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GSC misunderstands new IAP Policy Committee evaluation

We would like to offer a few comments regarding the Graduate Student Council's dissatisfaction with the Independent Activities Period Policy Committee's interim report ["GSC criticizes report," Oct. 2].

The GSC felt that graduate students were not adequately mentioned in the report, and therefore the IAPPC was not concerned with the needs of graduate students. This could not be further from the truth.

The report was prepared at the request of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program. It reviews the results of a two-year experiment, mandated by the CUP, to strengthen IAP, specifically in terms of meaningful faculty contact with undergraduate students.

It was not meant to be a compendious survey of all aspects of the current state of IAP, nor did its language imply any policy change which would exclude the concerns and needs of graduate students. The IAPPC understands that IAP is intended to serve -- and draw strength from -- all members of the MIT community, including students, staff, and other employees.

The GSC, however, seems to misunderstand the role of the IAPPC, which is to help community members organize and lead IAP activities. The report states that faculty should lead more activities and that the academic departments should play a larger role in insuring faculty involvement.

Graduate student dissatisfaction with the faculty offerings should be addressed to the departments, with the IAPPC helping to resolve any shortcomings.

In addition, any other inadequacies in the IAP offerings for graduate students can be dealt with through activities led by graduate students themselves. This is, after all, the whole point of IAP -- if something is missing, individuals have to take the initiative to fill the gap.

The IAPPC is not there to offer activities which people want. It is there to help people offer these activities.

The IAPPC also needs to know how the MIT community is benefiting from IAP. During the past two years, considerable manpower was expended by the Undergraduate Academic Support Office in producing and collating the surveys which helped gauge undergraduate reaction to IAP.

There is definitely a need for similar information about graduate students. The IAPPC invites the GSC to help collect this information and use it to improve future IAPs for graduate students.

Anand Mehta G->

Travis Merritt->

Associate Dean->

for Student Affairs->