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May/June 2021

A Look Back and a Look Ahead

Rick L. Danheiser

In this, my final column as Chair of the Faculty, I take a look back at some of the key contributions and accomplishments of Faculty Governance during these past most unusual two years. I also take this opportunity to provide a progress report on some of the more important initiatives currently underway that I hope will be continued under the guidance of my successor as Faculty Chair, Professor Lily Tsai.

The Epstein Affair and Outside Engagements

The first six months of my term as Faculty Chair were dominated by fallout from the revelations that began to emerge in the summer of 2019 concerning the association of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein with the Institute. On January 10, 2020 the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation released the long-awaited report by the law firm of Goodwin Procter (GP) on Epstein’s involvement with MIT. Previously I had obtained agreement from Bob Millard, the Chair of the MIT Corporation, for a group of 12 current and former officers of the faculty to meet with representatives of GP following our review of the report. The meeting with the GP lawyers took place on January 13 and lasted four hours, and a summary of our findings was sent to the Faculty on January 21. I have written about these findings in my January/February 2020 FNL column “Epstein and MIT: The Unanswered Questions.”

In August 2019, soon after the first revelations about Jeffrey Epstein’s donations to the Institute, I had suggested to my fellow faculty officers and to Provost Marty Schmidt that I believed that MIT needed a group to develop principles and improved processes to define what were and were not acceptable outside engagements. After discussions at several meetings of the Faculty Policy Committee (FPC), and after consultation with other key faculty including several former Faculty Chairs, I convened an Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements. The charge to this committee was to define a set of values and principles, consistent with MIT’s mission, to guide the assessment of outside engagements, where outside engagements would include grants, gifts, and any other associations and collaborations involving MIT with governments, corporations, foundations, or private individuals, domestic or foreign. A draft version of the report of this “principles committee,” chaired by Professor Tavneet Suri, was posted for comment in September 2020.

Concurrent with these discussions, President Reif asked Provost Schmidt to convene an Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes, and the draft version of the report of this “processes committee,” chaired by Professor Peter Fisher, was also posted in September.

Comments from the community on the two draft reports were collected via websites as well as at an October 6 Community Forum that I convened jointly with Provost Schmidt. Both reports were discussed extensively during the fall at meetings of Academic Council, the Faculty Policy Committee, and the MIT Corporation. In a letter to the MIT community on January 11, Provost Schmidt and I announced the posting of the final, revised version of each report, and informed the community that President Reif had appointed an ad hoc advisory group including administration and Corporation members and Professors Suri, Fisher, and Faculty Chair-Elect Lily Tsai to advise him on how to best implement the committee’s recommendations.

Next Steps. In a letter to the Faculty on May 7, Provost Schmidt announced that President Reif had accepted most of the recommendations of the Fisher “Processes Committee” and that he was commissioning a six-month experiment involving the Interim Gift Acceptance Committee (IGAC) which will be expanded by the addition of three faculty members (Professors Fisher, Suri, and Li-Huei Tsai). Effective immediately, the expanded committee will apply the tools developed by the Suri “Principles Committee” in the evaluation of potential gifts to the Institute. After six months, the Advisory Group appointed previously by President Reif will reconvene to review the results of the experiment and to advise President Reif on the path forward.

It is important to note that gifts to the Institute are the exclusive focus of the review and evaluation process outlined above and which is currently underway. The charge of the Suri “Principles Committee,” on the other hand, included defining guidelines for other categories of engagements, such as those involving corporations and foreign governments. I believe it is important that the tools developed by the Suri Committee not be restricted to the evaluation of gifts. Once the current review of the application of the Suri Committee tools to gifts is complete, I hope that Faculty Governance will work with the Administration to plan the expansion of these procedures to encompass other categories of funding. Because the nature of other types of funding differ in fundamental ways from gifts, I would like to suggest that it may be appropriate to convene a new “Ad Hoc Committee on Processes for Non-Gift Engagements,” analogous to the Fisher Committee, to propose the next steps in this direction.

Faculty Governance

Governance has been a major focus of attention by the Faculty Officers and the Faculty Policy Committee during my term as Chair. Our overarching goal in this area has been to make our system of faculty governance more democratic, ensuring that a full range and diversity of views are represented in the discussion of issues and in decision-making. I previously outlined our aims in my November/December 2019 FNL column “‘A Peculiar MIT Concoction’: Our System of Faculty Governance.” Below I outline our progress toward achieving these goals and the efforts currently underway.

