Dean McBay to step down
By Brian Rosenberg
Dean for Student Affairs Shirley M. McBay has resigned effective June 30 to begin a two-year paid leave of absence from MIT. She will become president of the Quality Education for Minorities Network.
McBay, who has been the dean for student affairs since 1980, said her resignation was "totally unrelated" to the resignations of President Paul E. Gray '54 and Provost John M. Deutch '61. "QEM Network has been scheduled to start on July 1 for quite some time," she stated.
The QEM Network, a non-profit organization, will replace the QEM Project on June 30. The project, jointly supported <>
by the Carnegie Corporation and MIT, was established in July 1987, according to Keva M. Wright, conference coordinator for the project.
The QEM Project conducted a 30-month study of the educational problems of five underrepresented minority groups: Alaskan Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, black Americans, and Puerto Ricans. The study, published in January, made 58 specific recommendations.
McBay, who has served as director of the project since its inception, said the purpose of the network is to implement the recommendations of the study.
"We're saying the entire system needs to be restructured. [We have] an action plan for providing quality education for minorities, but if you fix the system for the underserved, you free up resources for the rest of the students," she said.
"No formal offer [for the presidency of QEM] was made," McBay said. "It was basically a smooth transition from the directorship to the presidency. It was very difficult to decide to leave."
The decision to grant McBay a paid leave was made jointly by Deutch and Gray, said McBay. "The issue of salary hasn't been discussed," she noted, "but I don't expect it to be a sticking point. MIT is a fair place."
"I've had a wonderful ten years here. It's a remarkable place, and I wish more people could experience it. It's a place where you're free to pursue your interests."
McBay said she would "have to see" if she comes back to MIT at all. When she took on the project, McBay did not anticipate the impact of QEM study or that she might have to leave MIT. "Two years ago, no one could have predicted that we'd be where we are now."
Deutch said he hoped McBay would return to MIT in some capacity. "Shirley McBay . . . has brought wisdom and high standards to every aspect of her work," he said.
MIT's support for QEM consisted mostly of office space and access to the usual office equipment, said McBay. "There was some salary support for a month during a transition period," she noted.
Deutch and Gray are discussing steps to take to launch the succession process, according to a statement released by the MIT News Office.
McBay said the selection of a new dean "depends on the new administration's priorities. I don't have any input."
She said she'd "like to see [Project] XL extended. I think it has been a success, especially since it was extended to second term. The students wanted it, and that shows we were filling a need."