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Faculty approves new OE master's degree

A new Marine Environmental Systems Program in the Department of Ocean Engineering, which leads to a master of engineering degree, was presented to the faculty at its first meeting of the 1994-95 term on September 21.

The meeting also adopted resolutions honoring two retired professors who were about to celebrate their 100th birthdays, mathematician Dirk J. Struik and automotive engineer C. Fayette Taylor, and heard a report from Provost Mark S. Wrighton on relations with the federal government.

Professor Struik, who briefly addressed his faculty colleagues with vigor and wit, concluded with this remark: "If you ask me, `Can you give me one piece of advice out of your long experience?' it would be this: Ladies and gentlemen, never be absolutely tedious."

The details of the new Ocean Engineering program were presented by its director, Professor Judith T. Kildow, and Graduate School Dean Frank E. Perkins. They said the program is structured as a final degree, rather than as preparation for the PhD. It allows students to "customize" course selection and research for particular careers.

Several other department faculty as well as colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are involved.

Professor Wrighton reported on the status of several issues that involve indirect costs, research funding, UROP and Lincoln Laboratory.

He said the indirect cost picture is still confusing and expressed the hope that universities would be able to make some input during the next federal budget submission. Federal instructions on how to treat UROP salaries continue to pose financial consequences for the Institute, he said.

Lincoln Laboratory, which ends its fiscal year this month, continues to be "reasonably well funded" by the federal government, but a downward force continues on the budget, which now is $332 million compared with $360 million last year.

He reported "modest growth" in support from the National Science Foundation, including a gravity wave project involving physicists at MIT and CalTech, and "relatively steady" support from the National Institutes of Health. NASA support for science and advanced engineering is "quite constrained," however.

A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 39, Number 6).

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