The Committee on Nominations. As I discussed in detail in the above-referenced FNL column, in 2019 the Faculty Officers and the FPC began to urge that changes be made in the way that the key Committee on Nominations is appointed. In contrast to the manner in which candidates for the other 10 Standing Committees of the Faculty are chosen, Rules and Regulations of the Faculty called for the members of the Committee on Nominations to be appointed by the President, who also selected the Chair of the committee. If nothing else, this encouraged a perception that the Administration exercised significant influence over the membership of the committees of faculty governance. At the March 2020 Institute Faculty Meeting, I introduced a motion on behalf of the FPC for amending Rules and Regulations so that the membership of the Committee on Nominations would be elected by the Faculty, with the candidates for the election suggested by the elected Officers of the Faculty with allowance for additional candidates to be nominated by the usual process by the Faculty-at-large. This motion was overwhelmingly passed at the April 2020 meeting of the Faculty.

Faculty Meetings and the Application of Electronic Technology. In my November/December 2019 FNL column I suggested that the election of the faculty officers and members of the faculty committees might be carried out more democratically through online voting rather than by a show of hands at the usually sparsely attended May Institute Faculty Meeting. The aim of this change would be to enable wider participation of the faculty in these important elections.

As it turned out, the Covid-19 emergency expedited the implementation of this proposal, as beginning in March 2020 it became necessary to hold all of the Institute Faculty Meetings virtually using Zoom technology. Each of the Faculty meetings since then have attracted several hundred attendees, usually including three times the typical pre-pandemic number of faculty. Voting on motions and on the election of the new faculty committee members has been conducted electronically, employing an online voting platform developed by FPC members Professors Ike Chuang and Duane Boning, and there is general agreement that this system has functioned very smoothly and efficiently.

The question of whether to hold future post-pandemic faculty meetings virtually or in person has been under active discussion at meetings of the FPC this spring and in conversations of the Faculty Officers with the Administration. Clearly, virtual Faculty Meetings enjoy several advantages as compared to our traditional in-person meetings. Participation is more convenient for many faculty, particularly those with family and other responsibilities that make attendance in person difficult and problematic. Some colleagues find it less intimidating to raise questions and to participate in discussions in the virtual format, and Zoom meetings provide a chat function enabling further live discussion during the meeting. On the other hand, a number of colleagues have lamented the loss of opportunities for informal interactions before and after live meetings, and have suggested that there is intangible value to gathering all of the faculty and administration together at least once each month. Plans for the fall are still under discussion, but possibilities include following the lead of some of our peers and scheduling a mixture of meetings in live and virtual format, or developing a “hybrid” system that would allow remote participation of some faculty in a live meeting being held in 10-250.

It is clear that the application of electronic technology in faculty meetings will continue and see further development and expansion in the coming academic year. If “live” meetings resume, then one innovation worth considering would involve providing an online vehicle for faculty not in attendance at the annual May meeting to vote electronically on the candidates for faculty officers and the members of faculty committees. In one scenario, online voting (restricted to faculty members) would be open during a period of several days leading up to the May meeting. Online voting on motions also deserves consideration, but is more complicated in view of the importance of ensuring that those voting have full knowledge of the discussion of the motions that take place at the meeting.

One concern that I share with a number of colleagues is that the monthly Institute Faculty Meetings provide limited opportunities for input from a wide range of faculty and for a truly substantive discussion of important issues. Much of our monthly meetings are necessarily taken up with “housekeeping” matters – obligatory motions and voting on changes to Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, as well as with annual reports to the Faculty that in some cases are prescribed by Rules and Regulations.

During the past two years, as one vehicle to address this, the Faculty Officers have convened a series of 60-90 minute “Town Hall” meetings, each focused on a single topic, and each including only a short presentation in order to allow for extensive discussion by the faculty present at the meeting. I hope that these supplements to our regular monthly Institute Faculty Meetings will continue in the coming year with the number expanded in the future, as I believe that they serve as an excellent means for more substantive discussion of issues than is possible in our regular meetings of the Faculty.

