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Hodges To Step Down as Dean In Favor of Return to Teaching

Krista L. Niece

At the end of June, Kip V. Hodges PhD ’82 will step down as Dean for the Undergraduate Curriculum.

After two and a half years in the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education, Hodges will return to the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences to work full-time as a professor, a position he has held since 1983.

“My appointment as dean is half-time. Trying to split time between being a professor and working in administration is hard,” Hodges said.

Hodges said that his primary responsibility as dean is “to act as a liaison between the Dean for Undergraduate Education and the various departments” and that he has enjoyed his time in the administration.

“It’s been a real learning experience... I’ve had a great time interacting with faculty and undergraduates,” Hodges said. Of the small undergraduate population in Course XII he said, “It’s been a great opportunity.”

Hodges’ term has seen changes

Hodges has held his position as dean for two and a half years. “A lot has happened in that time,” he said.

Hodges believes that one of his most valuable contributions as dean has been the accomplishment of “a transition from an orientation focused on housing, to one more focused on the overall MIT environment.”

“It was a pretty substantial restructuring. There were a lot of concerns especially about rush. A lot of negotiation went on between the office and the FSILG’s,” Hodges said.

In spite of difficulties, Hodges noted “positive lines of communication” were developed.

He has also been involved with potential changes to the freshman curriculum.

“We’ve started thinking more creatively about the freshman year,” he said. According to Hodges, last year’s report of the Task Force on Life and Learning focused on a “perceived malaise” regarding freshman year.

Since then, Hodges has worked with other members of the Educational Design Project to investigate possible changes to the freshman year.

“It’s way too early to talk about specifics. The problem with curriculum, especially at MIT, is that you don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater,” Hodges said.

Hodges may not be replaced

Due to restructuring within ODSUE, Hodges’ position may not be filled.

“To the best of my knowledge, I will not be replaced. [Dean of Students Rosalind H. Williams] looks at this as an opportunity to rethink... the restructuring of the office,” He said.