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USP Head Phillip Clay Named Associate Provost

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Associate News Editor

Professor Phillip L. Clay PhD '75, head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, has been appointed associate provost effective Oct. 1. Clay will fill the position vacated by Sheila E. Widnall '60, who was sworn in as Secretary of the Air Force last August.

Announcing the appointment, Provost Mark S. Wrighton said that Clay will have responsiblities in promotion and tenure policies, academic integrity, faculty recruitment and retirement, and international education programs, according to an article in Tech Talk.

"He has a wonderful, scholarly yet pragmatic style of interaction that seems well suited to the core duties that the provost has assigned him," said President Charles M. Vest.

"I will look to him as a key adviser in the development of academic policy, and as a key link to the faculty," Vest said. "I will work with him as he develops our international agenda and will seek his advice and actions as a planner."

In June, Wrighton said that he and Vest were discussing the appointment of an associate provost with wide-ranging responsiblities to fill the positions vacated by Widnall and former Associate Provost for Institute Life Samuel J. Keyser.

Faculty experience required

"First and foremost, this position requires someone who has significant experience as a faculty member," Vest said. Clay will be a "key link between the senior administration and the faculty," Vest said.

The new associate provost will also represent the provost on the Faculty Policy Committee and deal with issues of tenure policy and academic integrity, Vest said.

"Phil's professional experiences will be especially important as we undertake new education and research initiatives, especially ones involving work with and in emerging countries," Wrighton said.

Clay will work primarily with the provost, "but because the senior administration operates very much as a team, I anticipate lots of direct interaction with him," Vest said. "I will work with him as he develops our international agenda and will seek his advice and actions as a planner."

According to Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning William J. Mitchell, Clay has "very strong administrative skills" and is a "very experienced planner."

The perspective of an urban planner will be useful to Clay in his new position, Mitchell said, because MIT is "much more like a community than a corporation."

Mitchell said he hopes to have a new head for the urban studies department by October, when Clay assumes the associate provost position.

Clay held the position of associate department head and directed the Masters in City Planning program before being named department head in 1992. From 1980 to 1984, he was assistant director of the MIT-Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies.

Clay received an AB degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 and a PhD from MIT in 1975. Clay became an assistant professor at MIT in 1974, associate professor in 1980, and professor in 1992.

Clay is a member of the policy and research advisory councils of the Federal National Mortgage Association. He is also a member of the board of directors of Greater Boston Community Development, the National Housing Trust, and the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.