Faculty residents of four dormitories to leave positions after this springBy Katie Schwarz
Four Institute houses will be looking for new faculty residents this spring.
Judah L. Schwartz of Bexley Hall, Margery Resnick of McCormick Hall and Daniel N. Osherson of East Campus will leave their positions as housemasters, and T. Alan Hatton will no longer reside as junior housemaster of MacGregor House after this academic year.
"It was wonderful," said Schwartz of his six years at Bexley, "[but] it's time to leave."
Schwartz, professor of Engineering Science and Education, teaches in the Concourse program. His research concerns "the ways in which computers can play a role in helping people think and learn," he said.
Resnick has "seen a lot of positive change" in McCormick since she became housemaster in 1978. The dormitory is "more open and more participatory" now, she said, citing increased student interest in house government and other house activities.
McCormick has become "more open to the larger MIT community," Resnick continued. The dining hall reopened after years of disuse, and activities such as dance classes, religious groups, and English classes for international wives are offered in the dorm. Several professors from various departments teach some classes in the McCormick penthouse.
Resnick sees McCormick Hall as a "reflection of the spirit" of Katharine Dexter McCormick '04, an early champion of the cause of women students at MIT. Katharine McCormick believed women students should be "autonomous, open, and independent-minded," Resnick explained. She arranged a permanent exhibit on the alumna's life for the dormitory's lobby with a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT.
Living in McCormick has been a good experience for her family, Resnick said. "We loved it ... I feel very close to the students."
This academic year is Resnick's eighth at McCormick, however, and she feels it is time for a change. "It's very important to have variety," she said, noting that she is concerned about "homogeneity" in the housemaster system because only one other woman professor and one black professor have been faculty residents.
"I'm leaving the dorm, but I'm not leaving the women's community," she added. As chairman of the faculty Advisory Committee on Women Students' Interests, she intends to continue to address the needs of women on campus.
Resnick, an associate professor of Spanish, teaches subjects in Spanish language and literature and women's studies. She studies Spanish poetry, with particular attention to the theme of exile and the role of "writers in outsiders' voices" such as women in a male-dominated society or democratic writers in a fascist society.
Daniel Osherson, professor of Psychology, was appointed to a one-year term at East Campus in September. Many faculty members had expressed interest in becoming East Campus housemaster in the fall of 1986, but only Osherson was able to take the position this academic year, explained Manavendra K. Thakur '87, a member of the dormitory's housemaster search committee.
Osherson is leaving because he will be on sabbatical next year, according to Associate Dean for Student Affairs Robert A. Sherwood. Osherson is away for Independent Activities Period and could not be reached for comment.
Alan Hatton said his family reluctantly decided to move because their sons, aged one and three, don't have enough access to the outdoors in their apartment on the top floor of MacGregor. "Our decision to leave was an extremely difficult one," he said.
"The interactions we have had with the MacGregor residents have had a strong, positive influence on our two little boys, but we feel that it is now time for us to move to a neighborhood where they will enjoy letting off steam in their own backyard," Hatton continued. "We are certainly going to miss our life at MacGregor, and, being firm supporters of the housemaster program, we feel fortunate to have been a part of it."
An assistant professor of Chemical Engineering, Hatton does research on separation of biological products.
Sherwood will ask the four houses to begin the housemaster search process soon. House residents can nominate professors for the position, and the Dean's Office will choose a small number of candidates for each house from these nominees and other faculty who have expressed interest in being housemasters.
The house governments will organize student committees to interview potential housemasters during the coming term. These committees will then meet with Sherwood and Shirley M. McBay, dean for student affairs, to decide among the candidates.
Only tenured professors may be considered for the housemaster positions, which carry a stipend as well as a rent-free apartment.