Senior Associate Dean Isaac M. Colbert has been promoted to dean for graduate students and will become a member of the Academic Council, effective July 1.
"We are in a period of challenge and change for MIT's 5,000-plus graduate students with respect to their housing, their funding and enhancement of their sense of community," said Dean Colbert, who has been senior associate dean for graduate education since 1996. "I look forward to joining the school deans and working with them on these concerns."
"Ike Colbert is tireless in his advocacy for graduate students and in his efforts to promote graduate education," said President Charles M. Vest. "I look forward to his future contributions and participation on Academic Council."
Dean Colbert will report jointly to Vice President for Research J. David Litster and Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow, who made the announcement last week. At the same time, they announced that the Graduate Education Office will be renamed the Graduate Student Office.
In commenting on the changes, Chancellor Bacow said, "We are fortunate that Ike Colbert is willing to take on this new role. He brings great energy, wisdom and compassion to the role of dean of graduate students. His appointment will be good for both graduate students and for MIT."
Dr. Colbert, a 1968 graduate of Johns Hopkins University, earned the MA (1971) and PhD (1974) from Brown University in experimental psychology. He grew up in Baltimore and was senior class vice president of the special college preparatory class at Baltimore City College in 1964.
He came to MIT in 1977 as senior consultant/trainer in personnel development and has been an assistant equal opportunity officer (1979-81), manager of faculty and staff information services (1981-85), project manager of the strategic plan for administrative computing (1985-86), assistant to the vice president for financial operations (1986-88), associate dean of the graduate school (1988-95), team captain and a member of the core team for reengineering of administrative services (1994-95), acting dean of the graduate school in 1995 and senior associate dean for graduate education since 1996.
In addition to Dean Colbert's promotion, Chancellor Bacow and Vice President Litster also announced changes for the Graduate Education Office and the committees associated with graduate education at MIT. The changes "are intended to recognize the way that things have been working for the past year or so," they said in a joint announcement. "We believe that they will also give greater voice to graduate students on Academic Council."
The Graduate Education Strategy Group, formed a year ago, will become the new Committee for Graduate School Strategy. Chaired by Vice President Litster, it will focus on Institute policy on graduate education. A faculty member from each school, the president of the Graduate Student Council and Dean Colbert will serve in the group. During the coming fall term, the faculty will be asked to establish this group as a standing committee of the faculty.
The Committee on Graduate Student Policy will be renamed the Committee on Graduate School Programs, thus keeping the same acronym. Dean Colbert will chair this committee. The faculty will be asked to approve the name change.
A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 30).