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Faculty discusses four issues


Approval of a Sloan School plan to offer a new no-thesis-required degree, the resumption of reports on student disciplinary actions, an update on the ROTC situation and concern over the closing of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology were the topics of the February 16 faculty meeting.


The Sloan School's proposal to offer an MBA degree without a thesis requirement was approved. The new degree was one of four curriculum changes recommended by Sloan faculty after a review of its master's program. The other changes were implemented at the School level. A change in the faculty regulations was needed to permit the new degree to be offered.

Under the proposal, Sloan master's students could seek either an MBA or an SM. Both would require the same number of units. The MBA would substitute additional course work for the thesis.

The proposal was outlined at the meeting by Dean Glen Urban and Deputy Dean Paul Healy.


Professor Arthur C. Smith, dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, and Professor Triantaphyllos R. Akylas, chair of the Committee on Discipline, reported on cases that have come before them over the last three years. In the past, the Committee on Discipline had made annual reports to the Faculty, but that practice had lapsed in recent years. Dean Smith and Professor Akylas said that the resumption of the reports, and the inclusion of reports of cases heard by the Dean's Office, had been made with the hope that they will "give the faculty and the rest of the community a better understanding of Institute expectations and of the actual workings of the disciplinary process as it involves students."

Dean Smith and Professor Akylas pointed out that one of the conclusions of the recent report on academic dishonesty was that both students and faculty believe that increased awareness of sanctions that have been imposed would improve academic behavior. "Many of the discussions of harassment policy that have occurred in recent years also have stressed the need for better understanding of the actions that the Institute takes in dealing with harassment complaints," they said.

Both the Dean's Office and the COD will make annual reports in the future for the academic year just past, they said. A format for making regular reports that will maintain confidentiality and yet still inform the community of the frequency and nature of cases was arrived at after consultation with the Faculty Policy Committee, Dean Smith and Professor Akylas said.

During the three past years the COD, which handles only formal complaints, heard 88 cases, an unusually high number, Professor Akylas said. Sixty-one of the cases involved charges of copying problem sets in one subject, a case widely reported both on and off campus.

Dean Smith said his office handles between 80 and 85 cases a year, some based on a formal complaints but many of an informal nature. These frequently involve student disputes, destructive or inappropriate behavior, harassment and violation of alcohol policy. Four cases during the three years covered in the report led to expulsion or suspension, Dean Smith said. Resolution in the rest of the cases included such actions as mediation, warning, counseling or a change of residence.


Provcost Wrighton reported that the ROTC Committee is continuing "to try to identify appropriate judicial vehicles where we might consider joining in with other schools. However, this opportunity has not yet presented itself nor have we heard that any other schools (except U-Penn) are interested in going this route." (A more complete report on this issue will appear in the next issue of Tech Talk.)


Dr. Vest announced his intention to name a committee of faculty members to review the process involved in the decision to close the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (see related story). In response to a recommendation by Professor Stephen L. Chorover of brain and cognitive sciences that the review committee be appointed by the faculty, rather than by the president, Dr. Vest said that it was his intention to consult with the chair of the faculty in appointing the committee.

Professor Chorover indicated his intention to have the issue placed on the agenda of the March faculty meeting.


A version of this article appeared in the March 2, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 24).

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