I personally also would like to see the introduction of an online faculty discussion forum in the future to supplement the discussion of selected key issues at Town Hall and Faculty Meetings. During the past two years, there has been some consideration of an online faculty discussion forum at meetings of the FPC, and the creation of such a forum has also been suggested by several faculty, including David Karger of EECS. I would like to propose that the FPC and the Faculty Officers pilot an online faculty discussion forum in the coming year. Access would be limited to the MIT Community and only faculty would be permitted to post on the forum. The Faculty Officers would set a topic for discussion on the forum, which would then be opened for comments (with a word limit!) by members of the faculty. The value of such a forum is that it would allow for a true extended conversation among faculty members on a topic over an extended period of time, in between Faculty Meetings, and without the time constraints associated with meetings.

Faculty-Corporation Communication

MIT operates with a system of “shared governance” under which the Faculty, the Administration, and the Corporation all have roles in plotting the direction of the Institute and the management of its day-to-day affairs. In the wake of the revelations concerning Jeffrey Epstein’s interactions with MIT, the Faculty Officers heard calls from a number of quarters suggesting that the role of the Faculty in the governance of the Institute should be re-evaluated with the aim of “re-balancing” the Faculty’s role relative to the Corporation and the Administration. Toward this end, a Faculty Town Hall meeting was convened on February 5, 2020 to engage the MIT faculty in a “community brainstorming session” to consider ways in which the shared governance system of the Institute might be improved. This discussion continued at the Institute Faculty Meeting that February and resulted in a call to establish a working group on the engagement of the Faculty with the MIT Corporation. While effective vehicles for communication between the Faculty and Administration, and between the Administration and the Corporation exist, there is little opportunity for direct communication between the Faculty and Corporation aside from the Visiting Committees which are necessarily focused on “local” issues of concern to a particular department.

I began discussions with Corporation Chair Bob Millard to create this working group shortly after the February 2020 Faculty Meeting, but these discussions were suspended that March with the advent of the Covid-19 emergency. This past fall I resumed these discussions with the new Chair of the Corporation, Diane Greene, and at her invitation made a presentation on the topic at the quarterly meeting of the Corporation in December. At the March Corporation Meeting, Diane Greene presented a resolution “To establish an ad hoc committee to review existing mechanisms of engagement between MIT faculty and the Corporation and evaluate whether different or additional mechanisms are desirable . . . .” The Corporation approved this resolution and as of this writing Diane and I are in the process of scheduling the first meeting of the ad hoc committee. Joining me on the committee are Faculty Chair-Elect Lily Tsai and Professors Dan Hastings and Tom Kochan, while Diane Greene has appointed Drew Faust, Ken Wang, Colin Webb, and Songyee Yoon from the Corporation as members of the committee.

Promotion and Tenure

Improving MIT’s promotion and tenure processes has been among the top priorities on my agenda since the beginning of my term as Chair of the Faculty. I began discussing aspects of promotion and tenure with Provost Marty Schmidt in the summer of 2019, and this has been the subject of several meetings of the Faculty Policy Committee during the past two years. Among the questions under discussion have been whether improvements might be possible with regard to fairness and the level of transparency in our processes, whether the criteria used in evaluating faculty for promotion are appropriate, and whether our current procedures make the most efficient use of faculty time.

These conversations actually constitute a continuation of a review initiated by then Faculty Chair Bish Sanyal in 2009 which led to a report of a special ad hoc faculty committee chaired by Tom Kochan and Bob Silbey. One of the recommendations of the Kochan-Silbey committee involved improvements in the process by which grievances related to tenure are addressed, and this recommendation ultimately led to the development of the revised policy described in Section 3.3 of Policies and Procedures. Unfortunately, no action was taken on any of the other recommendations of the Kochan-Silbey committee in subsequent years. During my term as Chair I have urged that a number of these recommendations be revisited, and discussion of these aspects of promotion and tenure have taken place over the past year at meetings of Deans Council (of which I am a member) and at meetings of the Deans Group of Academic Council under the leadership of Provost Marty Schmidt. It should be noted that Associate Provost Tim Jamison has joined me in helping to lead several aspects of this review. I provided an interim report on progress in my column entitled “Improvements in Policies for Promotion and Tenure are Overdue” in the September/October 2020 issue of the Faculty Newsletter.

