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Committee studies engineering plans

Dean of Engineering Gerald L. Wilson '61 announced the formation of a commission to review the undergraduate engineering education program at MIT, according to chairman of the committee, Associate Dean of Engineering, Jack L. Kerrebrock.

"The commission was formed," he said, "because of the perception that we needed to reexamine undergraduate engineering along with the reviews of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Science."

The Committee on the Humanities and Social Sciences, chaired by Professor Pauline R. Maier, and the School of Science Education Committee, chaired by Professor Robert J. Silbey, are currently reviewing the undergraduate programs in their respective schools.

Kerrebrock cited the importance of the undergraduate engineering program to the Institute as well as the need for periodic reappraisals to insure a common sense of purpose among the engineering faculty as reasons for the review.

Wilson and Kerrebrock have appointed Professors Herman A. Haus '54, Lawrence M. Lidsky '62 and Borivoje Mikic '67 to the commission, which Kerrebrock will chair. Each of the professors on the commission will head a subgroup that will examine one of three areas of concern, Kerrebrock explained.

The first subgroup will review the Institute Core and its interface with the School's curriculum. The second subgroup will review issues internal to the School of Engineering. The third subgroup will consider such matters as the environment in the living groups and MIT's learning environment, according to a letter Wilson and Kerrebrock addressed to the faculty of the School of Engineering.

Kerrebrock said the groups will consider various issues including the possibility of adding engineering courses to the Institute Core and the possibility of a five-year engineering degree.

Questions of the undergraduate learning environment at MIT are of equal importance. "There is a great deal of concern ... that a significant fraction of students suffer from competition and do worse than they could based on their previous records," Kerrebrock said. "We want each and every student to realize his own full potential at the Institute."

"We need very badly student input," Kerrebrock said. "Each of the eight engineering departments will be responsible for getting student opinions and fueling them into the commission."

The commission hopes to provide a statement of the goals of an engineering education by January, 1986 and to make recommendations concerning changes by May. The committees reviewing the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Science are also expected to report by May, 1986, according to Kerrebrock.

"The Committee on the Undergraduate Program will serve as a sounding board and coordinating body for the reviews," said Margaret L. A. MacVicar '65, dean of undergraduate education. "Final approval of final recommendations to the faculty occurs at the Faculty Policy Committee, however," she added.