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Mail Quota Doubled MIT Alumna Entering Space Today MIT Rises in <I>U.S. News</I> Ranking

Mail Quota Doubled

As of Wednesday, the mail quota was increased from 500 to 1,000 megabytes for all users. The decision to increase the quota came after watching the use of WebMail over the past year and noticing “that people are continuing to store more and more,” said Theresa M. Regan, director of IS&T’s Operations & Infrastructure Services.

Although a very small percentage of the estimated 25,000 active users of the MIT mail system reached or exceeded the previous 500 MB limit, Regan said that IS&T increased the quota “just to be proactive and ahead of the curve.” The recent increase in the amount of spam that users receive did not motivate IS&T to change the mail quota, Regan said.

The amount of mail that can be kept on the server has changed several times over the past several years. In July 2005, IS&T increased the mail quota from 250MB to 500MB around the same time as an upgrade to the WebMail service, when the system was changed from a Sun Microsystems T3 array to a Storage Area Networks (SAN system). The most recent mail quota increase did not have “hardware or other types of software changes behind it,” said Regan.

Currently, IS&T is not planning any other changes for WebMail, but they are watching the system closely and are looking into “creating an e-mail redundancy,” Regan said. E-mail redundancy would allow mail to be stored on several servers, making WebMail more reliable.

—K. Nichole Treadway

MIT Alumna Entering Space Today

Rookie astronaut Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper ’84 is scheduled to enter space today when NASA’s STS-115 launches at 10:41 a.m. barring any glitches, according to the Associated Press. Stefanyshyn-Piper was a member of MIT’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, a resident of Women’s Indepent Living Group, and also participated in women’s varsity crew. STS-115 has had trouble getting off the ground for the last two weeks due to Hurricane Ernesto and minor technical glitches, according to NASA. If the launch is scrapped today, there may be another attempt on Saturday if scheduling conflicts with the Russian Space Agency are resolved.

—David Templeton

MIT Rises in U.S. News Ranking

MIT was ranked fourth place among national universities in the U.S. News & World Report college rankings this year, improving from last year’s seventh place position, and retained its first place ranking in Washington Monthly’s second annual college guide.

According to U.S. News researcher Robert J. Morse, MIT’s improved rank can be attributed to “small changes” made in the categories of “financial resources, graduation retention rate, faculty resources, alumni giving, and graduate rate performance.” MIT tied with the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University for fourth.

The last time MIT achieved the fourth place ranking in U.S. News was 2004. The highest MIT has been ranked in at least the last ten years is third place in 2000; seventh place is the lowest.

Admissions officer Matt L. McGann ’00 said that he does not expect the rise from seventh to fourth to affect admissions very much. “As far as I can tell, it’s not something that [other colleges of MIT caliber] obsess about either,” but added that “you start seeing more focus on rankings” in schools in the tier below MIT.

According to the Washington Monthly college guide Web site, the calculation of its rankings include community service, research, and social mobility scores.

President Susan Hockfield said in an interview last month that she was pleased with the Washington Monthly rankings. “I was delighted that this particular ranking system took note of some of the features that MIT holds as important guiding principles for our education.”

Angeline Wang