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Jackson to Step Down As OME Head by Sept.

By Sarah Y. Keightley
Executive Editor

After more than four years at the Institute, Judy Jackson, director of the Office of Minority Education, will be resigning from her position by September. She intends to pursue a PhD in higher education administration at Harvard University.

Though a committee for Jackson's replacement has not been formed yet, Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith will be appointing a committee chair soon. The administration hopes to find a replacement before the summer is over, Jackson said.

Jackson, who is also an associate dean in the ODUESA, has received much praise for her leadership skills and her accomplishments.

"Judy Jackson is a national leader in matters dealing with the education of minority students in science and engineering," said President Charles M. Vest. "MIT has been fortunate to have had her undivided services for several years as she has redefined and built OME."

"J.J. has a professional attitude which has been of great value in defining the role of OME," Smith said. "She couples that with the kind of concern for individuals and understanding of human needs that characterizes the best academic administrators."

Jackson expanded programs

Jackson's accomplishments as OME director include expanding OME's programs, such as the tutoring services, Project Interphase, and Program Excel. She has also improved relations with industry, providing more opportunities for minority students, according to Vest and Smith.

Jackson hopes that her successor will try to improve the current programs and develop new programs. "Minority education is not an appendage or something extra. It's an integral part of an MIT education, and we have shown that with the success of our programs," she said.

Smith praised Jackson for strengthening OME's programs during her tenure. "Under her leadership the tutoring services of OME have experienced exceptional growth in quality and in the number of students served," he said.

Jackson is proud of the expanded tutoring program and the better-equipped Tutorial Services Room.

"We have taken tutorial services from a little over 200 hours a semester to over 1,650 hours a semester," Jackson said. In addition, the 150 upperclassmen and graduate students who work as tutors and the students who utilize the services now include people from all ethnic groups, she said.

Another OME-sponsored project is Program Excel, a six-credit freshman seminar which provides formal study groups and "takes students beyond the classroom," Jackson said.

Excel started in fall 1989, and participation has increased from 30 to 70 students, she said. Students from Excel tend to do better in their math and science courses than they were expected to do, Jackson said.

Project Interphase is another OME project. This pre-freshman summer program is now taking more students, and " `Interphasers' performance in the fall semester has been reaching an all-time high," Jackson said.

Good relations with industry

Jackson's work with the Industrial Advisory Council on Minority Education has increased financial support and the number of internships available to minorities, according to Jackson.

"I especially note the strength of relations she has built with corporations nationwide to gather ideas, financial support, and opportunities for MIT students," Vest said.

Jackson said that when she started, only about 15 students were getting summer assignments in Fortune 500 companies through the mentorship program. Now, over 30 get jobs through the program, she said. "We have multiplied not only theparticipation, but also academic performance -- I feel proud," Jackson said.

The OME has "achieved faculty involvement as it has never happened before," Jackson said. She believes that the success of the OME's programs has "brought the office to a position where it commands the respect that any academic unit deserves."

Finding a replacement

Smith is currently deciding who would be an "appropriate chair for this very important committee" to choose a new OME director. Once the chair is named, both the chair and Smith will determine who should be on the committee and the timeline for the search.

Smith also plans to "significantly" involve students during the search process.

"Whoever follows me will have a good base to build on and a dedicated staff to work with," Jackson said.

"I am extremely pleased that she has decided to undertake doctoral studies at Harvard," Vest said. "Fortunately, we will be keeping in close touch with her during this period of concentrated studies."