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Graduate Students Office appoints new communications director, implements plan


Dean for Graduate Students Ike Colbert announced the appointment of Barrie Gleason to director of communications in the Graduate Students Office, effective Nov. 1, 2001.

In this newly created position, Gleason is responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive communications strategy for graduate education at the Institute.

Gleason, who was director of the Communications Office prior to her appointment in the Graduate Students Office, began working with Colbert on a comprehensive analysis of communications about graduate education in 1997. They decided to create an Institute-wide communications strategy that would serve as a complement to the highly refined messages each department and program had developed already.

"The work that Barrie Gleason is doing is increasingly central to the Graduate Students Office's operations and to the enhancement of graduate education at the Institute," said Colbert.

The Graduate Students Office has launched a project to obtain more information from graduate students about their concerns and experiences at the Institute. Key to this project are 17 focus group interviews conducted by Gleason, Colbert and Associate Dean Blanche Staton over the last two years with students, faculty and alumni concerning the relevance of MIT's educational triad--education, research and community--for graduate students. Focus group results revealed a firm conviction about the relevance of the triad, especially on the part of students and alumni, and reflected the need to enhance community for graduate students at the Institute.

As a means of communicating more effectively with graduate students, prospective students and graduate administrators at MIT, the Graduate Students Office introduced a new web site last fall ( Additional communications projects will include web site enhancements, such as an online graduate policies and procedures manual and an annual report of graduate data; the incorporation of graduate student experience in Institute-wide descriptions of student life; and strengthening the graduate student community.

Gleason came to MIT in 1990 as director of the Communications Office, Public Relations Services. In that role, she oversaw the production of the Institute's key reference publications such as the annual course catalogue, telephone directories, organization charts and Reports to the President. She was a member of the re-engineering team that focused on MIT's publishing services and created the original business plan for the Publishing Services Bureau. Gleason holds a B.A. in psychology from Connecticut College and an M.S. in education from Mount St. Mary's in Los Angeles. She worked previously at Analog Devices in Norwood.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 20, 2002.

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