Criteria for Promotion and Tenure. This past fall Tim Jamison and I led a discussion of the revision of Section 3.2 of Policies and Procedures, the section that lays out the criteria for tenure at MIT. The new wording, which was approved by Academic Council in December, is shown below. Explicit reference to mentoring and advising was added to one paragraph of this section since consideration of a candidate’s performance in these areas has been part of the evaluation in promotions for some time. A second paragraph of Section 3.2 was also revised, in this case to explicitly recognize that what is considered in the evaluation of scholarly impact can vary considerably between different disciplines. These paragraphs of Section 3.2 now read as follows:

Persons awarded tenure must be judged by distinguished members of their discipline to be of first rank among scholars and to show promise of continued contribution to scholarship. Tenured members of the Faculty must also demonstrate outstanding teaching, mentoring, advising, and university service; however, excellence in these important roles is not in itself a sufficient basis for awarding tenure.

A single standard of exceptional quality, as confirmed by distinguished members of their disciplines, applies across the Institute. However, it should be noted that what is used as evidence of scholarly achievement and impact will vary based on the discipline and its modes of inquiry and that the opportunities for mentoring, advising, and university service also will vary among different departments.

Communicating Processes and Expectations to Pre-Tenure Faculty. One of the concerns raised in the Kochan-Silbey report was that the processes and expectations for tenure are not always communicated clearly to new faculty. This problem persists. In the 2020 Quality of Life Survey, 48% of the pre-tenure faculty respondents disagree with the statement “the criteria for tenure are clearly communicated.” That room for improvement exists is consistent with my own experience based on informal conversations with junior colleagues. This past fall, I suggested to Deans Council that each School create a website (possibly accessible only to MIT faculty) outlining the expectations, timetable, and processes for promotion at each rank. “Expectations” would include the general policy with regard to the relative role of research, teaching, mentoring, and service in evaluations for promotion. The role of internal and external letters would be described on each website with an indication of how letter writers are selected. In addition, these webpages would discuss the various stages of review at the department level and subsequently at the level of the School Council and at the Appointments Subgroup of Academic Council.

After considerable discussion, Deans Council directed each School to develop websites along these lines with the expectation that the posting of these sites would be completed by June. It should be emphasized that these websites do not replace the meetings that Department Heads hold with junior faculty and will not be a substitute for other more detailed vehicles for orientation of faculty on these procedures.

Aligning Processes. In the course of the meetings of Deans Council on the subject of communication and these websites it emerged that there are surprising differences among Schools with regard to certain minor aspects of the processes for promotion and tenure. This has led to discussions currently underway to increase the alignment of some processes among Schools.

Simplifying Faculty Ranks. MIT is almost unique in having four tenure-track professorial ranks: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor without Tenure (“AWOT”), Associate Professor with Tenure (“AWIT”), and Full Professor. At MIT, promotion to AWOT, AWIT, and to Full Professor each involves an extensive and rigorous review. The most important component in each review involves “external letters” which are solicited from a number of international leaders who are asked to discuss in detail the candidate’s contributions in research and scholarship. Most of our peers have only three faculty ranks, and at most universities promotion to Associate Professor carries with it the award of tenure. Caltech, for example, has only two faculty ranks, having simplified their system about seven years ago to comprise only the rank of Assistant Professor (untenured) and Full Professor (tenured).

Calls to reduce the complexity of the MIT system have been heard for decades for reasons that I summarized in my September/October 2020 FNL column. The Kochan-Silbey report suggested that the promotion from AWIT to Full Professor be conducted without the need for outside letters and at my urging this simplification of our system has been discussed at meetings of Deans Council and Deans Group this past year. Proponents of eliminating external letters for this promotion argue that evaluation of continued excellence in scholarship can be made on the basis of a set of “internal letters” from MIT faculty, who obviously can also comment on the candidate’s teaching and service contributions at MIT. It has been noted that it is extremely rare that promotion to Full Professor is denied after an external review because of weak outside letters. This is due to the fact that undertaking a promotion to Full Professor is typically delayed by the department if there is any doubt about the outcome of an external review.

Unfortunately, although some Deans and School Councils favor this change, others believe that a review by outside authorities is essential and that the importance of retaining this review outweighs the effort and drawbacks associated with soliciting an adequate number of external letters. Since there is agreement that consistency in policy across the Institute is advisable, it does not appear that progress on this point is likely in the immediate future.

Mentoring of Pre-Tenure Faculty. The Kochan-Silbey committee found the state of mentoring across Schools and departments at MIT to be “a significant concern” and recommended that guidelines for mentoring be created and made more uniform throughout the Institute. I agree with the importance of improvements in this area, and strongly support the review of mentoring currently underway under the leadership of Associate Provost Tim Jamison.

