Deutch named Institute professor
By Joanna Stone
John M. Deutch '61, former MIT provost, has been named Institute professor. The announcement came from President Charles M. Vest, Provost Mark S. Wrighton and Faculty Chair Henry D. Jacoby.
"I'm enormously pleased and honored," Deutch said in an interview yesterday. "This is the third best thing that's happened to me at MIT," he added, explaining that the first was being admitted as a student to MIT and the second was being hired as a professor.
The title of Institute professor is bestowed on a faculty member to acknowledge outstanding leadership, accomplishment, and service in the scholarly, educational and general intellectual life of the Institute or wider academic community. Deutch's appointment brings the current total of Institute professors to nine, in addition to Edwin H. Land, a visiting Institute professor.
Deutch's appointment comes at a time when his decision of whether or not to accept Harvard's offer of a tenured position in its Division of Applied Sciences remains uncertain. Jacoby said Deutch's selection as Institute professor was by no means an attempt on MIT's part to keep Deutch from going to Harvard.
"The nomination process began last March. . . . At that time the possibility [of Deutch's appointment to the Harvard faculty] was not known, or rather I don't believe it was known by anyone," Jacoby said.
Jacoby interprets Deutch's acceptance of the Institute professorship as a decision to stay at MIT. "I assumed it meant that he has said no to other opportunities." However, he added, "I don't know what he'll do in the future."
Deutch would not say for certain if he had declined Harvard's offer. "My belief is that I will be a scholar at MIT for some time," he said. Deutch remarked that things may change in the future and that he could not comment on the tenure offer at Harvard.
However, he said that now, as Institute professor, he is "happily doing what I've said I've wanted to do all along: teach and do research in chemistry and public policy."
Albert Gold, associate dean of the Division of Applied Sciences at Harvard, said he was not aware whether Deutch had made a decision concerning the tenured position within his department. He did say he would be disappointed if Deutch decided not to take Harvard's offer.
"I have been very impressed, along with the rest of the faculty, by his credentials. [If he does decline the professorship] I would feel a loss of a potentially very valuable colleague," Gold said.
Before serving as MIT provost, Deutch held the position of dean of the School of Science from 1982 to 1985, and was head of the Department of Chemistry in 1976 and 1977.
From October 1977 to March 1980, Deutch took a leave from MIT to work at the US Department of Energy, first as director of the Office of Energy Research from 1977 to 1979, as acting assistant secretary for energy technology from January to June 1979, and then as undersecretary in the Department of Energy from August to March 1980.
He served as a member of the President's Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee from 1980 to 1981 and the President's Commission on Strategic Forces from 1983 to 1984. This past August, President George Bush appointed Deutch to a two-year term on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
In addition, he currently serves as a member of the Defense Policy Board, the Science Advisory Board of the National Security Agency, and the Defense Science Board.
The process between nominating and naming Deutch Institute professor took about eight months. "We followed the procedures as outlined in the Policies and Procedures book," Jacoby said.
The procedures are as follows: Nominations for Institute professor are made by members of the faculty representing different departments, preferably different schools at MIT.
On receipt of a nomination, the chair of the faculty consults with the president, provost and dean of the nominee's school to determine whether the nominee's qualifications justify proceeding further.
If so, the chair then consults with the Academic Council and determines whether the appointment would unduly increase the total number of Institute professors or lead to an inequitable distribution of Institute professors within the different segments of MIT.
If they decide to continue, the chair, jointly with the president, then appoints an ad hoc faculty committee, including members from within as well as outside MIT.
This year's committee was headed by Institute Professor John D. C. Little '48 of the MIT Sloan School of Management, and included Professor of Chemical Engineering Daniel I. C. Wang '59, Professor of Chemistry George H. B"uchi, Stanford Business School Dean Michael Spence, and Harold Brown of the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
The committee presents its recommendations to the president, who brings the recommendations to the Academic Council for review and advice and then submits the appointment to the Executive Committee of the Corporation for formal approval.
Deutch remarked of his recent appointment: "It makes me feel my colleagues value me; that's very important to me."