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Robert Redwine stepping down as dean

Robert Redwine
Robert Redwine

After five years as dean of undergraduate education, Professor Robert Redwine of physics has chosen to step down at the end of the fall term to devote himself to teaching and research.

"For the last five years, Bob Redwine has brought to his work as dean for undergraduate education the same leadership and commitment to excellence that had previously marked his research and teaching in the Department of Physics," President Susan Hockfield said. "He played a critical role, creating a new office and steering its course. His wisdom and tireless efforts over this time have built a strong educational enterprise that benefits all MIT undergraduates."

As dean of undergraduate education, Redwine was responsible for a host of functions in his 230-person operation--admissions, financial aid, academic services, the Office of Minority Education, the Careers Office, the Edgerton Center, the Teaching and Learning Laboratory and the registrar, among others. Redwine also led the student exchange component of The Cambridge-MIT Institute.

"I was honored and delighted to have the opportunity to play an important role in supporting the education of our remarkable students as well as in shaping MIT's undergraduate education for years to come," said Redwine, who was appointed to the post in 2000. "It was clear to me that this was a critical transition period for MIT, with the increasing diversity of our students' backgrounds and interests."

Chancellor Phillip Clay said, "In addition to stewarding critical academic services, Bob has also played a leadership role managing initiatives to implement of the report of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning. Throughout his tenure, he has been a vigorous advocate for minority students and for advancing teaching as a part of professional development for junior faculty."

Hockfield added, "In important ways, he laid the groundwork that has permitted our faculty to undertake a comprehensive review of the educational experience. I know he joins me in looking forward eagerly to the report of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons, and to the educational initiatives it will spark."

Born in Raleigh, N.C., Redwine received his bachelor's degree in physics from Cornell University in 1969 and the Ph.D. in physics from Northwestern University in 1973. He joined the MIT faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor of physics.

He has served on many national and international physics advisory committees, is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science from 1992 to 2000. He is married to Professor Jacqueline N. Hewitt of the Department of Physics; they live in Winchester with their two sons.

Although Redwine is looking forward to returning to full-time faculty, it is bittersweet. "I know I will miss the interactions with so many dedicated members of our community who care deeply about education," he said.

"One of the most gratifying aspects of the last five years has been the chance to work with student leaders who are involved in MIT in such productive ways," Redwine said. "I also have had the chance to work closely with a number of administrative and support staff members who are frankly the unsung heroes in making MIT the amazing place it is. Most faculty do not have the opportunity to appreciate the range of contributions our staff make to MIT, and I consider myself very lucky to have been able to work with so many staff members."

As he moves on within the Institute, Redwine said he is confident about the state of MIT. "We continue to attract the best students in the world with strong interests in science, engineering, and technology, and these students want to leave MIT with a superb technical education as well as the perspectives and skills to change the world in important ways," he said.

"With the work of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons and related efforts in Schools and Departments, we are well on our way to redefining an MIT education for the future," Redwine said. "This continues to be a truly exciting time for education at MIT."

Clay will appoint a committee soon to select a successor for Redwine.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 8, 2005 (download PDF).

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