Graduate Student Funding

Another top priority on my agenda as Faculty Chair during the past two years has been addressing the high cost of supporting graduate students at MIT as compared to our peers. For some years I have argued that the high cost of grad students is so serious as to pose an existential threat to our competitiveness as a premier research institution.

Concerns in this area are not new, and in the fall of 2016 Provost Marty Schmidt convened a Working Group on Graduate Student Tuition Models to study the problem. This committee, chaired by Professor Steve Bell of Biology, submitted their report in July 2018, but no action had been taken when I assumed office as Chair of the Faculty one year later. Beginning that summer, I communicated my feelings about the urgency of this problem to Provost Schmidt in our personal meetings and also made it a topic for discussion at meetings of the Faculty Policy Committee. Recognizing the importance of this issue, Provost Schmidt scheduled discussions of graduate funding at several meetings of the Deans Group of Academic Council during the current academic year, and attendees at the recent Faculty Town Hall on May 5 know that the Provost and the Administration have identified the high cost of graduate students as part of a “research deferred maintenance” problem that is now regarded as one of the highest “strategic priorities” for the Institute.

Graduate student funding is also receiving attention from Task Force 2021, for which I serve as co-chair together with Professor Sanjay Sarma. As discussed in my January/February 2021 FNL column “Task Force 2021 and Beyond – Toward ‘Building a Better MIT’,” we have assigned one of the 16 Refinement and Implementation Committees (“RICs”) of Phase 2 of the Task Force to consider approaches to the problem of graduate student funding. Both the Research Working Group and the Financial Modeling Group of Phase 1 of the Task Force had highlighted the high cost of graduate students at MIT as an important priority for attention, and RIC 15, chaired by Professor Steve Buchwald of Chemistry, is working with Provost Schmidt to develop a plan to address this longstanding and urgent aspect of “research deferred maintenance.”

Education and Academic Programs

The crisis brought on by the Covid-19 global pandemic has required significant changes in our academic policies to accommodate the profound impact of Covid-19 on our educational enterprise. In my March/April 2020 FNL column “Education in the Time of Covid-19”, I summarized the initial steps taken by Faculty Governance which included the development of emergency academic regulations and the mandating of an alternate pass/no-record-type grading system for the spring 2020 semester. Responsibility for steering our academic programs through the pandemic was then assumed by a new committee I convened in late spring 2020, the Academic Policy and Regulations Team (APART). I have chaired this committee, whose membership includes students and the current and recent chairs of the key Faculty Governance committees concerned with the Institute’s educational mission. APART continues to work in coordination with key standing committees of the Faculty and with the Administration to develop necessary regulations and policies in response to the challenges to our academic program caused by the pandemic.

Progress in improving our undergraduate and graduate academic programs has been made in spite of the significant disruption caused by Covid-19. Unfortunately, space constraints do not permit a detailed review in this column of all of the important work in this area by Faculty Governance during the past two years. In this last section, I therefore focus on several ongoing efforts and initiatives planned for implementation in the near future.

The Undergraduate Program. My interest in serving as Chair of the Faculty was largely motivated by my desire to see the Institute undertake a comprehensive review of the undergraduate academic program including the General Institute Requirements. It will be recalled that the last comprehensive review of the undergraduate curriculum was by the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons chaired by Professor Robert Silbey. The Silbey Task Force issued its report in 2006 and a subcommittee of CUP was subsequently appointed to refine the recommendations of the Task Force and to develop motions for consideration by the Faculty. These motions were presented to the Faculty for approval in 2009. After debate spanning several meetings, the Faculty voted to implement significant changes in the HASS component of the GIRs, but a second motion, in this case for changes in the SME (Science-Math-Engineering) component of the requirements, was not approved.

I discussed my thoughts on the creation of a new Task Force on the Undergraduate Academic Program with members of the senior leadership in early 2019, prior to agreeing to be nominated as Faculty Chair. The original plan we discussed called for the creation of a new Task Force to be charged by me (as Chair of the Faculty) jointly with Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, with work by the Task Force to begin in January 2020. Unfortunately, a series of unforeseen crises – first, the “Epstein Affair” in the fall, and then the global pandemic that began in March – led to the indefinite postponement of work on this Task Force.

