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Faculty approve master's degree in manufacturing, hear campaign update

The MIT faculty heard an update on MIT's Capital Campaign, voted to establish a new master's degree and discussed two other educational proposals at its monthly meeting Nov. 17.

A special meeting to discuss the proposed merger of the Department of Ocean Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering will be convened on Monday, Nov. 29 at 3:30 p.m. in the Kirsch Auditorium.

The faculty voted unanimously to establish a Master of Engineering in Manufacturing in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, as discussed at the October meeting. Professor David Hardt of mechanical engineering noted that the degree is the department's "first foray into the 'professional masters' arena, and a distinct departure from our traditional research-only focus."

Jaime Peraire, professor of aeronautics and astronautics, and Thomas Kochan, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, invited faculty discussion of proposals to establish new programs.

Peraire, on behalf of an interdepartmental committee, outlined the proposal to establish an interdepartmental S.M. program in Computation for Design and Optimization (CDO). The School of Engineering would grant the degrees.

Peraire emphasized the need for MIT to meet the needs of both students and industry by providing leadership in defining, codifying and certifying computational literacy. The deans of the School of Engineering and Sloan School, and the department heads of electrical engineering and computer science, aeronautics and astronautics, mechanical engineering and mathematics have endorsed the proposed CDO program. The faculty will vote on the motion at the December meeting.

Kochan, speaking on behalf of the Sloan School, introduced a preliminary discussion on establishing a minor in management for undergraduate students to better prepare them to be more productive at the outset of their careers. The new minor, with its required course on "People and Organizations," would help students "understand the nature of the workplace, resolve conflicts and understand the culture and politics involved in developing ideas and putting them into practice," Kochan said. In addition, the program will be process-focused, experiential and based on collaboration and delivery, he said.

"If we do this right, it could have a big impact on other universities nationally and around the world," Kochan said.

Dialing for dollars

Barbara Stowe, vice president for resource development, thanked President Charles M. Vest for his "leadership and dedication" and the MIT faculty for its time and efforts in helping to bring the recent capital campaign to a successful close. "Calculated Risks, Creative Revolutions," launched in 1997, met its original goal of $1.5 billion in October 2002 and soared beyond that to conclude in September 2004 with a record $2 billion in donations to the Institute.

Stowe guided the faculty on a brief tour down fiscal memory lane, from the "end of the go-go 90s through the market decline and all the political ups and downs. We weathered them all," she said. She pointed out changes in the sources of funds donated to MIT, signaling a change in national climate and in fund-raising strategies. In the 1949-1951 campaign, 76 percent of funds came from institutions and 24 percent from individuals. By contrast, in the campaign just concluded, the sources have nearly reversed, with 66 percent of funds coming from individuals and 34 percent from institutions.

Stowe emphasized the importance of unrestricted gifts, saying that she and her colleagues plan to keep the "momentum going by broadening and deepening the prospect pool in the lower- and middle-level and by donor education."

"We need to build a broader understanding of the importance of flexibility, of gifts to help MIT become nimble in the fast-paced days ahead," Stowe said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 1, 2004 (download PDF).

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