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Dyson to Return to MIT

Alan Dyson, on loan since 1986 from MIT to the Cambridge Partnership for Public Education where he has been executive director, has been appointed T.I.D.E. Senior Education Specialist at MIT.

In the new post, Mr. Dyson will work with MIT's Council on Primary and Secondary Education.

The acronym T.I.D.E., for Trust in Diversity and Environmentality, was fashioned by John Bemis, who with Charlotte Bemis has established through a gift a Discovery Exchange at MIT. "Seeing now that environments influence all happenings, we need to seek to understand the important elements to discovery and creativity which require new and diverse eyes. Hence we need environments which build trust in diversity if we are to generate creativity and discovery for everyone," Mr. Bemis said.

Mr. Dyson will continue through July 1 to serve the Cambridge Partnership as executive director, overseeing six projects. A new director is expected to be in place before the end of the summer.

The Partnership was formed in 1986 by 17 "founders" including MIT. It brings knowledge and expertise from its membership base of 50 businesses, four institutions of higher education and many community-based organizations to projects designed in collaboration with the Cambridge Public Schools. The Partnership currently has 50 projects in place.

For Mr. Dyson, the MIT appointment, announced by Provost Mark S. Wrighton, marks a return to the campus where he directed the Secondary Technical Education Project (STEP) from 1982 to 1986.

In his new capacity, Mr. Dyson will help the Council on Primary and Secondary Education find ways to apply MIT's knowledge and expertise to the issues faced by those working in primary and secondary education. For example, he has joined Professor Jay W. Forrester's System Dynamics in Education Project, a UROP research project, in an effort to assist MIT students as they apply system dynamics to developing curriculum units with teachers.

In addition he will join Professor Leon Trilling of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and others to design a professional development effort for teachers this coming summer at MIT.

Mr. Dyson, a member of the K-12 Council since last fall, is currently assisting council members to design a fellows program for teachers and a telecommunications network allowing K-12 teachers, MIT faculty and industrial professionals to communicate.

As a researcher, teacher and administrator, Mr. Dyson brings to this new position a wealth of experience in education. He has done research with Dr. Bruno Bettleheim at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School for emotionally disturbed children at the University of Chicago. While teaching science at Milton Academy he received a grant from the Ford Foundation to design a program for students with drug problems at Newton South High School.

In 1971 as a Braitmayer Fellow, Mr. Dyson became the warden of a field study center in England to study the curriculum innovations put in place in Leicestershire. He has also taught in Lincoln, Mass.

He moved into research and administration in 1975, becoming the managing director of Project TORQUE at the Education Development Center. Project TORQUE was a multi-million-dollar research project focusing on the testing of math skills in grades 3-8.

While at MIT he has collaborated with colleagues at Lesley College as a senior research associate on three projects supported by the National Science Foundation. Two projects, Communities of Inquiry and Creating Lasting Links, focused on professional development for teachers of science by pairing teachers with scientists in industry. Project SPARK focused on designing curriculum units with 8-12-year-old girls in the Cambridge Public Schools.

A version of this article appeared in the April 1, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 25).

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