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Faculty OK Change in Policy on Incompletes

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

Seventy-eight retiring faculty members were recognized for their years of service to the Institute at the faculty meeting on May 15.

The faculty also approved a measure to tighten MIT's policy on incomplete grades, received an update on the task forces on student life and learning, announced this year's Killian lecturer, and voted to accept the report of the Committee on Nominations.

Chair of the Faculty Lawrence S. Bacow recognized retiring faculty members who have served collectively served the Institute for 2,817 years. "We wish to express to [them] our appreciation for your many years of distinguished contribution and service," he said.

The 78 faculty members chose to take MIT's early retirement plan, which offers a number of benefits to eligible staff who retire early. Faculty and staff members over 60 qualify for the plan.

Most retiring members do not plan to retire completely and will continue to teach and do research, Bacow said.

Incompletes policy approved

The faculty unanimously approved a measure on incomplete grades that will make MIT's current system stricter.

Under MIT's current policy, students can receive incompletes for a variety of reasons and have a long and indeterminate period of time to make up the work and receive a grade.

The new policy will require students receiving incompletes to formally outline with professors how the incomplete work will be made up, with the expectation that the work will be finished by add date of the next semester. Students will be required to clear all incompletes by graduation.

The hope is that the new policy will reduce the petitions and paperwork that the Committee on Academic Performance must deal with under the current system, Bacow said.

MIT's new policy on incompletes will still be more lenient than that of most other schools on the Institute's level, which don't allow professors to hand out incompletes, he said.

Student life task forces starting

Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams spoke about the task forces on student life and learning, which will begin their work this fall.

The groups will be conducting "a fundamental review" of four main areas: MIT's past and present educational principles and their relevance, how the educational process is functioning at MIT, changes in leadership roles, and motivational and financial mechanisms.

The task forces will have the flexibility to create other bodies as they see fit, including a mechanism for student involvement "that is very helpful and meaningful rather than token," Williams said.

Rota to be Killian lecturer

Chair of the Killian Committee George Stephanopoulos, professor of Chemical Engineering, announced that Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy Gian-Carlo Rota will be the Killian Award Lecturer for the 1996-97 academic year.

Stephanopoulos noted the "breadth and vigor" of Rota's work. Rota is "a leading innovator and theorist" in combinatorics and discrete mathematics, Stephanopoulos said.

The Rotafest, a three-day celebratory conference held at MIT during April, was "a testament to the role that Rota has played in the world of mathematics," Stephano-poulos said. Rota is "as close to a modern renaissance mind as can be."

The Killian award exists to honor "extraordinary accomplishment in a faculty member," Stephanopoulos said. The lecturer presents one or more lectures on his professional work to the community during the academic year and receives an honorarium.

The faculty also unanimously voted to accept the report of the Committee on Nominations. The report includes the nominee for the next faculty chair, Professor of Management Lotte Bailyn, as well as nominations for positions on standing committees.

The faculty also unanimously voted to make a clarification in the wording of the current end-of-term calendar. The calendar now clearly states that the final date an assignment can be due is the Friday preceding the start of the reading period.