transportation Future
John Heywood
Some one-third of our primary energy consumption is used to transport people and goods. So transportation is an important research area in our developing . . .
Lighting a Fire in MIT's Undergraduate Education
Charles Stewart III
In the winter of 2003, then-President Charles M. Vest charged a cross-section of the MIT faculty with undertaking a fundamental review of the common undergraduate . . .
Some Thoughts on the Arts
Alan Brody
At the end of this academic year I'll be stepping down as Associate Provost for the Arts and returning to the bosom of my colleagues on the faculty of Music and . . .
Reflections on the "Visualizing Cultures" Incident
Peter C. Purdue
Who would have imagined that a 100-year-old Japanese wood-block print could have caused so much trouble? It all began innocently enough, on April 23rd, when . . .
On the "Visualizing Cultures" Controversy and its Implications
MIT Chinese Student and Scholar Association
After actively participating in the resolution of the recent controversy surrounding the "Visualizing Cultures" Website, we at the Chinese Student and Scholar Association . .
Communication Requirement Evaluation Process Begins
Suzanne Flynn
This spring, MIT launched Phase One of a three-part, 18-month program evaluation of the undergraduate Communication Requirement (CR). As you will recall . . .
A Modest Proposal: A Dental Insurance Plan for All Students
Edward B. Seldin
In "An Open Letter to the MIT Faculty" in a previous issue of the Faculty Newsletter (January/February 2006), I expressed the personal belief that the Institute creates . . .
New Resource on Faculty Website: "Current Practices"
Ike Colbert
The Faculty Resources Website has a new resource called "Current Practices in Graduate Student Administration." This compilation, illustrating current . . .
MIT Poetry
Anthony Lioi
Stir-crazy noctiluca,
the dinoflagellate as night-light,
enlightens a summer solstice
"Soft Skills" to Help Avoid the "Hard Knocks"
Charles Leiserson and Catherine Avril
What do you do when confronted with an apparently unmotivated student? How do you deal with interpersonal conflicts that could jeopardize your research?
Computer Space Planning for MIT Tops IT-SPARCC's Priority List
Jerrold M. Grochow
Use of information technology has become one of the most important factors in the success of academic, research, and administrative enterprise at MIT.
Seniors Report Increased Satisfaction with Faculty Interaction
Newsletter Staff
In March of this year, all undergraduate seniors were invited to complete an on-line satisfaction survey. This survey is administered every two years; this is the third . . .
Smart Buy Purchasing Initiative
Richard Schmalensee
The goal of the Smart Buy Purchasing Initiative is to simplify and improve the purchasing of commodities and services across the Institute – saving time and . . .
M.I.T. Numbers
Primary Form of Support for Doctoral Students