Education Office may face closure
By Lakshmana Rao
The Undergraduate Association's Executive Committee spent seven hours on Sunday discussing the possible dissolution of the Undergraduate Education Office.
"We heard that there are plans to make the UEO function under the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs and to make the Dean for Student Affairs take over the charges of the Dean of Undergraduate Education," said Undergraduate Association President Stacy E. McGeever '93.
According to McGeever, ExecCom feels that the UEO should put more emphasis on teaching at MIT. "The UEO is undergoing a major reorganization at the present stage and we are concerned about the future directions taken by the office," she added.
An assistant to Provost Mark S. Wrighton said he is out of the country this week.
"We are in the middle of a process and the decisions are not yet in their final form," said Dean for Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith. He refused to comment further on the issue of his additional charge.
Associate Provost Samuel J. Keyser said "We are still tossing a few ideas around and no final decision has been made as yet."
The post of dean of undergraduate education remained vacant following the death of Margaret L. A. MacVicar '65 in September 1991. "Ever since her death, various officers in the UEO were carrying out their individual responsibilities, even in the absence of a dean," said Leslie C. Perelman, assistant dean for undergraduate education.
Student concern focuses
on new appointees
Students were more concerned about the nature of the appointees to the new offices than the nature of the proposed organizational changes.
Existing programs may be upset by any reorganization, said UA Floor Leader Hans C. Godfrey '93. "MacVicar initiated so many programs that have helped student education on campus. We are concerned that these programs are not jeopardized in any way in the future. However, Smith has been an excellent dean and we are confident that he will do the right things if he is given the additional charge of undergraduate education," Godfrey added.
The creation of an unmanageably large office concerns other UA officers. "Combining [the UEO and ODSA] would result in one huge office which may be difficult to administer. We have to consider the possibility that Smith may retire one day and then things may be completely different with the new person," said J. Paul Kirby '93, UA vice president.
McGeever said it is desirable to have the UEO function under the ODSA. However, she said, "a lot depends on the details of the merger and we cannot comment on the effectiveness of the merger unless the details are spelled out clearly."
Godfrey said the UEO should focus on the overall emphasis of undergraduate education rather than working on the details of specific programs. "The General Institute Requirements for the completion of the undergraduate degree must be re-examined to evaluate the type of undergraduate education MIT would be offering to its students," Godfrey said.