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New MEng Approval By Faculty Deferred

Dan McGuire
Associate News Editor

The approval of the proposed Masters of Engineering Degree offered by the Department of Nuclear Engineering was deferred by President Charles M. Vest at Wednesday's faculty meeting.

Other issues presented at the meeting include the report by the Committee on Discipline and the MIT ROTC task force.

Vest made the decision to table the new Master's proposal after problems arose regarding the choice of names for the new degree.

The Nuclear Engineering department wanted to award two separate degrees: a Master of Engineering in Nuclear Systems Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Radiological Health and Industrial Radiation Technology.

"Typically, it has been Institute practice that the degree descriptions are without specifications," said Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School Isaac M. Colbert. Masters programs usually include just the name of the department and not include a description of the area of study.

"We want to be consistent in the matter" of naming degrees, Vest said at the meeting.

"It's such a minor point in the course of discussion [but] it became an issue at the last minute when someone asked about," Colbert said.

"The typical process here is that the approval takes two meetings, the program is approved at one meeting and voted on at the next meeting," Colbert said. "This process allows questions like the one that came up to be resolved along the way."

Colbert said that he expected the issue to be resolved by the next meeting and that both approval and a vote on the program would take place then.

Degree to emphasize practicality

The new Masters of Engineering degree places less emphasis on a final thesis and more emphasis on design and practical experience. The Nuclear Engineering department will also continue to offer the traditional Master of Science degree.

The program will also generally not provide financial aid such as research assistantships, according to the proposal.

The changes are designed to adapt the department's graduate program to "actual and anticipated changes in the nature of professional practice," said Professor of Nuclear Engineering Richard K. Lester in his presentation to the faculty.

The program acknowledges and tries to compensate for the "increasing scarcity of research support for graduate students," Lester said. "The department has concluded that the proposed MEng [degree] will be an important complement to our offerings at the grad level."

There was some concern over whether the "market of students who are self-supporting [will] engage in a program of that duration."

Citing programs at other universities, Lester said, "We should be able to populate this program with an acceptable number of students."

Discipline Report Presented

Last year there were 36 disciplinary cases where intervention by the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs was necessary, according to Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities for Margaret A. Jablonski, as part of the report by COD and UAA.

"Based on my experiences of the last two years, I think the numbers are about the same," said Professor Stephen L. Buchwald. "This year there has been no perceptible decrease but no perceptible increase either."

"The numbers are stable. We're probably a little bit low compared to other universities" such as Princeton University and Harvard University, Buchwald said.

Professor Stephen C. Graves, chair of the MIT task force on ROTC, summarized the group's recently released draft report on the Department of Defense's don't-ask-don't-tell policy on homosexuals.

"We've outlined five possible options for MIT," Graves said. These include the possibility of recommending to maintain status quo, to sever all ties to ROTC, to postpone any action, to create some type of arm's-length relationship, or to remove ROTC from campus and make cross-town arrangements for students.

"We're now in the process of trying to get [information] out to the faculty and the community," Graves said. "We've sent out requests to dormitories and [independent living groups] and we've had two meetings so far."