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Committee Initiates Nationwide Search for Director of Admissions

By Carina Fung
STAFF REPORTER

Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams recently appointed five faculty members to serve on a search committee for a new director of the Admissions Office.

The current director of admissions, Michael C. Behnke, will be leaving MITin May to become the first associate dean of the College of Enrollment at the University of Chicago.

After consulting with President Charles M. Vest, Provost Joel Moses PhD '67, and people most affected by the search, Williams convened the search committee.

The committee is chaired by Associate Dean of the School of Engineering John B. Vander Sande. The other faculty members on the committee are Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Harold Abelson '73, Chair of the Faculty Lawrence S. Bacow '72, Dean of the School of Science Robert J. Birgeneau, and Assistant Professor of the History of Science Evelynn M. Hammonds '47.

Professor of Ocean Engineering J. Kim Vandiver, who serves as chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, will be interviewed by the search committee once it gets under way, Williams said. As of now, however, Vandiver has not been given an official role in the search.

Students will serve on committee

There will be one undergraduate and one graduate student on the committee. The student members will be responding to solicitations to fill these positions from the Undergraduate Association and the Graduate Student Council at a later time, Williams said.

"The search [for a new director of admissions] is only beginning, and we have yet to advertise," Williams said. "We would like to fill the positions as soon as possible, but we won't rush the process; it will take the time it takes."

"The director of admissions must have thorough knowledge of the technical, social, and economic issues involved in college admissions at this time," Williams said. A deep understanding of MIT culture and values as well as a fundamental commitment to need-blind admissions and diversity are also necessities, she said.

"I realize that MIT is a very special place, in part because of our very special student body. The director of admissions must understand our special nature and tailor admissions procedures accordingly," Vander Sande said.

Williams noted that the new director must also have an ability to work collaboratively with the CUAFA and other faculty in defining admissions procedures and policies.

Behnke will be leaving in late spring and will therefore be at MIT through this admissions cycle. Williams anticipates appointing an acting or interim director at that point, since there is doubt that a new dean of admissions will be chosen by then, she said.

"We have no candidates for a new director of admissions yet, but since MIT is a well-known institution, I have no doubt that many candidates will be interested in this position," Williams said.