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Major student services to be linked, overseen by Dean Williams

The MIT administration has moved to establish an integrated student services organization with responsibility for many aspects of the campus living and learning environment. It will report to Professor Rosalind H. Williams, dean for undergraduate education and student affairs.

The Admissions Office, Student Financial Aid Office, Department of Athletics and Physical Education, Bursar's Office, Registrar's Office, Student Information Systems (MITSIS), Campus Activities Complex, Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising, and Housing and Food Services will become part of the new integrated organization. All these offices, to varying degrees, serve both graduate and undergraduate students.

The Admissions Office, while part of the Dean's Office, will retain its traditional close ties to the Office of the President. Dean Williams will continue to report to Provost Joel Moses.

The Dean's Office will be organized broadly into three areas, concerned with academic support, student life and student information services.

A new position, director of administration and operations, has been created, and Dean Williams, together with President Charles M. Vest, announced yesterday that Stephen D. Immerman, director of special services in the Office of the Senior Vice President, has been appointed to fill it. Mr. Immerman, together with Dean for Student Life Margaret Bates and the dean for undergraduate academic affairs (soon to be named), will comprise the management team working with Dean Williams. They will work with the leaders of the units involved to refine the structure and operations of this expanded Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs.

"This move is designed to serve our undergraduates by supporting and enhancing the whole experience of our students," Dr. Vest said. "In doing this, the Dean's Office will support and enhance the work of the faculty, by providing an improved level of services and support to the departments and other teaching units.

"I am very excited about directly facing the challenge of creating a comprehensive organization to further enhance the living and learning environment on the MIT campus," he said.

"Colleges and universities continually talk about better integrating these activities. We are going to do it," Dr. Vest continued. "Although many details remain to be ironed out, bringing all of these offices and activities under one umbrella positions us to respond more easily to the directions that will be established by the Task Force on Student Life and Learning, and that are being developed by the student services reengineering teams."

Provost Joel Moses said, "The newly expanded Dean's Office will make it possible to provide a common perspective on campus life, academic support and student-related financial and academic administration. In the new organization, all these areas will be viewed through the lens of MIT's educational mission."

Dr. Moses also announced that Associate Provost Phillip L. Clay will organize an Institute-wide review and coordination of student information policy. "This review of student information policy will include close collaboration with existing committees and offices, in order to develop a common understanding of both institutional and individual needs concerning the collection and dissemination of student information," he said.


Dean Williams emphasized the need for student input in establishing priorities for the office. Some of this input will be provided through the Undergraduate Association and other student organizations, but the office will also seek to expand other forms of communication, including an informal monthly evening meeting open to all students, she said.

"This integrated organization, with a clear focus on educational goals, will help the Institute respond effectively to future articulation of MIT's educational mission by the Presidential Task Force on Student Life and Learning," Dean Williams said. "To this end, the Dean's Office will work closely with the Task Force, and with the related standing committees of the faculty, during the next two academic years.

"At the same time, the Dean's Office will interact intensively with the Student Services Reengineering team, captained by Professor Martin Schlecht, in trying to develop more efficient delivery of student services."

Dean Williams said all members of the new office will be called upon to help develop the organization on the basis of a commonly understood mission, full participation and shared information.

Admissions, Athletics, Bursar, Career Services, Financial Aid, Registrar and MITSIS previously reported to Vice President for Administration James J. Culliton, who died of cancer this past June. Two of the reassigned offices, Campus Activities Complex, and Housing and Food Services, previously reported to Senior Vice President William R. Dickson.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 2, 1996.

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