With prospects now appearing to favor a return to normalcy in the fall, I have assigned one of the Refinement and Implementation Committees (RIC 1) of Task Force 2021 to consider whether to convene the postponed Task Force, and if so, to draft a charge and suggest potential membership. I am chairing this RIC, and am joined on the committee by six other faculty: CUP Chair Arthur Bahr, Associate Faculty Chair Duane Boning, Director of Concourse Anne McCants, Dean for Digital Learning Krishna Rajagopal, Faculty Chair-Elect Lily Tsai, and Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz. We anticipate completing a report this summer.

The Graduate Program. Two Refinement and Implementation Committees of Task Force 2021 are working on improvements to the graduate program.

Beginning in September, Ian Waitz, Tim Jamison and I had held discussions on the need to enhance the scope and effectiveness of graduate student advising, and similar discussions were taking place concurrently in CGP (the Committee on Graduate Programs) led by Professor Martha Gray. For Phase 2 of the Task Force, Sanjay and I created RIC 4 to develop a plan to implement the recommendations of these groups as well as related ideas proposed by the Student Journey Working Group of Phase 1 of the Task Force. RIC 4 has recently completed its work, developing a charge for an Ad Hoc Committee on a Strategic Plan for Graduate Advising and Mentoring which will be co-chaired by Professors Paula Hammond and Tim Jamison.

Several groups in Phase 1 of Task Force 2021 proposed ideas aimed at implementing “holistic graduate education,” a goal that also has been under discussion in CGP during the past year. RIC 3 has been convened and assigned to consider the introduction of professional development opportunities for graduate students, including perhaps even a “professional perspective requirement,” which might be satisfied by internships (both corporate and social-good), by research exchanges and research collaborations with companies, and via the exploration of non-research careers through teaching experiences and other activities. This committee will be issuing its report before the end of June.

Postgraduate Education. “Lifelong learning” and other aspects of postgraduate education are central to the ideas posed by several groups of the Academic and Administrative Workstreams of Phase 1 of Task Force 2021. For example, the “Beyond MIT” Working Group noted that “we currently lack a coherent vision and plan for an MIT ‘Postgraduate Education of the Future’ that makes MIT a pioneer in preparing people to work at ‘good jobs’ of the future”. This group then went on to propose “an MIT Postgraduate Education of the Future Initiative“ that “would establish a new college or university-wide unit at MIT dedicated to online postgraduate education with a range of postgraduate subjects and coherent, intentional programs.” RIC 11 (Lifelong Learning/Postgraduate Education), chaired by Sanjay Sarma, has been charged with evaluation of this recommendation and related recommendations of the Education and Financial Modeling Working Groups, and will be proposing a plan forward in their report, due before the end of June.

While there is no question in my mind that programs in postgraduate education and lifelong learning are consistent with MIT’s educational mission, I and others have raised questions about the extent to which the Institute should expand its efforts in this area. Concerns include the extent to which these efforts might divert faculty time away from residential teaching, and proposals to augment faculty instructors with non-faculty lecturers raise questions about quality control and the impact on the MIT “brand” and reputation. It has also been noted that while Faculty Governance has committees (CUP and CGP) that monitor and exercise general oversight with regard to our undergraduate and graduate educational programs, there currently is no such standing committee associated with postgraduate educational programs. With the prospect of significant expansion of our efforts in postgraduate education and lifelong learning in the future, I have raised for discussion consideration of the creation of a “Committee on Postgraduate Programs” (CPP) as a twelfth Standing Committee of the Faculty.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that there are a number of other issues of equal importance to those discussed in this column that have received attention from Faculty Governance during the past two years. In particular, diversity, equity, and inclusion, climate action, and aspects of student life were topics that occupied discussions of FPC and the Faculty Officers.

Finally, and last but not least, I want to express my sincere thanks to my fellow Faculty Officers Duane Boning and David Singer for their wisdom and counsel during the past two years. Both have significant other responsibilities (Professor Singer is Head of Political Science!) but have been unstinting in their effort and dedication throughout these turbulent and eventful two years. And a very special thanks to Dr. Tami Kaplan, Faculty Governance Administrator extraordinaire, whose familiarity with all aspects of Institute governance, command of MIT’s myriad policies and regulations, wisdom and common sense, and remarkable dedication has been essential to all that has been accomplished by Faculty Governance during the past two years.

MIT Faculty Newsletter Vol. XXXIII No. 5 May/June 2021