MIT searches for new deans
By Chris Schechter
The leadership transition in the administration, marked by the arrival of President Charles
M. Vest and Provost Mark S. Wrighton, will be quietly accompanied by the arrival of several new deans.
In April, the dean of the School of Engineering, Gerald L. Wilson PhD '72, announced his resignation effective Sept. 1 of this year. He has agreed to hold the position at MIT until January 1991, though.
And Ann F. Friedlaender PhD '69, former dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science, announced in February that she was relinquishing that position to continue teaching economics at the Institute. The former associate dean of the school, Professor of History Philip S. Khoury, took over as acting dean of the school July 1.
Arthur C. Smith was appointed acting dean for student affairs when Shirley M. McBay left the ODSA June 30 to embark on a two-year paid leave of absence from MIT. Smith was appointed to act as dean for one year,
but said he would stay on until the search for a new dean was complete.
McBay is now president of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, an organization whose purpose is to implement recommendations from a 30-month QEM Project study which examined the educational problems of five underrepresented minority groups.
No deadline pressures
The provost has not set a specific timetable to fill these positions. Wrighton said he has given high priority to filling certain positions, such as dean of engineering, but stressed there will be no time pressures. "We need to devote plenty of time to the search process," he said. "We do not want to move hastily on such important matters."
The appointment process for each position begins with the formation of a search committee which will ultimately submit a number of candidates to the president and the provost. The provost has the final say in the matter.
Wrighton hoped to collect student input in the selection of the new deans. With that goal in mind, he contacted the Undergraduate Association and the Graduate Student Council, saying that "all interaction between students and the administration is welcome."
The provost will be considering candidates from MIT as well as from other universities. He said he is determined to select deans who "will provide the best set of circumstances for studying and research."
"I am primarily looking for people who could work well in a team and share the same visions as I have for the Institute," Wrighton added.