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Wrighton will fund CEG improvements

By Judy Kim

Provost Mark S. Wrighton has decided to provide additional finances and resources necessary to markedly improve the Course Evaluation Guide, with goals of complete coverage of all undergraduate subjects and the upgrading of the CEG to make it a more reliable tool in tenure decisions.

In a letter sent to faculty members during the end of November, Wrighton described the CEG as "an important guide to undergraduate subjects at MIT. It is of use to both our students and our faculty."

Wrighton pledged to provide "a capital contribution to upgrade existing computational equipment" as well as resources to allow the CEG to cover all undergraduate subjects with more than 10 students.

In his letter, Wrighton wrote that CEG staff members guaranteed "100 percent subject coverage in each term of the academic year" once improvements begin. As a result, he strongly encouraged faculty members to "make adequate time available to provide input necessary for the CEG" during class time.

Wrighton's decision came after meeting with Associate Dean of Student Affairs Travis R. Merritt, Undergraduate Association President Stacy E. McGeever '93 and CEG Editor Dawn L. Nolt '92 earlier this term.

They met "to review the status of the CEG in view of the discussions held in connection with" the Institute colloquium, "Teaching Within a Research University," Wrighton wrote in his letter.

McGeever said the main focus of the meeting was to have Wrighton recognize the need for changes to the CEG and to ask him for financial assistance in bringing about these changes. Since Wrighton is an influential figure on the MIT campus, making changes in the CEG with Wrighton's support would ensure its success, McGeever said.

CEG may be used in

tenure process

After improvements are made, Wrighton said, the CEG "will be able to provide a rapid response to faculty regarding the data from individual subjects." Since teaching is an important consideration in deciding whether a professor receives tenure, the CEG improvements could have an impact on the tenure-approving process, he said.

Chemistry Department Head Robert J. Silbey said that "we always use the CEG," among other sources, when assessing a professor's teaching.

Thomas H. Jordan, head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, said the CEG is an important tool, and that "I'm a big fan of the CEG." In terms of using the CEG in discussing tenures, Jordan said that "we find the CEG very useful for evaluating teaching."

Emilio Bizzi, head of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department, also said that the CEG is one of the factors involved in tenure decisions.