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Bacow Begins Faculty Chair Job


Jiri Schindler--The Tech
Professor Lawrence S. Bacow '72

By Felicia Hu

Professor Lawrence S. Bacow '72 of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning took office as chair of the faculty at the beginning of the academic year.

Bacow succeeds outgoing chair Professor of Physics Robert L. Jaffe.

As faculty chair, he serves as the chair of the Faculty Policy Committee, which supervises the activities of other faculty committees as well as considers issues of general faculty policy.

In addition, he appoints the chairs of the various standing committees. He and President Charles M. Vest will work closely together in planning agendas for faculty meetings.

ROTC, re-engineering targeted

Bacow considers ROTC, the Institute-wide re-engineering effort, and the faculty retirement policy as the important issues that the faculty will face in the coming year.

MIT's participation in ROTC has been under scrutiny because the military's discriminatory policy against gays conflicts with the Institute's non-discrimination policy. When the ROTC working group ends its five-year tenure next month, an administration task force will begin considering the matter.

Anticipated federal cuts in research funding will raise questions as to how the Institute will cope and respond. Finally, the faculty retirement policy has been a major issue since the federal government eliminated mandatory retirement in colleges and universities last year.

According to Bacow, the Institute is looking at ways which would answer to the desire of the senior faculty to continue doing research and teach without compromising the employment of younger faculty.

Shared governance' discussed

Bacow will represent the faculty in MIT's shared governance system between the faculty and administration.

Although Bacow looks very positively upon the system, he does acknowledge that issues arise that "test the relationship between the faculty and administration," he said.

However, the members of the faculty "are not reluctant to voice their opinions when they think the administration has taken actions which are not in the best interests of MIT," he said.

Bacow received his MIT degree from the Department of Economics. He also received a law and a doctorate degree from Harvard University. He joined the MIT faculty in 1977. In addition to his new responsibilities as faculty chair, he teaches a graduate course and a freshman seminar.