Baker Award is not career killer
There is a myth that the Baker Foundation Teaching Award is the "kiss of death," that every professor who receives this award is denied tenure and has to leave MIT ["Do not take part in the Baker "kiss of death" teaching award," April 12].
However, this view is one-sided and incomplete. The Baker Award is the only award given solely through the input of MIT undergraduates. The faculty and administration have no connection whatsoever. You attribute too much power to us if you think this award has any bearing on the tenure process.
It may be interesting to note that professors who received the award as far back as 1966 are still being nominated by their present students. Past winners include: Professor Daniel S. Kemp of the chemistry department, Professor Theoharis C. Theoharis of the literature section of the humanities department, Professor Amar G. Bose '51 of the EECS department, and Professors Woodie C. Flowers SM '73 and James H. Williams Jr. '67
of the mechanical engineering department.
Considering the caliber of the previous winners, we believe that it would be unfair to call the award a mere "scam."
In the event that the administration fails to recognize the value of a certain professor, the Baker Award provides students a chance to show their appreciation for the faculty member in question.
That is the sole responsibility, power and privilege of the award. We consider this award to be the only opportunity for students to reward good teaching.
Susan Hsu '91->
Kathleen Chein '92->
Kerry Beach '92->