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Honor our teachers with 1991 class gift

I am writing this letter because I have an idea for the Class of 1991 class gift and would like to hear what some other students think of the idea.

MIT is known as one of the world's premier research institutions. Every year there are one or two incidents that remind us how much more MIT values a good researcher than a good teacher. The Institute does not do enough to promote teaching or recognize the teaching ability of its professors.

My idea for our class gift would help remedy this. I would like to see a fund established to start the Class of 1991 Freshman Teaching Award.

One way in which this award could work would be to let MIT handle the investing of the money but with the following restrictions: Each year half of the interest earned would be reinvested in the fund so that the fund would grow and the award would continue to be meaningful.

The other half of the interest earned would be given to the professor who wins the award. Of course, he should also get something else -- perhaps a trophy in the shape of Aladdin's lamp or a beaver. There should also be a permanent tribute such as a large plaque displaying the names of all the winners.

The award should be limited to the professors of Introduction

to Solid-State Chemistry (3.091), Principles of Chemical Science (5.11), Physics I (8.01), Physics II (8.02), and Calculus (18.01 and 18.02). These classes are the ones which most MIT students must take.

The professors of these classes are the ones whose teaching ability matters to the most students. Teaching ability is also more important to freshmen, who are just getting acquainted with the Institute, than to other students.

Finally, the most important thing about this award is that it would be given by the students. The freshmen should be able to vote to give it to whomever they want. If four straight classes vote to give the award to the same professor, the fifth should not be prevented from doing the same.

I do not think that more needs to be said about such an award. I would like the officers of the Class of 1991 to address the issue. Whatever they decide, it is time that someone did more to recognize teaching ability around the Institute.

Lee Heavner '91->