MIT Faculty Newsletter  
contents Vol. XX No. 4
March / April 2008

This issue of the Faculty Newsletter features "Nuclear Disarmament Activities at MIT: Rising from the Ashes," a call for a revival of the nuclear disarmament movement, and our editorial, which suggests it's time for an MIT Faculty Senate.

Margaret Spellings: Higher Ed Policy Blog
Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education Hints at National Standardized Testing for Universities
Jonathan King reviews the who's and why's of the push for standardized testing for universities.
Skills, Big Ideas, and Getting Grades Out of the Way
A new approach to grading that deals with the inevitable "What is the class average?"
Nuclear Disarmament Activities at MIT: Rising from the Ashes
Aron Bernstein, Heather Lechtman, Kosta Tsipis
Almost exactly 25 years ago, in a speech launching his "Star Wars" initiative, President Reagan said: " I call on the scientific community in our country, those . . .
Difficult Times Ahead Require a Higher Level of Faculty Participation in Setting Policies
The recent report on declining biomedical R&D investment, “A Broken Pipeline?” carried poignant profiles of young scientists whose biomedical research programs . . .
From the Faculty Chair
The World at 02139
Bish Sanyal
Which principles and strategies should guide MIT’s increasing international engagements? This is not a new question: As far back as 1975, an ad hoc . . .
Teach Talk
Skills, Big Ideas, and Getting Grades Out of the Way
Patrick Henry Winston
“What was class average?” I feel like I have been asked a 1,000 times, and I confess, each time it makes me cringe. It tells me the student is fixated on evaluation, not . . .
Newsletter Elections to be Held this Spring
Following procedures outlined in the Policies and Procedures of the MIT Faculty Newsletter, an Institute-wide election for two new members of the FNL Editorial Board.
Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education Hints at National Standardized Testing for Universities
Jonathan King
As President Bush approached his final year in office, his Secretary of Education released the administration’s major policy document on higher education, a report . . .
Is the Campaign for Students Shortchanging Graduate Students?
Gareth H. McKinley
It was great to read some of the early details about the upcoming $500M Campaign for Students that were revealed by the Chancellor in the January/February . . .
Budget of the U.S. Government (FY2008)
Discretionary Funding by Major Agency
MIT Poetry
Notre Dame; Cardinal
Anne Marie Michel
Here treasures rest as light / Melts the insular rain of Paris
Student Culture: PSETs
Sheila Widnall
Problem sets are the backbone of our teaching in many subjects; for many, problem solving is the essence of the MIT education. Faculty usually make their . . .
Intentions and Outcomes:
My Understanding of the Fall '07 Faculty Meetings
Bish Sanyal
If the goal of the Winston-Manning resolution which was introduced at the faculty meeting on October 17, 2007, was to express the faculty’s concern regarding the . . .
Comment on Professor Sanyal's response to my article "Finding Polaris and Changing Course"
Kenneth R. Manning
Professor Sanyal mischaracterizes Professor Winston’s motives and mine, and wrings his hands about imaginary insults, humiliation, indecency, lack of civility, pain . . .
The Task Force on Student Engagement: A Path Forward
Martin F. Holmes, Leeland B. Ekstrom, Phillip L. Clay, Kirk D. Kolenbrander
We are writing in our capacity as student and administrative leaders regarding an important issue that we have joined forces to address.
Faculty Statement of Support for the
Task Force on Student Engagement
We, the undersigned faculty members, consider the issues raised by student leaders to be important matters for the Institute. We believe that it is crucial to take these . . .
M.I.T. Numbers
Undergraduate Admissions (1957-2008)