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Following Wylie's Early Retirement, Nationwide Registrar Search Begins

By Carina Fung

Over the past two months, Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams appointed six faculty members to serve on a search committee to hire a new registrar.

The committee, which has just begun its nationwide search, will also have one undergraduate and one graduate student member, who have not yet been named.

Former Registrar David S. Wylie decided to accept the early retirement package offered by MIT last spring, Williams said. Professor of Management and Ocean Engineering J. D. Nyhart was appointed as acting registrar at the time of Wylie's retirement.

Chair of the Faculty Lawrence S. Bacow '72 facilitated the process of the appointment of the acting registrar, Williams said. Nyhart was appointed shortly after the death of Vice President for Administration James J. Culliton, to whom the Registrar's Office reported at that time.

It would normally have been Culliton's responsibility to name an interim registrar. Due to the circumstances, however, Bacow made the appointment, she said.

The search committee is chaired by Director of the Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography Kerry A. Emmanuel and includes Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs Mary Z. Enterline, Nyhart, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Martin F. Schlecht '61, and Associate Professor of Political Science James M. Snyder Jr.

Registrar needs specific skills

"The registrar should have strong technical skills in order to plan, develop, and maintain a top-quality academic information infrastructure for MIT's educational programs," Williams said.

"The new registrar should also be an excellent manager who understands how to be a leader in a team-based environment," Williams said.

Finally, the new registrar must work collaboratively with students and faculty so that academic information effectively serves their needs within the context of MIT's educational policies, she said.

"I don't think we'll have any trouble attracting strong candidates [for a new registrar]. Of course, none have yet stepped forward because the position hasn't yet been advertised," Williams said.

Re-engineering delays search

The search for the new registrar was temporarily put on hold while financial and academic services team of re-engineering considered overall organizational changes affecting the Registrar's Office, Bursar's Office, Student Financial Aid Office, and Student Information Services, Williams said.

Williams said that these organizational recommendations were made in January, and strongly suggested that MIT needed to retain the position of registrar. The recommendations also gave Williams some helpful suggestions about how to define the registrar's position.

The change in leadership has been especially difficult for the Registrar's Office, Williams said. The staff of the Registrar's Office has been spending much time and energy on re-engineering as well as maintaining the high volume of ordinary business, she added.